Friday, 30 March 2012

Petrol Is Flammable...

Don'tcha know?

Just wanted to post a quick blog about the petrol crisis that has been developing in this country over the last few days. The whole situation started a few days ago when it seemed like a petrol tanker drivers strike was inevitable. Cabinet minister Francis Maude publicly advised people to “fill up a jerry can” of fuel as a back up and the result of this is that people have gone nuts, causing a fuel shortage in certain areas.

This was a particularly silly thing for Maude to say in retrospect. I want that to be made clear before people say that I am unable to bash a member of the government. He made a mistake – there is no two ways about it. However, I feel in this case it is quite possible if he said nothing, then if there was a crisis later on as a result of a strike – he and the government would have been heavily bashed then. It is a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”. I personally feel a more sensible idea would have been for the government to say that there is a possibility of a strike but there is no need to panic. Granted, in this day and age of sensationalist politics, such a statement may not have been possible (or may have been altered by the media to fit their agenda) but overall I think that would have been better.

Petrol stations have now been rammed pretty solidly for the last 2/3 days of people panicking. This is a slight over-reaction but it was bound to happen. A member of the New Labour government, last time there was discussions of a fuel tanker driver strike, not to panic buy and people still did. Collectively, people are going to panic about something like this. A person as an individual may be clever but collectively people are stupid. Anyway, I’ve witnessed a number of areas where it has been unsafe to drive because people have been joining queues. This is a direct result of what Maude said and for that, he should take some blame. In fact I will not retract what I have said to people when I have previously discussed this – I am quite surprised that Maude did not get sacked. However, the row over Maude and his future as a minister intensified after a news story broke today.

“A woman accidentally set fire to herself attempting to store petrol in her home amid fears of a national fuel shortage because of threatened strikes.
The woman, named locally as Diane Hill, 46, suffered 40% burns after the petrol caught fire in the kitchen of her home in York last night, fire-fighters said.
She was attempting to decant the fuel from one container to another using a jug.” (Sky News)

When I heard this story this morning I thought “oh dear” and wondered how it happened. I also wondered why she was doing it in the kitchen and wondered how smart of a move that was. A Labour Peer has come out and said as a direct result of this, Maude should resign/get sacked as he is to blame for this woman getting burned. It is a fairly weak, bordering on pathetic suggestion. Yes, Francis Maude suggested you get extra fuel if you can. He said to get a jerry can and keep it in the boot of the car. As I understand it, most people carry a little tank (metal or plastic) of petrol in the boot of their car anyway in case of an emergency. A government spokesman has since said that Maude may not have realised how big a jerry can was (I now understand a jerry can to be 20l, whereas some people may keep 1/2/5l in the back of their car). Maude sparked people rushing to petrol stations in my view which is bad. I don’t think he can be blamed however for someone choosing to decant petrol in their own home. But hold on a second. Petrol doesn’t just set on fire by itself. So, how did this fire start?

Sky's North of England correspondent Gerard Tubb, in York, said: "Ms Hill was tipping petrol from a plastic petrol container for which she did not have a spout into the jug because her daughter, in her late teens or early 20s, needed petrol for her car.
"The vapour from the petrol in the open-topped jug was ignited by the gas cooker which was on.”

....she had a naked flame in her kitchen while she was decanting fuel from a plastic petrol container into an open jug.
How is this Francis Maude’s fault? The woman in question, Ms Hill, is entirely to blame here. I will be blunt with this, but she is a fucking moron.

1. Why was she decanting petrol in her kitchen?
2. Why was she decanting petrol into an open top jug (rather than a more suitable container)
3. Why did her daughter, who she was giving the petrol to, need the petrol that badly?

These are all things which place the blame squarely at the feet of Ms Hill in this scenario. Yes, the fact she suffered 40% burns is a sad story. But this story would fit in perfectly as an honourable mention in the Darwin Awards (which if you don’t know what they are...look them up!) People who are blaming Francis Maude for this woman not knowing that petroleum is flammable are simply anti-Tory, or against this coalition government. The suggestion that Maude should resign because this woman is a moron is laughable.

By the way, the potential petrol tanker drivers strike has been delayed. Return to your homes people, there is no crisis!

Hellfest is happening

My original summer plan was to go to Wacken and Sonisphere. Generally over these two festivals, the bulk of my musical taste is catered for. There is always a band I want to see at another festival, but usually not enough to make me reconsider my entire summer plans. Then the Download Festival 2012 line-up was released and shit all over everything I had planned. I should stress by this I mean that it is an awesome line-up which continues to get better with each announcement. With works blessing, I moved my booked leave for Sonisphere to cover the dates for Download and purchased a weekend ticket. So then my plans were Download and Wacken and that really covers my tastes and I think there is very minimal crossover of bands. There was one big band that is in Europe at the time missing from both line-ups who I really want to see again, and that’s Edguy. Enter Hellfest.

Hellfest not only have Edguy, but they have a stunning overall line-up. I kept looking at the line-up and eventually decided that “I have to go”. It was too good to miss. I asked work to extend my June leave and I would repay the time in December (December Mike is going to be pissed off!) and after a fair bit of discussion – it has been approved and the ticket/travel has been purchased. So, the purposes of this blog will be to listen to something of every band and say whether or not I like them. I may say a few words about the band/act as well. I will do it stage by stage (rather than day by day) as the constant scrolling will just annoy me. Anyway, starting with Main Stage 1 (appropriately):

Megadeth – Didn’t expect to see these guys headlining but they are a good band. I will definitely watch them depending on clashes (Saw them at Sonisphere last year so not that urgent to see them again).
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Can’t wait to see these. I know it’s not even close to the original line-up anymore but much like Thin Lizzy, if they can still bring it live then why not tour under the name. Should be a lot of fun, especially Free Bird
Gotthard – Don’t know much by them but they sound a bit like Edguy. Power metal/hard rock style music – I’m pretty much always in favour of this.
Unisonic – From what I’ve heard they sound very good. I hear it is Michael Kiske’s first band since he left Helloween so for me this has a lot of potential.
Molly Hatchet – I know them because of a song I’m convinced was on Guitar Hero but I might be wrong. Anyway, they seem alright and well worth a watch.
Lizzy Borden – Again from what I’ve heard they seem alright.
Bukowski – Some of the riffs this band has at their disposal are just immense. Definitely worth seeing this lot.
Alpha Tiger – Not overly fussed on this lot but whatever, I’ll give them the time of day if there is nothing else on.
Guns N’ Roses – This one interests me as I have no idea what time they’ll come on stage. I’m ok with them though as Hellfest appears to have a late licence. I’m seeing them in Manchester though so if I don’t see their whole set....oh well.
Within Temptation – Heard them do Ice Queen at Twickenham and saw them do 3 songs at Download 07. Would like to see a longer set of them.
Sebastian Bach – From what I’ve heard, his solo stuff sounds awesome. I am in favour of this booking as it is unlikely I will see him at Download.
Uriah Heep – These guys sound like they will be a great band to watch. Classic metal? Yes please!
Steel Panther – Big old meh bags! Death to all but metal = comical. The rest? S’ok I guess.
Crashdiet – They bored the shit out of me at Wacken. I don’t think I’ll give them another chance.
Kobra And The Lotus – Might give them a watch if nothing else is on!
Koritni – More hard rock goodness = fine by me.
Ozzy Osbourne & Friends – This one will be interesting as it is obviously in place of Black Sabbath playing all the festivals. As I will be seeing Black Sabbath the week before (and saw Ozzy last year), I won’t be heartbroken to miss this, but I will try to see what surprises there are in store.
Motley Crue – Download 2007 was epic beyond proportions. Sonisphere 2010 was really disappointing to the extent I left early to get a spot for Rammstein. Hellfest 2012? Well, let’s see what happens. Hopefully they won’t set fire to their stage show again.
Slash – Cheers Slash for playing Hellfest which allows me to see Prodigy at Download. You sure are a good egg.
Blue Oyster Cult – This set will be watched for two songs, and I am not ashamed to admit that I don’t know anymore. It will be great though.
Black Label Society – The more I listen to BLS, the more I don’t care for them. I should catch them once though so I’ll give it my patterned “if there’s nothing else on then I’ll watch it”
D-A-D – Not bothered about seeing these as they’ll be at Wacken. Probably will catch them once though
Girlschool – I need to see Girlschool. I’ve had so many chances and to my shame, I have never seen them.
Vanderbuyst – Listened to one song. I like it. Sounds like the sort of thing I’d like a festival.

Main Stage 2

King Diamond – Quite like what I’ve heard and this guy’s old band (Mercyful Fate) inspired Metallica. So I’m in favour.
Dropkick Murphys – This booking, much like the booking of Slash, allows me to miss them at Download to see someone else. Cheers Dropkicks!
Turbonegro – Not all that interested truth be told.
Heaven Shall Burn – I was so gutted that they weren’t doing the Portsmouth Rise To Remain gig that I didn’t go. I will catch these guys without a doubt.
The Bronx – A band who I’ve heard so many good things about, have enjoyed listening to previously but never seen. I should rectify this yeah?
Street Dogs – Saw these at Reading and they weren’t bad. I might go see someone else instead though.
Black Bomb A – I really quite like these so I’ll probably give them a watch.
Hamlet – I love some of the riffs I’ve heard from this band so I’ll probably give them a watch as well.
Betraying The Martyrs – Not bad at all!
Machine Head – A strong booking for any festival but seeing as they are at Download and Wacken, I may go see someone else.
Edguy – One of the main draws of the festival for me so yes, they will be watched without a doubt.
Exodus – Wacken 2008 – Awesome. Islington Academy 2009 – not so much. Got to see them
Sacred Reich – They are at both Wacken and Hellfest. I will likely watch them at both.
Death Angel – Another quality thrash band that I cannot wait to see.
Channel Zero – Another one of those bands that seems packed full of riffs. They sound really good.
Gama Bomb – Seem like a crazy thrash band in the same vein as Municipal Waste. It could be a fun watch for a minute or two though.
Suicidal Angels – More thrash is not necessarily a bad thing. It could be worth a watch.
Lamb of God – Absolutely quality band and its cool to see they are headlining a stage.
Trivium – After their set at Wacken last year, I can’t wait to see them again. Be it at Download or Hellfest (or both!)
Hatebreed – Wouldn’t mind catching these after I missed the Wedgewood Rooms gig due to illness.
Devildriver – Download, Soton headline show and Hellfest. That makes up for not seeing them since 2007 right?
Walls of Jericho – Not opposed to some more hardcore. It is nice that a lot of the similar genres have been put on the same stage, but that stage alternates with another so you get a blend of styles.
August Burns Red – Not heard much by them but I really like what I have heard.
All Shall Perish – I really dug these guys the first time I heard them but having gone back recently, not so much.
Do Or Die – Really enjoy what I’ve heard so far. Definitely would like to watch them.
L’Esprit Du Clan – Can’t make my mind up on this lot. Might give them a watch. We’ll see.

Summary – I want to see most of the bands on the two main stages which overall shows the strength of the line-up when it comes to my likes and dislikes of music. There is a fair bit of overlap with other festivals I am going to but there is also a good number of bands who I would only get to see at Hellfest. Plus, they have Edguy. Awesome.

The Altar

Cannibal Corpse – They are one of those annoying bands who played a really intimate gig in Portsmouth when I didn’t like them, and now I am favourable to them, they are never in this country! I will give them a watch if the clash is not hideous.
Obituary – I seem to recall being relatively bored by this band at Wacken 2008. I’ll give them another go though if time allows.
Brujeria – I’m informed this is a death metal all-star band. Musically they are alright though so again, if there is time.
Nasum – I’m not crazy about them, so I’m inclined to say that I won’t be seeing them.
Vomitory – Not bad as far as death metal goes. Could be worth a watch.
Unexpect – I don’t even know where to start with these. I feel like this would be the soundtrack to a nightmare about clowns. I don’t know how that is relevant. Moving on...
Benediction – Think I’ve listened to these before this writing but not very often. I like what I am hearing now though.
Benighted – This band are not for me.
Trepalium – They aren’t bad. I guess if nothing else is on then I could give them a watch.
Entombed – Not bad at all. Definitely the same situation as Cannibal Corpse though as they are the headliner. If there is not a bad clash then they could be watched.
Napalm Death – I think they would likely lose a clash but it depends who with, as they are at Wacken.
Aborted – Random fact, on an episode of the RRP, I pretended like I was going to play the new Panic At The Disco single and played an Aborted song. Anyway, I don’t like Aborted so won’t be seeing them.
Origin – I don’t think Origin are for me.
Necrophaglia – Quite like what I’ve heard from this band. Could be worth a watch.
Avulsed – That would be a no.
Haemorrhage – That would be a no.
Rompeprop – That would also be a no.
Jesus Crost – Looks like I won’t be visiting this stage much on the Saturday!
Children of Bodom – Wouldn’t mind seeing Bodom again. I haven’t seen them since 2008. They are a headliner though and likely to be up against some stiff competition, especially on the Sunday.
Suffocation – I’m gonna say no to these.
Lock Up – Really wouldn’t mind seeing these live.
Brutal Truth – Didn’t really like what I heard there.
Insomnium – Not bad at all. Will try and see them here or at Wacken.
Dying Fetus – One of those that fall into the category or “if there was nothing else on”. And I mean literally nothing else!
Blood Red Throne – Wouldn’t mind catching a bit of their set if there is no clash.
Hour of Penance – Not bad I guess. Probably not one I will catch truth be told.
Sublime Cadaveric Decomposition – And that’ll be a no.

The Temple

Amon Amarth – Probably won’t watch these at Hellfest as they are one of the bigger bands at Wacken, but if I have my compass set correctly, they are going to be in a tent at Hellfest, which certainly has its appeal.
Satyricon – I really like what I’ve heard of these guys. Had the chance to see them before and missed them so if it comes up again, will have to at least try and see them.
Moonsorrow – Not bad at all. If there is a chance to see them, I might just.
Taake – Now this is black metal that I like. Will have to try and see this lot.
Darkspace – I think something was raping my ears when I was listening to Darkspace. It could be the music but that is unconfirmed.
Endstille – Not a fan. Sound too much like fucking Mayhem for my liking!
Solstafir – Had a quick flick through their stuff and there was nothing that inspired me.
Belenos – Not a fan really.
Merrimack – Not that bad.
Behemoth – I just can’t get into Behemoth. Maybe I should see them and see if that helps.
In Extremo – These guys sound really good.
Enslaved – Not a fan of this band.
Shining – I would say it depends which Shining it is playing, but I’m not a fan of either so it doesn’t really matter.
Djerv – From what I’ve heard, they are fairly good.
Ascension – Power metal? Didn’t expect that on this stage. Quite a good band.
Necros Christos – They aren’t awful (I found myself listening to quite a bit of them while nonchalantly flicking through a magazine while writing). Could go and see them if the times work.
Oranssi Pazuzu – Very mixed feelings about this band so will probably not bother seeing them.
Glorior Belli – Not really a fan so probably won’t see them.
Dimmu Borgir – Would love to see these at Hellfest but chances are I will catch their Orchestra show at Wacken. Again though, the idea of seeing them in a tent is very tempting.
Arcturus – I’m really quite interested in this band. Black metal with clean vocals. Shall do what I can to see them. A lot on at the time though I want to see! Hmm...
Ihsahn – Really enjoying what I’m listening to. Another possible clash ahoy!
Vulture Industries – Not bad at all.
Anaal Nathrakh – Never really liked them before this listen. I still don’t care for them much. Odd really as it’s the same vocalist as in Benediction.
Forgotten Tomb – Pretty good stuff from this band. I am liking it.
Liturgy – I don’t think they are for me.
Winterfylleth – Listened to them after they were announced for Wacken. I’m not doing it again!
Aosoth – Not....awful. Probably won’t see them though.

Summary – There is quite a few bands here who will potentially cause some really nasty clashes with the two main stages (especially on the Sunday). But there is a great deal on the two stages here that I don’t care for, which is handy at a festival.

The Warzone

Tragedy – Really like what I’m hearing here. Another headliner I like....oh joy!
From Ashes Rise – Not bad at all.
Arson Anthem – Yeah they aren’t for me at all.
Integrity – They are alright.
Discharge – I really like what I’m hearing from this band.
Victims – Sounds absolutely quality!
Vitamin X – Not bad at all. They are one of those bands with really short songs though which I’m not a fan of.
Extinction of Mankind – Didn’t really dig what I was listening to.
Strong as Ten – Maybe I’m being dumb, but I literally cannot find owt about this band. Oh well.
Refused – I really like this band and I have to do what I can to see them.
Darkest Hour – These guys are playing Wacken so if I am going to see them, it’ll likely be there.
Unearth – Quality band. Will try to see them but again they are at Wacken.
Dog Eat Dog – Well this is different! Good, but different!
Cancer Bats – I love these guys, but chances are I’ll miss them at this festival.
October File – I really like what I am hearing here
Emmure – Not a massive fan of these.
As They Burn – Not bad at all.
The Rodeo Idiot Machine – Can’t find anything about this band either. What year is this?!
Biohazard – Really quite like this band, but I am still annoyed they cancelled their Portsmouth date and never rearranged. Furthermore, they are a Sunday headliner. Good luck with that one!
Madball – They are really quite good.
The Spudmonsters – Certainly enjoyable that’s for sure.
Evergreen Terrace – Another really good band. What are the odds that all the best bands that I’d never listened to before would all be on the Sunday? #cheers
H2O – Another fairly good band.
Death Before Dishonour – Jesus Christ another quality hardcore band at Hellfest. Me likey!
Hoods – Not bad at all
All For Nothing – This stage is really quite good it would seem.
Lasting Values – Another quality band.

Summary – Well, this stage has caused me some real problems. There are going to be some horrible clashes. It was always going to be the way when there are 6 stages but that realisation doesn’t make it any easier. Anyway, let’s look at the 6th and final stage that Hellfest has on offer this time around.

The Valley

Hank 3 – I really don’t know where to begin. I’m not really into country music as a rule.
Colour Haze – Really quite relaxing but not my idea of a good festival band.
Orange Goblin – How have I still not seen this band?! Argh!
The Atomic Bitchwax – I really like what I’m hearing here.
Brain Police – Another quality band. I am really liking these.
Thou – I’m not sure I’m listening to the right band here, so I have no real comment to add.
Doomriders – Another band that are really quite good.
Celeste – Not bad although I can’t see me going to see them.
Saint Vitus – Really quite catchy this. You know, based on their logo I expected black metal. Never judge a book by its cover etc...
The Devils Blood – I’ve got nothing.
Yob – I’ve got nothing again
Unsane – I really like the small bits I’ve heard of this band.
Ufomammut – Not that bad. Not that good in my opinion though.
Big Business – I’m going to say not for me.
Amenra – Can’t see me going out my way for these.
ASG – Awesome stuff this
Dyse – They’re ok. Not amazing though
Sunn O))) – Not a massive fan. Or indeed a fan for that matter
The Obsessed – Really liking this stuff.
Pentagram – They’re ok but I won’t be watching them.
Dusk – I’ve got nothing
Acid King – This is the type of doom I’m not really into.
Monkey 3 – Same again, not really into this.
Alcest – Not bad at all
Year of No Light – They’re alright I guess
Abysse – I’ve got nothing

Summary – Again there is some stuff on this stage that I would love to see. Obviously I won’t be able to know who I can and can’t see until the times are released but there is more on this stage that I don’t care for than that I do care for, which at this stage is quite handy.

Well, what a line-up this is eh? I can’t wait to go. Overall count for bands I want to see is as follows:
Friday - 29
Saturday - 17
Sunday – 27

I think I may have some clashes to work out!

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Review: Billy Connolly @ BIC 09/03/2012

Last night marked the first time of me seeing the legendary comedian, Billy Connolly. I’ve been a fan since I was a young kid and my Dad had a “best of” tape in the car. It seemed like I was never going to see him either. Not because he doesn’t tour (because he does) but the tours would either fall when I had no money or when I was busy (I recall being offered tickets to a Portsmouth date just after I had booked tickets to see Dream Theater in London the same night). So when this tour was announced I figured I would go to Southampton and they wouldn’t sell out immediately. They went on-sale 9am on a Friday, I figured I should be able to book when I finished work. I was wrong; they did sell out super fast. He had 2 shows at the Bournemouth International Centre (BIC) which were a Wednesday and a Thursday (aka a pain in the arse nights for gigs out of town). There was a Brighton date on a Friday but that would have meant a hotel and suddenly it starts getting rather expensive. One day not long after resigning myself to not seeing him again, one of my co-workers alerted me to the fact he added a third date at the BIC and it was the Friday night. As soon as I heard it, I dropped everything and booked a ticket. I hit the jackpot in terms of seats as I got front row of the balcony and had an aisle seat.

As the day drew nearer, I started to read reviews. Mainly to see if someone could indicate how long he would be on stage for as I had to plan around travel and accepted that leaving early was a possibility. What I saw was a series of mixed reviews and even people complaining that due to hecklers (and people getting up to go to the toilet) – shows had been cut short. I won’t lie, I started to worry. I have been a fan of Billy Connolly since I can remember and didn’t entertain the idea that he wouldn’t be good live. When it comes to reviews though, you can only judge what you see. I hate movie reviews for that very reason. If a film interests me, I’ll go and see it, not if Empire magazine tells me it is good. I knew that I had to forget about these reviews and just go with a clear mind and enjoy the show (or not as the case may be). One review said he was on stage for about 2 hours which I thought was perfect. Start at 8, finish at 10. Sorted. Despite me just saying that you can’t trust reviews, here comes my review! (I don’t do it for a living and therefore don’t think it’s hypocritical for me to say not to trust them, and then write one).

It is difficult to review a comedy show without going through bit by bit which is almost a spoiler alert for anyone going to the Cardiff/Brighton shows. However, I will say that all fears I had that he wouldn’t be good and would leave early were wiped away early on. He addressed the reports saying that he was on stage for 2 hours before he left, and that on stage in a theatre, you can’t hear what the heckles are and so that’s why he usually responds by saying “fuck off” – even if it’s a compliment. Attacking the journalists, he said they would struggle to write home for money they were that shit at writing. It was a blistering start to a 2 hour plus show which was packed full of jokes, stories, rants and everything you would expect from a Billy Connolly show. I’m not over-exaggerating when I say that he was superb. One review suggested that he had “lost touch with the common man” as one of his long jokes involved a very posh hotel in Australia, right by the Sydney Opera House, where the room comes with a butler. I read that in the review and thought “that could be very bad” but it turned out to be the funniest part of the show for me. It isn’t like he is bragging about his life style, and when he does, he makes it funny. “I stay in the 3rd floor for VIP’s....because I’m a very important person” in a mimicking accent. On this topic, he had an off the cuff remark about cigars. “I love smoking cigars and let’s face it...can’t hide the profits forever!” On reflection, I feel that the reviewer who said that Connolly has lost touch with the common man doesn’t like him and was bitter about being assigned to cover him. Either that or was just looking to fill column inches.

I think if I say much more I will be bordering on going through each bit. I will say that sadly I had to leave early as he was on stage for 2hrs 25mins when I had to go to make sure I caught my train. Hopefully I didn’t miss that much and the last thing he discussed made me cry with laughter as well so that’s a plus. This gig was so worth the money and I’m glad I went. I will go again if the chance comes up (although next time, I may book a hotel!)

Friday, 9 March 2012

Keep It On The D.L

A festival booker sounds like one of those jobs that can be so awesome, but so frustrating at times. When it comes to a festival like Download, the booker (Andy Copping) has got so many people to try and keep happy. On top of that, he and his team have got to do all they can to get people excited about the latest editions to the festival. Now, we all found out, thanks to their on stage announcement, that Shinedown were playing Download. This must be so frustrating for Andy as there is nothing he can do to stop bands from announcing their slots before he does. He can ask very nicely for them to keep quiet until they are announced, but if it slips out when a lead singer is talking to the crowd, who all go on to Facebook and Twitter and share the news...what can he do? In my eyes, there is nothing he can do. After the last announcement which came last week, I thought “most of the line up is shaped now, and I can’t imagine the rest of the announcements catching my attention”. This isn’t a bad thing as there are already so many bands that I want to see playing, that anymore announcements of bands I want to see could cause a real problem for me.

Terrorvision were announced a little while ago (I forget which announcement they formed and instead of looking back through my blog, I’m just going to leave it at that) and with the last announcement, they appeared on the poster playing Friday on the Second stage. Today, they have posted an update to their Facebook page which confirms the running order for that stage and where they fit in. Awkwardly for Andy though, they have listed two bands that have not been confirmed by the festival yet. As of typing, the update to their Facebook page has been removed but the damage is done. It is being discussed on the festival’s forums and people will have shared that update to their own Facebook pages (hell, I did). If I were to speculate, then I would say that the fact the update has been removed is confirmation that the two bands are indeed playing Download. After all, if it was false, it wouldn’t be a big deal. Download could just post of their social media pages “this leak ISN’T true” and that’s it dead. The two bands that Terrorvision have leaked are Europe and Symphony X. Both bands are absolutely quality and are also great live. This is excellent news as far as I am concerned.

I attempted to post stage times last time I blogged about Download and it was a complete mess if I’m honest. It was a complete ball ache to do but assuming this leak is correct, that would mean the Friday would have all the slots for Main and Second stage filled. Using last year’s times, this is how the stages are looking:

Main Stage
21.00 – 22.50 The Prodigy
19.20 – 20.20 Chase & Status
18.00 – 18.50 Machine Head
16.50 – 17.35 Billy Talent
15.40 – 16.25 NoFX
14.40 – 15.15 Fear Factory
13.50 – 14.20 Cancer Bats
13.00 – 13.30 Rise To Remain

Second Stage
21.35 – 22.50 Slash
19.40 – 20.50 Nightwish
18.20 – 19.20 Opeth
17.15 – 17.55 Little Angels
16.10 – 16.50 Europe
15.20 – 15.50 Terrorvision
14.30 – 15.00 Symphony X
13.45 – 14.10 The Quireboys
13.00 – 13.25 Red, White & Blues

So my day would look like this:

13.00 – 13.30 Rise To Remain (Main)
13.50 – 14.20 Cancer Bats (Main)
14.40 – 15.15 Fear Factory (Main)
15.40 – 16.25 NoFX (Main)
16.25 – 16.50 Europe (2nd)
16.50 – 17.35 Billy Talent (Main)
18.00 – 18.50 Machine Head (Main)
18.50 – 19.20 Opeth (2nd)
19.40 – 20.50 Nightwish (2nd)
21.00 – 22.50 The Prodigy (Main)

Can’t complain about that day at all. Would have liked to have seen Slash but after much debate, I think that I’d prefer to see The Prodigy. I’m also a little bit gutted as I won’t be able to see Symphony X if I have those times right (or indeed close) but that happens at festivals sometimes. Just to finish off, apparently Theory of a Deadman confirmed on stage that they are also playing Download. I am interested to see what stage they are playing.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Soundtrack Of My Life #0007

Rammstein - Made In Germany

Other than "Mein Land", I think all of these songs featured in Rammstein's latest setlist. Simply stunning collection of songs (assuming of course, you like Rammstein)

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Further Additions

22 is a lucky number for some. For others it is just a number. What 22 actually means in the context of this blog though is the latest number of bands announced for the Download Festival. This is the poster where we can see not only the new additions but more of where bands fit on the line up. For the purposes of this post, I will discuss the 22 bands and then discuss the line up and how it looks for me.

The new announcement then:

Corey Taylor – This could be a quality announcement. I’ve only seen him the one time without Slipknot or Stone Sour and it wasn’t the best. The set was at Sonisphere 2009 and was rife with sound problems. That coupled with a mediocre set list meant I didn’t really enjoy it. The set in 2010 (which I didn’t see) had a far better set list and the shows he has done since releasing his book have looked phenomenal. If there is chance to see him, I may just.

Dropkick Murphys – I was really looking forward to seeing these guys at Reading in 2008 and then I discovered they were clashing with one of my favourite comedians, Adam Hills. Seeing as we still discuss Adam Hills’ set from that day, I feel like I made the right call. Doesn’t change the fact that I want to see Dropkicks and I am really happy with this announcement. Their stage positioning will be discussed later.

Cancer Bats – Cancer Bats being on the main stage sure is an interesting one but I reckon it will work. It is a quality announcement, of that there is no doubt. It will be a strange moment for me seeing them on the big stage, considering I am seeing them 3 times in April (all on one day) in venues smaller than one of my shoes*
*slight exaggeration

Rise To Remain – Seem to play all the festivals really but based on their set last year, they really deserve the bump to main stage and I will likely watch them again.
Saxon – This is a quality announcement. I’ve seen them twice at festivals and they always seem to bring it live so I imagine this will be no exception.

Gun – They seem fairly reasonable from what I’m hearing. I didn’t know of them before this announcement, and their cover of Cameo’s “Word Up” is certainly enjoyable.

Heaven’s Basement – I’ve seen this band live (supporting The Wildhearts if memory serves) and they were really good. I remember thinking they were a sure thing to make it big. They even played Sonisphere the year after which I thought was great (although I was unable to catch them). I heard they’ve had a few member changes since the time I saw them. I have no idea how that will affect them but I’d like to see them if the chance arises.

James Cleaver Quintet – They sound very noisy and that to me is a great thing. I’ve been listening to a song called Golfing Pros, Bitches and Hoes which I am in love with. Excellent booking here.

Kopek – I don’t know much about this band but I’ve just checked out a video of theirs on Facebook and it seems pretty good.

The Quireboys – They appear to be one of those bands that probably have the ability to make some people wet at the very mention of their name. They don’t do a massive amount for me personally and as a result, will probably be at another stage when they play. I’d only heard of them before this announcement because Ginger Wildheart used to be in the band (back in the day) and after he got fired, he formed The Wildhearts. Every cloud...

Sylosis – This is one of those bands that I really want to see but have never had the chance. They either clash with someone at a festival who I want to see more. Their UK tour didn’t come close to Portsmouth (which was a real shame considering Malefice were supporting). They are a good band though and this is a good announcement.

Butcher Babies – They sound really quite interesting. Almost like Korn or Biohazard mixed in with Arch Enemy. I’ve only heard the one song but it sounds quite good. The very shallow, male side of me wants to see them having a) seen a picture of the two female lead singers and b) seen a picture of their stage attire (the top half consisting of black tape in places). Musically though, they seem to be very interesting.

The Defiled – I was convinced I’d heard a bit of these guys at a previous festival I’d been to but can’t find their name on any of the reviews. Oh well! They seem pretty good and I am looking forward to seeing them open the night for Skindred in London.

Fozzy – Best band of the booking as far as I’m concerned. Seen them twice and they are just awesome live. They will be watched.

Sebastian Bach – This is a difficult one for me, only because I don’t know anything by him. I know he was in Skid Row but I don’t know what albums he released with them. I also don’t know any of his solo material. Chances are I’ll give him a miss.

Soil – Hey it’s the 2nd ever band I saw at Download 2006, my first festival. They’ve gone from main stage to 3rd stage, which is a little awkward but then their star has slightly faded since 2006 I’d say. They should be good in the little tent.

Red White & Blues – A repeat booking it would seem. They seem alright. Very much a classic rock sort of band.

Upon A Burning Body – OH SWEET LORD NO! They’re a bad band. In which I mean I dislike them quite a lot. I will aim to be very far away from them when they play. Can’t win them all...

While She Sleeps – I quite like what I’ve heard from them, which is a good thing because metalcore/hardcore can be very hit/miss with me.

We Are The Ocean – I saw them at Reading last year and gave them an 8. They are a good live band and given the chance I will see them again.

The Treatment – The Treatment are an absolutely quality band. Fantastic announcement from the Download guys I say.

Marmozets – They seem alright from what I’ve heard.

So that is the announcement in a 1000 word nutshell. Overall I am very positive towards it as it adds more bands I like to the line up while adding bands I won’t dream of seeing, reducing possible clashes. As you can see from the poster though, there is to be some clashes and I have a better idea of who I can and can’t see. One thing which is interesting is there are fewer bands on the main stage on Sat/Sun. I say fewer; there was one more in previous years. I don’t know if more are to be added but if not, I am going to have a guess at stage times from what I know.


Main Stage:
21.15 – 23.00 The Prodigy
19.30 – 20.30 Chase and Status
18.00 – 19.00 Machine Head
16.55 – 17.40 Billy Talent
15.45 – 16.30 NoFX
14.40 – 15.20 Fear Factory
13.50 – 14.20 Cancer Bats
13.00 – 13.30 Rise To Remain

Second Stage:
21.30 – 22.45 Slash
20.00 – 21.00 Nightwish
18.30 – 19.30 Opeth
17.25 – 18.05 Little Angels
16.20 – 17.00 Terrorvision
15.30 – 15.55 The Quireboys
14.40 – 15.05 ?
13.50 – 14.15 ?
13.00 – 13.25 Red, White & Blues

Third Stage:
21.00 – 22.15 Devin Townsend Project


Main Stage:
21.00 – 23.00 Metallica
19.00 – 20.15 Biffy Clyro
17.30 – 18.30 Tenacious D
16.10 – 17.00 Steel Panther
15.00 – 15.40 Trivium
14.00 – 14.30 Black Veil Brides
13.00 – 13.30 Saxon
12.00 – 12.30 As I Lay Dying

Second Stage:
21.00 – 22.15 You Me At Six
19.30 – 20.30 Killswitch Engage
(Ginger, Fozzy et al unknown)

Main Stage:
21.00 – 22.30 Black Sabbath
19.00 – 20.15 Soundgarden
17.30 - 18.30 Megadeth
16.10 – 17.00 Lamb of God
14.55 – 15.40 Black Label Society
13.45 – 14.25 Kyuss Lives
12.45 – 13.15 Five Finger Death Punch
11.45 – 12.15 Devil Driver

Second Stage:
20.45 – 22.00 Rise Against
19.25 – 20.15 Dropkick Murphys
18.15 - 18.55 Shinedown
17.10 - 17.50 Anthrax
16.15 - 16.45 Ugly Kid Joe
15.20 - 15.50 Sebastian Bach
14.25 - 14.55 ?
13.35 – 14.00 We Are The Ocean
12.45 - 13.10 August Burns Red
11.55 - 12.20 ?
11.05 – 11.30 ?

Of course these are complete guesses but I think that’ll roughly be what’s going to happen. With my guesses in mind, my plan for the festival so far looks like this:

Friday – Rise To Remain, Cancer Bats, Fear Factory, NoFX, Billy Talent, Machine Head, Opeth (bit), Nightwish, The Prodigy/Slash (I still can’t decide)

Saturday – Main stage all day, but making room for Ginger, Fozzy and The Treatment if I can. Hopefully none of them clash with Tenacious D

Sunday – Devil Driver, FFDP, Kyuss, BLS, LoG, Anthrax, Shinedown, Dropkick Murphys, Black Sabbath

Amazing line up for me then. Something to keep me busy all day and the whole line up hasn’t been announced yet. Any further announcements really don’t need to contain anything I like and I will still be happy with the line up. In fact, anything more that I like and all of a sudden, I have a clash-tastic problem on my hands.

Excellent announcement Download. Sonisphere apparently have an announcement within the next week. Should be interesting.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Review: Rammstein @ O2 Arena, London

On Tuesday 21st February 2012, the O2 Arena played host to the Brit Awards, the UK award show honouring all things pop basically. Every now and then a surprise happens, like Iron Maiden winning Best Live Act in 2009 (although this was no shock to anyone who saw them on the Somewhere Back In Time tour) however this time around there were no real surprises. Apparently the biggest surprise was that One Direction won Best British Single. Now, this means nothing to me as I can't claim to have ever knowingly listened to one of their songs. News and chat shows were paralysed for the next day or two afterwards due to Adele's acceptance speech being cut off in order for ITV to broadcast Blur's set. Now, I am a fan of Blur but if this was the "highlight" of the biggest British celebration of music, then British (and indeed international) pop music is in danger. This happened on Tuesday. On Friday 24th February 2012, the O2 Arena played host to Rammstein, as the Made In Germany tour rolled into London.

As a fan, I am delighted to see Rammstein playing the O2 Arena as it is the biggest venue in London. Having seen them before, it is no surprise to me that they are not only playing this venue, but they have sold it out. As good as the music is though, it cannot be denied that part of the reason the O2 Arena is sold out is due to the world infamous show that comes along with a Rammstein gig. This tours show has received a lot of praise, including this from Ginger Wildheart: "Fucking Hell. Rammstein. There is no better live show on earth #insane" I will do my best to describe the show as it happened as I go on, along with the set list.

A quick word for the support band. For this tour, the support came from Deathstars and after a quick Google and Spotify, I came to the conclusion that I don't much like them, so I avoided them.

Upon entering the arena, I walked to about 2/3rds of the way to the front. This served me well at the M.E.N Arena when I first saw them as I got a great view of the entire stage. Looking above me, I can see a great metal walkway suspended above the crowd. I had heard rumours of this being part of the show so to see it in person made me somewhat more excited about what I was about to witness. At this stage, members of the arena staff started asking us to move as far forward as we could. We didn't get very far but they insisted it was important for us to keep going further forward, citing it was to get a bit of kit through and that "it is vital to the show!" Not long after we had moved, the lights went and the crowd roared. The walkway started to descend from above and suddenly, smoke bellowed from one of the entrances to the lower seating and the band walked out, lead by a flame carrying drummer. One member of the band was carrying a flag with the Rammstein logo on it and Flake was carrying a St George's Cross flag. They proceeded to walk slowly towards a small stage that was set up just in front of the sound/light desk. The stage rose to meet the stairs of the walkway and one by one, the band members walked across and took their place on stage. When everyone was in place, they kicked into the first song of the night, Sonne. With all this going on, you could be easily forgiven for forgetting you were here to see a metal gig.

With Sonne came the first of many uses of pyro. Following Sonne was Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen, Keine Lust and Sehnsucht. It was around this time that, along with more pyro and fireworks, the first backdrop change of the night happened. The band was now playing in front of what appeared to be a cell structure/beehive like backdrop. This being a best of tour, it shouldn't have been a surprise that one massive song from Rammstein's back catalogue would be followed by another, but the massive grin on mine and thousands of others were present throughout the entire gig, especially when hearing the opening bars of the next song.

Following Sehnsucht was Asche Zu Asche, Feuer Frei (which somewhat unsurprisingly came with a lot of pyro), Mutter and Mein Teil. An early part of this song was extended to increase crowd participation. After a short while the song kicked on as norm with Til Lindermann re-emerging on stage, wearing a bloodied chef's outfit and carrying a modified microphone which was also a butcher’s knife. There was now also a large pot on stage with Flake inside. Lindermann proceeded with the assistance of various flamethrowers to "cook" Flake until the pot exploded. Picking up yet another flame flower-looking device, Lindermann then fired fireworks into the crowd when from the crowd, more were launched at the stage. The show during Mein Teil alone justified the price of the ticket, it was outstanding. Following another backdrop change (a more factory looking backdrop was now there), the gig continued with Du Riechst So Gut, Links 2 3 4, Du Hast and Haifisch. During this song, Flake took to his famous dingy and sailed out into the crowd. When I previously saw Rammstein, Flake's turning circle was understandably quite short. However at this gig he sailed right to the back of the standing area before coming back to the stage. After Haifisch, the band disappeared aside from Richard who somehow got to the little stage (went to two shows on this tour and cannot work out how he got there!) who played a dance song on keyboard, mixing the words Buck Dich into the tune. It was fairly clear which song was coming next.

What was not expected was how the rest of the band would join him on the stage. The walkway descended again and attached to chains, 4 of the band members were being walked across the walkway (on all fours like dogs) by the drummer (now in drag) who whipped them as they crossed. About half way across the walkway, Lindermann appeared to mount Flake and was repeatedly whipped for this. When reaching the stage, the band members were unchained and pushed towards the little stage (other than Lindermann who was dragged). When the band was all set up, they launched into Buck Dich. It was a real treat seeing Rammstein perform on such a small stage as a part of this show. The size of this stage was no bigger than smaller club venues, so to witness Rammstein playing without many theatrics and letting the music do the talking was just immense. I say barely any theatrics as something occurred during Buck Dich. Flake at this stage had changed from his full body suit into leather pants with an arse flap. Lindermann bent him over in front of him and spanked him, and then took a fake penis out of his trousers and proceeded to fuck him with it. I think Rammstein are the only band where this can happen during the show and people generally think "sounds about right". I imagine the response would be quite different if such an act occurred during a One Direction gig. Anyway, Flake ran away from being fucked and Lindermann had a look on his face which said "but I was so close" and smacked the fake penis a few times. He then proceeded to reach orgasm, and spray the crowd in the liquid result of this throughout another rendition of the chorus. This is a review of the London gig, but for the record, I got caught by the water (or whatever it was spraying out the fake penis) at both London and Birmingham. After Buck Dich, they played Mann Gegen Mann and Ohne Dich on the little stage before the walkway came back down, and they thank everyone for coming. Had they actually ended the gig there, I would have got more than my monies worth, but there was an encore.

Back on the main stage now, a large fan which looked like a prop from a horror film started to lower from the ceiling (someone in Birmingham standing near me said "look, Rammstein's biggest fan!" and I laughed. So ashamed!) The band returned to the stage and Mein Herz Brennt kicked off the encore. After this it was Amerika which I was really happy to hear as it was one of the first Rammstein songs I heard when getting into them. During Amerika, tons of Red, White and Blue confetti was shot into the crowd. After Amerika, they played Ich Will which is always a crowd pleaser.

Following Ich Will, the stage was obscured by a bright light. Like if you are looking at a car that has its full beams on. Eventually the lights dimmed and the ever familiar whistling intro to Engel started. Much like the first time I saw Rammstein, Til Lindermann emerged wearing massive metal angel wings. About half way through the song the tips of the wings lit up and started shooting fire. It doesn't sound like much when reading that sentence back but it is truly an amazing sight. Following the song, the lights darkened as the drum beat for Pussy began. When the lights came back on, the band were there and the song started properly with Lindermann gesturing that the crowd sing the English lines in the song while he covered the German lines (nice of him I thought). With the lights dancing in the colours of the Germany flag, Lindermann made his way over to his penis cannon, and while singing the chorus, sprayed the crowd in foam. As the song ended, a tape of classical music played as the band thanked the crowd and left triumphantly.

This gig was nothing short of outstanding. From the opening entrance through the crowd to the very end it was stunning. The stage show I have done my best to describe (with certain pictures to give visuals) but my words alone cannot do it justice. Rammstein's show blows anything else on the live circuit out of the water. Performance wise they were tight as ever. Overall, tonight shows why Rammstein are selling out the O2 Arena. I am beyond happy to have seen this show and this setlist. I will close with some more pictures and the setlist, but first some well chosen words from The Quietus, who also discussed the week where the O2 hosted both The Brits and Rammstein (I hope their prediction is correct).

“Above all though, tonight - and indeed Rammstein’s very existence - proves ultimately that if you show people innovation, not contrived homogenised crap, if you show people dedication and talent, not auto-tuned flash-in-the-pans, you can make something of both commercial and artistic value. We won’t be staring at Ed Sheeran’s hair in 12 months time, but we’ll certainly be staring at Til Lindemann’s fake ejaculating penis for at least the next 10 to 15 years.”

Wollt Ihr Das Bett In Flammen
Keine Lust
Asche Zu Asche
Feuer Frei
Mein Teil
Du Riechst So Gut
Links 2 3 4
Du Hast
Buck Dich
Mann Gegen Mann
Ohne Dich
Mein Herz Brennt
Ich Will

For all of the photos I took at this gig and the birmingham gig, click this button HERE!