Turbonegro – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Turbonegro (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

[full set of images up on flickr]

I last saw Turbonegro at Download some years ago for the first and only time. I knew precisely one song (“All My Friends Are Dead”) and they impressed me. Good fun, simple songs – a nice way to kill 30 minutes or so.

When I saw they were playing Kint Tut’s, I thought “Why not?” and picked up a ticket. Glad I did as it sold out and I’ve seen people begging for tickets for all their UK gigs.

I seem to recall back in the day that punk bands regularly took to the stage to a chorus of “BOO”s and a torrent of bottles. Turbonegro like to call their brand of music “deathpunk” and attempted (very successfully) to maintain this old tradition by playing “Three Lions” before they came on stage. For those unfamiliar with this bouncy little number, it was the official song of the England football team during the 1996 European Cup.

Note: England football team. Note 2: this gig was in Glasgow. Scotland.

Needless to say, the natives were somewhat restless by the time the lads walked on stage to the biggest “BOO” I’ve ever heard since Daphne & Celeste bounced on in front of the crowd at Leeds Festival. Or perhaps when Bring Me The Horizon opened for Machine Head last year.

With a collection of songs which average around the three minute mark, their set list looks like a page from the small print edition of War & Peace so you get value for money out of them. At 1hr 40mins, they were on stage longer than the majority of acts I’ve seen in recent months and they pummelled out the songs (21 of them, in fact) with a small amount of very enjoyable audience interaction.

Turbonegro (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

I don’t know if they make the stuff up on the spot, or if they just have very weird script meetings, but the diatribe run off (mainly by Tom and Tony) is right out of Monty Python. It adds a nicely weird twist to a show featuring songs such as “Shake Yer **** Machine”, “I Got a Knife”, “Dude Without A Face” and the aforementioned “All My Friends Are Dead”.

The new album, Sexual Harassment, was dipped into a couple of times but they have quite the back-catalogue to play with and they used it well to fill their generous slot (oo-er, missus).

I can see why the tickets were in so much demand. They put on a great live show, really entertain the audience and give that little bit extra that so many acts are missing. Their wonderful attempt to get a Wall Of Death going in a venue the size of King Tut’s must be commended, as must their trampling all over the issue of sectarianism (damn right) by saying that all the Pope-chasers should be on one side and all the Proddies on the other.

Nice politically incorrect fun with good music to boot. And no stupid bloody curfew so the venue can let a bunch of drunk students in for their crappy party night.

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Sacred Reich – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Sacred Reich
Sacred Reich (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

[Full set of photos in this Flickr set]

Twenty five years since their first release and sixteen years since their last, Sacred Reich last played the UK when a good portion of this crowd were still half-collections of DNA in separate parents who quite possibly hadn’t even met. OK, maybe not quite that long but not far from it. The last time I saw them in the UK (and the last time I’m aware of them being in the UK) was in 1991, opening for Sepultura on the “Arise” tour.

Sacred Reich are one of those bands that “got away”. While the likes of Metallica and Megadeth were riding a huge thrashing wave, SR and many of their other peers didn’t quite shift the units required to take off on those big world tours. A shame, as Phil Rind and company produced some cracking songs a good selection of which battered the eardrums of the congregated this evening.

Their music is quite politically motivated, covering topics such as commercialism, suicide, warmongering, environmental policy and so forth. Oh, and vampires. They also manage to blend some huge, fast riffs and belting choruses with slow, crushing rhythms and opening chords you can bounce and chant “OI!” to.

Sacred Reich
Sacred Reich (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

I don’t think the band skipped a good song from their (small) catalogue during their 75-minute set.  Opening with “Independent” and moving swiftly on to “Love…Hate” before pausing to greet the crowd, Phil (or “Phul” as he’s referred to in Glaswegian) struggled to be heard over the songs and chants. Even with a microphone and a stack of amps, the small venue gave the crowd almost as much volume as the band between songs.

There were no tracks from 1996’s Heal, and “Free” was the only other track from the next most recent (1993) album, Independent. The remainder of the set was from the band’s earliest – and best – two-and-a-half albums.

“I Don’t Know”, “Death Squad”, “Administrative Decision”, and “Crimes Against Humanity” provided some variety, whilst classic thrash/acoustic mash-up “Who’s To Blame” raised the roof as soon as the intro was played.

The only cover of the night, a great version of Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, came towards the end of the set which was rounded off by “American Way” and the superb “Surf Nicaragua” that had the pit thrashing like a rather pissed-off tiger shark.

It’s great still being able to see bands I rocked to back in the 1990’s coming back, still playing the old favourites. Sacred Reich are fairly unusual in that they’re not supporting a new release. Exodus, Testament, Annihilator…  are managing to find a tour with a new release here or there. Sacred Reich aren’t. I have no idea how they’re funding this excursion but even if it barely leaves them beer money I’m incredibly grateful they had Glasgow on their itinerary.

A classic set from a classic band. Long may they rock!

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Paradise Lost / Insomnium – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow


[For more pics of both bands, check out the Flickr sets: Insomnium / Paradise Lost]

You know sometimes you get to a gig, hear the support and think “I should have got here a little earlier”? Well, that happened tonight.

King Tut’s always have a late doors-opening time, around 8:30 when most venues are nearer 7:00. As such, I never know when to get there and by the time I should be leaving the house I’m actually starting to wind down for the night and thinking about getting a cuppa. Yes, I’m getting old. I’m dealing with it, so you have to as well.

I got to the venue around 10:00, picked up my Sacred Reich ticket from the bar (No booking fee! **** you, TicketMaster!) and walked upstairs with a pint of the eponymous lager. The place was packed as Finnish deathers Insomnium played melodically towards the end of their set. There were plenty of appreciative cheers from the crowd for the two songs I heard and rightly so. Definitely a band I’ll be checking out soon.

I’ve been following Paradise Lost for some time now – since my uni days in Bradford, in fact, around the time that Shades of God and Icon came out. The first time I saw them was at the Queen’s Hall, if I remember correctly, where I got in free as I was with the university radio station. The next time I saw them, or at least Aaron Aedy, was when I was glass-collecting at Rios and he wished me happy new year.

Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

That, for me, sums the guys up. You meet them once as a studenty fanboy, and they remember you enough to say “hello” several months later when they’re shitfaced at a new year party. Hell, I saw him a year later when I was working in PC World (dark days indeed) and I think I sold him a computer. The next time they played Bradford I was sat next to Aaron’s mum up in the gods at the St George’s Hall. The downside of guest lists is you often don’t know where they’ll put you!

Anyway, as the years went on (pretty much post-Draconian Times), I kind of lost track of Paradise Lost. I rediscovered them a few months ago and was pleased to see they were still doing well though mainly abroad. This was emphasised by the fact that they were playing a venue as small as King Tut’s on their tour. Great place, but it is tiny.

So on to the gig. With a little over an hour to fill, they managed quite a variety. Of course, I know the old stuff best but there’s nothing wrong with the newer material as I discovered. I think there were only two tracks off the newest release, Tragic Idol, which came out… erm… today! Along with those were a handful of others I didn’t really recognise, but quite a few I did.

“Widow”, “One Second”, “As I Die”… all great songs and as with many artists, these older numbers were the ones the fans cheered the loudest for. Nick introduced each track with his typical style of humour mixed with a dash of “miserable bastard”. Let’s just say that Jack Dee has some competition.

It is great to see a band play when the core has been together for so long. The only member currently with them not to have been there since 1988 is drummer Adrian Erlandsson. The other four are founder members and have never left the band, even temporarily as far as I can tell. To work and tour for so long with the same guys says a lot about them, and they’re very good live as a result.

Aaron is constantly banging his head a-la Scott Ian, Greg (still with long hair, the bastard) poses as he plays the high notes, Steve keeps the rhythm going on bass and Nick leads from the front. Having seen them at Download some years back, they’re as confident in front of a festival crowd as a couple of hundred drunk Glaswegians and it’s good to have had the chance to see them in front of such a small crowd.

Definitely worth taking my slippers off for, and I’ll be hunting for the new album in the morning.

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Bowling For Soup / People on Vacation – Glasgow Oran Mor

Bowling For Soup / People on Vacation
Bowling For Soup / People on Vacation (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

[Full set of pictures on Flickr]

Bowling For Soup are a great band in many ways, but one thing I really love is the way they tour twice a year. Once as a full band, and once as a two-piece acoustic pairing featuring Jaret Reddick and Erik Chandler. This is the third time I’ve seen any band at the Oran Mor and, perhaps as a coincidence, they’ve all been humorous acts. The others were Hayseed Dixie and Amateur Transplants.

Erik opened the night with a solo set featuring tracks from his EP “Writing The Wrongs”, which we bought from the merch stand. A good enough set, and he’s a great guy on stage. Funny, quick-witted and entertaining. There were only a few songs, and it was often hard to hear him over the buzz of conversation from those who weren’t bothered about his set.

The second act were People on Vacation, a side-project of Jaret and Ryan Hamilton of Smile Smile. Again, they’ve got a good line in banter and some decent songs to while away the time until the headliners (that’d be Jaret and Erik again) came on. Their style is a little different from BfS, and it’s nice to see someone stretching themselves a little wider musically. As luck would have it, they were bundling their EP in with Erik’s so we got both for a tenner.

Bowling For Soup / People on Vacation
Bowling For Soup / People on Vacation (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

The two Soup lads were on stage moderately early with a 10:30 curfew (which they ran over), and video cameras poised to record them for a DVD. Whether this was unique to Glasgow or not I don’t know, but the performance was a good one, so fingers crossed they make use of some of the footage at least.

As they stated on stage, Bowling For Soup have a hell of a catalogue of songs. As such, there’s no real set list when they do these acoustic gigs. Instead, the boys have a “cheat sheet” listing all their stuff and they do react to suggestions from the crowd (or at least appear to!). Tracks played went as far back as “Running From Your Dad” and “Emily” and as recent as “Turbulence” which really suits the acoustic sound.

Of course, there were favourites  such as “Girl All The Bad Boys Want”, “Punk Rock 101” and set-ender “1985”. As ever, there are always more songs that it would have been great to hear but with under ninety minutes and some great between-songs banter (including discussion of their discovery of the Scots words “honking” and “pish”), there was no way they’d play every single one.

They were, though, superb. As ever, it seems there will be a full band tour in October to look forward to and if they continue to sell out these acoustic tours then I guess we can look forward to another in a year or so’s time.

Great guys, great music and a great value gig. If you’re not into loud rock music, but like good entertainment from some people who don’t take themselves too seriously, it’s a great tour to catch.

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Biohazard – King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow

Lionheart (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

[All pictures available from these Flickr sets for Lionheart, Heights and Biohazard]

Time for a comeback with the eloquently-named “In Your ******* Face” tour, Biohazard once again returned to these shores with no fewer than three bands in tow. Due to being buried in work and just being tired, I missed openers Dripback (who I gather feature a member of Sonishphere’s publicity team on bass).

I got to King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (best venue name ever) in time to sup a pint of their name-brand beer while catching the tail end of Lionheart’s set. Typical hardcore – bouncy, rhythmic, angry and fronted by a scary guy wearing tattoos and a bandana. A decent reception from the crowd, too. The venue is the kind where the band walk of stage via the crowd so they’re buggered if nobody likes them.

As I waited for the next act to some on, a couple of guys with fairly posh English accents excused themselves to get past and started sorting kit out on stage. It turns out that these very young men with their posh accents were the next support act, Heights. As they themselves admitted whilst on stage, they were somewhat out of place on the bill but they made the most of it.

Heights (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

Playing a more heavy, thrashy, deathy kind of set they were definitely not playing to a crowd which would automatically accept them. However, they showed no nerves, took no bullshit and played a blinder. Frankly, for a bunch of guys that young it was a hell of an energetic and charismatic set. The moment the first chord was struck they changed from a bunch of university muppets into five rather insane and scary beanpoles.

Hanging from the ceiling, climbing the barrier and posing on the monitors they looked like they owned the damn place.

Helped by a small bunch of their local fans, I genuinely think they went down surprisingly well. Certainly, there was none of the jeering that Orange got before Reel Big Fish the previous night. Or the shouts of “****!” and glasses of water (probably) thrown at Bring Me The Horizon prior to Machine Head coming on stage (mind you, that was justified – they were bloody awful).

As I mentioned before, the venue is pretty small. As such, it was possible to talk to most of Biohazard as they warmed up and set up their kit for the set. Several of the audience took the opportunity to do so, grabbing some photos and a handshake. It was very much like being at a small gig where your friends were playing on stage. No pretence, no “we’re better than you” bullshit. Just some guys hanging with their mates before jumping on stage and rocking the living **** out of them.

And such they did.

As with RBF the night before, I’m not a huge fan of Biohazard in as much as I don’t really know much of their stuff. The last time I saw them was maybe 1994 or something, back at Bradford Rios when it was still good an attracted a lot of big names. One thing I do know is that they have a reputation. They certainly lived up to it.

Current frontman/guitarist Billy Graziadei was as pumped up and angry as any hardcore lead should be. No messing about, by the first chorus he was in the crowd, standing on their shoulders and being carried around. This was repeated towards the end of the set.

The barrier was chastised and (with the blessing of the two security staff), fans were invited to get on the stage and hurl themselves back off. A handful rose to it, but the barrier did make a difference to how easy this would be.

With a set running to just under ninety minutes, they played a good variety of songs including the one I really do know (from my Radio RamAir days), “Shades of Grey”. Other than a break in the proceedings to raise a glass to a drummer Danny Schuler’s fifth stint at fatherhood (with free beer – thank you!), the show was pretty relentless and hugely enjoyable.

I had to admit that I was surprised that they had chosen such a small venue for this tour, good though its reputation may be. It surprised me more not to see it completely jammed, though I don’t know if this is normal and they just keep numbers low for licensing/security. Whatever, it was a perfect atmosphere with great sound for a band with their stature to play an nice, intimate gig.

Definitely a band I’ll be looking forward to seeing again.

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