Tool: Fear Inoculum.

Small tales...

It’s Saturday night when I can finally sit down and listen to the new Tool album. I’ve not been listening to the band for that long. It’s not like I’ve been avoiding them, there’s just a lot of music out there, and I listen to a lot of it and Tool have just never crossed my path. But after they were announced for Download this year I thought it was time to give them a chance. Since then, I’ve listened to and purchased all four of their albums, and I’ve slowly started to become a fan.
When Maynard announced that everything they’ve ever recorded will be available to stream online, and that includes the new album, I was a little disappointed. I was hoping I could get it on CD, but looking at the price of it, £79.99, I thought streaming would be the better option. I don’t know what the deal is with the high price. Maybe they want to discourage people from buying the CD/Vinyl and just stream it instead. But at £79.99, for an album? That’s a gig ticket for a lot of people.
But I’ve got snacks, and I’ve got beer, and I’m ready for nearly 90 minutes of music, covered over ten songs. I give the opener a miss considering I’ve already listened to it earlier in the week. I open my first beer, click on track two and get stuck into my crisps. I’ve not had Disco salt and vinegar crisps since I was a child, and I highly recommend them as a perfect snack when listening to a long album like this.
Coming near to the end of the track Invincible that’s when I become distracted. I’ve forgotten about Pneuma, and I’m two beers in, one packet down and I’ve still got nearly an hour left on the album to go.
I look around the room for things to do as Descending reaches the six minute mark. I don’t have anything to read, so I get up and look out the window, but there’s nothing outside to look at, just people walking their dogs, kids kicking a football down the street and a police helicopter hovering over the park.

I open up my fourth beer during Culling Voices, and it feels like we’ve still got a long way to go.
I don’t know what to think of these long albums and long songs. I’m not so sure whether it can come across as pretentious at times or whether it’s just to fill space. I always thought the perfect album length would be around the 40 minute mark with ten songs. Maybe even a hidden track. I’ve still got three songs to go and my beers already going flat. But one thing I am sure about, the long instrumentals do showcase their talent as musicians.
During the middle of Culling Voices, I think about how important an album cover would be right now. I would love to be sitting here looking through pages of an album sleeve. I like streaming albums, but being a music fan and a fan of albums, it’s always nice to have a physical copy of the sleeve in your hands. Something to look at, read the lyrics and admire the artwork. It’s hard to get that when you’re streaming an album. Owning the last four albums Tool have done, I know they can do a good album sleeve. And I’m missing that, but right now I don’t think this album is really worth nearly £80. I’d rather spend that on a gig.

7empest, the second to last song on the album. A fifteen minute long track. And as I pointed out, a booklet with lyrics would go down well with this song. I understand I could just search online, but I’m too lazy to do that, and I’ve got one more beer to get through. I hope I can make it last the whole 15 minutes.
Two minutes in, I forget about my beer, and I don’t bother opening the next bag of disco crisps. Cheese and onion have never been my favourite anyway. They remind me of horrible school pack lunches and pub snacks to keep the kids quiet.
8 minutes in, beer is going flat and I realise this is the best track on the album, at least in my opinion anyway. It’s the only track to really hold my attention.
15 minutes on, easily the best on the album. I look at my beer and wonder whether I should drink it or not. Flat beer never works, but I drink it anyway. Can’t waste good drink, even if it has died.
The closer Mockingbeat, seems like a typical Tool way to close the album. I have no opinion on it, I’m looking around for another drink and wondering if I should just risk the cheese and onion crisps. But I don’t. No matter what’s going on in your life, going on in the world or no matter what album you’re listening to or movie you’re watching, Cheese and Onion crisps aren’t worth it.

I know I’m not a die hard fan of Tool, I’m new to the game, so it’s hard to really get around an album this long. I found myself becoming more and more distracted with other things. They’re great musicians, but when snacks and drinks take your attention away, it’s hard to get completely behind an album this long. I would rather spend £80 to go see them live, rather than spending it on the album.
Maybe I’ll wait till I come staggering in at one in the morning after spending time in the pub before I give it another listen. Maybe even try a marathon Tool listen. Get up nice and early, get a good breakfast down and take it from the start.

Butlin’s 90’s Reloaded 2019

Small tales...

It’s half 10 in the morning when Shane arrives, Sam and Ricky are already in the car, and we load the wagon with all booze for the weekend. Two crates of Coors, one crate of Magner’s, a crate of Bud, 6 bottles of sours, two JD’s and a bottle of Bacardi, oh and my panda costume. This isn’t a diet I would recommend to anyone with a predisposition for throwing up on a cue.
I get in the back, I crack open a can of Bud and Sam lays his head to the side, hoping he can sleep through the journey, but I’m not going to allow that. I lean forward and tell Ricky to put on Lamb of God when we get moving.
When the car gets moving, Ricky turns the volume up high, and Sam opens his eyes, looks at me and shakes his head with shame, and I just look over and smile while I take a sip of my beer. Shane looks around at us all wondering what’s going on, he turns the music down and puts Prodigy on, and Sam just shuts his eyes and lays his head back down.
I think we are all ready for the weekend now, just a stop off at Maccies to meet Daz and Ant and it’s 90’s reloaded for the 6th time in a row.
This weekend has become a bit of a tradition every year now, I don’t know how long any of us can do it for, but while we still can I think we will all make the most of it before we can’t do it anymore.

After what seemed like a long journey, we finally arrive. Popping in Morrison’s to load up with snacks and Jager, we get to the gate with Daz and Ant following behind, and we realise we’ve arrived a lot earlier than what we intended, two hours to early. Hoping the Maccies stop would have killed some time, but it didn’t.
We park up and decide to open up a drink and have a kick about for two hours. This almost destroys me. Kicking the ball back and forth to each other, no rules, just passing it from one end to the other, seeing who can get it into the net while holding a beer in hand. I’m sweating my bollocks off, my legs hurt, all I want to do is get to the drinking side of the weekend. It’s also sunny, hot and I’m wearing black clothes. I’ve already experienced enough of the sun this year.
Ant checks the time, and we finally can get our keys for the caravan. I drag my self to the reception and join the line. Then I start to get worried. I look over at Sam, and he’s sweating and breathing heavy, the kick about has ended him. We’ve got nothing to drink, and the line is taking longer than usual. Soon, Sam’s going to pass out if it doesn’t start moving.
After 40 minute wait, we finally get our keys and wristbands and make our way to our caravan. We unload the cars, open up a drink and let the weekend take its course. That’s when things take a turn, and everything gets a little foggy. The only thing I can piece together from the first night is me sitting round the table playing drinkopoly in my boxer shorts trying to get everyone to get down to theirs.

In the morning, I wake up still in my clothes with half a can of bud next to me. Sam wakes up at the same time and gives me a look of disgust.
I get up and go into the living room and see Ant standing outside having his morning herbal medicine and gives me a look and a shake of the head. “Do you remember what you did last night?” he says, and I just look at him and grunt.
Looking outside at the disaster area that it is. A half of crate of empty bottles of Coor’s light have been pushed onto the floor and have broken into hundreds, if not thousands of pieces. Ricky tells me I tried to throw the empty bottles over the fence next to the caravan, but I got bored and decided the best thing to do was just to push them off the table. That’s when both he and Ant thought the best idea was to get me to bed, so they had to carry me into the bedroom where Sam had to take my shoes off. Daz comes outside and doesn’t say a word. I know he’s a bit pissed off. He wanted to keep putting the empties on the table, so at the end of the weekend, we can see how many we got through. But that won’t be happening now.

It’s now 8:00pm, everyone’s showered and ready to go. The tipsy tower game comes out, something that’s become a tradition during the Butlin’s weekend. It’s a simple game, Jenga rules but on each block, there’s a rule to go along with it, shots and some new rules that Shane decided to make. The game was a quick one. Shane went first, take one shot. I go second, take one shot. While I’m taking the shot, the tower falls down. No one was willing to own up to knocking the thing over, so the only way to settle the argument is to do a Jager Bomb. Sometimes, I find that a Jager Bomb is a great way to settle any problem that anyone has with each other. You’re either going to get one of two reactions, one will either like it and want another or, they will be running to the toilet to bring the whole thing back up. In the end, you shake hands, walk away, and carry on.
Trying to get into Jakks, the small bar on-site, but it’s closed. According to reports the roof fell down. Maybe a bunch of drunken loons climbed on top and started to the conga, and it fell through.
We make our way to Reds. I find a multi-coloured wig in a bush, I put it on, but Daz takes it away, and it gets passed around the group.
Daz buys a round of shots and Shane buys a random round of Hooches. 911, or is it FIVE? Take to the stage, none of us really know which group it is, or really care to find out, and that’s when we decide to leave. Pushing our way through a bunch of screaming fans, while we give them a chorus line of boos. Vengaboys are on tomorrow night, and I think that’s really the only group we are really here to see.

Sunday, today’s the day that we take our hungover selves to go play crazy golf. It must be the only time of year that the course gets a bunch of drunken and hungover idiots playing a game of crazy golf. It’s only 10 holes, and I can barely see where the hole is. Towards the end of the game, I finally manage to get a hole in one, forgetting that Ant and Ricky already have achieved that earlier on the game. Ant picks up the victory, and I have no idea or remember where the rest of us came.
Now it’s time for the boats, the peddle boats. This also has become an annual thing, and something I get extremely excited for, why? I don’t know why. Me, Shane, and Daz get ourselves a big red boat while the others take a break and sit at the side of the lake. Like normal, we struggle to get into the thing, fearing that one of us will tip it to the side and all of us falling into the drink. It works out fine, and I sit back and relax, and let Daz and Shane take the peddles. I highly recommend this to everyone who’s been up all night. Find a local lake with peddle boats, get one and take a slow relaxing ride upstream. Maybe find someone stupid enough to peddle for you, I’m sure everyone can find someone.
Later on, it’s time for Vengaboys. We give shot roulette a miss, put our costumes on, I’ve got a panda mask, and head for the club.
I’ve never witnessed a bigger disappointment since coming to these weekends. I was hoping for another Rednex moment, I was hoping we can raid the stage again like last year, but no. Vengaboys, I might look like an idiot, but I have no idea what these guys are doing. I sing along to one of the songs, but I don’t care about the rest of it. People around me seem to enjoy, but I just want to boo them off the stage and take over my self. I’m sure I can pull out some old tricks on the drums if anyone around here has a kit going spare.
Shane and Sam call it a night while the rest of us stay out and we walk around to other clubs, and it’s empty everywhere, everyone has gone and called it a weekend. We stay out till the lights come on and then head back to the caravan and get straight to bed.

The next morning, barely able to keep our heads up and our eyes open, we pack up everything up into the cars and leave. Daz and Ant stay behind to sober up while the rest of us leave.
It’s been a great weekend. The acts were awful, one of the worst lineups this year. DJ Jazzy Jeff pulled out and replaced with the Vengaboys, what a tragedy. But all in all, it was a great weekend away, good costumes, boat ride and a panda mask.

Biffy Clyro: Balance, not symmetry

Small tales...

Its 2 in the morning, and I’m drunk and I need to listen to some music. I’ve made it through nearly 90 minutes of Tool’s new album, Fear Inoculum, which I’ll get to at some point in a later write. But right now, and considering the drunken mess I’m currently in, I think Biffs new album is the only thing worth listening to during the early hours of the morning. A Beatles album right now just isn’t the right time, and things could take a turn for the worst. Theres people in the house sleeping and they don’t want to be woken with the sounds of my drunken voice screaming out “I am the walrus”.
I’ve already listened the album, about 3 or 4 times now, and I’m not bored of it. I’m not normally a soundtrack album fan, especially before I’ve seen the film, but considering it’s the Biffy, and if I’ve not already mentioned, I’m drunk, it’s a good one.
I remember getting all excited when they announced the release date for the album the night before it was supposed to come out, or was it the single that they announced first? At this point I really cant remember. All I remember is being at work looking at the clock, waiting for it to hit 6 so I can get the fuck out of there and listen to the album. When I got home, I put prime music on and cranked it out. I blocked out everyone who tried to talk to me, my focus was on the album alone. I can’t remember if I listened to the single, Balance, not symmetry before I listened to the album, but it doesn’t matter.
It’s the first time I’m going to listen to the album drunk. Sometimes listening to music drunk helps, sometimes it opens up something you would never experience sober, and if you’ve listened to the album before it can open up new horizons for you. Dexys Midnight Runners comes to mind as a perfect band to listen to when on the booze.

We open with the first track, the title track, and I’m already banging my head, already singing the words. And I take another sip of my beer and I’ve already decided I’m going to replay it before hitting the rest of the album. I’ve never done that before I don’t think, maybe on a Beatles or another Biff album, but I’m doing it now. I would do it a third time but I’ve got a whole album to get through, and my beer is starting to go flat.
Things have started to become blurry. I remember the second song kicking in, which is a great song and it’s a great sing-a-long if you know the words, and I don’t know if I do at this point I’ve had too much.
Gates of heaven is my least favorite song so far, and it’s still a pretty decent song. I get the feeling I’ve heard it somewhere before, maybe Enya. Or maybe it’s the fact that my stomach has started to develop a funny feeling, and I might need to take myself to the toilet before the albums over.

As my beer starts to taste like battery acid, and my stomach feeling like it wants to make an appearance at any point, the album has flew by. Tunnels and Trees has become something I want to sing while going through a tunnel and the closing song, I think you’ll not which bit of the song I mean, and Adored, could make you cry if you’ve been on the whiskey. Thank god I haven’t.
Listening to the album drunk makes me think what listening to music is like when you’ve had too much to drink. It can bring out emotions that aren’t there when you’re sober. It’s not worth getting to a point when you’re on the floor covered in your own bile, but a drink, and a song can really bring something out.
I don’t know what to think about the idea of seeing the film, or if I can be arsed, but I know the album is a great album and is worth every listen.
It’s 10 past 3 in the morning, and I think the kebab place is closed now.

Reading Festival 2019.

Small tales...

Being a Downloader for so long I thought I’d give Reading a try this year, but my first experience of the festival didn’t exactly go according to plan, which will be explained later on in the blog.

Waiting for Shane to arrive on a hot Friday morning, and checking the weather it’s going to be a very hot weekend, and I’m no good in the sun, so I better not forget the sunscreen. I’ve had too many bad experiences in the sun, and I don’t want another one. Download 2018 comes to mind.
Shane arrives, late, in the festival wagon. The past couple of months he’s had problems with his car, so I’m worried that it might explode on the way there.
I load the car with the booze while he sets the sat nav and I hear a high pitch scream coming for the driver’s seat “105 fucking miles, ah!”.  Shane didn’t think it was going to be that far, and neither did I. If it’s going to be this hot all the way there his car might actually explode.
But, we hit the road anyway, and when we get onto the M1, the sat nav tells us it’s 60-miles long, so this is going to be one boring journey, and I’m already sweating buckets.
Luckily we see some interesting things while on the road, a man in an old pick up truck holding a shotgun, a lorry pulling a tank, and a helicopter randomly landing in someone’s field. To me, it looks like a war is going to break out on the road at some point, so I’m hoping Shane will put his foot down, so we don’t get caught in the middle of it.

Image result for reading festival boat

After a long journey and Shane taking a wrong turn because of a shitty sat nav, we finally make it to the festival. We unload the car, grab the booze, and just look around. We have no idea where we have to go, so we ask the steward and tells us to walk by the river, and you catch the boat. And what is about to happen is the longest walk I’ve ever had at a festival, and considering the heat, it’s the worse walk I’ve ever had to go through at an event like this, so far at least.
We walk along the canal and get in line, Interesting experience getting a boat to the entrance of a festival, but I’m going to make the most of it. Maybe I’ll skydive into Download next year.
While in line, Shane tells me he has to look for something, and we need to wait a second. So we get out of line, he looks through his bags, he’s forgotten his ticket. Luckily it’s in the car, so we get out of line, and I stand at the side with all the bags while Shane makes a sprint to his car.
Standing back looking at the canal, watching all the boats going by, all the festival-goers going by, the only problem Is, the weather, it’s getting hotter and hotter by the hour, and at some point, I’ll need to get the sunscreen out.
After 10 minutes of waiting Shane finally appears, pushing his way through. He’s covered in sweat, he’s out of breath, and looking like he’s going to faint at any moment, but he’s got his ticket, and finally, we can stand in line and get on the boat.

Image result for reading festival entrance

Arriving at the entrance, the fun’s not ended. Our tickets get scanned, and we don’t get searched, we just get asked if we have any glass bottles, which we don’t, and we get let through, and we start our long trek to find a spot.
The heat is starting to become unbearable. We don’t have idea water, just beer, which is getting heavier and heavier by the step.
There’s nowhere to put the tent up, everywhere is full, and everyone’s shit faced. We ask a steward to help, who tells us to go straight ahead, go over the bridge and into white camp, that’s the only one which will have any space left over.
I’m changing the bag into different hands every second and stopping to rest every ten or so steps. Sweat is dripping down my face and into my eyes, and we haven’t even reached the bridge. It looks like I’m the only one here wearing jeans and a black Metallica t-shirt. We make it over the bridge, which looked a lot smaller from a distance. It’s at this point we take another break and open up the crates, the heat has become too much.
I look through my bags for the sunscreen, and I can’t find it, I’ve forgotten it. Luckily the Co-Op on site will have some, but that will have to wait till later.
Noticing a steward pointing a group of teenagers to carry on going straight, we decide to follow along.
After, what feels like hours, we finally find somewhere, right on the edge of the path. At this point I don’t care where it is, I’ve had enough of walking, and the heat is killing me, and my fingers are starting to blister.
We get the tent set up, grab another drink, and decide to head to the arena. It’s a long walk between here and main stage, but we don’t have any heavy bags to carry.
Walking over the bridge, I look out over the ocean of tents. It’s one of those great sites to see at any festival, all colours and sizes, scattered about in no particular order, and all spaces covered with drunken and drugged up lunatics in full swing.

Image result for reading festival main stage

Finally, we make it to the arena, and we grab a burger and a beer and head towards the main stage. You Me At Six are on, I’ve not had the chance to see these before, but they put on a great show.
Spending the rest of the day walking around the arena, checking out the other tents, the toilets, and getting more beer and food we know it’s time to make our way to the front of the stage.
The sun is starting to go down, the heat is wearing off; I’m starting to get a headache as well. I don’t know whether that’s due to the heat or the booze and I’m dehydrated, or it’s something else.
At the front we stand in line and wait for the gates to open, it’s a strange and challenging experience, it’s like we are waiting to enter a holding pen for livestock.
They open and we charge for the middle of it and get ready for Royal Blood, a band I’ve wanted to see for a while. And when they come on, the smash it, they did everything I expected them to do, put on a show. I’m sweaty, still, and now I’m bruised from a mosh pit, I never intended to get in in the first place.
Shane suggests we stay here for the 1975 because we won’t get down this close again if we leave.
I’ve been interested in seeing the band for a while, and I want to see what all the fuss is about. The come and put on an interesting gig. I’m not into all the political stuff, at some points I got a little bored of it, but it was a good show that was worth the effort to stand and see.
After what seems like a long day, and settling down at the tent, headache getting more difficult by the minute and too exhausted to carry on the party, I fall asleep. The noise and commotion around the tent that you would expect from a festival doesn’t disturb me, and I just drift away to sleep like a baby.

Related image

In the morning, the tent has become an oven. The heat is so unbearable I just get up and evacuate. The headache is still there, and only it’s got worse, and for some reason, it feels like I’ve developt the flu overnight. I’m coughing and sneezing, my mouths dry, sore throat, and I’m developing cold chills.
I open a warm beer just so I can drink something, Shane suggests to get dressed and go to the Co-Op quick, so we get some water and me some sunscreen. We get up, and we leave, taking my beer with me.
For 15 minutes, we go on the search for the Co-Op, and we have no look in finding it, we ask a steward who points in the direction of the Orange Camp. Upon arriving, the line for the shop is huge, a good 20 minutes wait by the looks of it, but we wait anyway. It wouldn’t have been worth the risk to leave it and come back later, we need water now and lots of it.
We get in, and Shane decides to do a monthly shop, water, coke, toothpaste, toilet paper and crisps. I just get my water, and I’m done.
On the walk back, Shane tells me to use the sunscreen as soon as possible, and that’s when I realise, I’ve forgotten it. I’m not getting in the long line again, I just want to get back to the tent, down some water and change my shirt and then we can get to the arena.
And that’s what we do, I pour that water down my throat, change a wet t-shirt, grab another beer and start that long walk to the arena.

It’s Twenty One Pilots tonight, I’m not a massive fan, but I’ll give them a go, but I’m not interested in Malone. But first things first, it’s Billie Eilish,  and we decide it’s best to hang back because it’s not worth fighting through the huge crowd that’s formed.
It’s the best decision we made, halfway during a pretty good set, I look down and find £20 under my feet and the way I feel that’s pretty good luck.
With it, I buy us a round of cold beers in, who ever dropped it, thanks for the round.
And that’s when things take a nasty turn; I start to feel dizzy. Shane suggests we grab food and hang back before pilots go on, so we do, I get more water and sit down for an hour, but I still feel the same, and my throat is only getting worse.
That’s when I don’t remember anything until I’m being walked through the doors of the medical tents and throwing up over a girl sitting down with a bruised eye, her friend calls me a cunt, and I look around, and It looks like the end of the world. There are people with plasters, bloody noses, people throwing up all over the place, and teenagers crying the corner. This is what I imagine it to be like before the outbreak of a nuclear war.
A nurse pulls me into the back and lays me on a bed and goes through all the medical procedures. She asks me the typical questions; you took any drugs? Have you drunk too much? And every answer is no.
A Doctor comes up and takes my temperature and looks at my throat, in my eyes and ears and tells me it’s sunstroke. He tells me and Shane the only option right now is to go home, it’s not worth the risk staying, so we make our way back to the tent. We pack up and go.
On the way out, rushing through the crowd of oncoming Post Malone fans.

On the boat back to the car I understand it’s not the experience I wanted, and while the boatman plays S Club 7 at high volume to a silent crowd of bored people, I realise I would happily come here again, this time with sunscreen, buckets of water and a portable air conditioner.

Slipknot: We are not your kind.

Small tales...

After a long and exhausting week, I can finally sit down and listen to Slipknot’s new album. I’ve been waiting for five long years for the this to finally come out. I like how bands and singers do that now, they give themselves long breaks in between each album, giving themselves time to get their albums as good as they can get them. It’s all about quality and not quantity.
I was wondering at the start of the year if the album would be cancelled or pushed back due to all the drama that’s been going on between them. All the problems that have been going on could have really affected the bands future. But, luckily they kept going and announced a release date for the album, and a new member whos name has still yet to be announced to the world, all we know is he’s been given the name Tortilla man.

Image result for tortilla man

When All Out Life was released, it gave me some real hope that the new album will be a classic and heavy Slipknot, but when I look down at the track listings, I notice the track isn’t on there. I was hoping it was, but I remember a friend mentioning while I was in a drunken state that it wouldn’t be on the album.

I put the album in the player and relax. Other than the intro track, I’ve already heard the two opening songs. I was as a bit surprised they didn’t open Download with Unsainted, but never mind.
I look over the album cover while the third song starts and I notice it’s already cracked. Now, I know I haven’t done anything to damage it, but I did order it from Amazon. It’s not the first time I’ve ordered from the online store, and have it arrive damaged, or even opened. So, listen up guys who work at Amazon. I’m fully aware of how hard it is to work where you work, I work in a factory, it’s not good. But, please take care of my package when I order something from you. But, maybe it’s not you, perhaps it’s the delivery dude’s fault. I’ve seen when they just throw packages around without giving a shit about what happens to them. So, please, when handling parcels and items, just take some care with them. You wouldn’t like it if I was to bring your parcel to you half-open, and when you do open it, it’s not even in the condition you’d like it to be in. You’d send the fucker back and ask for a refund. So, please, just be careful.

Related image

I listen on while raging about Amazons poor care of packages, and I notice halfway through the album that it’s not as heavy I was expecting it to be. Corey did say in an interview, it was meant to be Iowa heavy, but even in a rage moment I’m in, it doesn’t seem that way. I thought The Grey Chapter was a lot heavier than the new album. But, it doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it, the first half has flown by, I’ve not noticed the time at all. And that’s always a good sign with an album, sometimes you can listen to a 40-minute album, and you can’t wait for the fucking thing to end. I’ve heard a lot of those type of albums recently.

Coming to the end of the album, the last track Solway Firth, to me is the weirdest on the album. When the song first came out, I watched the video, and I thought this has to be the most brutal video they have done. I recognise some of the people in it, so I do a little research and find out it’s for an Amazon prime show, the Boys. It made me feel sick, I can deal with blood and gore, but toe sucking I object too. Just like the damn Amazon delivery service not looking after my package better. But, I noticed the live performance of the band was filmed at Download, and I had one of those moments when I said to myself, I was there.
I love the song, Corey’s vocals are strange, and it really works. It’s not my favourite on the album, that goes to Unsainted. Still wished they opened with it at Download.

Image result for the boys

Thinking about the album, it really wasn’t as heavy as I’d had hoped, but I don’t care. It seems a lot darker than the other albums they’ve put out, and especially with everything that’s been going on the with the band recently, I think it shows with this album.
But, on an important note, who the fuck Is the new guy? I ain’t buying the conspiracy theories that it’s still Chris.

The Beatles.

Small tales...

Stopping off in Liverpool for a gig there was only one place I really wanted to go, and that was the Cavern Club. Walking down into the basement I realised I’d finally made it to a place where I’ve always wanted to go, and that’s when I started to think about the first time I got into The Beatles. It’s been so long since I started listening to them that I find it hard to remember when it actually was.
So I look round the club while an acoustic act gets through classic Beatles. I take notice of the Ringo Starr replica drum kit, and the replica first contract they signed all those years ago in an alleyway. I can’t understand why they are replicas. I know there’s a Beatles museum which I passed on the way into the city, maybe they have the real thing. I’m hoping something will spark my memory of the first time I listened to the band, it takes a while, but finally, I remember something.
I think I was 6 years old and I was walking around the living room when they appeared on the telle.

Image result for the beatles ed sullivan

That seems to be the way everyone is introduced to them, on the telle. I think they were on some American show, probably the Ed Sullivan Show, but I can’t really remember. It was obviously in black and white, and I had no idea what was going on or who they were. At this point, the only bands I’m into are Black Sabbath, Status Quo and Queen, and I was kind of aware of Oasis partly due to my Mums hatred towards them.
They finish playing and are introduced as The Beatles. That’s when my dad walks into the room “Everyone loves The Beatles” he says. He walks to the window picks up a cassette tape “this is the Beatles, listen to it”, and he hands me Let It Be. I don’t know where it came from, who bought it and how long it had been there for. I don’t understand how I never noticed it before, or did I notice it and I’ve just forgotten?
I put it on, and I’ve never heard anything like it before, and for the next couple of weeks, I would come home after school and put it on. I would play along to Ringo’s underrated drumming on the armchair, and my mum even let me grow my hair like McCartney’s. Looking back at old photos, I hate that hair cut now.

Related image

Over the next couple of years, I would slowly discover more Beatles music. I found their films, which I’m not massively into, but it’s The Beatles, so I watched them. But I did think Hard Days Night was the best out of the two. I’ve never seen Magical Mystery Tour or Yellow Submarine (based on my dislike for the album I don’t really want to). But I found more music as time went on, and I can’t decide whether Please Please Me, or Abbey Road are my favourite albums, I’ll just go with both. Sgt Pepper is a classic, and Magical Mystery Tour makes me laugh. But, as I’ve already said, I really didn’t like Yellow Submarine. Bad memories singing the song at school that I’d like to forget. You can’t like everything your favourite band has done. Any documentary about them I’ll watch, I even made it through 9 hours of the Beatles anthology on Youtube. I bought all their albums from the original catalogue, and I’m on the hunt for any bootleg album that might be floating around.
So walking around the club all these memories start coming back, and all I want to do is get home soon and put on an album on.
I see a picture of George on the wall, but I can’t really remember when I found out that he had passed away, I just remember seeing him on the news a lot and not really understanding what was going on. All I heard was George Harrison had died, but I didn’t really understand why, but I understood what happened to John. When I ever mentioned the Beatles people would always remind me that they remember where they were the night Lennon died.

Image result for the cavern club

On the way out of the club, I read some of the messages written by fans on the brick wall, it’s great to see how special the band is to people around the world. I also start thinking about what a great place the Cavern Club was back in the ’60s. Getting a chance to see them before they were big, and before they went to Germany for the first time, and before their first single came out. I wish I had a pen on me right now.
They’re an important band that I hope never get forgotten about, whether you like them or not.  Just go out your way to listen to an album, and you never know you might actually find something you like about them.
It’s just a shame that we don’t have a band like them now and if we ever will have a band as big as them.
Has there been a band that big and important since?

Rammstein untitled 2019

Small tales...

Image result for rammstein untitled

I walk through the door from work, and I find a package on the floor. It’s Rammstein’s new album. 10 years in the making and it’s finally here, and I don’t waste time. I turn on the CD player, I put the album in, and I grab myself a beer. I already know the opening track, Deutschland. The video debuted online not long before the album, and it got me excited. The video was typical Rammstein, strange and causing controversy, and the song was every bit of the rock and roll song I hope it to be. So I have high hopes for the rest of the album.
Then the second track comes on, Radio, and I’m not really that impressed with it as I was with the opener. I watched the video for it when it was released, and I wasn’t that impressed with it then. I thought the second time around it would change my mind, but it didn’t.
Waiting for track 3 to start, I become distracted by noises coming from outside. Shouting, screaming, swearing and It’s only in the middle of the afternoon, and it already sounds like something is kicking off.
“Get, your son out of my house,” A woman’s voice screams, “He’s not welcome here anymore.” It takes me away from the song, which at this point I’m not really enjoying it very much.
“I’m not going back to jail for this shit anymore.” This time it’s a man’s voice that pipes up.
I get up, pick up my beer and run to the window for a better look at what’s going on. Usually, this sort of stuff happens at 12 o’clock on a Friday night, but not right now.

A man is standing on the corner, with what looks like a machete, and it’s only half 2 in the afternoon. I try to take notice of the album that’s playing, but the machete man is distracting me.
“Don’t you wave that fooker at me” the woman’s voice screams out, “I’ll kill ya, ya bastard.” That’s when the machete man runs to where the voice is coming from. I look at the cd player, and it’s now on track 4, Auslander. I didn’t hear anything from track 3, and I couldn’t even tell you what it was called. Then more screams from where the man ran to and then he appears back at the corner “come on then cunts” he shouts waving the machete around.
The neighbours start making an appearance, walking to their gates, looking down the street and wondering what the fuck is going on at this time of the day.  A fascinating day for them, waiting for the kids to walk home from school, and utter chaos breaks out during Countdown.
I hear the sound of a window-smashing, and then this new voice appears out of nowhere, a mans voice “Fucking cunt, get out of here”, and the man with the machete says “I ain’t going nowhere mate, you make me fucking get out of here”. So he just stands on the corner, walking from time to time over the road and back again, and every now and then checking his phone.
I keep thinking to myself, nobody has called the police. Nobody knows what could happen next and how long all the drama could last for. For all we know a gang of machete-wielding nut jobs could appear on the street, and it could turn into full-blown gang warfare right before the CBBC channel is put on.

I stand at the window looking to see if anything else kicks off, but after about ten minutes the man finally walks away, putting the machete into his jeans. All the neighbours walk away from their gates and go back inside, the excitement is over. At this point, I’ve completely lost track of the album. All this chaos outside has taken me away from it. I couldn’t tell you what songs playing, and how many are left to go. Even my beer went flat.
Then there’s silence, the album’s finished. Everything that was happening outside lasted longer than I thought, that long the album ended. I top the beer up and sit on the bed, and that’s when I hear police sirens coming down the street, but I don’t bother going to the window this time. I just know that the horror show has finally come to an end, and all is quiet on a sunny afternoon. I lay back, and I think about the album.
I don’t know what to think about it, I don’t really have much to say. But if something like street crime can take me away from it, then it can’t be good.
I loved the opener, it’s a great rock and roll song and a great Rammstein song, but I’m lost with the rest of it. Maybe I’ll give it another chance some other time, but I think I’ll wait for a little while before I do. And I’ll make sure that a maniac with a machete isn’t going around the streets while I’m listening to it.

The Prodigy: Birmingham 2018.

Small tales...

I’ve been to many gigs, but when I saw Guns N’ Roses at Download in 2018, I never thought anything would top them. Due to their reputation, they had a lot to prove to a lot of people in attendance and themselves. And they did, they pulled out something mesmerising. I walked away, thinking nothing will come close. It was the best live music experience I’d ever been a part of, at least in my eyes anyway. It was going to take something incredibly special to beat what I saw that day.  And it only took a couple of months for a band to take their place. And I never would have expected it to be The Prodigy that would claim the top spot. And it all went down in Birmingham on a cold Saturday night in the middle of November.

We arrive in Birmingham early and start looking for the Premier Inn. Driving around in circles, it’s becoming evident that we’re lost. Coming here twice before you would think I would have some idea of where things are, but I don’t. Shane pulls up to a corner and out come the phones. Sam, sitting next to me, says, “turn left,” and Daz says, “turn right.” Shane decides to give the right turn ago and again we go around in a circle and end up where we left off. So we take the left, and the same thing happens again. We give the right another go, and it’s at this point one of us noticed that we’ve been driving by the hotel this whole time. It was tucked away down a one-way street, and we were at the wrong end of it. So after all the trouble finding the place we manage to get there, we park up at the nearest car park and check in.
Putting on Prodigy t-shirts bought specifically for the gig, we sink several beers and start the walk for the arena, where even more fun begins.

Leaving the navigation to the experts, me and Shane follow along. They both pull out their phones, and it only seems to be a 10-minute walk to the arena.
Sam turns to us all “It should be at the end of this long street” before Daz shouts out “let’s take this right”.
Taking a right, we end up down an alleyway with posh shops and weird restaurants where you have to wear a tie and dark trousers to get in.
Sam now has decided that if we take the left past a cash point, we should be on the right path. So we do, and we end up on the street that we initially left.
Following the street to the end, their phones say it’s to the right.
And now we come to the end of another street where we have to follow it round to the left. At this point, Shane and me both are in agreement that their phones don’t know where the arena is, and it’s sending us all over the place.
Shane asks a group of strangers where the arena is, and they tell him to just follow it straight up and so we do. And finally, we see a big building in front of us saying Arena and we both point at it, but the fun doesn’t stop there.
Sam says we’ve gotta turn left which leads us to a pub which is sitting by a canal. I turn to him in confusion, “It’s right in front of us, it says arena, why would we go to the left when it’s straight ahead”. Sam refuses to accept this, so we make the left and go straight towards the pub which is full of drunks, most of them probably going to the gig tonight. Daz shouts out “I don’t think this is where we are meant to be going”, So we go back from where we came from and walk towards the building that says arena. And it turns out that its the arena we are looking for. Me and Shane stop at the entrance where the line has formed to get in, but Sam and Daz continue to walk forward. So me and Shane follow them and wonder where they are going. Sam turns to Shane “wheres the entrance?”
“Where we just walked past, we stood there, but you carried on”
“Well lets just asked someone”, and Sam asks a man in a yellow jacket who points us to where me and Shane stood in the first place. Finally, after a long walk, we make it inside the building.
Tempted on getting a beer but considering the prices and the possibility of needing a piss, it’s probably best not to.

We try to get as close to the front as we can, and the place is filling up nicely. One thing I’ve noticed since getting in is the different music genres on people t-shirts. I’ve seen Korn, Slipknot, Oasis, Chemical Brothers and even a Lady Gaga t-shirt. You rarely see that at gig these days.
A large man comes up to us in a denim jacket and with Keith Flint hair, and he’s holding a two pinter. He turns to Sam and says “take a sip of this lad.”
“What’s in it?”
“Abit of everything, Jager, Dissarano, Dark fruit, lager, Strongbow and probably some Voddie to finish it off.”
Sam looks at him and looks at the pint and takes a swig. “Not bad actually” Sam mumbles while a pulling a face. He hands the pint back to the man, and he stumbles away.
Five minutes later, we hear screams of disgust coming from in front of us. A big pool of sick is on the floor, exactly where the large man walked to, and he’s nowhere to be seen.
Everyone walking to the front of the stage tries hard to avoid the sick. People were kicking it around and spreading it further. But as the arena starts to fill up, even more, it becomes hard to avoid, and eventually, it disappears.

After waiting around for a while the opening band comes on stage, Ho99o9 and I can tell by the reaction of the crowd not many have heard of them. Three young lads from America opening for a big band like Prodigy and they did pretty well. Based and the reception around me, people seemed got into them as their set went on. I can’t even describe what type of music they play. Seems to be a mixture of hip-hop, hardcore punk and techno.
Now it’s time for Prodigy I can already feel the surge before they even come on. I look to the left of me and see a group of people holding full two pinter’s, and I know within the next two minutes they won’t be full anymore. And then the lights go out and out come the phones. That seems risky at the gig like this. It just takes one knock, and your phone will be gone forever. The intro music starts, and I turn around to Daz, and he’s holding his phone in the air, and I just scream at him “PUT YOUR FUCKING PHONE AWAY”. I don’t think he heard me. They finally come on stage, and they open their set with Breathe, and the crowd loses their minds. The group of people next me are covered in lager and Shane’s thrown forward, and for the rest of the gig, we lose him. I’m being thrown into mosh pit after mosh pit, falling over and being picked up. I don’t know what’s happened to Daz’s phone and Sam glasses have gone. I have no idea what’s happening on stage, I don’t know what songs playing, and I’m covered in sweat.
Halfway during the gig, I’m thinking of taking my shirt off, but I don’t risk it. I don’t want to pay the price for a new one after the gig.
I’ve completely lost control of what’s going on, and I don’t care. I have no idea where Shane’s gone, but I’m sure he’s been thrown over the barrier.
One mosh pit after the other the gig just flies by. Maxim calls us all his Warriors, and for a split second in all the chaos I get a glimpse of Keith telling the crowd to jump the fuck up.
I lost track of how long the band were on for or what songs were playing, I’m too tired to remember and too sweaty to care.
Once the gig is over, and the crowd starts to depart we finally spot Shane coming through the remains of the fans. Covered in sweat like everyone else, he looks at us and walks over to us. “What happened to you,” I ask him, and he just looks out me with a glazed stare “I don’t know”.

We get outside and into the fresh air, and it’s needed, despite it being November the cold air really helps. While we walk towards anywhere that sells beer, every one of us comes to the conclusion that was the best gig we’ve ever been to and probably will go to.
That really was it.

At least for the time being.