The new Steven Wilson album has arrived, so everything else in music is taking a back seat, and may be for some time…so I should get this blog written.
Let’s start in rant phase…Airbourne sold out their Thursday gig, and I was around on the Friday evening, but did not want to risk turning up on the door to find they had sold out and I had had a wasted trip into London. So I bought a Â£13.50 ticket online. And got charged a Â£3.50 service charge. And got charged Â£3.00 to collect the ticket from the box office. I don’t do maths, but that’s around 50% of the ticket price in total in extras, just because I did not want to have a wasted journey into London. They charged me more in extras than it had cost me to get into a gig with 2 excellent bands the night before. And I really do not see any justification in charging Â£3.00 for me to collect the ticket. It’s bad enough the amount they usually charge for postage, which never reflects the price of the stamp on the envelope. All I can think of is if everyone stopped buying their tickets in advance online…because let’s face it, that helps the venue, knowing they have sold the tickets in advance, and they charge extra for that convenience. I would probably not mind so much if I was talking to someone to organise the ticket, but it’s all automated and surely such systems were intended to increase efficiency and decrease cost.
Rant number 2. There is such a thing as ‘too loud’, even in rock. Opeth are by no means the quietest band in the world, but I came away from three of their gigs with my ears intact. Last night was just too loud to the point of over distortion, which did the bands no favours. In particular, Airbourne’s vocals might as well have just been a buzzing sound they were so distorted. There does seem to be a quest to be the fastest and loudest out there, and for me it does not show the bands in their best light. Maybe I am getting too old lol
Sound And Fury are from Canada, with their roots in punk, and live up to their name. But their best track for me was a much slower number, where you could actually appreciate Griffin’s lead guitar. Luke Metcalf was a fun frontman, much better when he stopped being so damned serious – and their new Canadian national anthem (I’ve Got Rabies) was straight out of Peter And The Test Tube Babies territory.
I was never into The Darkness. I had read about Stone Gods, but not paid them any real attention. After seeing them last night, I am really looking forward to seeing them again in Oxford supporting Black Stone Cherry. For me, their sound started too loud and was not properly balanced, so the vocals did not come across as well as they should, but Richie Edwards is an excellent frontman who absolutely controlled the crowd. He has a very natural and relaxed way to his banter. The music was good enough for me to head off to buy the album – heavy rock as it should be, producing well-crafted songs which you can’t help but enjoy. I would not expect them to be only playing support slots in venues like this for very long.
Airbourne are high energy from start to finish. I went along because I had heard about them, heard a couple of tracks and liked the (obvious) AC/DC influence, but did not have the album and so it was another band where I was getting my real first impression. And another band where I have now gone out and bought the album – with the extra Wacken dvd, a nice bonus. Great rocking songs, just how I like them, and they really did give their all…but a 45 minute set plus encore – it needs to be longer than that for the headline band. I mean, I was pretty much moaning that Opeth were not long enough with twice the length of set.
And then I started on my walk to the tube, put on my iPod Shuffle, and the first track to come on was Live Wire by AC/DC, and a couple of tracks later Touch Too Much. Thanks, God. Airbourne are a great new band, but they still have some way to go, and I cannot help but look forward to seeing the AC/DC show at the O2 in April.
Now back to properly listening to Insurgentes.