Thrash Hits

April 18th, 2012

Live: The Jägermeister Tour @ London Brixton O2 Academy – 13 February 2012

Skindred 2011 promo photo Thrash Hits

We love Jägermeister. We hate what it does to us when we drink it irresponsibly, but we love it. Skindred, Therapy?, Black Spiders and Skindred love it enough to have been part of the Jägermeister Music Tour. It was only £5 to get in and Brixton Academy was SOLD OUT. What a great celebration of drunk metallers!

Six things we learned when we drank too much Jägermeister in London:

1) Supporting Skindred on tour must be either the greatest feeling in the world or just one of the most depressing things that a band can do. On the one hand, you’re playing alongside an act with one of the most universally acclaimed live sets to ever grace the realms of metal; on the other, you’re performing to an audience who, most likely, cannot wait for you to finish and for the Welsh raga-metallers to start ripping you apart, one AC/DC sample at a time.

2) Thankfully, we’ve got such an eclectic mix of supports, that the evening feels like we’re moving from one destructively entertaining segment to another. Living up to their reputation for carnage and dramatic stage-shows, those grim-looking cunts The Defiled decide that Brixton shouldn’t remain standing by the end of their set. Unfortunately while they do fail in literally bringing down the house, they are raucous enough to give the early-bird punters something to smash their heads around to. Finishing with ‘The Resurrectionists’ and its electro-filth groove, and after smashing their keyboards and guitars to kindling, The Defiled can saunter off in the knowledge that they’re riding on the peak of an exciting new breed of British metal.

3) Black Spiders, considerably less dark than The Defiled, are still frenetic and deliciously groovy live. Their music takes queues from blues and hard rock, paying homage to the likes of Zeppelin but retaining the kind of driven crunch that makes them such an interesting live band. Although this five-piece are more hair than men, they tear into ‘Stay Down’ with such lack of ceremony and retain such a dirty thrust to their guitars that it’s difficult not to feel the irresistible fun of their music. This is compounded by the good-humoured grind of ‘KISS Tried To Kill Me’, and the shout-along chorus of ‘Just Like A Woman’, which considerably lightens the evening after such a heavy set from tonight’s openers.

4) Therapy? are a well-oiled machine, but somehow lose some of what they are in Brixton’s cavernous house of rock. The best thing about this trio from Northern Ireland is that they have their hearts so much on show that they might as well be in another continent; somehow this gets swallowed by the cavernous venue. The single ‘Living In The Shadow of A Terrible Thing’ from this year’s A Brief Crack of Light stands up well against the classics like ‘Nowhere’ and the brutal ‘Screamager’, all of which remain the high points of the set; other songs off the new album seem to lack the impact that they deserve to be landing. Despite some of the tightest musicianship on show tonight and some especially spectacular drumming, the set is, admittedly, a little disappointing.

5) Benji Webbe is a bit of a shit, isn’t he? Not only is he one of the best frontmen in, well, music, he also knows all the right things to say. Tonight he hits the nail on the head in applauding the quality of British metal on show here – there’s nothing we can do but whole-heartedly agree with this sentiment. To see such a glorious and different batch of bands that range from the convincing savagery and power of the new guard, through to veterans of the modern rock scene and finishing with the most exciting performers in the world, it’s difficult not to feel a little overwhelmed by the rich vein of British music that is thriving today.

6) Although I splurted about the joys of Skindred a few weeks ago at Hammerfest, it already feels like it’s been too long without them in my life. What’s worse is that they force this writer to sound like a sycophantic twat every time he comes into contact with them, not just due to their music being entirely indigenous to a live environment, but also because such a mixed audience demonstrates the universal appeal of their sound. Skindred could well be one of the few bands who would have a shot at negotiating world peace; if Benji Webbe and co. can bring together hipsters and Slayer fans, then how hard could the Arab-Israeli conflict be? Jokes aside, tonight is a demonstration of what they do best; whether it’s the bouncy splatter of ‘Rat Race’ or ‘Nobody’ and its brilliant segue into ‘Reign In Blood’, Skindred have everybody moving. There is nothing as irresistible as this; it is music at its very best.

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