With Trivium playing across town in Shepherd’s Bush, London is awash with metal tonight. We chose to hang out with the crusty old goons in Camden rather than the young(er) folk out west. It was a good choice.
Six things we learned when we saw DOWN in Camden:
1) It helps to have the clout of Phil Anselmo behind you. Warbeast have that. Signed to Anslemo’s label, Housecore Records, the Texan thrashers had the Down frontman sitting onstage rousing and riling the fans into a sizable moshpit and not one, but TWO Dimebag guitars onstage. That’s patronage.
2) Despite Anselmo later stating that the amount of leather or the number of metal studs on that leather not making you metal, Warbeast lead guitarist, Scott Shelby had all of that. In the most overblown and ridiculous way, his huge, highlighted hair and pumped up arms were an awesome highlight.
3) This year saw Orange Goblin finally give up their day jobs to do the band full-time and seeing them perform live in front of 3,000 metal fans with such ease, it’s easy to see why they made the decision. Big Ben Ward commanded the stage and the riffs commanded the crowd. It can only be onwards and upwards for Orange fucking Goblin, baby!
4) Philip Anselmo never fails to be the most captivating man on a stage of captivating men. It doesn’t matter how handsome Pepper Keenan is. It doesn’t matter how excellent Kirk Windstein’s beard is. Phil Anselmo will be just that little bit more drunk, stoned and generally abrasive than what you expect. You go into an Anselmo show expecting to hear a lot of crap come out of his mouth. He will call you an asshole – maybe right to your face – but you’ll just stand there and cheer regardless. FACT.
5) The new tracks Down played from their recent EP didn’t go down exceptionally well but that doesn’t mean Down IV is bad per se. The only songs that the majority of the crowd were really going nuts for were off NOLA.
6) The one song off NOLA that everyone is waiting for is the one song that everyone is dreading. The fact that Anselmo is talking so much tonight means that we can all hear how croaky his voice is. That won’t lend well to him singing ‘Stone The Crow’. Luckily, it’s a bona fide classic, the band sounds fucking incredible – new bassist Pat Bruders a kinetic force – and the crowd knows all the words. Anselmo barely sings a word of it and we all go home happy.