So the 9th of November 2018 marked the final time I expect to see Slayer live.
I’ve seen Slayer a good deal of times, though the last time they toured (2015) they played the Manchester Apollo and a baulked at paying £50+ to see them, despite the venue being me favourite place for live music.
Give it exactly 3 years and stick them in the larger venue and them retiring (hmm, I’m not convinced) and the £50+ is something I’ll happily part with.
The last time I saw Slayer live was at Sonisphere in 2014. It also remains the last music festival I attended. Seeing Slayer without Jeff Hanneman, who died in 2013, caused tears for me and my brother, not something you’d associated with Slayer but emotion got the better of us. The departure of drummer Dave Lombardo more or less sealed me not wishing to see them again for, as much as I respect Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph, without the original guitarist and drummer you are only getting 50% Slayer.
Plus, thanks to neck surgery, it is still very not seeing frontman Tom Araya head-banging like a madman.
Having watched a 7-song set by Anthrax and left feeling a bit empty that they weren’t the main support and that their set wasn’t longer I went to look at the merchandise. Cue myself and my mates sounding like old-time curmudgeons as we berated not only the stuff for sale but also the price.
Some years ago I saw, at the Manchester Apollo, “Priest Fest” – Judas Priest supported by Megadeth and Testament.
It was an excellent concert but for all the fine songs and performances on display the one thing that stuck in my head was the 60-minute countdown timer I could see during Megadeth’s set.
Flick back to 2018 Slayer and they just blasted out songs, as usual, little crowd interaction, no encore just straight played through for nearly 90 minutes and then pissed off stage.
It was again an excellent show but it just seemed a bit deflating. Too structured, too professional.
That is gigs in general these days, money really is the bottom line these days now the market has fallen out of record sales and it shows in a lot of the more recent gigs I’ve been too.
Plus £5.20 for Fosters…fuck off.
I doubt they’ll be a year from now on that I don’t even watch live music but either I am officially getting old or it really is just too polished these days.
It was early Saturday that I read the Vinnie Paul had died.
I was the immediately reminded of hearing of the death of his brother “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott in 2004. That day I was going to a gig (I believe it was a Thursday) in Manchester, I think it was the Main Debating Hall (MDH, now known as Academy 2) and it was the Wildhearts. No mention, not that I expected any, was made of Dimebag’s passing.
The following day, it was Fear Factory at the Academy and it was, as the speaker cabinets were emblazoned with DBD, the most subdued and depressing metal gig I’ve been to.
Dimebag was shot dead live on stage, with his brother playing drums behind him, as part of their DamagePlan group.
For a beer reference, DamagePlan is also the name of a great beer by Marble Beers of Manchester, when they made actual beer before producing a load of lagers and being far too concerned with virtue signalling and being so woke it hurt. Still thanks for the memories.
The death of Dimebag left a great big hole in the world of metal, the genre had lost one of its true natural talents (and by all accounts a great human being). When I wrote this parody piece using Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” I stated that the guitar solo was the 5th best of all time.
Of course I meant it was my fifth favourite but as a point of reference I would stick any number of Dime’s solos above it.
I am fortunate enough to have seen DamagePlan (and likewise Vinnie and Dime) play live.
I am even more fortunate enough to have seen their previous group, Pantera, play live, numerous times; something that, because of the tumultuous nature of their split, Dime’s death and their legendary status within metal music, the clamouring for a reformation, or at least a tribute tour, with Zak “every not is a pinch harmonic” Wylde on guitar, that because so many seemed to have missed out it is really something I can hold on to as special, even almost unique.
Being that I am a guitar player and my brother is a drummer, there was a natural connection for the two of us to Pantera and whereas I don’t have the required level of skill (or really the drive to practice) to truly master a Dime solo, the machine that is my brother can still rip out Vinnie’s beats and we can still jam a basic Pantera song should the mood ever take us.
And as my love of guitar rubbed off onto my brother so he could appreciate guitar work, so to did his love of drumming and drummers on me. In fact at gigs these days I do find myself listening to the drummer more, a phenomenon I place firmly at the lazy feet of Lars “I can’t really be bothered to play properly any more” Ulrich.
Vinnie’s passing at 54 (Darrell was a mere 38) leaves another hole in the metal world. It was a shame that he and Phil Anselmo could never seem to rectify their differences and if that is still the case it would serve as a reminder that perhaps if you have fallen out with a former friend, maybe reconciliation is better sooner as sometimes you may never get the chance and regret is always a terrible thing to taste.
I’ll leave you with these two Pantera songs that for me best showcase the talents of Vinnie Paul and Dimebage.
Domination (Live) – the riffs, the lyrics, the melodies, the live energy, the breakdown and that solo….
Note: the recorded version from Cowboys From Hell starts with Vinnie apparently yelling “fart smells like a motherfucker”
Floods – I offer this a Dime’s best solo (and outro) for the more discerning, less metal-orientated reader/listener, it really is quite sublime.
At one time I though Kerry King of Slayer over used the word instigate but it turns out he doesn’t. In fact on Slayer’s last album, 2015’s “Repentless,” he doesn’t use it at all.
On 2009’s “World Painted Blood” (what should have been Slayer’s last) he uses instigate in 2 songs, which out of the 5 songs he was solely credited for writing the lyrics to is only 40%.
It only previously featured, once, in 2001’s “God Hates Us All” too.
So basically the initial premise of writing this piece quickly died its death.
But then you realise that the “ate” part of instigate may well be why I think I hear it more than I actually do and then a quick search, or listen seeing as Slayer songs are great in that they are generally short and to the point, and you realise it is probably King’s favourite rhyming sound.
Except when it comes to delaying our election process, delaying democracy.
Except when it comes to the state wanting even greater powers to actually hack into its citizens private communications.
Except when it comes to freedom of speech because apparently 80,000 people want The Sun banned in Manchester because they are brain-dead twats living in an irony-free zone.
Except I don’t full know how to express myself in words, so here are some emojis.
Except I want people to lose their jobs if they make a joke or say something possibly defamatory.
Except now I’ve got a tattoo – solidarity brothers and sisters.
Except when it comes to being able to actual discuss just what the fuck is going on in the world.
Following the events at the Manchester Arena on the 22nd of Many 2017 there followed the usual, typically predictable response to a terrorist attack.
The #PrayFor and #NotAll hashtags fly like winged monkeys, the avatars changed to accommodate the latest geographical victim, well one that is in the West at least, you’d never have a static avatar if you had to commemorate everyone blown to bits in the Middle East.
The UK press wait a day or so and then dwell upon the attacker(s) because for some reason it feels that the public need to know their name(s), their background, their history because that doesn’t detract from the victims at all.
We also have to preach the mantra that terrorists don’t represent Islam but merely a warped view of it and it has nothing to do with religion.
Give it a week and then the police will release a report about an increase in “hate crime” – quite what being blown up, run over, shot or stabbed is if it isn’t hate is beside the point in this most Orwellian-like crime, but if you’ve been called a nasty name that too is a crime apparently on a par with loss of life and needs as much media focus.*
Above all it is pushed by all and sundry that we should “carry on” and that was should not let “hate beat love.”
Hate is OK. Hate is a valid human emotion.
This past fortnight has all been about love, or people’s versions of what love is, not even Foreigner knew what it was and needed it showing to them but either way its was all about love.
One big, homogeneous, nondescript, identity-less Love.
The avatar changes, the bee tattoos, the candle-lit vigils do nothing but focus on the individual and their suffering, which is nothing, it is absolutely fuck-all to those that were actually killed, their next of kin and those who actually could have been victims.
What, so you didn’t “love Manchester” before you changed your avatar and you will stop loving it when you change it?
Your bee tattoo and graffiti, possibly a nice symbol of solidarity is really just look-at-me narcissism, less about love and more a constant reminder of carnage.
You only have love? You have no hate, because hate is all terrorists have and you are better than terrorists?
Not killing people makes you better than a terrorist, not having any other emotions makes you an unthinking drone.
And this is the problem. I don’t hate you for changing your avatar or getting a tattoo or painting a picture, or singing a song or lighting a candle. Grief, if that honestly what it is as opposed to relief, is something personal that we all deal with in our own way.
What I do hate, apart from delusional, murdering fucksticks is the rest of the response; that we carry on as normal and yet we still modify our behaviour, our language, our ability to ask questions or offer up answers and even opinions.
In the Kübler-Ross model there are five stages to dealing with grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.
There seems to be a collective brain-fart at work that we avoided the 2nd stage and just focus on the 3rd and 5th. The world of social media seems to turn into Rimmer after he has had his first meeting with the Polymorph in Red Dwarf.
You neither have to bargain with terrorists, because you can’t and you certainly don’t have to accept it, regardless of what Mayors of London say.
I have love and it doesn’t need mood slime to help flourish, but I certainly have hate too. The hate won’t keep me any more safe that those apparently without it but it is my response to events, along with continuing to question and to use the same language.
Hate is OK. Hate is a valid human emotion. It is all about how you channel it.
Thanks for reading.
*Hyperbole but it does seems as much gravitas is placed on “hate crime” statistics than any other crime. Crime is hate, all crime is a hate crime.
A review for the Love Beer Festival in Chorlton which is still on as I type.
Event takes place between 29 November – 1st December 2013.
Its clearly sign-posted from the Metrolink tram stop and should take you 5 minutes of your walking time, if you can resist going into Oddest before hand.
So you’ve got your glass, booklet and entry for £5, seems the glass was for a beer festival the Cricket Club held but I don’t know, nor do I really care.
Tokens are £5 a sheet, crossed off by the lovely people serving you; measure are pints and halves and also bottles (which I never got to).
This is Chorlton:
Chorlton is a happiness Dragon, he brought happiness to Wheelie World.
This is a review for the Love Beer Festival, which brought happiness to my cold, dead heart and freezing cold hands.
There was entertainment in the form of a male singing artist whose name I didn’t get and Adorah Johnson, both in fine voice with a good selection of own and cover material.
Food was provided by Streatza Pizza (wood baked pizza), VW Lullabelles (cakes by the camper van full) and Fire and Salt BBQ, who I procured a Pulled Pork sandwich with some BBQ beans. I was warned that on top of the chipolte they had added some Scotch Bonnets to the beans. I have Naga chillies in my house (and toilet paper in the freezer) so was not phased by any heat, but it was all very good for £7.
Upon entry I was told I was due a free (being an early attendee) half pint of ShindiggerPacific Pale Ale (4.5%) brewed by two fresh faced chaps who told me this was only the second batch they’d produced and a jolly good ale it was too, so ones to look out for.
Also new on the scene to me is Geipel Brewing. The beers are brewed in Gellioedd, North Wales care of mountain water direct from a bore-hole, head office is in Didsbury and the bloke behind it is from Ohio. I tried both the Zoigl (5.4%) a strong, malty amber ale and the Hefeweizen (5.6%) which was a damn fine wheat beer.
Before all this and while getting my first drink I was reliably informed by the staff that there were a couple of drinks not available, due to explosions, but there were still a vast array of beers to choose from, laid out in alphabetical order, showing the price per 1/2 and pint. The staff had wrapped up warm in the main tent – a gazebo with the casks/kegs in a plethora of straw on the floor and hay bales to sit on (with the performers on one side). Roomy it was, and quite cold, there was a bottle bars (Belgian and American brews) and and little bar selling First Chop Brewing Arm on keg that were inside and naturally these were fuller.
I had tweeted that this event had put the festival in beer festival; with its multiple tents and straw and wellie-wearing, triple layered, hoodie-adorned staff and punters, that was just my first impression. A feeling of love and warmth (not from the weather) that you get when everyone is there all for the same thing (only with decent toilet facilities). Sometimes you just can’t bank on the weather. Right festival, wrong time of year? That isn’t a negative, this was a very well organised festival and a glorious way to while away a few hours on a wet, dank and dark November evening.
The beers, in no order:
Black Jack Brewery have been a constant presence in my pub/festival life this year and Love Beer was no exception, there were two in the booklet of theirs that I had not tried. Sadly the Pumpkin Saison was not there (this might have been one of the exploded ones). But there was the Cluster (5.2%) – a good, robust IPA.
I tried the Engine Vein (4.2%) from the Cheshire Brew House and it was a satisfying best bitter.
I’ll now admit that every beer I’ve had from First Chop Brewing Arm (granted, yes, all in bottles; AVA, DOC, TEA) have never been to my tastes, too much hop for me, but I’m not one to write-off brewers based on bottled beers as there was a chance to try them from the barrel and there was a Black IPA in the form of SYL (6.2%) I jumped at the chance to try some. It appears First Chop beers have a signature hoppiness to them, but I very much enjoyed this, and as there is the DUB and the JAC doing the rounds locally in Chorlton at the moment I figure if I get chance I’ll give them a go to.
Hornbeam had brought along the White Swan (4.6%) a lavender white beer which was excellent and I’d had previously before, somewhat ironically in Oddest, so I went for their Ginger Domination (5.5%) which was darker in coloured than I expected and I for one couldn’t taste the ginger (but this was after the chilli beans), but I’m not going to split hairs over what subtle tastes I can and can’t perceive, my palate isn’t that sensitive, but this was a good, dark ale either way.
Rapture (4.6%) by Magic Rock was very good. A red beer that was very much in agreement with me.
All (most) of the Privateer beers were there as they were one of the official partners. I’ve had them all and I’ve enjoyed them all, so I just thought I’d mentioned them in passing.
From Quantum Brewery I had the Elephant Hawk (6.2%) IPA, which certainly was a beast when it came to the hops (triple hopped) and it tasted somewhat thick, make of that what you will, not for me, but more to my tastes was the Lapsang Souchong Saison (6.4%) which was a beautifully crafted drink with the hint of the added tea. Great stuff.
Tatton Brewery had provided the Tatton Yeti (4.5%) a lovely winter ale, reminding me that as much as I dislike Xmas, tis the season for great beers, of which this was one.
Red Willow and BrewFirst (the Italians) had a collaboration on, no name, despite me pestering Red Willow’s Toby McKenzine on twitter about it (apologises for that) I think it was in the ball park of 6% and it was a very good lager-esque brew that I felt quite privileged to be drinking considering it wasn’t released yet. Jump on it if you go.
Allgates, ah Allgates and their Mad Monk (7.1%) – I’ve actually had this in fudge form too which I got from the White Lion in Leigh sometime at the start of 2013. This is a beast of an imperial stout, against my better judgement when I first had it, I got a pint and consequently fell asleep in the pub. You know the kind of drunken snoozes where pub life continues to happen all around you and you realise you were asleep so try and listen in to a nearby conversation and chip in to make it seem like you were just ‘resting your eyes’. Apparently chipping in with, or rather shouting “Dimitar Berbatov” only confirms everyone’s suspicions that you were asleep. Find this and drink wisely.
Finally there were two beers from Brightside Brewing Co in the form of Spice (5.2%), a proper winter ale that warms the cockles and if I may be so crude, colours the burps so you can enjoy the many flavours a second time. The Inn Crowd (3.8%) an excellent mild and possibly my favourite of the Love Beer Festival.
The festival is still on, so get down and pack the place out as the people involved in it are clearly in love with what they are trying to do.
Thanks to all the staff, food suppliers, venue people, artists and organisers. Hopefully this can be a regular occurrence.