My best concert of all time was probably:
Fear Factory in 2001
. I was 16 (possibly 17). I had been to gigs before (Soulwax being the first "big name" one), but this was my first "proper metal" one and would cement Fear Factory at the top of my fan-list for a long time. The whole place was totally filled out, and the typically Mancunian crowd sand "Who ate all the pies? Who ate all the pies? You fat bastard! You fat bastard! You ate all the pies!" to coax Dino out on to the stage. This was just after the release of digimortal, so they played some of the best songs from that and a ton of their old stuff, including my favourites that don't usually get played, like Hi-tech Hate and Freedom or Fire.
Edgecrusher was just immense. I'm sure the more pretentious metal fan hates it for being nu-metally or whatever, but that crowd didn't care. It was the weirdest thing I ever saw, a whole room jumping in unison at the bit after "due to the graphic nature of this program, listener discretion is advised" and the vinyl scratching. I sang along to everything, my throat was fucked at the end of it all, and the adrenaline didn't calm down till like 3 in the morning. I was so pleased afterwards.
I also got to meet the vocalist, Burt, had a quick chat with him and sounded like a total tard. My hair hadn't got long at all by that time, and there's a photo of me with him and I look like a total gimp. He gave me a big hug, though. Awesome, awesome gig. Plus I got a lift home afterwards, which is always good.
Machine Head, 2001
- Absolutely awesome
live band. Man they can work a crowd and make you feel included in the whole experience. Again, the place was packed out and they played most of Burn My Eyes plus their other well known songs and some from supercharger, which they'd just released (which I think is their worst album, but they played the few good ones from it). My friends and I went in a huge crew and were singing Bohemian Rhapsody along oxford street. Ill Nino were supporting, and I met them afterwards and got one of the guitarists' signatures. Ill nino were actually pretty good, a gigantic hole opened up at the start of "if you still hate me" and then everyone ran into it and moshed the fuck out of everything when it kicked off. Those were the days.
- This was actually one of the craziest adventures in my life, I'll get into that in a bit. Main stage: Ozzy Osbourne, Tool, System of a Down, Slayer, Lostprophets, Millencolin, Cradle of Filth, Drowning Pool, The Mad Capsule Markets, Black Label Society, AntiProduct. Ozzy was on last, of course and was awesome. He mooned the crowd, had a huge mug of tea, and Zakk did the "play ridiculous solos behind his head" thing and the american national anthem with his teeth thing. Tool looked fucking odd (the singer had a black hole painted where his face should've been, with his normal skin around it) but were otherwise pretty boring. Well, the vocalist did one of the longest, most consistent yells I've ever heard, that was interesting, but the guy on drugs near me that was pissing on the ground really put me off.
System were pretty good, they mostly did stuff from their first album, I'm not sure if Toxicity had been released yet. BLS were pretty decent, I can't remember most of the others, aside from Mad Capsule Markets because they're cool.
Cradle of Filth
were on before Slayer and they were absolutely fantastic, despite the crowd at the front chucking shit at them and the first microphone being broke (Dani pelted that thing to the side of the stage, though, a good throw). Cthulhu dawn was probably the highlight of the set. When they came on, he said "we brought our own storm cloud with us!" and he was fucking right.
All through the set, the weather kept changing, as if God himself was pissed off at us. Just before cradle came on, it was boiling hot and sunny, when they came on, it clouded over and became really fucking dark. The crowd then got lashed with stinging hail and lightning arced all around us in every direction. It was perfect. Thankfully, the power didn't go out and the crowd wasn't hit by lightning. Then, as soon as Cradle finished their set, the clouds departed. Really weird shit. Fucking awesome, though, having lightning and hail at a concert, it really made them feel "extra evil" haha.
came on next, and BY GOD they were awesome. Obviously, with the shorter setlists, they only had time to do the classics plus disciple, really. Throughout the day, planes had been noisily taking off from the nearby airports, and I saw one taking off when Slayer were playing Chemical Warfare. It was like the plane was silent. Utterly drowned out. The band all seemed really happy to be there and there was an amazing atmosphere.
Enslaved, 1349, Zyklon, Wintersun - 2006
At least, I think it was 2006. Anyway, yeah, they were playing some small room at the Academy, and that was both a bit of a shame, but it was cosy, too. I shared some beer with the singer from Enslaved, cool guy. Not much moshing, fair bit of headbanging, though, and Zyklon were one of the tightest bands I've ever seen live. Fucking love those guys. 1349 were entertaining enough (first time I've seen a proper corpsepaint band), but musically I'm still not convinced about them.
Korn - 2007
? Not sure of the year. I think it was last year, anyway. Packed out the MEN arena, lots of hot girls, enormous audience participation. Played a lot of their good old stuff and some of the new stuff I'm unconvinced by. I was pleasantly surprised by their cover of Pink Floyd's The Wall, and Munky's uncharacteristic soloing. I guess he has been playing guitar for over a decade now, but having listened to korn for so long, you don't expect it.
Gigs I'm gutted I missed:
Nile - I usually miss these guys when they play Manchester. Barely popularised at all. Will hopefully be going to watch them in Leeds this year with Belphegor and Grave (both of which I love and have missed previously).
The Berzerker - these guys played Bolton, and I didn't go because I was in the middle of something and chose not to go. Goddamnit!
Cryptopsy, Grave, Hurtlocker, some other bands - played at Rockworld in Manchester, I got a ticket, but then was too depressed to leave the house on the day of it.
Slipknot + Slayer - As above.