Saturday, 30 June 2012

Death Metal
A Night in Weston Super Mare

What can I say? This was a local gig in a snooker club, with local bands, most of whom do not look old enough to drink alcohol or even reach high enough to even see over a snooker table let alone play on it. DJ Ghost told me about the gig and asked me if I wanted to go along with him. “Why not?” I thought, “it is at least a night out!” I was not expecting a lot to be honest.

I was wrong.

Very, very wrong…

We found the venue, the Green Baize in the centre of Weston and noticed that there were the usual sort of metal fans hanging about outside having a smoke. From inside came the delicious sound of Iron Man by Black Sabbath, gently muffled by closed doors and a large stairway. We climbed the stairs, the music getting louder, the atmosphere getting darker!

Inside, it was pretty bleak, a dark cavernous room, a small stage and what looked like a feeble PA system. A few bearded twenty somethings wandered around looking cool, t-shirts emblazoned with the names of much loved heavy metal bands. I was warming to the venue, right up until the first band hit the stage and then I fell in love with the place.

The first band, Theories of Revolution, were a group of young lads all of whom looked like fairly typical metal head types, straggly beards, faded t-shirts and yet rather more pairs of glasses than you usually see head banging. They played the sort of rousing metal that makes men with very large and much sharper swords, charge naked (except for a covering of blue war paint!) into battle screaming obscenities! They did a couple of covers with the skill you expect from a regularly gigging pub band, but then announced that they had not played a gig together for well over a year. A band with no practice should not sound that good. A thirty minute set just did not feel long enough.

Theories of Revolution

The second band were frankly amazing, they blasted a pure brutal death metal, played with the smothering intensity of a land slide. I was happily buried by Gelgothen and knew by half way through the first song that I really liked this band. The humour of the band was clearly coming through, they loved making the music almost as much as the crowd loved hearing it. However the two second song had me in fits, the introduction to the song lasted longer than the song itself and yes, they were good, reminding me of Napalm Death at their most fun brutality.

Band number three were Made to Waste, a biblical apocalyptic terror given the form of a death metal band, clearly well rehearsed, using the stage with the casual elegance of a band who know that they own the crowd. This was precision metal artillery, a furious nuclear assault of the most brutal death metal that was showcased that night. Claiming that the pit was enthusiastic is understatement indeed, the pit infront of the stage was mesmerising with the friendly beatings they were giving each other. Yet as soon as the song ends, the hulks that were battering the shit out of each other embrace each other with warmth of the death metal brotherhood. It would be fair to say that this band with their cheeky smiles and ferocious sound wiped the floor with us as we were watching and we loved them for doing it to us. This is a band that deserves the recognition of a big record label and a world tour, they exude the air of a band that have been gigging for more years than they could possibly have been alive. At one point during the start to a particularly brutal song, the lead singer broke a string on his guitar. Stopping the show immediately he showed us with pride the damage done and asked us to cheer until the guitarist from another band lent him another guitar. We cheered because he asked us and we were his to command.

Made to Waste
Made to Waste
While Made to Waste were playing, I was misfortunate enough to see the saddest sight of the evening, which as a lesbian woman I have thought about a lot because I do not want to come across as unkind or militant. So let’s not beat about the bush (trust me, I have tried that and the result is not fun!), young women in the metal scene; stop trying to excite male members of the pit by making them think that just maybe, they can participate in a three way with you and your pretty female friend! Flashing your knickers while your friend grinds away at your nether regions really does nothing for your dignity. So stop it!

Made to Waste
Throne of Demise hit the stage while I was chatting with friends. However, I am not sure if that was their name to be honest, at the start of the gig they claimed to now be called the Mother Fuckers! With a sound that reminded me in parts of Pantera or even Slayer, they stormed across the stage with enthusiastic brutality, mixing classic death metal growls with clean vocals. However, following a band like Made to Waste would be a challenge even for Slayer or Pantera, so a band that sounded similar was going to struggle.

Throne of Demise

Between the bands a couple of local DJ’s filled the quiet with some classic old school metal, the beer flowed and the atmosphere never swayed from loving good nature. I have been a metal head since my teens and I have never taken for granted that loving embrace of comradeship shared between drunken death metal fans. It is one of the most brutal forms of music, with a lyrical content that can shock and horrify, but at it’s heart is a feeling that just maybe, things can be good if you just tried being nice to other people and listen to brutal 

Death fucking Metal

Both Ghost and I had a wicked time, I started from a point of view that was expecting a few kids squawking out badly played Nirvana covers. But we were knocked sideways when professional, well rehearsed and extremely brutal metal bands floored us with a display of aural violence that I have not seen since Extreme Noise Terror in London, back in the nineties. If you get the chance to see any of these bands then do so, you will not be disappointed. 


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Get your filthy hands off my Biking

24th of June 2012, MAG action day.

Disney never made a film about these two!

If you are reading this, but are not a biker then you may be wondering why Bikers are making so much fuss at the moment about proposed legislation coming direct from Unelected Bureaucrats working in the offices of power with in the EU. More directly, you may be wondering why a load of bikers held up the traffic today in the middle of the day while wearing very large yellow t-shirts shouting about the EU?

Well, there is a very good reason, or to be brutally honest a whole pile of reason, but here is a brief synopsis taken from MAG themselves on why they are very concerned about this new legislation.

o                 It aims to restrict the possibility of carrying out modifications to motorcycle power-trains (from the airbox down to and including the radius of the rear tyre) - your campaigning efforts so far have helped to roll-back some aspects of this threat but we are still faced with proposals to make it far more difficult to work on future bikes and to add cost and complexity to bike ownership.
o                 It aims to prevent engine re-mapping
o                 It admits that there is no evidence to say there is a problem caused by modifications, or what size that 'problem' may be.
o                 It aims to make 'Advanced Braking Systems' compulsory on every machine from 125cc up, adding hugely to the purchase price of cheap commuters.
o                 It aims to limit the availability of aftermarket parts that may alter performance
o                 Much of the technical substance of exactly what is included may not be written until after the regulation has become law, instead the Commission will use 'Delegated Acts' to make changes and it is unclear how effectively these will be scrutinised.
o                 The European Ombudsman has found the Commission has a case to answer that the legislation has been drafted in breach of European Treaties (which requires evidence to justify a new law)
o                 Other procedures seem to be at odds with democratic accountability

Taken directly from the MAG Website,

Strong stuff, but what does any of it mean? Basically if you buy a bike and then intend to modify it in anyway. Tough, you wont be able to. No funky tyres, no race exhausts and no way you are going to be allowed to take out that wimpy cam shaft and put a nice race one in that de-tuned GSXR engine you bunged in your heavily chopped Streetfighter frame. Add to that they want you to fit ABS to every bike on the market, even if it is a super cheap training bike. Let’s be honest, ABS is an option and not every one likes it. Personally, I had ABS on the Honda I rode a while back and to be frank the brakes on that lacked feel because they were just horrible. The brakes on my SV are simple “twin piston in a floating calliper” units and they are both strong and effective. In use they have loads of feel and can stop very well. ABS would be an option, but would it be nice? Also how much would it cost? 

So in protests against this draconian “thou shalt do as thou is told” laws, we all got together and had a bit of a shout on the motorway. Those present in the Van were Biker Rock Radio Boss, Steve and his Biker Rock crew of DJ Ghost and Prof Plums. On the bikes were a rather broken Jayne (still suffering with a poorly shoulder) riding a shiny and clean Sylvie and Carol with Alex on Noreen.

On our arrival at Taunton Dean services, our immediate priority was to get the music blasting and get some good biker tunes rousing the crowd of gathering bikers. I am pretty sure that no one expected a PA to turn up or for great music to be present and the guys from MAG quickly came over and said hello. A quick exchange of T-shirts and we were ready to roll.

The Biker Rock Radio Roadshow in action.
The Rozzers come for Jayne and Alex.

At exactly one PM, the convoy started and three hundred bikes rolled out onto the north bound and hit forty miles per hour. It was a magnificent sight and once again I was able to ride with Carol on a huge mass protest ride. On the south bound side of the motorway, another large group of bikers were heading the other direction and nationwide, bikers everywhere had gathered into groups to do exactly the same thing. This truly was an epic protest.

Best parts of the day had to be the smiles and waves of support we got from car drivers, crowds who gathered on bridges and kids watching. But then there is something impressive about three hundred bikes thundering by.

Other sights worthy of note were the birds of prey we saw hunting in the verges between carriage ways or on the sides. I counted several buzzards and had one fly right past me, as we cruised along, clutching it's lunch of a vole in it’s beak.

The ride was a lot of fun, but it had a serious point. That point was this, to those unelected people making decisions for “my benefit”, when you know nothing about me, get your filthy hands off my hobby!


A party at Gordano Services after the protest ride.

It is not just two wheels being threatened.

Prof Plums showing off his Woofers