I go to many gigs. I go to enjoy the music that I love but also for the feeling of belonging. I spend most of my life feeling like an outcast but I can go to a gig, a room of strangers, and feel like I’m with my people. I don’t go expecting 80 of those people to be shot dead. Tonight’s show was almost cancelled following events the night before in Paris. I’m pleased it went ahead; we should go to more gigs, celebrate life and each other.
CONJURER do not break us in to the night gently. The Post-Sludge Midlands lads are clearly enjoying themselves. The Flapper provides quite a generous sized stage for a small venue but this is not enough for CONJURER who decide to move things on to the floor. At one point I feared that I’d end up with a guitar to the face as bassist, Andy Price, flailed around wildly. The bands heavy doom –laden sound provided a great warm-up. The hardworking band had to dash off to Oxford for their second gig of the night.
Next up is good old fashioned Heavy Metal all the way from Scotland. DAMAJ give an enjoyable set but this is hindered by sound problems. I loved their music but Daniel Stewart’s nice clean vocals were ruined – a real shame. The band powered through and played some great new material.
ERADIKATOR stepped in at the last minute when Guts for Glory had to pull out due to injury. The Birmingham Thrashers play a wicked set including some tracks from their latest album ‘Edge of Humanity’; personal favourites being ‘Fortress Unknown’ and ‘Man in the Mask’. Vocalist and Bass, Pat Cox, asks the crowd if they want the next track to be “fast or slow?” I’m sure if ever a crowd responds that they want a slow track then he has turned up at the wrong show!
The band of the night for me was KATALEPTIC. Brutal Death Metal from Birmingham; I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band enjoy themselves more on stage. Special mention has to go to their bass player, Sean Brown, who I can only describe as a kooky character. The manic expression on his face as his long strawberry-blond hair windmills around is hugely entertaining. I found myself grinning throughout the set. These guys just epitomise everything I love about death metal – it’s extreme, over the top and immense fun. They play their latest track ‘Invidious’ which you need to check out on YouTube (below) and a great track about Jeffrey Dahmer called ‘Desire for Absolute Dominion’.
Five bands in and there’s certainly no rest for the crowd. Chesterfield’s FORGOTTEN REMAINS hits the stage playing fast and heavy thrash/death metal. They put on a really great show with and energetic and impressively polished performance. Great tracks like ‘Tormented Aggression’ and ‘Blood of the Innocent’ don’t disappoint.
I’ve been lucky enough to see tonight’s headliners REIGN OF FURY a few times. Also, having camped next to the Midlands metallers at this year’s Bloodstock, I can supply a glowing reference should they ever need one (they’re very clean and considerate campers). As ever, tonight they deliver achingly good heavy metal. It is particularly impressive considering the guitarist, Ross ‘Lenny’ McLennan (Terrathorn), is standing in and has only been playing the material for a week. We are treated to great tracks like ‘Psycho Intentions’ and ‘Gates of Sanity’, which is from their new album ‘Death Be Thy Shepherd’. REIGN OF FURY members have a background in punk bands and this shows when chaos briefly descends and they invite members of the crowd on to stage. More chaos is caused when several blokes on a stag night (including Hulk Hogan) start bowling about in the crowd. Despite these distractions, the band’s tight performance manages to command attention. As does vocalist Bison Steed’s vacant stare, head tilts and fondness for wrapping the microphone cable around his neck.
Tonight’s show represents great value for money. For £6 you can see six awesome bands – you can’t even get a poxy cinema ticket for that price. I like Birmingham’s Flapper as a venue because you can get decent ale from the bar upstairs at a reasonable price. Announcing the bands was Rob Bannister (the bloke that announces the bands at Bloodstock) – his voice immediately transports me back to Catton Park and conjures up great memories. I had an awesome night and if you are local to Birmingham and didn’t venture out for this you should take a long hard look at yourself!
Review by Rebecca Collins
Images by Paul Thrupp – see full gallery here.