Still making friends

A band has to have a special place in your heart to consider setting off on a freezing Sunday night to watch them do a tour warm up more than 60 miles away.

But after 20-plus years I find Terrorvision occupy that place.

When I’m asked `who do you like?’ the list inevitably runs through Prince, The Smiths, The Bunnymen, Sly & the Family Stone and then whatever I’m listening to currently.

It rarely ever includes Terrorvision.

Which is stupid.

This latest occasion was the 17th time I’ve seen them. More than anyone else except the aforementioned Bunnies.

And that can’t be by accident.

But watching them play to a fervent home crowd at Bingley Arts Centre before they headed out on tour in support of Thunder, I just thought that as a live act they’ve got it nailed.

Bingley

I’ve genuinely never seen them do a poor show. Once or twice I thought they were straining to be too loud and submerged the pop hooks that have always littered their best tunes, but otherwise, nine times out of ten – or 15 times out of 17 in my case – they’ve got it bob on.

This most recent show was in two halves. Maybe one of the halves is going to make up their support set, but whichever they chose would be a barnstormer.

They don’t do mumbled `thank yous’ or act as if they’re doing the fans a favour by being there . They do full on audience engagement, high fiving, taking cameras off fans to snap pictures on stage and giving every impression of enjoying it even more than you are.

And it’s never been any different.

I might never see Morrissey declare `it’s good to be back’ before Marr, Joyce and Rourke launch into Hand in Glove, but as long as I can hear Tony Wright declare `We’re Terrorvision from Bradford’, I’ll be happy enough.

 

Because you’re thrash

Sometimes you just want to go with what works.

No `this is from our experimental second album’, no `I hope you like our new direction’, and no `solo acoustic spot while the rest of the band takes a break’.

The teaming up of two of the so-called Big Four of Thrash in Anthrax and Slayer at the Manchester Apollo was an opportunity to avoid all that aforementioned malarkey.

Just two and a half hours of pummelling, punishing metal.

It was a horrible, wet, cold, windy night as well. Just right for the darkness – particularly of Slayer.

As headliners they took a couple of songs to get going, like a juggernaut going through the gears, but by mid-set they were motoring along.

I’m no aficionado. I barely know one song from another. But their set was remarkable for its depth, its timing and its remorseless, unremitting power.

It was a nice touch too for them to illuminate their pre-show curtain with the French flag in remembrance of those who died recently in Paris.

Slayer

So many of those killed had been at a show just like this and I’m sure everyone was touched by the tribute.

 

Shouty happy people

The rain is the reason I first saw Feed The Rhino.

If it hadn’t been coming down heavy enough to make Ark building seem a worthwhile profession I’d have probably stayed stood in the shin deep mud at Leeds Festival in 2013 and watched a couple of main stage safe bets.

But instead the near horizontal downpour drove me and regular gig-going friend Tony into one of the tents just in time to witness half an hour of full-on metal fury.

And the opportunity arose to revisit said furiosity when Feed The Rhino played at Sound Control in Manchester with Baby Godzilla (didn’t see enough) and Night Verses (odd but not unpleasantly so).

They were just as committedly balls-out and honest as they had been at Leeds and it was great to see a band putting so much into their performance which, to be fair, is a characteristic of metal that makes it so appealing.

I’m not massively enamoured with pointless soloing, but juggernaut riffs, howling vocalists, a hammering rhythm section and a frenzied crowd make £8 for a three-band line-up the best value in town.

It might not be to everyone’s taste, but are those whose tastebuds it really tickles being shortchanged by its lack of mainstream availability?

Every now and again some rock titan will get an airing on Later but otherwise, as a genre, it might as well not exist as far as the main channels are concerned.

Watching re-runs of the fabulous Tony Wilson-fronted So It Goes on Sky Arts you can see just how exciting early punk gigs were, and if I was in my early teens again I’d want to be part of it.

Same would apply if some terrestrial broadcaster would take a chance on a half-hour weekly rock/metal show. If they had shown footage from this gig I guarantee it would have opened the eyes and ears of a few youngsters just looking for something loud, noisy and utterly rebellious to get involved with.

The beard and tattoos would just have to wait a year or two, though.