Archive for November, 2012

On London and the Destruction of Pigs

Posted in Gigs, Travel with tags , , , , on November 17, 2012 by Noise Road

On London

Every now and then Britain reminds you why you love it…  Not just Scotland or the North…  but the whole g0d d@mn rock.  Just when the 30 school kids in your train car were starting to sh!t you, Britain shows something.

The windscreen wipers on the train from Glasgow to London failed.  If there is a train that needs windscreen wipers, its the Glasgow to London train.  No matter how passionately Axl Rose sings “Nothing last forever; even cold November Rain”, it’s a lie.  November rain does last forever in Britain.

At Preston, we did a complete passenger switch with the train coming the other way.  I can’t believe how smoothly it happened.  People just did what they were told and adjusted for changes in seats…  Sure they complained about it – but the British are miserable if they don’t have something to be miserable about.

The whole operation went unbelievably smoothly.  Its been a few months since I’ve stayed in a hostel and I feared that I might have passed over the hostel hump.  I’m 32, my hairline thin and grey, and my waistline thick and pale-white.  My fellow hostel guests were 19, fit and French.  However, the hostel was a win.

Right next to King Cross train station to get in and out of London, the hostel was also only one tube stop away from tonight’s venue.  It had everything you can ask for £19 in London – lockers, free breakfast in a cool common room basement, and a small 5-bunk dorm with friendly Slovenians.  Although the Slovenians were the loudest whisperers I’ve ever heard…  After 5 or 6 pints at the show, I was probably snoring up and stinking up that dorm room – so who am I to complain?

On the Destruction of Bacon or a Pork Product of Some Type

Running a little late from the earlier train switch, I didn’t even have time to have a pint at my favourite-named pub.  The Famous Cock sits directly across the road from tonight’s venue, the Garage.

There was no need for C0ckless panic though.  None of the openers had boarded the stage when I bought my first beer at the Garage.  London’s £4.20 pints are a step up from Glasgow’s £2.10 pints…  especially if you don’t know where the busfare for Monday morning work is coming from.

Previously recommended by Converge and Pig Destroyer, Leeds’ Blacklisters are an interesting choice to support Pig Destroyer on their UK run.  The obvious choice for Pig Destroyer’s first UK tour in 8 years would be a grind band.  The UK is the originator of grind after all – Napalm Death, Carcass…  If not a grind band, maybe the support could have been a death metal band or a thrash band or even a hardcore band…  but a noise rock act?

Blacklisters bring thoughts of the Jesus Lizard.  A tight band with a loose frontman.  Thankfully the frontman doesn’t get his c0ck out as much as The Jesus Lizard’s David Yow.  He is an excellently loose fontman though.  His off-mic singing and banter is a novel way to engage the crowd.  It took a bit of effort to win the punters over, but by the catchy Trickfuck, the crowd were well into it.

On Pig Destroyer

Pig Destroyer should be a sh!t live band.  Sure the material is amazing, but they hardly ever play live.  How could they possibly be any good?…

…  but this rarity of the show makes it an event.  The crowd anticipation is high.  The feel from the stage is not of jaded road warriors.  This is not just another date in a 6-week European tour, coming off the back of criss-crossing the states.  The band isn’t burnt out.  They’ve played one show and only have one more to go.  They aren’t spent and they don’t need to leave anything in reserve.

Frontman JR Hayes is the embodiment of the event.  You wonder how he’s going to be able to punch out a single word tomorrow night in Leeds.  In between desperate roars, Hayes paces the stage like a lion while mainman Hull unleashes 30 second blasts of riffs.

Hayes approach shows the difference between the live show and the record.  Hayes is the best lyricist in metal.  Its worth studying the lyric sheet whenever a new record drops.  However tonight just try deciphering a lyric out of that madmen exorcising his guts.  Just try.

Tonight the message isn’t in the words.  The message is in the delivery.  While the human-riff machine generates angular grooves from stage right, Hayes is desperately scary.  Scary – not in an evil metal way.  Scary – like that time the 11pm bus home from work broke down and it was just you and the jonesin’ meth head waiting at a bus stop in a Glasgow scheme.  As the adds on the bus say:  Glasgow, choose life, not a knife.

Then the string of sub-minute tracks break, and the loveable teddy bear appears where Hayes was purging his guts a moment ago.  Hayes quietly asks if you guys have had enough beers yet.

A Henry Miller quote sampled on the record opens the set:

This is libel, slander, defamation of character….This is a prolonged insult, a gob of spit in the face of Art, a kick in the pants to God, Man, Destiny, Time, Beauty…what you will. I am going to sing for you, a little off-key perhaps, but I will sing. I will sing while you croak, I will dance over your dirty corpse.

The quote is a perfect fit for Pig Destroyer – intelligent art delivered in a purposely shocking, disturbing way…  But Hull is also the delivery system for the gnarliest riffs squeezed into 30 second bites.  Tonight, we aren’t mulling over Hayes wordplay, or the cleverness of the arrangements.  Tonight, we are rocking the feck out to the riff assault.

From the opening Miller quote, noise dude, Harrison, saturates the room with a high level of ambient noise that fails to clear for 50 minutes.  Onto the noise canvas, Hull and new drummer, Jarvis, groove between the blasts.  I’d like to comment on the importance of the interplay between the only two instruments on stage, drums and guitar, but the sets flies by.  I’m too caught up in the moment to notice the detail.

The ambient noise drops for a brief moment.  The crowd shout along to the robot-voiced, spoken-word Jennifer piece.  “No. No. This is beautiful.  This is art.”

Tonight wasn’t beautiful.  It definitely wasn’t arty… but it was a special event.  Few gigs feel this special.