I produced this show for Rampant Theatre Productions, who are taking their next show The Gambit to Edinburgh this summer. Not for the faint of heart, Brutality… is a short sharp shock of a show which leaves the audience questioning how far is far enough when it comes to entertainment.
I was assistant producer for this show when it was first being put together and I’m so proud of what these incredible women have done with their source material. A stunning, magical show that is as hilarious as it is thought-provoking. Go and see it!
All Hail The Yeti, Manchester Academy 3, 12/02/15
Connor Garritty says the highlight of this current tour is simply the tour itself. ‘We’ve never been here before’, he tells me. ‘Every day it’s something new. It’s surreal.’
Connor is the frontman for Hollywood metal outfit All Hail The Yeti, who are in the UK for the first time on tour with 36 Crazyfists, and, it seems, are loving every second.
This is certainly reflected in their live performance. The band exude a monstrous presence onstage, Garritty coming out with mic in hand, standing on a wooden box with an upside down cross on it, arms raised to either side like some unholy Messiah as the crowd clamours and stands entranced by this band that, on questioning some of the crowd later, few had ever heard of before.
This seems set to change. AHTY has already seen comparisons to some huge names in metal, including Pantera and Lamb Of God, and it’s not hard to see why. Garritty’s guttural, tortured vocals and the violent, moody subject matter of his lyrics echoes and even trumps the darkest visions ever committed to tape by Phil Anselmo, and the way their show is put together is pitch perfect, complete with encroaching background recordings of what sounds like wind whistling, church bells and chanted mantras that all comes together to deliver something that sounds like it’s fallen out of the most notorious of horror films.
Musically, AHTY does not disappoint. A heavy influence from Southern metal bands such as Down can be seen a mile off, the guitars menacing and tuned low, and the drumming… Let’s talk about the drumming. Glendon Crain’s fierce, relentless assault on his drum kit is a force to be reckoned with. The only drummer I’ve come across lately who does anything like what Crain does is Brad Fickeisen of Trap Them. Overall, it’s a stunning display of all-out, unapologetic war and it’s to be hoped the UK sees much, much more of this band. They’re building a new church for the future of heavy metal. So bow down. Worship. All Hail The Yeti.
36 Crazyfists, Manchester Academy 3, 12/02/15
I didn’t know quite how I was going to write this review, because despite having been listening to 36 Crazyfists for over 10 years, I’d never seen them live and I know very little about them as people.
Let’s start with the easy part. 36CF has been a stalwart of the metal genre since they exploded onto the scene with ‘Bitterness The Star’ which showcased the almost anthem-like Slit Wrist Theory, and have been winning audiences and critics over worldwide ever since with every single release. Now, with new record ‘Time And Trauma’ out on Feb 17, it’s time to see exactly what Brock Landow and his band mates have been hiding up their sleeves since their last record dropped in 2011.
The fans go crazy the second the band steps to the stage, Landow waving and producing a microphone to begin the opening track, Vanish, which leads perfectly into crowd favourite At The End of August. What’s so great about 36 Crazyfists’ stage presence is that they seem to be having as much fun as the audience, playing a wide range of old favourites (Bloodwork) and new songs from the latest record (Sorrow Sings). It’s great to hear Brock’s voice sound just as cracked and beautiful as it ever did, balancing bloodcurdling screams with the softest silky clean vocals.
Of course, there’s the usual bout of crowdsurfing which is swiftly dealt with by the security team, and when a medic is called (sometime during The Heart And The Shape) it’s good to see Landow acknowledge the work of the team in keeping everyone safe. From my interview with him, it’s clear that he’s so humbled by audiences’ reactions to his work and so grateful to be doing something he loves, and this is reflected beautifully in his interactions with the audience during songs, whether it’s high-five-ing fans or just getting right in the middle of the sweaty, overheated mess of the mosh pit while he screams a lyric and the crowd screams it back in one voice.
For the encore, three classics emerge: Destroy The Map from bestselling album ‘A Snow-capped Romance’, for which Landow invites a fan up onstage to sing with him – much to the audience’s delight when the guy matches Brock note for note, scream for scream. Then, finally, two early tracks, Circle The Drain and Slit Wrist Theory, which leaves the audience in a dervish of flailing limbs and sore throats as they scream the lyrics, the band even stopping the music altogether during the climax just to hear us sing.
If this gig sets the bar for everything else I’m seeing this year, then everything else has got a tough act to follow. A brilliant, fun and nostalgia-driven party.
At The End of August
I’ll Go Until My Heart Stops
The Heart And The Shape
Also Am I
We Gave It Hell
Skin And Atmosphere
Swing The Noose
Time And Trauma
Destroy The Map
Circle The Drain
Slit Wrist Theory