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When a drinks company take it upon themselves to put together a gig, the words ‘piss up’ and ‘brewery’ hastily hop, trip, and limp to mind. But music and drink is a good idea – indubitably – so rock music and Jägermeister – a tipple that’s working hard to establish itself alongside (or even usurp) Jack Daniel’s as the quaff of choice for rock fans – is a better idea. An even better idea, however, is to plonk Skindred at the top of a killer bill with a combination of well-established and up-and-coming bands. So what can go wrong? As with any free gig for such a large venue, the queue stretches further than the soon-to-be-misty eye can see – even the VIP queue takes a while to get through – means that Yashin’s set gets less in attendance than they probably deserve, suffice it to say that their set is long over by the time I get in. Yet if getting people into the venue is a problem for the organisers, organising the entertainment clearly isn’t. Rather than letting the free-ticket-wielding target market wait for the sound technicians to make the necessary equipment changes before the next band bruises the boards to batter our eardrums, both the main stage and the Academy 2 stage are hosting the bands. When one band finishes, after only a few tiny steps, another one is ready to go. A nice touch.
Monday 31st October 2011
The Academy in Birmingham, UK
Reviews by Jason Guest, Photography by Samantha Knight
Cambridge’s The Treatment’s set on the Academy 2 stage more than makes up for the queuing hiccup and their own brand of high energy rock ‘n roll with more than a distinct nod in the direction of AC/DC, is delivered as if they are playing a festival-size crowd all of their own. R’n’R attitude bleeds from every note, every fist-pumping beat, and every English-tainted-with-a-hint-of-American-accent vocal melody. Word must have spread – or the audience found the door between rooms – and the crowd grows and comes to pack the room. And judging by the response, thirty minutes was far from enough, and their album ‘This Might Hurt’ looks set for a few more sales…
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Back in the main room, Therapy? have the kind of musical history that The Treatment want. To say that their welcome was overwhelming would be a gross understatement. Their set is a mixture of old and new material, and it’s tracks from ‘Troublegum’ and ‘Teethgrinder’ that get the biggest response. Full of bounce, Therapy? maintain the kind of energy in this room that’s usually witnessed at festivals. Frontman Andy Cairns is the consummate frontman with affable banter and plenty of mean guitar riffs. Bassist Michael rumbles along beneath Cairns’ guitar and vocal melodies, providing a solid foundation with Neil’s machine-like drumming to imbue Therapy’s genre-defying songs with the weight of their well-earned reputation. And together, Therapy? rightfully have enough confidence in their set and their audience to smash the shit out of them with a killer set. They’ll be back in April with Skindred (but disappointingly not in Birmingham) so keep a look out for tickets.
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Reading metallers and one of Britain’s best metal merchants Malefice are brutal on record and equally brutal onstage. The last time they played the Academy 3 (supporting Kittie), frontman Dale was fired by the lacklustre performance of the bad sound engineer and looked ready to kill. That murderous intent has since spread through the band and is not only reflected in their Halloween costumes – a butcher, a priest, and a clown all spattered in blood – and together they deliver a set that lives up to and exceeds the reputation that follows them wherever they go and is still growing. Having graduated from room three to two, it may not be long before Malefice will be in that main room.
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If there’s one thing Skindred don’t do, it’s a bad gig. At Skindred shows, everyone has a good time. After Darth Vader makes an appearance on the main stage to raise the devil horns, Skindred appear. Well, I think it’s Skindred anyway. Stage left is a Smurf with a guitar around its neck, stage right is a crocodile or dinosaur bassist, and behind the drums is one of The Muppets. The music begins and Benji appears. Until now, everyone thought he was Darth Vader, and you get the impression that the crowd is a little let down that he isn’t. But ‘Stand for Something’ soon vanquishes any hint of disappointment and the crowd is suddenly bouncing. Skindred have the power to make hordes of people move against their will, and enjoy it, and for a whole hour! There are not many bands that can do that. Skindred don’t do bad gigs. It’s impossible when you’ve got such an awe-inspiring oeuvre to choose from and a bunch of great musicians and an awesome frontman to deliver them. If you’ve never seen them, make sure you see them next April. In the meantime, get hold of any one of their releases. You won’t be disappointed.
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As good as they are, having a set between 11.15pm and midnight on a Monday means that most of the audience – this writer included – aren’t sticking around for Rolo Tomassi. But having seen them support The Dillinger Escape Plan at this venue last year, those that did stick around were in for an inspired set. Jägermeister did well this evening: a great line-up and great organisation. The beer is still vastly overpriced – at over £4 for a pint, you’ve gotta be kidding! – but the venue is a great choice. Interpret it how you will, but that it was free means that Jägermeister are doing their bit to support the rock scene and keep it alive and well. Let’s hope there are more of these kinds of events to come with bands both new and established that live up to the standard set here tonight.
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