Live Review: Immortal Technique @ Manchester Academy 2

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At the O2 Academy on the 28th of October I finally find myself in attendance of Immortal Technique, the hip hop artist, humanitarian and political activist. Born in a Peruvian military hospital and raised in Harlem, New York, he spent a year incarcerated as a young adult which affected his lifestyle and musical direction. He has most recently built an orphanage in Afghanistan from the proceeds of his album ‘The Third World‘.

We head to the bar and wait as the two Union bar staff try and cater to about five hundred thirsty attendees which means there’s plenty of time to absorb some differences in the environment. The crowd present isn’t the usual sea of black t shirts, long hair and misery that I usually find myself a part of when waiting around for metal bands. There’s wide diversity, though true to the vision in my head many of the crowd are wearing baseball caps, baggy gaudy t-shirts and those shiny denim pants. Grating, thick Manchester accents cut through the air as well as over generously applied after shave, the perpetrator of which brushes at the lingering white powder on an inner nostril . While a few things like this stand out to someone like me, apprehensions are quickly forgotten as we enter the venue.

Having heard the support prior at some point I wasn’t really interested but caught 20 minutes of Poison Pen anyway. About 5 minutes into which, I started wishing we’d somehow delayed ourselves further. The songs were mainly unintelligible but the parts I could make out made my guts try to eat themselves. I don’t mind some of the collaborations done with Immortal Technique and I have to presume these guys must have some qualities off stage. The lack of flow, pointless bravado and chanting “I’ll break your face” repeatedly only made me contemptuous of them and anyone nodding along in some Grand Theft Auto inspired fantasy world. 

Immortal Technique introduces himself to the crowd, building atmosphere and saying that he wanted energy despite us being “really high or drunk out our minds”. ‘The Martyr’, title track of the new album opens and Technique’s passion is projected to the crowd in his distinct gravelly but coherent tone with ease. The track has likely been inspired by his recent trip to Afghanistan, the lyrics speak of the histories and contributing factors behind what might be mistaken as recently problematic scenarios. 

Technique is naturally at ease with the crowd; there’s a lack of pretence that’s inclusive and brings about a general comradery and positive atmosphere. The use of humour is consistent, intertwined with serious elements keeping things laid back. “Raise your shitty phone in the air for this one, don’t be ashamed of your cheap ass fuckin’ phone”, is the introduction for ‘Toast to the Dead’, a tribute to a dead friend. The Spanish ‘Golpe De Estado’ has a backing track that would move a corpse, the Spanish lyrics fitting with a powerful rhythm. The issue that it’s unlikely anyone knows what’s being said in this one is raised by Technique who goes on to talk about the indifference of race, religion and nationality, saying that most of us spoke English he didn’t understand anyway. 

Immortal Technique’s strong political views play a main part in the music he writes, even more evidently so that what is said live. While you might not agree with everything said, it wouldn’t be nearly as appealing without his razor sharp and often dark use of humour . “When I was approached by a major label (undisclosed) this idiot said to me”, “you’re a very intelligent and talented young man but some of what you say goes too far. “If you take this song of the album, we will put it out”. Technique goes on to say that he offered to take it off providing he could fuck the man’s wife. The song in question was ‘The 4th Branch’ which deals with the lack of independent and objective media.

The greatest feeling comes with songs from the second album ‘Revolutionary Volume 2‘, with Technique using the crowd for backings and chants, “I don’t care if you’ve been at the fuckin’ pub all day watching the game (Chelsea-United), stop standing there like your on fuckin’ heroin and get live”, “I need to hear the England that stole 2/3rd’s of the world from its rightful owners”.

Technique builds a heavy momentum as the show goes on through well known tracks, speaking of his appreciation of support and challenging the crowd on their familiarity with the first album. The emotional wrench that’s ‘Dance with the Devil’, in which a gang rape one of their peers mothers only to find out after, is sheer poetic brilliance. “People ask me all the time whether that actually happened.” “I reply it happens every day in every city”.

Things lighten up to round off and the night closes with the catchy and aptly named ‘Obnoxious’, before some realistic advice for any wannabe Che Guevara.“Before you go home and look in the mirror and think your some sort of rebel commando for coming to the show, you make the changes you want to see in life first, not when you’re at the pub drunk or high at some party”. He calls for the liberation of Palestine, the sending home of British troops from Afghanistan and the persecution of Tony Blair before leaving.

Michael Collins

The Well in Leeds is closing down…again

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Back in March while we were on Blogger, we brought you the sad news of the closure of top Leeds gig venue The Well, despite a petition to prevent its closure and subsequent refurbishment to become a pub restaurant despite being situated outside the main bulk of the city centre. What we failed to mention afterwards was that its use as a gig venue was salvaged after Simon and Sharon Holgan stepped in, did the place out a little, and started bringing bands back in. Punters came flooding back, and it seemed The Well was once again a tight operation.

Depressingly, the Joseph’s Well complex owner Mr. Pullan has turned around to the venue’s current tenants and basically said he was decommissioning its use as a gig venue from the end of December onwards. This news has come suddenly, without warning, and almost certainly brings to an end 20 years of history. For good.

An excerpt from the statement from The Well Team can be read below:

“Hi all

It is very unfortunate news that we have to share with you all today. Sadly the Josephs Well building
owner Mr Pullan has chosen to revoke the right to use any part of the property as a concert room or for live music.

Why, after nearly 20 years of live music at The Well, Mr Pullan has decided he’d rather run his Josephs Well office complex without a music venue in the basement, we don’t know.

We have spent the last 6 months investing in the property and rebuilding this amazing live music venue. We are truly and utterly devastated. This is the end of The Well, or at least as you know it. We will be pulling out of business as of the end of December. A new venture may be put in place by another business in the future – but there goal cannot be to use the property as a live music venue. The Well will most likely sit empty or turn into a full time restaurant & public house.

In recent times, The Well hasn’t been in a stronger position as it is now, for someone to come along and take all of our hard work away is a major kick in the teeth.

We’ve explored every avenue to try contest the revocation of live music from the premises, but unfortunately there is nothing anyone can do. So it is a sad day to announce the closure of The Well live music venue in Leeds.”

You can read the statement in full here.

It’s a credit to the Holgans, who took over the venue in March, that they tried to keep live music going in this part of the city which has launched the careers of many a top band to pass through its doors. They put so much time and effort into revamping the venue, and its a shame their hard work is to be wasted as it is confirmed that the UK live music scene has taken a heavy hit here.

We’d like to repeat the call that more needs to be done to protect live music in this country. Sure, there possibly isn’t a lot that can be done to stop this greedy bastard getting his way, but too often we hear of venues going kaput, whether its The Well, or Leeds Rio’s, while others such as The Parish in Huddersfield and the 1 in 12 Club in Bradford have had to fight to stay open in the face of opposition such as safety laws or cannibalisation of the venue’s area by big business types. And that’s just local to us. I’m sure plenty of you can vouch for these sorts of issues, knowing full well that the people weighing us down have no concept of the strength of feeling we have for these places, where careers begin, where we as a community gather, and where we look back on as we reminisce about that show we’ll never forget.

Crowd surfers not club sandwiches!

So once again, We Must Obey sends our best wishes to all involved at The Well and thanks them for the hard work and the memories. Here’s hoping you bounce back in future.

Peter Clegg

Visions: Eureka Machines – Pop Star

For those who don’t know who they are, Leeds’ the Eureka Machines are quite possibly the finest pop-rock machine going. Certainly they show latter day Weezer a thing or two. Led by Chris Catalyst, who recently appeared on Ginger Wildheart’s ‘555%’, they have charmed the UK with their catchy songs, their wit, and their D-I-Y ethic, which has seen them rock the shit out of the country over the last few years. They even performed on the recent live episode of long-running soap Emmerdale!

In their new video for ‘Pop Star’, directed by Ash Pears of AshTV, they reflect the struggles of every hard working band trying to make it big as they try to cobble together money while performing to virtually empty venues. It’s a tale any band who’s had to work hard for little or no success can surely relate to.

The Eureka Machines are also gearing up for their third studio album, which you can help fund through their Pledge music campaign. They’ve already smashed their target but its not too late to contribute and get your hands on the goods and some exclusives too. This video is just the tiniest proof you need to go out and pledge your support. Head on over now – there’s still time to get those orders in nd guarantee that this band won’t suffer the ignominy of empty venues as displayed above.

Peter Clegg

Trash Talk – 119

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Trash Talk
119
Trash Talk Collective/Odd Future Records

Trash Talk have to date worked with Keith Morris (Black Flag/Circle Jerks fame), Steve Albini, and The Bronx’s Joby J. Ford; for ‘119’, they signed with Odd Future Records, founded by Tyler, The Creator – and indeed, Trash Talk have regularly performed with Tyler and Odd Future (or OFWGKTA, if you prefer) at the hip hop collective’s shows. While it may raise a few eyebrows, it figures – both acts display the rebellious, sneering attitude that each of their backgrounds brings, through Trash Talk’s violent, aggressive hardcore and Odd Future’s brazen punk rock attitude to hip hop which has endeared them and vilified them in equal measure.

‘119’ is the Sacramento outfit’s fourth studio album, and isn’t any more surprising than the rest, bar one contribution entitled ‘Boundless and Born’, which features Tyler and fellow OF member Hodgy Beats joining the band as they play a slow, almost doom-punk riff. Around 50 seconds in, Hodgy unleashes a hard verse full of menace, with Tyler, in comparison, sounding nonchalant and typically brash. By far it’s the album’s most intriguing track, not really a curveball of any sort; but certainly a sit-up and take notice sort of track, not a blitz like much of the album, but a stormy tread…

Trash Talk – F.E.B.N.

119’ still has plenty of other spark, even though it doesn’t quite reach the heights of their last release, the ‘Awake’ EP. I personally suspect Trash Talk are one of those bands suited to shorter releases, but that shouldn’t detract from what is to date Trash TT’s best full-length yet. They still sound uncompromising, from single ‘F.E.B.N.’ through to the desperation of ‘Reasons’, with vocalist Lee Spielman bellowing ‘I’m surrounded by idiots/I’m surrounded by fools/just like me’, and are more than happy to tackle more issues such as homelessness (‘Exile on Broadway’) and the devils of getting bogged in routine (‘Eat The Cycle’). Having harnessed the ability to slow down once in a while, the chorus of ‘F.E.B.N.’ (‘Forward ever, backward never’) is somewhat apt, even though they don’t need to reinvent themselves too much to continue to beat eardrums and indeed, to give a hoot about what anybody thinks about them or their clientele. 

Peter Clegg

Buy 119’ here

Official site
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Twitter

‘Kin Hell Fest 2013 – Four more bands confirmed

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‘Kin Hell Fest. The only gift this festive season that keeps on giving. Ok, to say its festive season in November seems a little hasty but then, I don’t start putting trimmings up in July like posh high street shops too. I digress.

The latest four bands for 2013’s extreme extravaganza are:

THE AFTERNOON GENTLEMEN
SLOTH HAMMER
ISHMAEL
ENVOYS

Si! Those mental bastards The Afternoon Gentlemen will be back once again to truly fuck up The Well their blistering brand of poggerviolence, taking the main support slot behind Rompeprop on the Saturday. Dirge doomers Sloth Hammer and Ishmael are now officially confirmed, as well as the post-progressiveness of Envoys!

This brings the line up to 31/32 bands, with the final act to be announced soon. Early bird tickets are still available – click here to get your hands on one of the last few while you can, as after this week they’ll be full price.

As standard, get to the official Facebook page for regular updates!

Peter Clegg

Rash Decision/2 Sick Monkeys – Less is More…More or Less

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Rash Decision/2 Sick Monkeys
Less Is More…More or Less
Pumpkin Records

If there’s one thing this particular split has confirmed to me, its that 1) crossover thrash remains strong, and 2) that proper punk rock music is still well and truly alive. At first glance it would seem these two bands shouldn’t go together – Falmouth, Cornwall’s Rash Decision’ are fun, but aggressive all the same, while 2 Sick Monkeys are those cheeky chappies who just want a laugh and a riot while jamming out punk grooves. But the recent touring buddies act as a yin and yang to one another. ‘Less is More…More or Less’ was released earlier this year, and if you haven’t chanced upon it yet, now is an excellent time to get on board.

Rash Decision’s side consists of eight coastal themed tracks that are quickly blasted out, with a couple of lengthier tracks that fans of Municipal Waste, SSS, Lifeless et al should have no problem digesting. It’s fast and raucous, blitzing through their portion of the split fairly quickly until the last two tracks which resemble slightly more traditional thrash compared to what preceded it, those still brief, with ‘Temporary Worker (Clause 4.1)’ padded out with a tannoy announcer through the majority of its duration.

By contrast, the bass & drum punk duo of 2 Sick Monkeys produce a masterclass in punk rock that proves its true spirit is still alive beneath the hordes of false libertarians and fashionistas with thirteen tracks that the guys blitz through. 2SM aren’t new to this game, having been around since 2000, and lyrically its nothing exactly groundbreaking, but you should be singing along to all of it when its done. Every brief split in the music is the cue to go nuts, whether it’s the surf-punk tendencies of ‘Blurrr’, the venom of ‘Bullshitter’ or ‘I’ve Had Enough’. The more spit-laden tracks are balanced out with some general boisterous tracks like ‘Sayonara’ and ‘I Love Booze’. Most of the tracks are a few years old but they sound fresh, chunky and full of verve all in one, without losing that punk spirit.

Less is More…More or Less‘ is released through Pumpkin Records in association with Riotska Records, Smegma Records, Side Effect Records and Atomsmasher Records.

Peter Clegg

Buy ‘Less Is More…More or Less’ here
Stream Rash Decision’s side below:

Rash Decision Bandcamp
Facebook

2 Sick Monkeys official website
Facebook
Last.fm

NB: Supplied by band request

Silence for Mitch Lucker, please

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The death of Suicide Silence vocalist Mitch Lucker in a motorcycle accident has brought a mostly warm and heartfelt response from the metal community, and although the band is certainly divisive purely for the style of music they play, and perhaps in part their image, that hasn’t proven a barrier for the many fans of metal in general wishing to pay their respects. Some people may wish to question why exactly people need to declare the fact they are not a fan of Suicide Silence prior to offering their condolences – and I indeed never really got into them – but as one person adequately put it, ‘it’s about showing respect for a human being’.

Outside of Suicide Silence, Mitch was clearly keen on things like motorbikes, tattoos, and above all, a husband and a father. I don’t know much more about the guy than that, but if comments made recently by his wife are anything to go by – and you’d have to imagine they were believable – he went out that fateful night drunk and was battling alcoholism.That is sure to bring out a response from some that will say he got what he deserved, while others will look upon it merely as a foolish error of judgement, a fatal moment of weakness. Which is why when you still see odious comments being made on certain metal sites, including one guy who wanted more details on the accident, so he could decide whether to ‘laugh at the guy (Mitch) for being an idiot’, or just to be ‘happy there’ll be no more Suicide Silence’. Then there’s the French black metal band Glorior Belli, who joined in the trolling masses by tweeting (about Lucker’s death) ‘GOD BLESS MOTORCYCLES!’ (they since took it down and blamed ‘hackers’, instead of straight apologizing). Then there’s the typical Facebook pricks who jump at the first opportunity to laugh and announce they’re glad he’s dead. It’s that type of person that people have long complained about, called for action against, and against whom people, including myself, and indeed, including musicians and singers like one Randall J Blythe, have gone on the warpath against.

Whatever motivates people like these to make such flippant comments, whether they truly mean it or not, whether its just a game to them, whether they do it just to get a kick – but deary deary me, its like banging your head against a brick wall with these folk, isn’t it? Sure, it might rile people enough to tell them to show some respect or simply to tell them ‘fuck you’, but it seems nothing will refrain them from making some repellent or disgusting comments when the man’s family, his bandmates, labelmates, bosses, roadcrew, and indeed the fans of that band are mourning his loss.

No Room for Rockstars: Mitch Lucker (Suicide Silence)

Maybe one thing that will bring it back home to them is a stark reminder that these scallies too have families, and that they too will suffer from a loss of a family member one day in their lives and it will sting. Mitch Lucker was 28 years old. I’m only 28 years old, and know exactly how it feels to have experienced loss. It hurts extremely bad, especially when you’ve got little ones who don’t fully understand who you’re going to have to explain to in the future where their loved one is or has gone. As you can see from the photo above, Mitch was as much a father and a family man as he was the vocalist of Suicide Silence. In the 2012 Warped Tour documentary ‘No Room for Rockstars’, he stated how he doing what he loved for his family, as much he was the love of his craft, and you can see how much his family supported him, even if they didn’t quite understand his art.

For the minority of people who continue to peddle hate, its worth noting that Suicide Silence were extremely popular within their genre, performing at concerts and festivals around the world and achieving success with each of their three albums. You don’t just achieve success overnight, and not just through sheer luck. Clearly some people were and are still buying Suicide Silence’s records, their merch, and so on. And clearly, there’s a lot of people who recognise that whether or not they are or were a fan of Suicide Silence. What happens to the band from here on in right now is secondary – of course people will wonder, but right now, surely it’s more important to recognise the talents of this one man and indeed come together as one community, in the face of this odious cloud that continues to blight the metal community’s online presence.

On behalf of all (two members) of We Must Obey, we would live to pass on our condolences to Mitch’s family, Suicide Silence and road crew/management.

Peter Clegg

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