29 years, 29 long, gruelling years. That’s how long most of this crowd have waited (minus a few of us “younger folk”) since their last taste of British thrash heroes Acid Reign last album release, that’s right Tool fans, sit down, you know nothing of waiting! 2019 is the year they delivered, revived several years ago by the ever energetic frontman ‘H’, it was clear the desire was still bleeding strong in the veins of the band, and come this weekend, they decided to celebrate the release with a small get together with a one off, special show in the Londons Boston Music Room. How could we say no?!
Starting off the evening were to great support acts, opening up with Primitai, they’ve been around a while and been improving with release after release, I remember being introduced to their debut Through the Gates of Hell just before release and instantly became hooked, nothing would prepare for the follow up The Line of Fire however, introducing vocalist Guy Miller, who has remained with Srdjan Bilic ever since. By 2013 though, they have stepped up their game releasing 3 further albums to date, quite a back catalogue to pick from for a short opening set. All cylinders firing, they take to the small stage and set the standard for the night, making the most of their short time, always deserving of a bigger stage, they pull out a performance that turns those that had never heard them into instant fans, even to the point where overhearing some on the way back to the tube station talking to others about them and buying their vinyl from the merch stand on that 30 minute performance alone, surely they can’t be stuck on these small stages opening for bands like this for much longer?! The only thing that would have improved it for me would be to see Srdjan bring back out his Randy Rhoads Jackson...It simply is the greatest looking guitar ever!
Just as awesome were Shrapnel, for the uninitiated, these are some of the finest of British thrash bands going out of the past decade, and to celebrate hitting double figures they bring a new EP Decade of Destruction out with them to sell, even some of the t-shirts are cheaper than a pint too might we add (check out their web-store and give them some support if you haven’t got it yet!) Their bullet speed aggression is an assault on all the senses and it isn’t too long until the crowd is caught in the throes of it and rightly so. Much like Primitai, they are cursed with a mere half hour of stage time, but that doesn’t deter the boys picking 6 songs of sheer excellence, nothing at all can close off their time quite like the sound of Warhead, but if that doesn’t get your blood pumping or head banging, nothing will. With news that they will soon be returning with a new studio album release soon, we cannot wait to see what they do next.
With the small venue now brimming with people, we’ve all half an hour to kill abusing bank accounts at merch stands and livers at the bar, others are trying to squeeze into a spot for a decent view of the small stage or to get involved/avoid the impending pit that will kick off. The electricity in the air is met with wry grins after the stage set up and gathering up of instruments, everyone in this room is reliving their late 85-91 life again. As promised, the band focus heavily on their recent release, The Age of Entitlement. Some tracks getting their first live performance, some possibly their only live performance, but the attack and accuracy of each and every note bleeding from the stage is tighter than you can find words for. Coming out with the intro and opening single from the album, The New Low is an absolute monster of a start that has the place in uproar, and if that wasn’t impressive, the crowd still finds another gear to shift into when Life in Forms kicks in straight after! They don’t shy away from airing the new lengthy monsters either, #NewAgeNarcissist seriously delivers. H and co clearly are having a good time and are more than happy to see people going nuts, even telling us all not to worry, no one is getting kicked out tonight...at which point we hear the stereotypical calling out of play freebird from an American (Not to complain, the guy was a dude!) to which H swiftly responds with Get Out!
The curse of residential areas is the early curfew, and with half ten looming, the band try not to waste time and fit in all they can, the hour and fifteen minute long set just doesn’t seem enough for anyone. Combatting this, in seamless effort, they flow from track to track feeding straight into Motherly Love from Goddess, and United Hate into Ripped Apart, just ludicrously good!
As soon as the set is over, they waste themselves absolutely no time in all clearing off the from the stage to jump straight behind their merch desk to meet, greet and sign almost anything for each and every fan in there. I remember well struggling through a huge migraine to watch them at Bloodstock, and that was a fantastic performance, but tonight's show topped it. Making it that much better is hearing the reaction of some fans, some saying the last time they actually did see them was 30 years ago! (They’ve been back for the past 4, what have you been doing with your lives?!) All in all, between the three bands, this was up there in contention for gig of the year, and there are not many that come to mind with the potential to top it. Take a bow lads, the 29 years wait proved worth it.