Papa Roach, The Hippodrome, Kingston

Did it really happen? This show was meant to be for people who purchased a copy of their album, it was then cancelled, then cancelled again. I never even had a ticket for the initial show, I obtained mine after the Angelfish gig because I gave Simon a suit to wear.

The day was super hot in the thirties, we grabbed lunch on the Thames, then headed to queue at the venue. Easily stood in it for way too long, doors were meant to be at 4pm, they didn’t open and it was gone 5 when eventually they did, seems fitting to wait even longer for this show.

They hit the stage after 6 and played;

  • Fear
  • Born for Greatness
  • Between Angels and Insects
  • Crooked Teeth
  • Revenge
  • Getting Away With Murder
  • Scars
  • Last Resort
  • Gravity
  • Help

It was good but not what I would call amazing, this should have been better than it was due to the wait everyone had. They then went off for a few minutes, got changed and come back out for a quick Q&A with some really shit questions from the crowd. They also played a show after which was also meant to have had a Q&A but that was canned, most likely due to how lame the questions were. I did start to record it with the intention of putting it online. After the second it was obvious that it was a waste of battery and memory on my phone.

Despite the fact that the view we had was pretty good, the venue as a whole was shite, a club which fucking stunk. The toilets were so grim they made The Borderline’s circa 2011 “clean” and trust me, they were far from clean! Kristina said that the ladies even had carpet down in there… Can’t imagine how bad that stunk in there. The floor was a throwback to the 90’s when your shoes stuck to the floor as you walked, and guess what I wore my new trainers ffs. Then there were the rules of the bar, 1 drink per person, it was only possible to buy 2 if you were both at the bar at the same time! That tells you everything you need to know about the youth of Kingston…

The only thing good about this venue was that they came out with ice cold water for the queue in the scorching hot sun. Someone really special would need to play The Hippodrome in Kingston for me to venture here again for a gig. The place doesn’t seem a right fit at all being that the town looks pretty nice and vibrant from what we saw.

Golden God Awards, IndigO2, London

The 2017 Metal Hammer Golden God Awards.

Line Up:

  • Mastodon
  • Clutch
  • Avatar
  • Orange Goblin

Winners in Full:

Best New Band Venom Prison
Best Underground Band Pallbearer
Best UK Band Architects
Best Live Band Mastodon
Best International Band Avenge Sevenfold
Best Independent Label Nuclear Blast
Dimebag Darrell Shredder Joel O’Keeffe (Airborne)
Riff Lord Devin Townsend
Best Game Legacy Of The Beast (Iron Maiden)
Breakthrough Band Avatar
Defender Of The Faith Ben Ward (Orange Goblin) and Sandie Soriano
Inspiration Exodus
Best Album Magma by Gojira
Spirit Of Hammer Prophets of Rage
Icon Dillinger Escape Plan
Golden God Black Sabbath

Camden Rocks, Camden, London

I wasn’t going to go to this as I only really wanted to see Andy Cairns of Therapy!

Then…. Feeder were announced as headliners with the added bonus of The Virginmarys so that was enough for me.

First up was Hands Off Gretel at the Underworld, they played a decent set and hand a lot of people in the venue considering the time of day.

Simon, Jim & I make our way down to Koko, a venue which has finally been added to the festival. Jim suggests that we see The Kut in The Crowndale, it’s 3 girls playing some rock, Simon & I aren’t really into it at all so we leave to get a good place in Koko for Royal Republic. Here we catch the end of Moses. They seem to be having fun but this venue is way too big for them at this point in their career.

Royal Republic take to the stage and straight away I’m impressed by what I’m seeing. They command the crowd really well. By far they are easily the band of the day. They announce that they will be returning soon so I’ll be looking out for tickets.

We hot foot it down to Camden Market to catch Ally Dickaty’s (The Virginmarys) solo show. He was playing the Kraken Sound Stage which is inside the market on the fake grassed area. It’s nice to be outside rather than a stuffy venue on this fine day.

I grabbed some food which ended up being uncooked chicken…

Then headed to see Andy Cairns at Proud, he’s 100% solo today even being his own roadie. He jokes the rest of the band are watching the Champions League final, something he himself was doing in one of the stables before the show. He plays another solid set, quite different to the previous time I saw his solo show. He announces that they are heading into the studio to record album number 15 on Monday and then plays a new song. I joke with Ronald on Whatsapp that they are recording album number 15,000.

Unfortunately both The Virginmarys and Feeder clashed, I choose Feeder at Koko to end this year’s festival and was happy I did. I catch the end of The Coral, I only know one song, Dreaming Of You, it’s their final bow as they leave the stage after this.

Feeder put on a solid show, but it’s not as good as when I saw them in Folkestone a couple of months back. I think mainly this is due to where I am in the venue. I’m up top on the same level as the hidden sofas.

I’d checked my phone during the break before the encore I saw there had been another attack in the city. I meet Simon outside and we head home straight away and it’s a good job we did. We made the Northern Line which was later suspended and then managed to get as far as Mile End before the Central Line suffered the same, although this was resumed and we did manage to get to Stratford and home. We knew this was likely to happen as when we got to Bank the announcements were instructing everyone to get back on the trains as there was no exit from the station at all.

Rise Against, The Garage, London

Finally! I’ve liked Rise Against since first hearing this album and never had a chance to catch them live until now. I was in fact super lucky with these tickets. I decided to check if they had a tour planned as I knew a new album was on the way. They had announced two small shows both here in London and one in Berlin. These were planned as part of the press coverage around the new album itself.

Rise Against got a great reception from the crowd when they appeared on stage and it continued until the end of the gig. A solid performance throughout.

They were supported by Milk Teeth who I assumed I’d never heard of before, turns out I had but not sure where from. Their song Brickwork, I’ve heard many times before but I’m not sure where from.

Line Up:

  • Rise Against
  • Milk Teeth

Arranged early access for Simon and this went pretty well with one of the best security guys I’ve seen in London. He suggested we popped back 5 minutes before doors and sorted us with what we required. He also suggested that we grab a drink in the new bar which has opened at The Garage, “The General Store” it’s kind of like a 1960s diner but with a great selection of beers, far better than what is served in the venue itself.

Iron Maiden, O2 Arena, London

“Stiliyan Petrov” once again provided us with First to the barrier entry, he’s a good lad 🙂

The O2 now has increased security following the Manchester Arena attack. Airport scanners have been introduced at the main entrance to the O2. You then go through the original second set entering the venue itself.

The ticketless entry worked well again, although I it was better organised in Birmingham, however the two arenas are very different with the O2 itself being multi purpose.

Shinedown were once again pretty decent and much better than the time I saw them at Wembley Arena.

The crowd seemed to be full of Germans and 2 annoying Spanish girls, sorry I mean cunts right behind us. Seriously if you’re in the 2nd or 3rd row at a gig you don’t need to try and force your way into the rows in front. If you’re that type of person, behave and stop being a shit.

Maiden were decent again, but the unnecessary pushing made it slightly less enjoyable than the Birmingham show for me.

Line Up:

  • Iron Maiden
  • Shinedown

Iron Maiden, NIA Arena, Birmingham

Iron Maiden

Went to the wrong venue but that’s OK Bruce almost did as well… Got early entry thanks to Stiliyan Petrov… Punched a vicar then moshing with him.

So it all started when we incorrectly thought the venue was the arena at the NEC. I personally thought that the NIA had been knocked down years ago to make way for offices or some shit, it hasn’t and is a 20 minute drive away from the NEC so try not to make that mistake. We grabbed an Uber and the guy was great getting us there as quickly as possible.

Once there we found the first to the barrier line and tried to secure some wristbands via Kristina’s friend Stiliyan who had entered the contest on our behalf and won. Having just driven past Villa Park Kristina called him Stiliyan Petrov by accident, it didn’t matter as we still got the passes. We were one of the last in the queue but that was OK and second row secured.

The gig itself was much better than the previous time I’d seen Maiden at Sonisphere somewhere around 2010. Shinedown was also way better than the previous time I saw them.

Oh yeah the vicar, complete with dog collar, not a fake one either, he really was The Rockin’ Reverend (I’m trademarking that). Anyway I managed to punch him trying to grab a plectrum lobbed into the crowd! He was cool with it, unlike when the dude behind him said “Jesus Christ”.

Line Up:

  • Iron MAiden
  • Shinedown