Volume was the order of the day as three riff-heavy acts tore through one of Birmingham’s best venues to great acclaim.
And things are so much sweeter when one of our own are involved. God Damn have been capturing hearts and minds the length and breadth of the land with their foot-stomping walls of sound that have a tinge of funk in their underbelly.
Being almost on the Wolverhampton lads’ doorstep, their fans were out in force. So much so the entry team couldn’t cope and the queue stretched right around the Big Bulls Head pub on the corner a few doors down.
As a result, a large chunk of us missed the majority of their set, God Dammit. Keener fans voiced their displeasure audibly in the street as whiffs of riffs floated out to us as doors opened and closed.
When we finally did make it in we just caught the tail end of the set, much to our disdain, but what we did see was enough to get us going and the vibe was audibly cheery.
Next came Torche, the Miami four-piece metal heads whose bark is so menacing and growly that they don’t need a bite. The tempo ebbing and flowing they at times had a dance vibe like The Music, while at others threw out the kind of angry breakdowns that made Down so popular.
The set started like a juggernaut, the band melding their songs together to make one continuous stream of big hitters.
The set did dip slightly towards the end as a case of monotony set in, but they woke up again for their ending which exploded once more to leave the audience screaming ahead of the headliners.
And when they greeted us, remarkably, the volume increased for a second time – both on and off the stage. Now we have seen Red Fang a few times before. And sound systems are not always kind to them. But this is one of the best venues around and they seemed to have it spot on.
The band ripped through a selection from their three previous albums. Wires opened proceedings with its pained guitars and magnificent outro. And it was to set a precedent for the evening that everything off their debut Murder The Mountain would be received by whoops and cheers from the crowd coupled with the obligatory metal horns.
This was always going to be an evening where you got covered in sweat and beer, and not necessarily your own. Both came in quick supply as the likes of Hank Is Dead and Dirt Wizard got the pits which had opened up during Torche’s set into a real frenzy. Silly boy here stood a little close at one point and took a flying knee in a region usually saved for reproduction for his troubles. The next few minutes were a blur...
Following a selection of new numbers from their upcoming fourth record, a rendition of Throw Up took us into the break that had every head and neck banging towards the floor throughout the taut warning sirens of its conclusion, before they returned for a brief encore that was expertly wrapped up with their usual closer Prehistoric Dog. It wasn’t the rowdiest rendition of this killer track, but it didn’t detract from their hard work elsewhere too much.
This venue continues to impress as these three Gods of noise played for their devoted followers. This one may take more than the obligatory 12 hours for the eardrums to stop ringing.
By Leigh Sanders