So, the year is pretty much over, and what better way to bring in the new year than to reminisce about all the cool stuff that happened over the course of the last 12 months? So without further ado, here are best things I did in 2017…
10: Moving to a new place
So, this is only so low on my list, because it’s not an event specifically, but it’s a personal thing that happened in my life. It’s also the reason why this blog hasn’t been updated for what feels like an eternity (yeah, sorry about that!) Needless to say, after settling in and getting used to living on my own for the first time, this place is awesome. It’s had it’s fair share of issues and problems, but overall, the work, dedication and absolutely massive delay was well worth it. The amount of freedom and personal space, plus better location, is perfect. It’s the kind of place I’ve always wanted to live in. Expect normal programming to resume in 2018 here at EoE…
9: RevolutioN 8th Birthday Show (Sheffield)
Ok, I’ll be honest here… this is only so low on my list because I can’t remember too much of the night. A lot of alcohol was involved, I think. Anyway, this year the RevolutioN club night at Corporation in Sheffield celebrated it’s 8th birthday. To mark the occasion, a crowdfunding campaign was set up so that it could be more of a party. Needless to say, it was a roaring success, and the party went ahead, with a handful of acts performing on the night. I sadly missed The Cincinnati Box, but caught the end of Promenade Cinema, who were excellent! Future Perfect put on a great performance too. Of course, I was mainly there for Cyferdyne, who were a hell of a lot of fun, as always. The best thing about this event for me, was the fact that it felt like a mini-Resistanz Festival. Resistanz was incredible (I’ll never get used to speaking about it in past-tense), and one of the best festivals I ever had the pleasure of attending, so it was fantastic that they were able to do something like this. I really hope that more events like this happen again at Corporation in the future… and the return of Resistanz too, of course!
8: M’era Luna (aka. Tentanic)
Some of you may surprised to see this so low on my list, as I lauded M’era Luna so much after attending for the first time in 2016. To put it bluntly, the actual festival itself was pretty shit. It absolutely belted it down with rain for the majority of the weekend, there were bands that were either shockingly bad, or mediocre at best, and it was gloomy, miserable and depressing. My dreams of a party in the sun were ruined. I’ve got to give a special dishonourable mention to Mesh, who put on one of the worst shows I’ve seen in recent memory, to the point where it put me off listening to them at all. Of course, some bands saved the day, especially And One’s blistering headlining performance! Check out the vid on the EoE YouTube channel for the bands. The real saviour here, was the time with friends, specifically, one of my best friends, Babz. Her tent sadly perished on the first night, resulting in her having to evacuate and share my tent (thankfully I had a three-man one!) Hilarity ensued, including an episode where we got back to my tent to find the front compartment engulfed in a massive puddle of water. Needless to say, I didn’t want this to worsen, so I shovelled the lot out with a trusty beer cup I had. I don’t know whether this was the insanity finally settling in, but this resulted in a massive ramble between the two of us, which ended up with us creating a Titanic-like scenario where the tent was going to sink into the mud. I simply cannot put this into words, it was absolutely priceless, and still makes me laugh now. We made the best of a bad situation, and I’m sure I’ll still see this as a fond memory for many years to come.
7: Avenged Sevenfold + Disturbed + In Flames
In all honesty, I mainly went to this gig to see Disturbed. Even those in my circle of friends from Birmingham and nearby who also attended refer to it as “the Disturbed gig”. Whilst In Flames left much to be desired, the rest of the night was fantastic! Disturbed put on a storming set, blasting through hits old and new, spanning their entire back-catalogue. Frontman David Draiman proved to be as humble as ever, addressing the crowd as his ‘Brother’s and Sisters’, and showing huge enthusiasm throughout, going as far as saying the Birmingham crowd was ‘the best of the tour so far.’ Their presence was as strong as ever. I’m still amazed that they didn’t opt to do their own headlining tour in support of their comeback album, Immortalized. However, I’m not going to discredit Avenged Sevenfold here! They’re a band that somehow passed me by back in the day, which I do regret. Their performance was electrifying. Frontman M. Shadows was on-point with vocals, and was clearly loving every moment, constantly interacting with the crowd, with lead guitarist Synyster Gates delivering face-melting riffs and solos, that prove he is a guitar god. The band was pitch-perfect the entire night. I’d heard their shows were good, but this was beyond what I’d expected! I still don’t get how these guys passed me by, but I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for more in the future! If you want to see the original review for the gig, check it out here.
6: Beat:Cancer (Reading, Huddersfield, London)
You read that right, I’m adding three events into one. Yes, I know that’s cheating, but the Beat:Cancer gigs were so good this year, that I simply couldn’t whittle it down to a single event. For those of you that don’t know, this is a non-profit cancer charity run by legendary genius, Mark Haigh. The charity raises the needed funds by running gigs across the country, and releasing CDs, mainly comprising of acts from the EBM/Industrial scene. A wonderful cause, supported in an epic way! Reading bought a great start to the run of shows I attended, with excellent performances from Vieon, Biomechanimal, Petrol Bastard and Cease2Xist. It was a pretty emotional affair for Dreams Divide, as this night marked their last ever gig, and they put on an epic performance to be remembered by. Continuing on with the theme of bands calling it a day (which is becoming scarily common), when reaching Huddersfield, it was Petrol Bastard’s turn to hang up their boots. This was probably one of the most unique gigs I’ve ever been to, in the sense it was insanely bizarre, yet hilarious. It was sad to see them go, as in a scene that’s usually so dark and serious, it was nice to see something fun and comical for a change. The finale of the year for Beat:Cancer was a biggie, as for the first time, they hosted a full-on one day festival. It was a brilliant day filled with incredible bands, including Jensen, St. Lucifer, Bitman, Def Neon, Memmaker, ESA and The Gothsicles. Not a single act on the bill disappointed, and all delivered highly energetic sets that the crowd couldn’t stop moving to. Personal highlights for me had to be Bitman’s chip-tune/dance style cover/remix of Queen’s ‘Radio Gaga’, as well as Def Neon and The Gothsicles’ absolutely electrifying sets. Best of all, the charity raised over £4000 this year alone. A fantastic note to end the year on, and here’s to another strong year for Beat:Cancer next year!
5: Gorillaz – Humanz World Tour (Birmingham)
I’d been waiting to see this band live for years, and when they ‘disbanded’ after releasing The Fall, I thought I’d lost my chance of ever seeing them. However, with their resurgence, and the release of the excellent Humanz (check out the album review here), I jumped at the chance to see them on this tour. It was worth every second, and so much more than I imagined it ever would be. Their presence was astounding, and the atmosphere of the venue was incredibly vibrant. What I loved, was the fact that they played through a ton of their older material, and tracks of the latest album didn’t even come into the set until around the second third of the set! Not that the new tracks were bad (they’re all brilliant), but it was a really nice surprise. In terms of presentation, there was a huge screen projecting videos behind the band, which worked really effectively. Even more-so, considering most the band were shrouded in dim light, with the exception of guest singers and Damon Albarn. It really helped highlight the ‘virtual’ nature of the band, especially when they played the music videos of certain classics to the live song. I would have loved to have seen a holographic style performance akin to the one used for ‘Feel Good Inc.’ at the MTV music awards many years ago, but I understand that a production like that would cost an enormous fortune, so can let it slide. Quite frankly, and realistically, it didn’t need that at all, it was perfect just the way it was.
4: Skinny Puppy – Down The SocioPath Tour (London)
Yet another act that I’d been waiting years to see, and didn’t disappoint! Having missed out a few years before, pioneers of the Industrial scene, Skinny Puppy, embarked on a short tour, including a date in London. Needless to say, the 35 years of experience the band have truly showed tonight, as it was not only an amazing show, but probably one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. Their set comprised of their earlier material, playing nothing beyond 1996’s The Process, with the exception of ‘Village‘, which surprisingly worked amongst the torrent of older tracks! Iconic tracks such as ‘Tin Omen‘, ‘Worlock‘ and ‘Assimilate‘, the latter of which closed the main set perfectly, were all played, amongst many others. Being known to put on a true performance, Skinny Puppy proved to still have that executed to perfection too. The band arrived on stage to a haunting ambience, with Ogre being the last to take the stage, dressed in robes and some sort of animal mask. He spent the set being tormented by a hostile figure, dressed in a mechanical, demonic looking mask with glowing red eyes. At the very start he tore Ogre’s robes off, and took off his mask, revealing him to be in a decaying mummy-like outfit. Throughout the set, he kept on attaching syringes to him, with Ogre ‘injecting’ them into himself, and the blood effect seeping through the white of this clothes. As the set went on, he became more compliant, and eventually allowed it to happen unperturbed. It was highly theatrical, and the aesthetic added another layer of atmosphere and wow-factor to the show. The entire thing not only surpassed my expectations, it blew them out of the water. It was well worth the long wait! Check out the original gig review here.
3: The Birthday Massacre – Under Your Spell Tour (Wolverhampton)
It probably comes as no shock to anyone who knows me that these guys are on the list, but I’m sure some of you expected this to be my number 1. Whilst this isn’t my number 1 event of the year overall, it certainly was the best stand-alone gig I did this year! What can be said really? The Birthday Massacre’s music is incredible, spellbinding and beautifully haunting. Translating this into a live environment results in something that is truly special, and an absolute joy to attend. Another great thing about this tour was the fact that it was in support of their most recent release, Under Your Spell (check out the album review here), which is not only an incredible album, but definitely their best. So to see some of these tracks performed live (especially ‘Endless’) truly was something else! Of course, a performance is nothing without presence, and luckily The Birthday Massacre excel at this. Not just because they constantly interact with the crowd, but because they are genuinely such genuinely wonderful people. The Slade Rooms was a surprisingly small choice of venue, considering the band have packed-out larger ones in the past, but the more intimate setting only enhanced the atmosphere further, even if it did become a sauna by the end. My only regret was that I didn’t attend more gigs on this tour, as I would have loved to have seen them more than once. It makes this show no less special however, and they only keep getting better every time I see them. I can’t wait until the next one!
2: Infest Festival
Once again, Infest finds itself on my list. This festival is always a fantastic weekend, because it doesn’t feel like any other. I’ll always go on about it being like a Goth version of a freshers weekend, or Goth Summer Camp, because of it being held within Bradford University (including accommodation.) What results is one massive party all weekend long with some of the best people I know. Sadly, we lost a couple of wonderful people this year, and their absence was truly felt. It did get a bit emotional at times, but we partied on in their honour! As for bands, there were some great additions, such as Accessory, iVardnesphere, Empathy Test, Vampyre Anvil, Among The Echoes and Die Krupps (who I was seeing for the second time this year), all of which were definite highlights. There were some stunning performances, and I couldn’t rush to the merch stand quick enough after seeing Empathy Test! However, as I said, some of the best people I know end up here, which is what truly makes Infest so wonderful. For the social experience and after-parties, Infest is off the charts! If you’re after a weekend with great bands, a fantastic atmosphere and amazing people, then Infest is for you. 2018 marks the festival’s 20th anniversary too, so I’m really excited to see what they pull-off! Check out the highlights from this year’s Infest on the EoE YouTube channel here.
1: Amphi Festival
You may remember that I’d previously gone to Amphi back in 2015, and this was the year where they moved the venue to Lanxess Arena. Attendees complained about it not being as good as the old venue, saying the change was awful, but I didn’t see the why, as it was my first ever German festival. After attending this year, I completely get the complaints. As of last year (which I sadly missed), it was moved back to it’s original venue, the Tanzbrunnen, where it has stayed ever since. As soon as I stepped foot into the Tanzbrunnen, I was absolutely captivated. It’s spectacular, and the perfect place to host such a festival, the atmosphere of the place cannot be described in words alone. Plus the weather was fantastic for the majority of the weekend, it only rained once for about five minutes, unlike some other festival I may have mentioned earlier. Not only was it a spectacular venue, but the bands also put on spectacular performances throughout the weekend. I honestly cannot think of a single act that disappointed me. Among these brilliant shows were Eisfabrik, Chrom, Die Krupps, Diorama, Hocico and Apoptygma Berzerk, making for a great variety of Industrial/EBM goodness. I have to say though, without a shadow of doubt, the best band of the weekend had to be German Industrial Metal titans Eisbrecher! Their set was electrifying from start to finish, and absolutely flawless. They’re easily one of the best bands I’ve ever seen, and were worth the ticket price alone. I’ll even go as far as saying they’re a much better festival band than Rammstein are! It was the perfect finale to an incredible weekend. Of course, a festival is nothing without friends, and it was great to hang out with friends old and new throughout the course of the weekend. Plus they may have introduced me to cherry mead slushies, which is now probably my new favourite alcoholic beverage. My wallet is sure gonna need help when I return next year… but it’ll totally be worth it! Check out the Amphi highlight reel right here.