South of Heaven – Halloween Special 2010 @ Fox & Firkin by James Dunn

Photography by Altercarnated Photography

Every year the Fox and Firkin have a Halloween party, often referred to as the party of the year by its regulars. Stron horror themed with fancy dress with prizes to be won; it’s a great event to attend.
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This year they have decided to celebrate the night along side the regular Metal night “South of Heaven” featuring four Metal Bands and Four dance acts. As usual with the Halloween the Fox decked out on decorations accordingly and this year is no let down.

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On top of their recent Art Deco style renovation, the Fox has been completely covered in Cobwebs which although may seem a touch cliché; to this extent is just haunted obsession in its own favour. What really made me happy though were the classic Horror Movies played on the projector.

Starting with House of a Thousand Corpses, to Brain Dead, the Peter Jackson B-movie I haven’t seen since before it was banned over fifteen years ago.

Well it’s not even nine o’clock and the place is already rammed!

With Metal DJs already raising heart rates, the first Act is about to go on.

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Mordecai are a very bluesy band and I am not sure if I want to put them in the stoner genre but it feels a bit like they should be, they are definitely heavy enough but without the dark overtones from traditional metal. Two guitarists ( one who sings and fronts) who tastefully compliment each other, rather than following each other and making a thick mess I hear melodic lines following from the others rhythm. A bit of trash rock in places but slow enough and with the right groove to be blues metal. A very soulful voice, there’s too many bands who throw in growls and grunts these days, I prefer good music to be complimented by good vocals. A good nice relaxed way to start the events off, bring on more.
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Mekanizm; I have really been looking forward to seeing these guys as I have heard nothing but praise so I hope they don’t disappoint. They were on the bus with us following Brutai and Silas for the Essex Bloodstock gig. Seeing them on stage I now know why as Brutai’s Bass player Michael Crouchmen is playing bass for Mekanizm. All dressed in Mexican ponchos and sombreros with fake moustaches it makes me wonder what to expect especially from a band I have thought associated with Black Metal.
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This band are full of confidence and it is Halloween after all and everyone is dressed up and having fun. Definitely and immediately heavier and faster paced than the previous band.

A sea of moshers appear, sweeping in anyone around not dancing and encouraging them to bounce with them.

Mekanizm have really turned things up a notch and pushed the right buttons. Frontman Faust’s hard staccato vocals, with long drawn growls covering over the fast guitar solos and heavy riffs. The crowd are really going for it, 3 songs in and the mosh pit is only getting bigger. I am now aware of what I have missed in the past and would very much look forward to seeing this band again. Towards the end of their set they played a cover of Machine Head’s Davidian with Brutai’s Felix on guest Vocals which ended this set with the feel of a party well enjoyed.

Two of Four bands in and its time for the Dance acts.

After the expend of energy from the amazing performances of Mordecai and Mekanizm, a sit back and enjoy is needed to replenish.

Bride of Bloodshed is first up, a familiar face that I have enjoyed watching here at this venue previously. Tonight the Bride is dressed as a Gothic zombie cheerleader Rah-Rahing to the Wednesday-13 track “Bad things”. Dancing in and off stage interacting with the crowd and in finale, no Bride of Bloodshed act would be complete without a healthy or “Un-Healthy” dose of fake blood, covering herself and the majority of the front row watching her.

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To quote the Bride “If you can’t find me, just look for the girl covered in the most blood”.

A fantastic act which the audience loved!

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Amy Morgan & Zoe G Powell kick off with a few nonsensical vocals from Amy while Zoe dances in time to an industrial soundtrack.
Adorned in ripped bridal dresses showing off their feminine curves the whole act is very alluring.

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Their style is almost zombie like and toward the end they are joined by a mysterious robed man in black (Shawn). Unfortunately the Dances have been a little brief but it is hardly surprising with so much on tonight.

I would like to point out at this juncture and perhaps being split between the four dance acts is quite apt. The word burlesque is modernly associated with striptease though the word burlesque is synonymous with humour.

All four of the Dance acts can be classed as burlesque but it is up to yourselves and the artists themselves whether they want to be put into that genre.

Having said that, the next act is more the American/Parisian style of burlesque, yes, meaning striptease.

Celestia Knight; Dressed in a black corset adorned with a large bow, bright red hair with tassels around her waist to match makes it fairly obvious what sort of performance we about to witness which brings a curious crowd forward, drooling with anticipation.

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A tasteful gothabilly soundtrack sets a slow pace for the sensual movements and the removal of a few lower garments to reveal a stunning figure. With some tasteful fire swallowing, some teasing with undoing her corset before completely removing it to reveal heart shaped nipple tassels, it was no surprise the audience were captivated.

Her act was almost finished when the fire alarm goes off from a remaining fire stick, fortunately it didn’t ruin anything or cut it short and the applause was great!

Last of the dance acts were Lucy longlegs.
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Coming out on stage in a cut out chauffeur driven car to the backing track of ‘God Save The Queen. The car then crashes and the music changes to ‘Candle in the Wind’.

The reference here is quite clear and there are a few grunts of distaste from the audience, but most of the audience were laughing at the humour & the over the top acting.

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Lucy is dressed in more of a white Marilyn Monroe outfit, which of course is who the song was originally written for. With cuts and bruises on her body and completed by a tiara, the music changes again and she proceeds to pull out her own Guts!

Removing her dress she then sadistically whips the still twitching chauffeur laying on the floor and finally removing her bra to show her tassel covered curves while emptying the remains of her innards from her hand bag.

Im not sure the audience knew what to make of this performance with some laughing & some clearly in shock.

Sons of Merrick were the next band on.

I have know this band for a while, although unfortunately I have not seen them play for longer than I care to admit. But just as tight as I remember, this fast paced blues metal/ stoner band impress.

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High fuelled with great catchy hooks, there is no doubt that a bigger band has a bigger sound when done tastefully, yet there is also nothing like stripping a band down to its essentials.

As a four piece band, Sons of Merrick show us just that with each member doing their own job to its fullest.

It’s been a long night and although Sons of Merrick have a large a crowd the energy seems to be dwindling.Their groove driven riffs manage to keep heads bobbing and bodies swaying, let’s hope everyone has enough to give for the final act.

Having spoken with quite a few people here tonight it is very apparent that Snakebite have brought a large following with them. Following suit from Mekanizm, Snakebite have also dressed up. A skeleton, a devil and fronted by a gingerbread man with phantom of the opera on drums. It is easy to see why so many people have come to watch Snakebite as they are extremely tight and offer the kind of heavy music we were once graced with by bands such as Pantera, the kind of technical music that isn’t too over indulgent and that so few bands are willing to attempt. The crowd must have been saving themselves for this one as it has gotten even larger and the energy for dancing has fully returned!
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The energy was great and the crowd were happy.

Towards the end of the night having the last band packed up people still wanted more and we happily still drinking. Fortunately the DJs are still pumping out classic Metal to fill the dance floor once again. I have heard no complaints about tonight and I believe everyone is leaving satisfied and the Fox’s reputation for a kick-ass Halloween party is left in tact.
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Until next year, I know there will be plenty more of South of Heaven nights, Burlesque and countless other entertaining events to keep us all going and we shall be there!

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