Thursday 1st November, 2018
Review By: Pete Mutant
It had been three years since COC last graced Glasgow and I was there at the Garage, the home of tonight’s gig; I do love the Garage as a venue, as a club, not so much. First time I saw Meshuggah, WASP and Gojira’s 666th gig were all held here and hold fond memories for me so I was happy to be back. I’m not a fan of the club nights but the gigs are normally sensational. Was tonight going to be the same?
Along for the tour were a band that I had not seen before but I had heard grand things going into the event. Orange Goblin were a band that I had never really dedicated much time to in the past, but there was always a draw there, I just never acted upon the instinct to go down that rabbit hole. So tonight was going to be a bit of a mix of new and old sensations and I was in the right place for it.
Set times were a bit off so I walked up the stairs and into the main venue just in time to catch the last half of Orange Goblin’s [4.0/5] opener, ‘Sons Of Salem’. The Garage was packed, and I mean packed. All the way from the front to the back, bodies were tightly squeezed into the main hall as the music was blaring. They started with the opener for their latest album, ‘The Wolf Bites Back’, and went back to 2000’s ‘The Big Black’ for a tribute to Lemmy Kilmister in ‘Quincy The Pigboy’. Fast, simple but heavy and full of power; the energy from the band was palpable and was making its mark on the audience.
As we went back to the first album for ‘Saruman’s Wish’, the energy erupted from the crowd and the first pit spewed out with bodies flying into each other with amicable ferocity. The band seemed to be loving it and the big man himself, Ben Ward, was soaking up the love and giving it right back. He has a solid range and can switch from the cleaner vocals to the raspier growls with a savage ease. The band were able to shift the tempo with ease too and drive the crowd on and inspire plenty of movement. There was a bit of a resting point as some of the newer tracks were played and the crowd took a slight pause to catch their breath. It was a fairly short lived break as songs like ‘Acid Trial’ and ‘Made Of Rats’ catapulted the atmosphere into volcanic rebirth with the classic heavy metal class of the former and the crushing hardcoresque riff of the latter. The volatility of the audience was building and Ben Ward et al. were willing to capitalise.
Ben made a connection with Halloween the previous night and the penultimate track of their set in ’They Come Back’, and this would spurn on a big push to the finish. The crowd was then divided, split down the middle at the command of the giant frontman. A wall of death was demanded and the crowd (myself included) was more than willing to enact the command. I did think it was a rather strange band to have a wall of death but hey, that’s metal for you. The pits wouldn’t stop until Orange Goblin ended their set, which they did with the next and final track, ‘Red Tide Rising’. That was a high quality performance which had all the elements of a highly professional and likeable band. But it was just about time for the main event.
- Sons of Salem
- Quincy the Pigboy
- Saruman’s Wish
- The Wolf Bites Back
- Burn the Ships
- Acid Trial
- Made of Rats
- The Devil’s Whip
- They Come Back (Harvest of Skulls)
- Red Tide Rising
Corrosion Of Conformity [4.0/5] had a fairly new album out too in ‘No Cross No Crown’, which came out back in January this year, so the band were getting a chance to promote the album and give it its own acid test. The crowd was thick down the front and getting a cider was a mission, but it was needed after some of the pit action experienced during Orange Goblin’s set. ZZ Top blared loudly as the band made their entrance and the crowd shouted out a roar of approval. They opened up with the deep and sludgy heavy stuff in ‘Seven Days’ from all the way back in 1994. Most bands could have been excused for opening with some of the new stuff (I’m looking at you Orange Goblin).
We didn’t have to wait long though, as the next track was one of the newer ones and one of the band’s singles for the album in ‘The Luddite’. It was a hammer-on and pull-off paradise of a song and the onus was on heavy. There was something not right though, as the crowd seemed to be very lacklustre and I couldn’t really figure out why at the time. Compared to the energy levels during Orange Goblin, so far, there wasn’t much happening and it may have been affecting the band. Musically, everything was excellent as Pepper and Woody’s riffs were seismic, the drums were stomping and Mike Reed was up there in his own little world blaring out some tidy bass lines.
Things picked up a little as the band hit out with ‘Wiseblood’ and there were signs of sparks showing in the eyes of the crowd. That spark was getting brighter and brighter and edging closer and closer to a pile of highly combustible fuel as the set blazed on. It had to after all as Pepper mused about the curfew and how the garage turns into “a disco or something” straight after. They probably should have skipped ‘13 Angels’ at this point as the slow and bluesy track was counteracting the more uptempo gains they had made to this point. The lights were phenomenal though and it all became very atmospheric. Raw emotion delivered by a ten ton hammer, that’s what COC are all about.
Pepper was making that extra connection work to everyone’s favour and introduced ‘Vote For A Bullet’ by talking about how they were all just kids when they wrote it. And it was the game changer, the turning point, the straw that broke the camel’s back and we were all standing at the precipice ready to dive off. We had our first pit and a crowdsurfer was not far behind. By the end of the song the band could feel it too and Pepper shouted “don’t lose that!”. ‘A Wolf Named Crow’ was reaping the rewards of this shift; this much more recent track was well received by the crowd and everyone involved was now giving it all and getting into the spirit.
Unfortunately, just while the getting was really, really good, the set was drawing to a close as ‘Albatross’ was brought in by Pepper, laying down the riff and directing it at the crowd. The place was now fully buzzing and there was activity all over. A crowdsurfer was going the wrong way, which brought some laughs as the band played on. Sadly, it was time for the encore, a practice I loathe more than words can describe. Not the fact that we’re getting another song but the time wasted in walking off and back on; that’s basically a whole time slot for a song wasted, this shit needs to stop now! To their credit though, ‘Clean My Wounds’ is one of the best encores that you will get and it was sensationally delivered. The crowd was clapping to the rhythm, Pepper was playing right up against the Glasgow crowd and they were doing their ‘here we, here we, here we fucking go’ chant. It was all culminating into a fine climax to what has been an excellent evening.
The last few tracks really made the set and everyone went home satisfied after a slightly awkward start. COC always have it in their ranks to make a night and they found the right formula when it was needed to the benefit of all. Their new album got some exposure but it was the old school stuff which was the catalyst for propelling the set from where it began to where it ended. Looks like we’re all suckers for nostalgia, but eh, can we be blamed?
- La Grange
- Seven Days
- The Luddite
- Broken Man
- Forgive Me
- Who’s Got the Fire
- 13 Angels
- Diablo Blvd.
- Vote With a Bullet
- Wolf Named Crow