Free Gallows gig!
It was a strange affair (apart from the gig element), since almost nobody seemed to see a copy of the magazine being launched. The magazine is called Relentless, launched by the producer of the energy drink of the same name, which in turn is owned by Satan. Sorry, I mean Coca-Cola.
We arrived at about 9pm and after grabbing a couple of waters from the free bar (yep, free bar!), we set about looking for the cloakroom. There wasn't one. Um, okay... So we each kept hold of our drinks and coats. Great. We looked around, admired the venue, and then I saw one of the guys from the forum. Bazza is the father of drummer Lee.
Now, you, dear reader, know me: nobody sees my face online. So when I gave a one-finger salute to Bazza (no, not that kind of one-finger salute), I was aware that he would have bugger-all idea who I was. But he made his way over and I introduced myself and Red. It was the first of several forum MIRLs of the evening. We chatted for a wee while before the show, and he introduced us to another forum user and her hubby: the parents of lead guitarist Lags. It's so cool that the bands' folks go the gigs, I think. When I was in a band, way back when, my parents came to two or three gigs we did.
Not only were there no cloakrooms, there was no air conditioning or any fans of any sort either. And it was hot as fuck in there. So as the appointed kick-off time of 10pm approached, we thought we'd grab a little fresh air outside. Haha, we'd not counted on the fresh air being cigarette flavoured, cos of course smokers couldn't light up inside. One of the bouncers told us we could go outside the main gate as long as our stamps were still visible on our hands. It was much less smoky there.
We chit-chatted like you do, and I looked to see if I could spot any other faces from the forum, but most people's avatars are so tiny that it was difficult to be certain of anyone. Meanwhile, people came and went through the gate. One of the bouncers seemed a tad militant about who was coming and going. "He takes his job very seriously," I mockingly said to the wife.
We headed back in, flashing our stamps twice on the 10-metre journey. We headed toward the stage and the guys were just getting ready to start playing. I noticed at least one bouncer in front of the stage. "Oh, that's not going to go down well," I thought. I may have even said it out loud, but I can't remember now.
Gallows don't like crowd control. They like small venues where the audience and band can merge more or less at will. Stage diving is part of the show. Band members getting in among the crowd is part of the show. It's a big fucking party atmosphere.
They launch into "Come Friendly Bombs". I'm not fully aware what's going on yet, but within 30 seconds or so the band is stopping and telling the bouncer to fuck off and that he's been a prick all evening. They announce to the crowd that he has been trying to score coke off them all afternoon, and they "don't even do coke". Singer Frank says he'll be back in two minutes and off he goes, presumably with the bouncer, though I don't see.
When he returns he tells us that we can now be in charge of ourselves and have a good time. At this point I see he's bleeding from his forehead and a bruise is coming up on his cheek. I don't know at this point where these wounds have come from, but I read later online that he did it himself with the microphone.
Back into "Come Friendly Bombs" we go. From the top, as one might say. The lines about "black knuckles and broken teeth" and how people "wanna kick my fuckin' head in just to feel alive" seem horribly appropriate.
As does the title of the next song, the new "Black Eyes", if that indeed should wind up being its actual title. The next new song follows before we crash into the ever-awesome "Rolling With The Punches", which is one of my personal favourites.
The new song "Love Leeches" (formerly known, perhaps jokingly, as "Swedophile") follows.
By now, Frank's back is scratched and bloody. He spent some time writhing on the floor of the stage. Clearly it was not a great surface for such antics. He's probably gonna be sore in the morning.
Despite having seen Gallows three times in the past three months, I'm getting some of the new songs mixed up. I find myself too much in the moment to pay the right amount of attention to which songs are which. Too much in the moment? Is that possible? Either way, I know that I enjoyed them all. I'm not sure which one, but one of them seemed to have a chorus that said "You're a bunch of cunts" over and over. How could I not like that one? Was it the one about the Catholic Church, or am I getting confused?
Next up was the classic "Abandon Ship", which seems to be the favourite of many, many fans. And not for nothing. It's so fucking sing-along-able!
Then new song "Botched" according to the setlist, though it may have been introduced as "London Is the Reason"; then "In the Belly of a Shark", which has been their opening gambit the previous two shows I've seen; then the grand finale: "Orchestra of Wolves".
Man, what a blast. The missus and I grab another couple of drinks and decide to try to catch up with some other forummers before heading home. There are only a couple who I definitely recognize, so I head over. From there, we are introduced to another couple. Everyone is really nice and friendly! We hang some more, then someone mentions we should say hey to drummer Lee.
We do, and a photo is taken. Then Frank comes out and we have a chat about the bouncer and some other stuff. Hey, I'm not the type to chat and tell!
We say our goodbyes and exchange details of which is the next Gallows gig we're going to. More MIRLing coming up, then.
We head off and...
... what's this? Oh yeah, a £60 parking fine. I guess there's no such thing as a free gig, no matter how great the evening had been.