Tuesday, December 02, 2008

“Is that all you’ve got?”

Could those words be Gallows' equivalent of the famous Sex Pistols question: "Ever get the feelin' you've been cheated?" But hopefully this doesn't signal the end of the group that has so re-energized my interest in gig-going.

Frank Carter sounds pissed off and he spits out the words. He forcefully throws down his mic, the thud of it hitting the stage booming through the sound system, and he leaps on to the floor and into the circle pit that he is so disappointed by. He had asked for the biggest circle pit possible, but clearly this was too small or too tame. He was gonna mix it up a bit.

We are just over halfway through Gallows' set at the Macbeth pub in London's East End, and this is the first of two special "East End Invasion" pre-Christmas gigs sponsored by Atticus clothing. Apparently the gigs are also something of a warm-up before the recording of the vocals begins next Monday for the new album. This task has been put on hold after Frank fucked up his throat and was told to rest it a few weeks back.

After buying a limited-edition print and a T-shirt at the venue, Red and I chat with some familiar faces, such as Paul, Dim, Steve, Donna, Weene, Linda, Mark, Geoff, Robbie, and Jak (and meet a couple of new ones, Pat and, later, Dan). We all have our excited faces on. This pair of gigs are the first Gallows shows since August, and both sold out within 10 minutes. As the kick-off time of 9pm draws closer, those brave enough (or should that be young enough?) head towards the front of the crowded venue (capacity about 150-170).

The band take their positions, and it quickly becomes clear that our vantage point is a bit shite. [That said, it's no worse than the "gig of the year 1995" of PJ Harvey and Tricky. Both are total dwarfs, and I could barely see a thing that night.] Nevertheless, I'm here for the music, and while it's great to see the band too, sometimes that just ain't possible.

They kick off with the recent, download-only 60-second-long "Gold Dust", to which most in the crowd seem to know all the words. This is a great high-octane start to the evening. (Grab your copy of this track for free over at Gallows' MySpace.) And with very little ado, they then head straight into the classic "Abandon Ship".

This early on, it's clear that at the very least we are gonna get reasonable views of Frank, even if we can't see much of the rest of the band -- hence my pictures being pretty much of Frank only. During the course of "Abandon Ship", he makes his way, via the bar and some vertical ceiling supports, to the mixing-desk area right beside my head.

The awesome "Kill the Rhythm" follows, then we get two more new songs -- "London Is the Reason" and "I Dread the Night" -- in a 15-song set that actually boasts more new songs than old.

Frank advises us that he wants to see carnage. He wants us to "be able to tell your bastard offspring that you stage-dived from the bar of the Macbeth. I'll be checking Facebook tomorrow to see how many say they did," he says, before adding, "Well, Lags will. I don't have a Facebook account." Apparently they shut his down, though one is left to guess quite why.

During the course of the evening, while halfway up one of the ceiling props, a few voices start chanting "Spider-Man, Spider-Man, does whatever a spider can." Frank tells us that he's "fitter than him. He's old and fat." Personally I always thought Tobey Maguire was in good shape. Clearly, there's no hope for me in the cruel, fattist world of rock 'n' roll!

New and old songs continue well mixed throughout, though it's hard to remember quite how some of the new ones go. I do remember an instrumental, but maybe it had no words cos Frank was busy dry heaving and "puking up acid". I thank the maker for my limited POV. During one of these new tracks, though, the refrain "I know where you live!" makes a frequent appearance.

At some point, bassist Stu Gili-Ross is crowd-surfing, bass in hand. I could swear I hear a thud as the head of the instrument thwacks against one of the room's uprights. I'm sure that did it some good! Lags seems to have learned his lesson at the Underworld in August, where, after a crowd-surf-with-guitar, he admitted it hadn't been a good idea.

I'm glad to hear "Sick of Feeling Sick" and "Black Heart Queen", which are fast becoming two of my favourite Gallows tracks, while "Come Friendly Bombs" and "In the Belly of a Shark" are also always a pleasure.

For the last song, we are told Frank doesn't want to sing. We are to do the honours instead. We know what song it's gonna be: album closer and gig closer "Orchestra of Wolves". We do as we are told, and Frank "treats" us to a microphone masturbation on the top of the bar for the lines leading up to and including "while you're washing my cum off your fuckin' face". The young girl and her boyfriend beside me are singing along with just as much enthusiasm as I am.

There's one question the audience certainly can't put to Gallows tonight: "Is that all you've got?"

Gold Dust
Abandon Ship
Kill the Rhythm
London Is the Reason
I Dread the Night
Come Friendly Bombs
Mama's Kettle
In the Belly of a Shark
Sick of Feeling Sick
Car Chase
Black Heart Queen
Suicide Goals
Orchestra of Wolves.

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Blogger furiousBall said...

looks like a blast! i need to go to a small show like this sometime soon

02 December, 2008 15:23  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Hmmm interestig. I think it sounds like fun...but maybe Gallows is wearing out. They need a break? It's scary when they are judging the crowd.

I love the pictures and I'm so glad to see you posting. I've been a bit away from blogging lately too...but good to catch up. Meanwhile I helped a friend here in Chicago set up a book blog (called Cat Trampled) and of course I linked you and Red's blog to her page...I hope you might get a chance to say howdy to her...



02 December, 2008 18:00  
Blogger Cynnie said...

arent you cute with your little man crush?

I wish i liked anything as much as you lurve you some gallows .

02 December, 2008 19:05  
Blogger Red said...

Thwack is a good word.

Cynnie, you're spot on! Last night we were having a bite to eat before yet another Gallows gig, and it turns out the lead singer of the band was in the restaurant too. Asterisk spent more time checking him out than gazing into my eyes. On our month-iversary too, too!

03 December, 2008 06:58  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

You girls are funny! And I didn't even know Frank was in that restaurant until he was leaving.

It's 9 am on the day after two gigs, and my ears are still fucking ringing, man

03 December, 2008 09:02  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Candy: I'd say less judging, more encouraging :)

It's been a slow time for blogging, but I'm gonna try to step it up a bit. I'll check out your buddy, too.

03 December, 2008 10:06  
Blogger Milla said...

This review is so detailed that once I've read it I was surprised to find myself at work and not at the gig itself!
Very nice; I wish I could write like that about gigs :)

03 December, 2008 13:09  

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