Of all the adolescent rites of passage NME remembers from its unkempt youth, bearing witness to the opening riff of Slayer’s metaltastic ‘Angel Of Death’ made the most significant impact. More exciting than clumsy sexual fumblings at the local park and more enlightening than early dalliances with cheap and cheerful narcotics, it was that first colossal crunch that left the most indelible of stains on our young rocker hearts. Tonight sweaty acolytes will feel a similar rush on several occasions, and soak in the dark delightful decadence of beer-sodden, life-affirming, rock-and-fuckin’-roll. This three-way fuck of a rock tour proves, beyond doubt, that while London’s burning, the rest of the country is busy rocking. And hard.
Young Geordie guitar wranglers Yourcodenameis:milo take to the stage first and proceed to peddle a raucous three-pronged guitar onslaught that leaves the crowd salivating drizzly pools of feverish froth. ‘All Roads To Fault’ opens the set, veering from whacked-out Fugazi jerkiness to Pixie-paranoia, before culminating in a creeping stoner rock rumble that aptly demonstrates the scope and vision this quintet possess. The world is theirs for the taking.
Bath’s X Is Loaded might struggle to up the ante after such a barnstorming performance by the Newcastle noise titans,
if they weren’t also adept at tooling themselves up with the sleaziest of bar-room-brawl riffs and speeding the onset of tinnitus. Loaded mainman Jake Robertson climbs the venue’s infrastructure like a brain-damaged chimpanzee before battering the shit out of his band’s collection of hard-rocking R&B metal. They sound like Status Quo fighting for their lives in a cauldron of Lemmy’s blood and spunk. And if that doesn’t sound good to you, then Keane are waiting a few miles up the coast at AORdrossan, sir.
Within seconds of Million Dead taking the stage, it becomes clear to the population of the room that they are the best band in the world tonight. It’s not just the fact that they sound like Minor Threat with a doctorate in soul surgery, managing to wring the most heartwrenching of sentiments from their taut athletic melodies, or the fact that singer Frank Turner looks like Jesus if he’d been brought into existence in a socially aware punk squat rather than a stinky old barn. It’s the fact that they rock with a desperation and sabre-toothed tenacity that suggests these people could do nothing but do what they do. Million Dead make NME want to sell its soul to Beelzebub himself and give praise for the power of the great white noise – and if we hadn’t already been short-changed for a dog-eared copy of Motörhead’s ‘Bomber’ and a few scratched Carcass 45s then it surely would. Instead, NME opts for tattooing Million Dead’s
ultra-metal flying eagle logo on its heart and contemplating purchasing a flying-V guitar and a studded belt. Now where’s that copy of ‘Reign In Blood’?