Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The Agnostic Front, Norwich Arts Centre

Sitting in the pub pre-gig, gazing out of the window at the venue opposite, it's safe to say the Owl are feeling a little pensive.  As our metal correspondent has excitedly informed us, this is a hardcore gig.  And as Dewey Finn pointed out, you're not hardcore, unless you live hardcore. Clearly, the youths congregating outside the Arts Centre certainly look as if they abide by this rule religiously.  There are tattoos.  There are piercings.  There is leather and denim and Joey Barton hair cuts.  There is, in short, menace in the air.  And, seated around our table, the stories are doing the rounds.  Hardcore gigs are just an excuse to fight... A hardcore gig was recently abandoned after the fight spilled onto the stage...Anyone looking even remotely like an indie schmindie wallflower will be dealt with.  Severely... Ulp.
So it is with just a tinge of regret that we have to inform you that the gig was... OK.  There were circle pits, there was much jumping around and, from the Owl's position along the back wall, there was a fair deal of sweat and spittle in the air.  But what we got was a well-drilled band delivering rock n roll thrills amid the odd exhortation to "keep it real".  Well, we kept it real alright, and as the gig progressed, our thoughts turned to past events where life and limb were placed very much on the line...
  • T'Pau, Birmingham NEC.  As messrs Decker and Rodgers sang about cleaning up in the monkey house, one fan took his air-drumming to such frantic heights he almost blacked the Owl's eyes.  It gave us an early insight into the potential perils of the live arena.  To this day, the crazed fan still relives the gig in question, often breaking into an air-sax solo during "China In Your Hand" whilst sitting at traffic lights on the school run.
  • Oasis, Sheffield Arena.  At their first ever official big show, Liam Gallagher decides he's not happy at the number of people sitting up in the Gods, and invites fans to join him down the front, prompting many to ignore security and drop the fifteen feet from the seats down onto the floor.  Suffice to say, fewer people took him up on his offer when the Heathen Chemistry tour rolled into town.
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Glastonbury.  Despite there being 20,000 people between us and him, the Australian beelzebub still oozes violence, as he attempts to dismantle the stage armed only with a microphone and a death stare aimed solely in our direction.  To add to the surreal air, we are accompanied by an American friend who is clutching great fistfuls of Somerset soil and telling all who will listen that she is, in fact, a tree.  The famous Glastonbury vibe was particularly strong that year...
  • Rocket From The Crypt, Leeds Duchess of York.  During their chart-bothering, "On A Rope" days, the Crypt played an incendiary show at the legendary Yorkshire venue, prompting a Lowenbrau-fuelled Owl to make a rare excursion down the front.  We got knocked down, we got back up again, we got knocked down.  We also got, as a result of much drunken hammering on the band's dressing room door after the gig, what appeared to be a shit-stained towel "signed" by the band.  Thanks Speedo.  The towel still hangs, framed, on a wall of Owl HQ, a reminder of a truly heady evening.  
It's a crazy world people.  let's be careful out there.