Last Thursday, The Purple Turtle in London's infamous Camden held what is likely to be the most fun headlining show I've seen this year. Cannabis Corpse, fresh off the back of the resoundingly well received Beneath Grow Lights Thou Shalt Rise, (released earlier this year and reviewed by us here), played their first London show in a long while. Eighteen months by my calculations.
Arriving halfway through Cavity Search's set, I began to wish I'd stayed home a little bit longer. Even the ten minute wait to get into the venue seemed like much more fun than this band. Not that there was anything massively wrong with them musically (apart from being distinctly average) but as a band, something didn't sit quite right with me. There was no cohesion, no interaction and their bassist looked as though he'd been plucked off the street to fill in for a missing member.
Dealing in mediocre and generic grind, they blasted through as many tracks as humanly possible in a twenty minute support slot. I spent a lot of the time they were on stage looking at my watch and wishing it was over. Not a good start to what should have been a fantastic evening.
Necroriser were up next specialising in straight up death/thrash and riffs galore. They were a delight to watch, clearly revelling in the crowd reaction and on top form. This tight three piece ploughed through their set list with aplomb, working the crowd to their advantage and eliciting the first real headbanging of the evening. Necroriser aren't doing anything particularly mind-blowing with their music, but they do it with such style and passion that they'll certainly be a band to keep your ears on.
Then Astrohenge arrived on the stage. I've seen this band's name bandied about a fair bit in local terms. They seem to playing a show almost every week at the moment and I was interested in finally getting to check them out. I wasn't disappointed with their live show, but I did come away thinking I wanted "more" from them. Not more time, but something seemed to be missing for me. The band certainly seemed stoked to be there, but not having a vocalist or even a guy asking "how you all doing tonight ?!" took away some all important crowd interaction. Some bands can get away with that, but not Astrohenge. Stage presence is definitely something these guys need to work on. Musically, they encompass a little psychedelia, a bit of sludge, some electronic madness. It's all a bit much to take in at times, and when you finally find a groove to get into, it all but disappears within the following thirty seconds. There's some excellent stuff to be found, but it's hard work getting there.
And so. The main event. What we've all been waiting for ! Cannabis Corpse. From the moment they hit the stage, there was mosh pitting, headbanging, and more falling down than you can shake a stick at. It was glorious. And so much fun. Cannabis Corpse proving that no matter what the detractors say, they are an insanely good live band, with the tunes to back it up, showing that this is a band to take seriously regardless of their lyrical content.
Bashing through "Mummified In Bong Water," "Fucked With Northern Lights" and a personal favourite "Blunted At Birth" frontman Andy "Weedgrinder" Horn built up an excellent rapport with his crowd, coming across as a genuinely ace guy who gave a crap. The on stage banter and song introductions worth the admission price alone.
I love seeing bands live, and it's even better when you know they're enjoying the show as much as you, it's written on their faces and it's felt through the music. The gathered mass so into the show that crowd surfing was taking place over chasms in the pit and a fellow attendee lost his specs three times. Wild.
The night ended on "I Will Smoke You" and if it wasn't for a strictly enforced curfew, I'm sure everyone involved would have carried on until the break of dawn. Alas, British show times are quite different. All that was left was to stumble forth red-eyed into the cold and wet night.
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