Life could be worse. There’s been some salacious festival additions, the sun is (still) shining and you know that, no matter how utterly shit your life gets, you’ll never experience awkwardness quite like Robert Downey Jr. walking out of your interview. Oh, and there’s some brilliant gigs on this week too.
And So I Watch You From Afar: Glasgow, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Tuesday 28th April Much like fellow instrumentalists Animals As Leaders (but a tad less widdly), And So I Watch You From Afar have been weaving intricate melodies with gruelling, thoroughly unpleasant passages of heaviness for some time now. They’re Trent Reznor approved and a fourth album, Heirs, is imminent – just don’t bring Slash to the gig, he probably won’t like it.
**Iceage: **Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach, Wednesday 29th April The notion of ‘punk’ is somewhat watered down nowadays; every snotty teenager thinks learning three chords and grimacing earns them membership in the anarchic elite. We’ll never have another Sex Pistols, Ramones or Black Flag, but Danish noisemeisters Iceage combine the loose, feckless abandon of yore with post-hardcore trappings and it’s bloody horrible. In the best possible way.
While She Sleeps & Cancer Bats: Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle University Student Union, Tuesday 28th April Oh, it’s only the UK’s most promising metal act since Bring Me The Horizon touring with one of the most savage live bands in recent memory. Sick Note Skivers Exposed is on Channel Five as well, though – can’t miss that. Guess you’ll just have to opt for a quiet one and pass up on an evening of circular movement, sweating hordes and the loudest, utterly incomprehensible sing along ever in the form of Hail Destroyer. Oh well. Hell’s Kitchen is on, too.
Beholder: Birmingham, O2 Academy 3, Saturday 2nd May Lobbing thrash metal and political spite into a very tentative Petri dish, Beholder’s sole aim is to crush your head underneath their collective boot and make you feel their rage. Vocalist Simon Hall is a tattooed Gimli jacked up on a speedball of hatred, contempt and other synonyms for general dislike of things as he roars his way over riff after riff after motherfucking riff.
Dr. Feelgood: Brighton, Concorde 2, Saturday 2nd May No Dr. Feelgood, no punk. Pretty simple, really. While Wilko Johnson has long since flown the nest and now bashes the living piss out of his guitar under his own name – Dr. Feelgood now comprises no original members – passing up the opportunity to see these genuinely iconic tracks played live would be, well, monumentally silly.
Sonata Arctica: Islington, O2 Academy, Friday 1st May Power metal is stupendously uncool and that’s why we love it. Sonata Arctica just do not care what you think of them – you can’t take yourself too seriously when you’re playing keytar – and it makes for some of the most thought-provoking, irresistibly cheesy slabs of escapism this side of your Game Of Thrones boxset.
Mojo Fury: Belfast, Limelight 2, Sunday 3rd May God, Mojo Fury are great. Having just as much in common with Muse as they do with Nine Inch Nails circa With Teeth, this Northern Irish trio prove that a simple riff is never really that simple, contorting and shooting it into some angular goalpost two miles from where they started.
Walpurgis Night IV: Galway, The Loft, Sunday 3rd May Walpurgus Night is the infamous eve when witches convene and say spooky things like: ‘Well, I can do next Tuesday’, so it only seems appropriate to celebrate with a slew of equally beastly bands. The wonderfully morbid Wizards Of Firetop Mountain top the bill; hardcore is represented through Psychopigs, while Twisted Wrath ensure that thrash metal is shoehorned in there somewhere. There’s also a group called Ten Ton Slug, who aren’t a Machine Head cover band.