Orange Goblin: Bristol, Bierkeller
After the disappointment the previous evening at the O2 Academy watching a below par Fish, order was restored to the galaxy with the mighty Orange Goblin the following evening. Few bands are as consistently excellent in the live arena as Ben Ward and his crew, and my third viewing of the band this year proved to be no exception.
First up was South Wales outfit Lifer (6) who delivered a meaty half hour of sludge driven stoner rock. I’ve seen these guys a couple of times and they work hard. I’m not a huge fan of their particular sound and their songs are pretty routine but they got a decent reception from the faithful who had gathered in front of the stage.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing Gentleman’s Pistols (7) for a while now. With their excellent third release Hustler’s Row still fresh in the memory, the band has three long players worth of material to choose from and gave us a decent selection from the new release, At Her Majesty’s Pleasure and their self-titled debut. A real raw rock ‘n’ roll sound got the crowd moving, with Blind Haze bassist Rob Threapleton slotting in comfortably alongside energetic frontman James Atkinson, lead guitarist Bill Steer and drummer Stuart Dobbins. Steer looked relaxed and comfortable in his role, far removed from the death overtures of his usual gig with Carcass, whilst Threapleton didn’t stop grinning. However, Atkinson is the focal point with his energy and gritty voice which fits the band’s sound perfectly. Good stuff.
Bang on time the strains of AC/DC blasted through the PA, the lights dimmed and the crowd shuffled in excited anticipation. The last time I saw Orange Goblin (9) was in a warm field at Bloodstock where the band put in a performance which stole the entire weekend. In a headline setting, they are allowed the opportunity to flex their muscles a little more and we were treated to a range of material from their back catalogue, as you would expect on their 20th anniversary tour. Ben Ward dominates the stage purely due to his stature. The man is an absolute giant but what a nice guy. He constantly cajoles and encourages, generating a solid and enthusiastic response from the mob in front of him. Yet it is the rest of the band that allow Ward to deliver, with guitarist Joe Hoare and bassist Martyn Millard flanking Ward and laying down the riffage in fine style. Chris Turner’s excellent drumming cemented the sound.
So what do you get at a 20th anniversary Orange Goblin gig? Well, basically, some of the best metal tunes around. The Filthy And The Few? Check. A trip back in time with Sauraman’s Wish and the brilliant Magic Carpet? Oh yeah. Throw in a decent selection from the more recent releases, such as The Devil's Whip, The Fog and a stomping Heavy Lies The Crown all got heads banging. Made Of Rats and Some You Win were both excellent and encouraged further movement on the floor including a ridiculous wall of death which had the punters on the periphery (us included) laughing hard. The band closed their main set with Time Traveller Blues to a massive ovation before the three song encore which cemented Goblin’s reputation as one of the best live bands in the UK and indeed the World. A huge Scorpionica, the bluesy Quincy The Pig Boy and finally the brutal Red Tide Rising closed the evening and all around fans were beaming with enjoyment and a brilliant end to the week. There is no better Friday evening than this. At a time when I’m considering my live music choices more carefully than ever, Orange Goblin will always get my cash for their live work. Always brilliant, never disappointing. Fucking ‘A’.