The Alma Inn September Showcase 2019
The Alma Inn, Bolton – 28/09/2019
Review by Beth Jones
There is simply no better way to spend a wet and dreary late September day than listening to live music in a pub full of people. The Alma Inn September Showcase took place in these very conditions – the really fine rain that gets you properly wet was falling when we arrived, and we were glad to get in and grab a pint, sadly not an alcoholic one for me – I was driving, and settle in for another nine bands from the thriving underground metal scene. The line-up was more eclectic than the last showcase we attended, and two of the names on the bill were household regulars for us – Thrashatouille and Scars Of Remembrance, who we always look forward to seeing, however we were also eager to see some new names, and the day was to start with one of these.
This young band from Leeds were here to start the day off in style, and they did just that! Calling their style ‘progressive spooky filth’, they whipped up the crowd with their lively and bouncy tunes that were perfectly fitting for their hyperactive charisma. I would say they were a great example of classic heavy metal, with a more modern and progressive twist. Their look and youthful exuberance took me back to the Bohemian Rhapsody scene in Wayne’s World and this made me happy. They are all extremely talented musicians too, and reading their bio on Facebook, I have learnt that they released an EP in 2018, and are currently working on their album, which I shall very much look forward to hearing! What a great way to start the day! Well done lads – four thumbs up from me and Rick!
We have seen these guys on a number of occasions now, and they are always dependable for a tight, but bonkers, food-based show and this performance was no exception. Front man Rob Sutton pulls some of the best faces ever, as he describes to us, through the medium of song, the pain of brain freeze, explosive chilli shits, and his love for red velvet cake. All this is backed up by the rest of the motley chefs, adorned in their chefs’ whites and crunching out banging tunes, which makes for a wonderfully nuts image to behold! I recently reviewed their EP “Rise Of The Bludgeonaise”(read it here: https://ever-metal.com/2019/06/21/thrashatouille-rise-of-the-bludgeonaise-ep/) and I can confidently say they are the same bonkers foodies on stage as they are on recording, and should definitely be a staple in any metalhead’s diet, and even if you don’t like their music, which I very much doubt, it is always immensely pleasurable to watch Rob smash a Red Velvet cake into his face at the end of their set!! Tasty!!
Next up were Blood Church, a blackened death metal outfit from Telford, who we knew of, but had not seen before. They have obviously thought a lot about their look and it is dramatic; Full corpse paint, and blood capsules made their genre instantly recognizable even before they had started playing! Thankfully their music lived up to their look, it was dark and doomy in places, but not dirgy, which was good. They took us through a 30-minute set of chunky, down tuned, roaring tracks which ate into your soul in a pleasurable way! Having spoken to front man Chris Thomas before the gig, it was quite amazing to see the transformation on stage – from a mild mannered and unassuming gent, to a crazed maniac fuelled by carnal rage, savagely emitting guttural roars and screams! I think he was possessed by the ram’s skull effigy with light up eyes that adorned the front of the stage! They were finalists in this year’s West Midlands M2TM and it is easy to see why they made it that far – they put on a very good show and we really enjoyed it!
Today, They Are Older
Today, They Are Older – mathematically correct, but the name didn’t give us many clues as to what they were about! We found out pretty quickly when they fired into their first song! They bill themselves as progressive post hardcore, and that is exactly what they are – djenty rhythms and riffs, and screamo vocals. They were very lively and three members of the band spent a lot of their time playing and pitting in the crowd at the same time, which was fun, but I moved out of the way a little as I didn’t fancy getting impaled on a guitar whilst trying to get a picture of the vocalist – I’m too old for that shit now! Fetch me my slippers and a mug of tea will you?! Whilst this style isn’t really my bag, there is no denying that they were very good and very tight, and I can definitely see the appeal that they have to the younger generation! They are full of anger and rage, and it comes out with a bang in their performance. If you like this style of music, you need to get out and see these guys sometime soon.
We were taken from modern to classic next, with Whipcord, this being their comeback show after a few years’ hiatus, and appearing on drums with them was none other than local legend and workaholic, John Badger! This was the first of two appearances by him today, because organizing shows just isn’t enough is it John? (Think we should rename him Dennis Waterman – ‘Write the feeeme tooooon, sing the feeeme tooooon’ [NB if you haven’t watched Little Britain, look this reference up!]) Anyway, I digress, so this was Whipcord’s come back show and they were here to bring us some classic hard rock, and that is exactly what they did, much to the pleasure of us oldies. With some great harmonies and melodies, they certainly gave the day a different flavour, although they did look a little serious at times on stage but coming back after a break is a tough thing to do, so I will let them off! I would certainly like to see them again.
Scott Beveridge Project
Again, this is another of those bands that we had heard a lot about but had never seen. This was also Badger’s second outing on the drums – getting in practice for his ‘Drumming Up Change’ charity event coming in a month or so. Scott Beveridge Project (SBP) is the brainchild of front man Scott Beveridge, backed up by a variety of musical heads who appear in other bands too – kind of a supergroup of the Manchester Underground scene! Drawing influence from some of the great heavy metal musicians, their sound is good honest heavy metal, complete with widdly diddly solos, headbanging riffs and Hetfield style vocals. They are the sort of outfit that you know what you are getting, and I like that – it is comforting! We are definitely going to be checking them out again at the earliest opportunity. Loved it!
Asylum City Zoo
I was starting to hit the wall a little by this point – I’ll say it again, I’M OLD AND BROKEN OK?! But enjoyed these guys even if my outward persona looked like I had gone into stasis animation! They describe themselves as Beardcore/Stomp/Welly Metal, and I have to agree! I’m not entirely sure what that is, but I can definitely say that they are it! It is kind of early Metallica, with a more modern twist and better vocals! They were very tight, and they have a definite idea of who they are, which is always good to see. This assumption is also backed up when you visit their website, which is very nicely done – I recommend checking it out! I had to duck out and have a sit down about halfway through their set, sorry guys – I can’t hack the pace, but I really enjoyed their sound and next time I see them I promise I will watch the whole thing! In the meantime, I am going to digest a bit more of their music, which is available on their website, as it is right up my street!
Scars Of Remembrance
These guys were our North Wales M2TM winners this year, and their sound just gets better and better each time we see them. It was touch and go whether they were actually going to be able to perform here, as vocalist Mike Edwards was delayed, and the band were unsure if he would arrive on time – frantic reorganization ensued including which parts of the vocal duties would be taken on by guitarists Daniel Dawson and Mark Harris, and some nervous pacing from drummer Ben Burke and bassist Karl Ditcher, however Mike made it in the nick of time, and we all breathed a collective sigh of relief! AND they managed to do it again – they turned their anxiety into an absolute stonker of a performance that had the whole place bouncing. They mix together classic and melodic styles, with screamy death vocals, and pepper it with some groove, to create a unique sound that we love. Never be afraid to be different. Spot on guys – top show once again.
Our final band for the evening was Beyond Salvation – again another band we had heard great things about. Fronted by Jon Pedley, of Pedley Art, they are a four-piece technical thrash outfit from Manchester and are a huge part of the Manchester scene. Fast paced and meaty as hell, they make a huge sound that you can’t help but get involved in, with Jon’s roaring vocals and some epic guitar work from both Jon and Arun Kamath hypnotizing you into a thrash trance! As regular readers will know, I am picky when it comes to thrash – some of it floats my boat, most of it doesn’t. I am pleased to say that Beyond Salvation fell on the correct side of my metaphorical fence, and I am very happy about that! We had to duck out a little before the end, as the tempestuous weather was closing in, my body had finally hit the wall, and I still had to drive us back to Wales! But what a smashing performance to finish off a great day – again nice one guys.
And that was that! We hobbled off to the car, via the kebab shop, and set about the drive home (which was absolutely horrific, and I wanted to cry, I may add!). Yet again we had had another day of fantastic music. The day did have a couple of mild irritations for me though. Firstly, the sound – the whole day was slightly marred with technical issues. A lot of bands were complaining that they couldn’t here themselves on stage, and fiddling with leads and swapping mics became a bit of a theme for the day. That being said, this highlighted the quality of all the bands, as they still gave brilliant performances despite the issues. My only other gripe was the state of the ladies’ loos – I believe the expression is ‘fucking gopping man!’ I’m not posh, but I do like to have some home comforts when I go to a gig, and I can’t do horrid toilets! Sort it out please!
Apart from that, the whole day was great. Thanks again to the venue and organisers, and we look forward to coming back again soon!
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Beth Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.