The Heavy Metal Muppets is a place for all things Metal with a particular emphasis on the London Underground Metal scene. We are a bunch of friends who have been into Metal since the late 80's and want to share our enthusiasm with anyone else who's prepared to listen. The format varies and we hope keeps it interesting for everyone, so keep your eyes peeled for reviews, interviews, memoirs and live videos amongst other things \m/

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction - 25th March 2011

A Friday night gig! It's quite refreshing being able to sleep a hangover off and not worry about work for a change. We'd all been looking forward to this gig for a while. We were a group of six for this show, most of us Zodiac regulars but some newbies too. We had a couple of cheeky pints at the Nags Head and then it was off to the upstairs (even though it was advertised on their website as being in the main room) part of the O2 Islington for the show.
Being a Friday night the doors opened early at 6.30pm.

Mark Thorn & Ty "The American"
According to our tickets there was supposed to be a band called Circles on first but I guess they were dropped or just didn't show. Bubblegum Screw were due on at 7.15pm but didn't come on until almost 8.00pm which was cool because we had well and truly started to get oiled up for this gig. And on they came... Bubblegum Screw. This is possibly the most ridiculous band I've ever seen. For the longest time I thought they were a piss take akin to Spinal Tap. This is ludicrous glam rock performed in an astonishingly cringey way. Camp is an understatement for this lot. The front man Mark Thorn looked as if he was wearing his little sister's clothes and pranced around the stage with his hand on his hip showing us just how limp his wrist could be. The rest of the band looked either like incredibly old Izzy Stradlin clones or young Hannibal Lecter in the film Hannibal Rising, seriously weird. It just got more and more comical as the exhibition went on. The band kept tripping over each other and screwing up their songs. It all climaxed when some strange fan wandered onto the stage. The band tried to ignore him but when he managed to get on the drums at the end of the last song, bashing away like some kind of retarded primate, had us falling all over the place. When they finally managed to get him to stop he stumbled up to the front of the stage and what seemed as if purposely fell face first into the ground in a sort of attempted stage dive that was more of a belly flop than a dive. We were laughing so hard I thought we were going to piss ourselves. Classic... No, not just classic, genius. Check out their best bits in the video below (including the weird drumming fan).

So what do I have to say about Zodiac Mindwarp? What a letdown. We have been going to their gigs since the early nineties and have never seen them perform like this. To be fair to the band, they were up to scratch and did their jobs to the usual high standard, but it was Zodiac that spoiled it. We paid £16 (about $26) per ticket for a show upstairs at the O2 Islington, which is more expensive than the average band that plays in that room, so we expected the performance to be worth at least that. Zodiac stumbled on to the stage completely wasted.
Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction
He's really aged badly and instead of looking the cool rock star he did years ago, he looks more like a seedy old man who likes to holiday in Bangkok by himself. He slurred through his words, he fell over and he had to keep himself balanced on the rigging at the side of the stage throughout the show. I'm sure he thought he was amazingly stylish gesturing towards his cock and then pointing at various women in the audience. I felt sorry for him and annoyed for the people I had convinced to see this band for the first time. The last time I saw them was at The Borderline in 2010. That was an excellent gig, but I think more for the fact that The Treatment were supporting. The rest of the band are wasting their time with Zodiac in my opinion, particularly "The Cat" on drums who stole the show again. Quite frankly we think he's a tosser and so did the rest of our group. We definitely won't be rushing out to see them again, very disappointing to say the least.


Friday, 25 March 2011

CONTINUED - Airbourne - 30 July 2011 - Shepherds Bush Empire - DOWNGRADED TICKETS

are a bunch of dishonest fuckwits
So LiveNation got back to me five days after my complaint. Not surprisingly they re-quoted the official release by Airbourne for the original reason why the Brixton show was cancelled. I quote:

"The Airbourne concert scheduled to take place at the O2 Academy Brixton on 02 December 2010 was rescheduled due to illness.  The concert will now be held at the O2 Academy Shepherds Bush on 30 July 2010. Existing tickets are not valid for the new concert date and vendors will be in touch with their customers to exchange tickets.

Whilst our best efforts will be made to accommodate customers with the corresponding ticket type they originally purchased, the new venue is much smaller and a few customers may be offered seated tickets rather than standing stalls tickets. Customers are asked to contact their vendor for clarification and refunds are available on request should customers be unable to attend or unwilling to accept their newly allocated tickets.

Should any customers need any assistance on this matter, please email

We apologise for any disappointment caused by this postponement."

So basically I received the bullshit "computer says no" response and if I wasn't happy with the downgrade then I should ask my ticket agent for a refund. To which my response was to ask why the show had been rescheduled to a smaller venue. Was it because LiveNation weren't able to sell enough tickets for the Brixton Academy? I received this response:

"I'm not aware of the reasons myself, but it is more likely to be due to availability of venues on the date they could do as Airbourne have sold very well historically."

So my next question was this:

"The Shepherds Bush Empire has a capacity of 2000. The Brixton Academy has a capacity of 4921. Assuming that the original show sold even 75% of the Brixton Academy capacity, how are you going to accommodate all the people that bought tickets for the original show in the smaller venue? Or, why aren't you putting on two dates at Shepherds Bush? It doesn't make sense to me. I'm sure you will appreciate that this looks like the fans are bearing the brunt of the promoter's shortcomings. Put yourself in my shoes, would you be happy with this? It would be great if you could answer these questions and put my mind (and I'm sure many others) at rest."

LiveNation responded with:

"I can only advise what I know to be the case and I cannot respond to your suggestions as we are not informed of the specifics regarding this rescheduled event. Please let me know if you would like a refund or if you will be keeping your tickets as that is all I am able to assist with."

My response:

"I was informed by Stargreen that the promoters of this event had allocated all the standing room tickets to people that purchase their tickets from Ticketmaster and that other ticket agents, such as Stargreen, had been pushed to the bottom of the list, which I'm sure you will agree is unreasonable. I then contacted Roadrunner Records to find out who the promoter was in order to arrange standing room tickets fairly (as I would assume a company organising an event such as this would adhere to a fair practice policy). They informed me that the promoter is Live Nation and also told me how to get in touch with you. So, being that Live Nation is the promoter of the event would then surely have the specifics and also the capability of issuing tickets as they see fit. So with that in mind, if you can't help me with this issue, then please put me in touch with someone who can."

LiveNation's response:

"Live Nation are not at liberty to divulge the information you have requested. You have been offered a ticket to the rescheduled event that is not inferior to your original as the face value remains the same."

So here's my problem... How do LiveNation think that a standing room ticket is not inferior to a seated ticket? Notwithstanding the fact that our group will be completely split for the night. Believe me I won't let this lie. We shouldn't have to be fobbed off with such a load of bullshit. Do they think we're stupid? It's blatantly obvious that the original gig was cancelled due to poor ticket sales. As a result we have all been relegated to a smaller venue and those who booked through LiveNation's preferred vendors will get the better tickets, not those who purchased them first and have been hugely inconvenienced by the originally cancelled gig.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Airbourne - 30 July 2011 - Shepherds Bush Empire - DOWNGRADED TICKETS

I purchased 7 standing room tickets on 22nd June 2010 for the Airbourne show at the Brixton Academy that was cancelled on 2nd December 2010. We were promised that our tickets would remain valid for the rescheduled show. Once I noticed that the show had been changed to a different venue I immediately called my ticket agent (Stargreen) to check that the tickets remained valid as STANDING ROOM tickets. They confirmed that this was the case. Only yesterday did I find out that the tickets had been downgraded to Level 2 seats. I obviously contacted my agent immediately to confirm that this information was correct. They informed me that priority went to people who buy their tickets through Ticketmaster. This is total bullshit and I think that the priority should go to those that bought their tickets first. If Airbourne don't sort this out and stick to their promise then they can go fuck themselves.

If you are having the same problem and want to contact the promoter directly you can at Include your name, address, email address, telephone number, complaint details, seating details and booking reference numbers (these are on your confirmation email, not the reference numbers printed on the tickets).


Friday, 11 March 2011

Lazarus AD, Bonded By Blood & Abadden - 9th March 2011

Once again Trunks and I headed over to the O2 Islington to see Lazarus AD, Bonded By Blood and Abadden. The gig started at 7pm which was cool because it gave us some time to get our drinking boots on before we went in. When we did finally make it to the doors, the venue was shut. The gig was on at the upstairs stage. We thought this was weird because you would expect a bill like this to attract a large crowd. We were surprised at how small the audience was, but that's OK because how often do you get to see bands this good in such a tiny environment? It's probably the last time we'll ever get to see these guys on such a small stage.

Kill The Machine
So, first up was Kill the Machine. We didn't really like them. I mean I don't mind a bit of sludge but it needs to be good. Crowbar are good. Kylesa are good. Kill the Machine are not. The music was basic and fairly monotonous. On a positive note though, their singer, I think his name is Mick, is pretty capable. I wouldn't rush to see them again, but if I happen to I won't run a mile either. The best I can say is that they're OK.

Billy Robinson (Abadden)
Next was Abadden. We were really excited to see them for the first time. We've been listening to their album "Sentenced to Death" over and over and over. They have a wicked old school thrash sound but brought up to date, if that makes sense. Their music translates perfectly live. They are young, energetic and totally cool.They thrashed us with about half an hour of sonic delights, which makes us even more excited about seeing them with Gama Bomb and Mutant in May.
Boojay & Mauro from BBB
Bonded By Blood hit the stage next. Damn these boys are good. Relentless old school thrashing never gets boring. I actually felt that I had stepped back in time about twenty years. Their new singer Mauro is a great addition to this brilliant band. We met them after their set too and they are genuinely excellent people, but more about that later...
Jeff Paulick (Lazarus AD)

Finally Lazarus AD. These guys look so comfortable on stage, like they were born for this. They are so tight as a band as well. They took it to another level. We tried to get a little mosh going but the venue is a bit small and the crowd weren't really up for it. Having said that, our mate Steve was there, and he's a nutter, so amongst us we gave it our best shot. Lazarus AD are so accomplished it's hard to put it into words. These guys have got a seriously bright future ahead of them. It's weird that Jeff Paulick is a dead ringer for Dimebag. All I can say is, quality, pure quality.

Boojay, Lazarus AD & Bonded By Blood
The night didn't end there though. Steve and I were hammered so we decided to go to The Crobar just off the Charing Cross Road with the boys from Bonded By Blood. It got seriously messy, what with all of those Jager Bombs and endless cans of Red Stripe. I don't remember how I got home. I just remember not being able to find my keys and having to wake my flat mate up at 4.30am. What an incredible night! We definitely partied like rock stars, which is a really great idea on a Wednesday night...


Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Killfest - Overkill - 3rd March 2011

Trunks' Version:

It's no exaggeration to say the Metal Muppets were a little excited about this gig.  Having seen Overkill last year at the O2 Islington we obviously couldn't wait to repeat that experience, only this time we were going to take a visit to the pit. I have to mention the last time we saw Overkill we screwed up big time. We missed the release of Ironbound so we stood there like a couple of real metal muppets trying to figure out what album these songs were off. Not Cool.

Now I personally like a few drinks before a gig if I can (which is most times), it's nice to get a few cheap beers in, crank up the excitement and check out the mosh pit competition before the doors open for business. In this case however the doors were open at 5.30pm and we finish work at that time so I felt a bit rushed, but so what right, I was rushing to see Overkill. We get to the venue and as queues go this is a short one so we're in quickly pick up our tickets and I put my bag in the cloakroom. Matt heads upstairs to buy a "T", Destruction I think and leaves me waiting for a couple minutes while he puts his bag in too. You do meet some nutters at these gigs and for some reason the Germans love Overkill so I expected more nutters than usual. As I was waiting for Matt some German weirdo decides to engage me in conversation by enquiring if you can buy Hawkwind cd's in London...errrr yes, and ends the conversation by saying " I like Destruction but I fucking love Hawkwind" which is very funny in a camp German accent, try it.

Straight on the booze to build up the confidence for the pit or should I say dull the pain of being battered from all sides, stepped on, pushed, shoved etc. It's like being in a car crash only you can't hold your breath for 2 hrs so you have to catch a breath between collisions or lean on the front for a couple of minutes before you dive back in. But we weren't ready for that just yet, I'd only downed a couple of pints so far and we needed more. Heathen were playing during our booze intake and quite frankly I'm not a massive fan of these guys but to be fair to them a lot of people at the gig seemed to be. There something not right about the look of heathen, you close your eyes and if you block out the shite lyrics  they sound good, then you open your eyes and you see a bald dwarf singing and a guy who looks like Jonny Vegas on the drums. It just was ok for me.

We're into 4 or 5 pints by now and Destruction hit the stage looking all dark and menacing which is cool but I wanted to get some decent video of them and the lighting really didn't help with that so we started to mosh. This is where I'm a bit hazy about Destruction's performance as I'm new to their music and to be honest I was having far too much fun in the pit to care who was playing. I can say they play heavy as the hell they came from and seemed to be a great live band. We will be looking out for Destruction when they return to the UK.

The Metal Muppets are very tired at this point and need some more booze which is cool because my arms hurt from having to defend myself. There is no advantage to being average height at these gigs as I keep telling Matt but at least he got a good beating himself this time, those Germans may be fruitcakes but they're bloody tall. We go and stand next to a really fat girl in a tight red dress. She looks like she's turned up to the wrong venue and brought along her luggage for a laugh....very odd.

Overkill hit the stage and you can sense things are going to get messy. We've been used to a younger teenage crowed who don't seem to mosh with the attitude of these grown men around us. They're big and they hit hard. Overkill put on a performance that didn't disappoint. Bobby Blitz is a real metal legend and he commanded the stage in a way that the other bands that night couldn't come close to matching. Song after song coming at you expertly building the excitement and mosh frenzy, it's a war in here and we've made some allies who look out for each other diving in to pick you up or pushing you a little less than others. I absolutely love Bobby's voice as he pumps out Ironbound and how tight the band are supporting him driving the song on. What an awesome night.

Boojay's Version:

Finally! A gig we were watching in London that wasn't at The Underworld, this was at the O2 Islington Academy in London. Having said, that The Underworld is a great venue, and I don't mean to knock it, it's just nice to have a change sometimes. The doors opened at 5.00pm which is earlier than usual. Trunks and I had to come from work so didn't make it in until about 6.15pm and missed After All unfortuntely. I'm sure it's because there were four bands of such calibre that they had to have the early start to give them all enough time to play, too early for a lot of us though. As soon as we walked in we noticed the German contingent. Nutty German thrashers, excellent! Trunks had an interesting conversation with a German guy who was trying to find the best place in London to buy Hawkwind CD's. He recommended the internet...

After getting the beers in we settled in to watch Heathen. Heathen are OK on record and now I can confirm, live. I've always thought a bit that they're a kind of cheesy mixture between Iron Maiden and Metallica. They certainly came across like that on stage too. Don't get me wrong, the performance was solid and it's clear that they have more than enough experience to hold their own on a stage with a line up as big as this. It's just a little bit chessy for our tastes. The Germans, on the other hand, were going crazy for these guys.

So by now we had our beer jackets on and were fired up for Destruction. These guys just look like they have been spat up from the bowels of hell. Schmier is evil incarnate. The music was so brutal, as was the pit. This show had already gone barmier than I had seen in a long time and Overkill weren't due on for ages. The whole set was a relentless barrage of remorseless German thrash and we loved every moment of it. I have never seen Destruction before but love their records. They translate perfectly live and I felt like I had run about ten miles by the time they had finished.

After a quick couple of beers we were absolutely chomping at the bit to see Overkill. I can't emphasise enough how astonishingly accomplished Overkill are as a band. Their stage presence is spectacular, particularly Bobby Blitz. We saw them at the same venue at around the same time in 2010 and were startled at their brilliance then. This time, if you can believe it, it was even better. The crowd went absolutely bonkers for them. The pit spread almost half way down the venue. The moshing and crowd surfing was unyielding. However, despite the savageness of the dance floor, it was actually pretty friendly. All the unwritten rules were obeyed and consequently everyone had a good time. No doubt Bobby and the boys are used to seeing this sort of frenzy but I have a feeling that Bobby felt an extra dose of pride and as a result honoured us all with the stage dive at the end of "Fuck You". I honestly can't remember a gig that I have enjoyed so much, ever. Every time I see Overkill it gets better. If you want to know what thrash is all about (and I use the following for illustration purposes) then fuck Metallica, fuck Anthrax, go and see Overkill, then it will all become clear. Top-notch.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Powerage Tour - 24th February 2011

When the guys from The Treatment told me about the upcoming Powerage Tour at Little Caesar I was really excited to be able to see them again so soon. So I rallied a few mates to go down to show our support. It was great because the gig was free and had some excellent bands playing. Again the gig was at The Camden Underworld, but we didn't stop for beer this time because I was worried about not getting in. No problem there though.

We arrived in time for Million $ Reload. They're an enthusiastic rock band from Ireland. I'd never seen them before but enjoyed their set. Their frontman Phil reminded me of Ian Watkins from Lost Prophets for some reason. It was probably the short black hair thing going on. Another cool thing that happened was guitarist Andy Mack giving me a plectrum thet he used during the show. I know it sounds sad but I prize things like that. I have done ever since I was a kid. So thanks for that Andy.

Boojay & The Treatment Nurse!
Next up, The Treatment. Any of you that have read this blog before will know that I'm crazy about this band. It's not just because they're so good live or that every song that they have written is so kick ass. It's because they are all bloody cool as individuals. Every time I see these guys they take the time to hang out and chat with us. I feel like they're my mates now. I even know their parents from these gigs who incidentally are ace too. As always The Treatment didn't disappoint. They ripped through about 35 minutes of quality music which we went bonkers to. I'd had a few bevies so was feeling extra excited during their set. So much so I took it on myself to get the crowd going a bit more than they already were. I started with a cheeky stage dive followed by a spot of moshing. The crowd was mostly up for it which was awesome because I reckon that everyone should be going mental at all of their gigs. I did, however, manage to upset an old lady at the gig who posted later on facebook, "you are an irresponsible tosser. I write this on behalf of the disabled guy who had to be dragged out of the way of your childish stupidity." Just to be clear, I had two friends that were positioned specifically to make sure I was caught and that nobody was going to be hurt. 

Buy This Album
Furthermore, we were at a rock gig, and having had more than twenty two years experience attending gigs like this I can safely say, if you don't want to be part of a mosh or be dived on then "STAY AWAY FROM THE PIT". That goes for anyone who doesn't want to be involved in this kind of stuff, including people with crutches. The great thing about this music is that everyone can have fun. Those who want to show their appreciation with a bit of argy bargy can do so in the pit and those who would rather just stand back and watch the show can do just that. So relax lady, all we're trying to do is show The Treatment how much we dig their shit.

To be honest I didn't catch that much of Lethargy. What I did see seemed pretty good. They sound much heavier live than the stuff I've heard on record. Also, the singer Phil looks like a young version of Jeff Walker of Carcass. The music is very different though!!

Same went for New Device actually, I should have paid more attention. What I did see sounded cool and they are a more than competent band live. In fact, they remind me of a young Def Leppard but a bit more up to date. Fun band for sure.

Overall, it was a stonking night. The Treatment were the best by miles but I did enjoy the other bands too. There wasn't anything that I wouldn't be happy to watch again and the fact that it was free was a nice touch. Finally, I hope I'm in the running for The Treatment's craziest fan, I'm certainly putting the effort in!