Review by Chop
After eighteen years of toil it would appear that Orange Goblin are finally attracting the attention they deserve. With 2012 bringing accolades galore, and the acclaim of both critics and fans alike, the chance to see if that momentum was continuing into 2013 was unmissable…
…which unfortunately isn’t a word that can be associated with tonight’s opening band, Eyes Of The Raven. Sorry fellas, nothing personal, but full cuckoo-mode had been activated as an interview with Joe from Orange Goblin was in full swing in The Earls Of Mars’ dressing room. Next time eh?
Tenuous link perhaps, but The Earls Of Mars were the first band to receive my full reviewing attention. Summing them up simplistically would point to a fusion of prog and doom; think Sensational Alex Harvey Band or The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and you’d be close. Featuring a double bass player celebrating his birthday and a vocalist/keyboard player ex-Hangnail (the latter who was to make a cameo appearance during Orange Goblin’s set later on in the evening), I found them nothing short of enthralling. Refreshingly different, yet familiar, check them out if they’re playing anywhere near you. They’re a fine band who deserve to make a name for themselves.
Speaking of names, the intriguingly-titled Admiral Sir Cloudesly Shovell were up next, and they too provided a dynamic and entertaining set. Combining a sizeable chunk of Black Sabbath’s riff library with the blues/rock approach of, for instance, Cream, Free, or Hendrix, in terms of impact – and indeed audience reaction – they brought back memories of Lonely Kamel’s stunning set on the very same stage a few weeks before (Ed: Chop’s review of that gig is here). With a scarily empathetic rhythm section laying down an intricate, yet direct, platform, the guitarist had the scope to solo fluidly. ‘Bulletproof’ was dedicated to The Groundhogs’ Tony McPhee (in the audience tonight), and riotous versions of ‘The Last Run’ and ‘Red Admiral Black Sunrise’ preceded closer ‘The Thicker The Better’ which featured guest vocals form Orange Goblin’s Ben. All in all, a fine display from a band who need to be added to your ‘go and see’ list immediately. (Ed: Jason’s review of their album is here)
With such a solid foundation, the scene was set for Orange Goblin to land the final killer blow which they did with considerable style. For a band that have been around for nearly two decades, the degree of youthful exuberance injected into their set was astonishing, and the hour or so they were on stage seemed to be over in a blur. ‘The Filthy And The Few’ set the tone early on, a stirring rendition of ‘The Fog’ was dedicated to birthday boy Si from The Earls Of Mars, and ‘Some You Win, Some You Lose’ rounded the set off in fine fashion. Two encores concluded the evening, the second of which, ‘Red Tide Rising’, probably being track of the night. Early in the year it may be, but this gig set the benchmark which others need to beat. Two fine support sets and another thoroughly entertaining display from Orange Goblin – looks like 2013 could well see them in irresistible form.