Flying the metal flag since 1981, Kerrang! magazine’s annual tour has become a handy berometer for the state of rock nation. The latest jaunt is no exception, combining the old with the new. Starting proceedings are Baby Godzilla, a Nottingham based post-hardcore band who spend as much time tonight in the midst of the audience as they do onstage. Getting the evening off to a heavy start, their music has been compared to mathcore trailblazers The Dillinger Escape Plan, and appropriately so. Their hyperactive antics, screaming vocals and irregular rhythms drop the audience head-first into the deep end.
To be the best and most recognisable band in your genre, sometimes the best way is simply to define your own genre. Take goblin metal for example. Never heard of it? Then you’ve probably missed out on Nekrogoblikon; the LA based band accompanied onstage by a hunchbacked goblin wearing a suit and tie. This adds a humorous twist to an already suitably entertaining performance, although the act does suffer from a poor sound mix with the vocals being drowned out by overpowering drums and guitars. A dedicated flock of loyal young fans show their support and enthusiasm during the short set, and all are invited to meet and greet the band at the merch booth afterwards.
Next up are Japanese metalcore band Crossfaith, some of whom appropriately started their career covering nu-metal artists including Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. Fuelled by their hatred of Japan’s pop music culture their sound is now driven by thunderous drumming, chest pounding bass and rapid guitar riffs. Their use of keyboards and synthesisers sometimes allows the music to drift into industrial territory and ironically, dangerously close to pop at times. A cover of the Prodigy’s ‘Omen’ goes down well with the crowd, and they are proud to tell us on more than one occasion of their upcoming slot at this year’s Download festival.
The Fred Durst wannabes in the audience, peaked caps donned backwards, realise their fashion faux-pas when the Limp Bizkit frontman takes to the stage wearing his trademark red cap right-way-round, a baggy hoodie and sporting a very full beard. As is to be expected from guitarist Wes Borland, his appearance is considerably more outlandish; dressed in white Tahitian garb, white panama hat and disturbingly revealing, and not-so-white, y-fronts. The Olympia is now filled to capacity, as those more familiar with the nu-metal maestros than the latest Kerrang! fledglings, have taken their places.
From the first utterance of the F word (of which there was an expected abundance), the crowd jump in unison and sing along loudly. Relying heavily on tracks from their 2000 album Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavoured Water, which was the fastest selling rock album ever at the time of its release, the band perform fan favourites like the expletive-laden ‘Full Nelson’ and their Irish number one hit ‘Rollin’. The thirteen song performance also features an overdose of musical tributes to other bands, both in the form of full songs like Nirvana’s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ and George Michael’s ‘Faith’, as well as jamming interludes including Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and Metallica’s ‘Battery’, Creeping Death’ and ‘One’. Considering also the Nine Inch Nails’ reference in ‘Full Nelson’ and the Mission Impossible theme tune ‘Take a Look Around’, the performance feels a bit like “name that tune”. The barrage of widely recognisable tracks prove extremely popular with the audience however, and by the time Limp Bizkit finish the show just shy of their seventy minute curfew, there is no doubt that the Kerrang! tour was a roaring success yet again.
Photo: Olga Kuzmenko