After what will soon be twenty years of listening to Cradle of Filth, I finally got round to seeing the band live on stage. With an impressive new line up and a superb album under their belt, I felt the time was now perfect to see the band do their thing.
Of course like every other concert experience, that meant I had to make the long tedious trip down to Glasgow. I can’t tell you how annoying and frustrating it is sitting through four and a half hours of bus travel, all for a show you don’t know will actually be good or not. It’s things like this that makes me wish more promoters would book shows through out Scotland. The fact we have to continuously spend our money and waste our time travelling down south when the bands should be going up north is simply bloody frustrating.
The show was being held at the tiny but usually reliable, The Garage. A small club venue with good floor space, sound and is very much recognisable for the fact it has a truck cab hanging above the front door. The first thing that gets to me about this venue is the mass amounts of stairs, it is a long way to the top, especially if you have some form of disability. The venue itself informed myself and presumably other physically challenged folks that to avoid the general crowd rush, we had to go round to another street and enter via the back door. The big problem here? They never told us where this was and how to reach it.
With that, staff then proceeded to tell us to wait by the front door and we will be let in ten minutes early. Much like the 02 ABC just up the road, this would provide myself and others with enough time to safely get up the stairs. Instead, the venue staff stood care free joking at the front door, completely oblivious of the instructions they gave us. I am all for queuing when I can, but sometimes that provides us with too much pain and it is something I am certainly suffering from this morning.
Much to everyone’s displeasure, we were let in half an hour late and was forced to dodge the rushing crowd up several flights of stairs as we made our way to the hall. Thankfully, the hall is a reasonable size and nothing nasty came of it. You found the merchandise stand at the left hand side, they were equipped with some stunning T-Shirts and other goodies, most of which were suitably cheaper than others bands tables.
The opening slot was being filled by Savage Messiah, a band who we previously had the pleasure of seeing supporting Testament the year before in London’s Brooklyn Bowl and much like that show, these boys were out to impress. Not only was their set energetic but it was professionally done with some seriously good sound and musicianship.
It was clear from the get go that the majority of the crowd in the hall was into this band. Their music is a suitable blend of old school heavy metal and more up to date thrash metal riffs. Top the style off with a singer who has a strong voice with good range and you have a great combination. Once the bands set was finished, a good number of people were talking about Savage Messiah. If I could point my aching finger at one band and say they deserve some recognition, it would most definitely be this one.
After the dismantling of the stage, dimming of the lights and a short wait, Avi Satani came blaring over the PA system with much rejoicing from fans. Cradle of Filth quickly took to the stage and blasted into the short but effective Gilded Cunt from Nymphetamine album. The band seemed fired up and their enthusiasm clearly rubbed off on the crowd who were very much into it. The band proceeded through cracking tunes like Beneath the Howling Stars, Blackest Magick in Practice and Heartbreak and Seance.
The band’s most recent line up change has obviously given the group a new lease of life. The professionalism in their playing was hard to miss and they played together as a very tight group, just as a band should and something I feel has been lacking in this band for a very long time. The group proceeded through great tunes like the fan favourite Bathory Aria, Dusk and Her Embrace and Under Hundtress Moon, finishing off on You Will Know the Lion By His Claw before the band left the stage for a short interlude.
For the encore, the band started off with one of my favourite album openers, the epic A Bruise Upon the Silent Moon which leads into The Promise of Fever, the superb opening track from the bands classic, Damnation and a Day from 2003. The set continued with the new song, Achingly Beautiful, a short take on Nymphetamine, the fan favourite, Her Ghost In the Fog and finally rounding off on Born in a Burial Gown. Looking back on it, this was a great set list. Each song played into one another perfectly and the band did a great job of playing them. I personally would have loved to have heard more songs from the two most recent records, but what we got was just as good as I hoped for.
My only gripe about the bands set was not about the band themselves, but rather the awful choice in sound system. Instead of being like most bands out there who plant speaker stacks on all four corners of the stage, the band opted to input their sound straight into a very secluded and underwhelming PA system which feature two stacks at either side of the stage. This meant that unless you were standing in the middle or back of the hall, you wouldn’t have heard the majority of the band.
We initially started watching the show on the far left due to my physical issues. But when it came to the live show, all we could hear was the drums, a little vocals and a very overwhelming bass guitar. It wasn’t until we moved to face centre stage that we could hear the rhythm guitar and even then, it still sounded thin. This was later rectified (to a point) when the band played Her Ghost in the Fog but at that point, it was a little too late.
At the end of the day, Savage Messiah had a considerably beefier more entertaining sound that was great from each side of the room. This is the kind of sound that the headliner should have but did not. It is a crying shame to be perfectly honest, the band were on the money performance wise and I would have loved to have heard them playing with a proper stack of amps. A good sound is considerably more important than special FX and a fancy lighting rig, sadly that was not the case here.
With sound issues aside, I applaud both bands performances. They were quite entertaining and a lot of people enjoyed the varied styles between the two.
Note: Considering the fact that there was a lot of floor room at The Garage, I think it is time that who ever books the shows for this band needs to start booking more shows around Scotland and not in the same dingy little club in Glasgow. Bands like these need exposure and you’re not going to get that by playing the same small venues on every tour. Time to mix it up folks, time to work for your money!