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Show One – Preamble


How do you top going to see Metallica with the San Francisco Orchestra is not a question I asked myself because how can you? However what you can do is see other things that are also cool.


This run of things that would be cool was two Kill ii This gigs and a Phil Demmel guitar clinic. Having booked the London Kill ii This show it was an added bonus that my friend from Wales suggested that as Kill ii This were playing Manchester the night before and was on his way to London I should meet him there and then he’d take me the rest of the way. Having booked that, Phil Demmel then announced a guitar clinic in London on the same day of the show and it promised to finish before the other started. It all fitted together nicely and another one of my cool little trips was booked.


The biggest downside of going to see Kill ii This in Manchester was the eight hour coach journey. It took nearly as long as it did to to fly to San Francisco and coaches don’t provide food, or movies in the headrests of the seat in front of you. However not being at work is always exciting enough to make up for any hardships.


Before arriving at the venue we went to get some food and I mention this for two reasons. First it’s odd that a band recognises you, ‘Hey it’s Simon right? Good to see you!’ said the guitarist and Kill ii This mastermind Mark as he finished off whatever he was eating. I can confirm musicians eat. The rest of the band shook my hand and I left them to it as the usual line of ‘that was a fantastic show’ would have been odd coming from my lips as the show hadn’t happened yet.


The second was just how many ladies who looked fifteen walked in and out of the bar with next to nothing on. They also all looked like they had just arrived back from the Mediterranean they were so tanned and rivaled Justin Trudeau at a party for the purposeful darkening of skin tone.


Those lots of young ladies turned into way more as I ventured to the venue with a queue outside snaking down the street and I wondered whether Kill ii This had - like they had so many years ago - had Lost Prophets open for them? I then realised that of course Ian Watkins was still in prison (with a mobile phone freshly removed from his anus) and there were other artists playing in the other venues on the same site. I did Google those other artists and worked out unsurprisingly that myself and overly tanned teenagers have different tastes in music; I hadn’t heard of any of those artists.


Kill ii This – Manchester Academy III - 27th Sep.


Entering the upper floor and the view changed from youthful tans to either hairy men or men that were probably hairy once but had relinquished their hair to Mother Nature, along with a few not tanned ladies who were (without of course meaning to be rude) as far as I could tell, not fifteen. A t-shirt and beer later we were ready for the arrival of The Heretic Order.


We remembered them from Hammerfest because of one chorus with the catchy ‘evil rising’ chants of the presumably same named song. The band has a ton of catchy tunes but after a few of them the problem I had was they were all catchy in the same way. It’s hard to type it but for any that can decipher my riff typing each riff had the dun-der-dun-der-dun-der-dun rhythm.


Credit must be given to the singer/guitar player though as not only did he sing but he wailed out leads and I am guessing wrote everything too. The rest of the band was also super tight and like I said; had some head-noddingly good hooks.


The last two songs were their best two, the aforementioned Evil Rising and the finale about witches… boooaaaaaaarrr witch… booooaaarrrrrrrrrrr witch, ‘witch’ is roughly how that chorus went. There are definitely worse bands out there and The Heretic Order provided a decent support to the main players.


This is not some kind of sick fashion parade…


The intro-tape kicked in and on marched an excited Kill ii This reacting to the cheers of the audience.


…This is art, this is emotion, this is religion, this is, Kill ii This


And we were off! This World kicked in.


What a great riff to kick off a show with. It would be a riff any band would be happy to use as a closer and yet here were Kill ii This using it as a ‘welcome to the show’ opener. This was followed by Freedom of Speech, Crucified and Faith Rape from Deviate and you couldn’t help but once again remember just how strong an album this was. These are songs that contain killer hooks with the added bonus of all these exciting and interesting twists on top, be it female singers, beats or even opera. It still sounds as mind bogglingly unique as it did all those years ago and the riffs as fresh as ever.


Having dropped four of my favourite songs right off the bat I wondered if they’d fucked up the setlist and peaked too early but that thought was soon dismissed as I was reminded of how hooky the riff at 3.10 is in subsequent song The Way Of All Flesh. The rest of the song is damn good but that riff is the head-nodder (or for more energetic people the foot stomping neck breaker). This was followed by Winter Green the ‘ballad’ of the set from the much underrated Mass.Down.Sin.Drone (add the various brackets and dashes yourself) and the three albums that were to feature was complete, well bar one song.


The highlight of the set was for me ComaKarma one of the new songs and the only one to feature tonight. It was enjoyable because it happily showed me that Mark and the band didn’t just have to be a nostalgia act. The song has a really big chorus as you can see below thanks to the power of YouTube and I happily nodded my head (just out of shot) throughout.



The band continued to play through some classics that I’ll save for the second night  and ended with an encore of The Flood which is arguably their best song from the Deviate album (although I’d contest Faith Rape (or Funeral, or Crucified or Kill Your Gods (it’s a strong album)) as other potential bests).


Manchester for those that don’t know is the home town show for (most of) the band and it was great to see that they could still put bums on (the non-existent) seats. Sure the audience might not be tanned and trendy sixteen year olds but then if you sing lyrics such as those contained in Faith Rape they aren’t going to be your target audience (although you never know, if they’d played Mourning Sickness with the line ‘spewing like a super-bulimic’ it might have bought them in). It also might not have been Manchester Arena or even Academy I in size but for those that were there it was joyous. In that hour and a bit I was transported not just back to my youth but to a wall of sound that as far as I was concerned still holds some of the best hooks and choruses that my reasonably-sized metal collection contains. Live it sounds even better too. Kill ii This really know how to perform and as myself and my travel companion discussed on the way back to the hotel (via a pub), were definitely worth the trip.


Phil Demmel Preamble


The trip down to London was uneventful and so was everything else up until the show. We met another good friend of mine and joined the queue. Let’s get straight to the performance.


Phil Demmel - GuitarGuitar - 28th Sep.


Once inside we joined a select few people sitting in a guitar shop and waited for Phil to appear. Before he did two more people arrived and a lady asked if she could sit next to us. I mention this only because as she asked I noticed she had a collar on with a huge metal O ring attached that I mentioned to my London mate after but he hadn’t noticed at all. Either he doesn’t pay enough attention or I pay too much!


Phil entered and like the previous clinic I saw him in thankfully did not go into the details of practice scale routines as although I play guitar am not good enough to really care about that sort of stuff. Instead he told us that he was simply going to tell his story and segment it with a few pieces of music. However first we had to give him a ‘fuck yeah’ and at a volume we learnt that was acceptable as the first one wasn’t good enough.


Having just been to San Fran and a Raiders game it was great hearing stories about him growing up around there. It turns out (not surprisingly) that he didn’t grow up in the expensive touristy area but somewhere else that was a bit rougher. I guess that is some of the reason why he is now sitting here talking about metal riffs as opposed to poppy beats. The theme throughout the talk was one of him being blessed and it was interesting (and always is at these types of things (Ellefson and Bello have had enjoyable clinics too)) how a musician’s life takes them to various places.


Phil had pretty much quit music as a profession when Machine Head came calling and he went from surburbanality (it’s not often I can use a Kill ii This reference) to being part of creating some of the best-loved metal anthems of the 00’s/10’s. And this was the bit that interested me the most.


I had known Phil and Dave had contributed parts to that band but it was great to see Phil play and lay out exactly which parts he had, what songs were his and even lyrics too. He even played a medley of some of the best parts and that was a joy to behold.


Having talked though his life (including a funny but I am guessing not at the time story of the police confiscating his guitar just before going onstage once) we got to the present and for me the highlight of the event. Phil told us that he and Dave had been writing some songs together. Although it might not turn into a fully-fledged band they had been enjoying the jams and it had started from one song Phil had written that didn’t make it onto Catharsis… ‘Would you like to hear it?’ he asked.


‘Fuck Yeah!’ we dutifully replied and then again at the more acceptable volume.


It’s hard to say from just a drum track and a guitar over it whether this piece is going to be a classic but it is fair to say that from that one listen it has the potential to be. It contained some great riffs and could have happily sat on a Machine Head release.


Coming to see this little event was great as although of course I am super-excited to see the Burn My Eyes reunion shows (I never got to see Chris in the band) it was also great hearing that Phil not only is doing great but is still involving himself in not only revisiting old bands and opening a bar but writing new music too; new music that as it turns out sounded pretty damn good.


Having finished his talk he then invited questions and it started with what always happens at any event that includes audience questions; someone who doesn’t know what a question is. As far as I can work out the point of a question is to prompt the answerer to give an answer. This guy rambled on for what felt like an hour of compliments (that of course we all concurred with) until he ran out of steam and then we moved onto the next person.


The next questioner asked how Phil had met his wife and that seemed kind of an odd thing to ask even if his other half was/is in a band too. I mean what do you do once you have the answer, try and meet your own future wife in the same way?


The main problem with these questions however was not the questions but the time they were taking up. We had a Kill ii This gig to get to up the road and what we thought would be just enough time was turning into not enough time.


The next question asked was ‘Do you prefer triangles or squares’ and with another look at watches myself and my colleagues decided that we would have/could manage to sacrifice hearing the answer and as ‘unnoticeably’ as possible leave the room.


It is of course impossible to exit a venue containing at most thirty people who are all sitting down hearing a talk without being spotted so if Phil ever does read this, I hope he now realises we weren’t bored or not appreciative, we just had timing issues with an already booked gig!


These events really are worth going to if you are a fan of the band the person is/was in. An intimate experience hearing some of your favourite riffs combined with the stories of those behind them. Phil (and for that matter Ellefson and Bello) are all interesting people with interesting stories and in this case a potentially interesting future too. Cheers Phil for unknowingly being the cool support act to Kill ii This!

Show II Preamble


Having not on purposefully rudely left the Phil event my London mate guided us to his car and we headed up to the Kill ii This show with about what we thought was one minute to spare. Pretty good going and even better when that one minute turned into five so we could get a beverage (bar the driver) before they started.


Kill ii This - Boston Music Rooms - 28th Sep.


The disappointing thing about this show was unfortunately evident from the moment we arrived. We were there just on time and the room wasn’t exactly full. Having got a beer we walked pretty much to the front unobstructed. It was such a shame as having been the night before I knew just how good this show was going to be.


What I truly appreciated about Kill ii This tonight is just what a great bunch of guys they are. They could have done a Volbeat (who I just read played half a song in Ireland and having had sound issues walked off the stage without a word, not returning) and not bothered. They could also have half-bothered, I mean who could have blamed them, it felt like at some points there were as many of them as us but they didn’t, no they did what they always do…


The highlight was just how much fucking effort they put in. For those of us that had made the journey they put on a show that was as enthusiastically performed as was their homecoming show.


The first four Deviate songs ripped out the amps/p.a. as fiercely as they had the night before and Mark, Simon and Pete stomped and jumped around the stage like their lives depended on it. Also credit has to be given to Jeff Singer (he’s not the singer (I don’t know why I bothered to write that, it’s not even funny)) who is a fantastic drummer and really drove the songs home.


Last night I mainly mentioned the Deviate songs so tonight’s turn is those from Trinity and what glorious songs they are. I always found it odd that these guys were lumped in with the ‘nu’ as for me they didn’t sound like any of their so-called contemporaries. I was a teenager around the time the whole nu metal thing burst onto the scene and whilst a long time ago CDs from Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Spineshank and Disturbed all disappeared from my collection (I don’t think I got as far as Papa Roach, god I hope not), Kill ii This has remained. Along with the Kilgore album not only have they remained but they’re also in regular rotation and whilst Deviate gains all the accolades, Trinity really wasn’t that far behind it.


Having had The Way Of All Flesh previously in the set we were then treated to the trinity (if you thought the singer pun was bad…) of God On Drugs (a much better play on words), Figure of Eight & Trinity, that all contained the mix of great riffs, big choruses and extra ear candy that make Kill ii This’s songs so much better than the heap of the other nu metal crap that no longer sits on my CD shelves.


The riffs really are that good and live they work so well. There are so many moments in a Kill ii This set where there is a sudden stop, a build-up and then a whale-sized fishing hook (if those things exist) served up that it just makes you burst into a smile at just how damn great it all is. Out of those three Trinity is my favourite but I was more than happy with the opening acts of the first two.


The lady in front of me was really enjoying herself and reminded me of the first time I saw the band back together again as she was very, very drunk. Considering all the space she had to dance in she kept getting a little too close but I happily forgave her as the show needed some energy from the crowd.


Kill ii This had a couple of flaws tonight, Mark forgot how to count(!) and so a song was started twice and unfortunately on The Flood his guitar cut out for the first half of it but otherwise it was another fantastic performance, a performance that deserved so much more than what was before them.


I mentioned the new song previously and a whole album is now apparently written and is waiting mixing. I just hope it will get the attention deserved of it. The two audiences that saw Kill ii This I am sure will tell you, just how good they are. Not only do they have the songs but they perform them fantastically live too, it just needs more people to hear it.

 

My Welsh mate hadn’t seen them before the Hammerfest show earlier this year and he told me they were the highlight of the weekend. Following on from this (and with baby due any minute) he happily came and saw them twice more, so it is clear that new fans can be gained it’s just a matter of them hearing it. Tonight I hope is the final ‘we’re back’ celebrations for those of us that already knew them and are delighted they are back. The future must be about reigniting the band and entering the ears of those not yet familiar. A band this good deserves so much more as the strength of the last two performances show.


To sum up and to end on a high, Kill ii This have songs that sound as good now as they did the twenty (fuck me, twenty!) years ago when they were written and the band though now twenty (twenty!) years older performed them with as much fire and passion as they did back then. The only song that didn’t sound as good as it did all those years ago was the new one for obvious reasons but the great news is it fitted in seamlessly and points to the fact the new album has the potential to be great. If you haven’t seen Kill ii This go and see them and if you are somehow reading this and in a band that tours, get them on as support. Kill ii This were for these two nights fantastic and here’s hoping that it’s only the start of the rebirth.


Bonus Material


Simon the singer had mentioned the band would hang out after the show for a few drinks but the venue was quickly ushering us all out. As Simon was standing next to me I asked if he was staying around for a drink and he said sure. The security then told us that the pub next door would be open until two…


I used to live in London and I am sure those that haven’t always hear how trendy and cool it’s supposed to be. All the great things happen in London and it’s far and above the greatest place to exist if you live in England. Those of us that live outside it should marvel at all it contains…


This pub was shit. Myself and my mate walked in with a promise of Simon appearing later to a venue that was huge but empty on a Friday night. There were a few old people clinging to the bar and a DJ who was about one-hundred and eighty ‘banging’ out some tunes. The best way I can describe it was that it was a cross between the bar in the Blues Brothers where they play both types of music, ‘Country and Western’ but empty and Phoenix Nights only empty. It also turned out that the DJ wasn’t just a DJ but the host of a karaoke night that no-one knew was on as he’d occasionally get on the mic and sing the song himself… Sweet Caroline… dun, dun, dun… my god it was bad!


Simon had not yet appeared. We had had an offer of a lift back to the apartment we were staying in too. Never mind. I mean you can’t win every time… Just as we were about to sink the last of our drink and disappear in strolled Simon and his wife… ‘God this is shit’ he said as he offered us a drink. Yes it was!


It turns out of course that both Simon and his other half are lovely people and a few pints later and another bar later (although for a middle-aged man shit the other way, loud and young) we said our goodbyes. Simon had told us a few funny Kill ii This stories and let slip a couple of bits of info on the new album. It is stuff I shouldn’t share I guess but for those anticipating it, I will say it sounds exciting. It also sounds not too far away now, so here’s hoping for a fairly early 2020 release!


The next morning having got back at three, I woke up at six to go and get my coach home. It is testament to music, Phil and Kill ii This that at no point did I regret any of it. The South West to Manchester, down to London and back to the South West in a weekend for three small events was a joyous fun-filled trip. Having a mate tag along with me for most of it also sedated any worry that the only reason I do these trips is because I am so pathetically single as it turns out happily married people can enjoy doing them too.


Like with the Rosalie Cunningham shows it might not have had the pomp of Metallica with an Orchestra in San Fran, or Regina on Broadway but it still contained all the ingredients you need for a great show; killer songs and great performance. Shows that unlike this review leave you wanting more! I’d happily do it all over again.


 



Kill Phil Kill: Kill ii This Live & A Phil Demmel Clinic - Manchester Academy III, GuitarGuitar, Boston Music Rooms