This week it was time to resume normal musical activities.
Rock Mum made her first appearance of 2015!
Chaperoned by Boy Child, we headed off to Glasgow last Wednesday.
Yes, usual train.
Yes, usual venue.
When we saw the lengthy queue outside the O2 ABC some forty minutes before the doors were due to open I was convinced to forego my usual caffeine fix to ensure a spot on the barrier.
Forty minutes is a long time to stand in the cold, staring across Sauchiehall Street at my missed coffee opportunity. (One more stamp on my loyalty card and I get a free fix!)
An hour later coffee was the last thing on my mind!
I had Crobot on my mind! Oh and headliners Black Label Society.
I was also beginning to feel like a clothes horse! Due to the cold weather, I had worn two thin hoodies and a long sleeved top over my Crobot t-shirt. Now as I stood on the barrier, I had the two hoodies, one inside the other, tied round my waist with the long sleeved top stuffed down the sleeve of the hoodies. In my trusty red “gig bag” I had another two Black Label Society t-shirts, procured from the merchandising stand (There was no one manning the Crobot stand at this point- return visit was already planned). Beside me Boy Child was grumbling about having to wear a hoodie and what was he meant to do with it.
The lights dimmed. Crobot hit the stage with all guns blazing! An awesome sight to behold!
I’ve been a huge fan of this band since being given their EP and subsequently their debut album to review last year.
I had the honour of seeing and meeting them last September in the smaller O2 ABC2. They were amazing that night, performing as if they were playing to a packed arena instead of to less than fifty folk.
This time round the room was much bigger and it was almost full. Result!
Watching Brandon, Jake, Chris and Paul give it their all made my heart sing.
How Chris manages to twirl that Fender Telecaster round his body the way he does I’ll never know. Neat trick!
All too soon their seven song set was over. (Please hurry back and headline a show, boys)
Time to go and say hello.
With Boy Child in tow, we surrendered our barrier spots and headed back across to the merchandising stand.
Front man, Brandon, was already there and deep in conversation with a fan. A part of me began to fret that I was being a bit presumptuous here. Would he recognise or remember me? After all, how many folk must these guys meet and greet?
I needn’t have worried. A huge smile, an interrupted conversation and an equally huge hug reassured me that I had been recognised. Cue one happy girl!
Politely I stepped aside and allowed the other fans to chat with him while I slipped past to buy two new Crobot t-shirts (one was stowed in the trusty handbag and the other went down the other sleeve of the hoodie)
When Brandon was finished chatting to the other fans, he turned back to Boy Child and I. More hugs and quick introductions to Boy Child then a couple of photos. Enter Jake, the bass player, from the right. More hugs and greetings and introductions. More photos! Love the face these boys pull!
We chatted briefly then they excused themselves (OK slipped out the back door for a sneaky smoke) while Boy Child and I wandered back over to watch the second band of the evening, Black Tusk. Great name. Pity about the noise they made. Wasn’t impressed. (Sorry, guys)
While the stage crew worked to clear the stage and set up for Black Label Society I headed for the little girl’s room and the bar (Diet Coke- honest!) I met Jake en route and we exchanged pleasantries. I also met a work colleague who seemed somewhat amused that I was happily camped out down at the front of the crowd – again!
I wasn’t sure what to expect of Black Label Society. On the other hand, Boy Child had been surveying the crowd and had his hopes set on a mosh pit.
Before the lights dimmed, he handed me his hoodie to look after. More clothes!
Hoodie number three was duly tied round my waist. This was getting silly, not to mention hot!
Let me attempt to set the scene with regards to the crowd here. Black Label Society fans appear to be almost “patched in” like a scene from Sons of Anarchy. Most fans had “cuts” on with Black Label Society emblazoned on the back and were sporting beanies on their heads. And I’ve never seen so much facial hair in one room before!
So how do you get everyone on side before you start? Playing a bagpipe rendition of “Flower of Scotland” was inspired. Everyone in the place was singing their hearts out. When “Flower of Scotland” was done, the lights remained dimmed and the Black Label Society curtain still hung over the front of the stage while a mash-up of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” and Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” blared out. Cue more enthusiastic singing.
The curtain dropped and Black Label Society stood on stage in their full glory, blasting out their opening number “In The Beginning…At last”
Cue second inspired move – Zakk Wyle was wearing a kilt! Brilliant!
I’ll be honest- I’m not overly familiar with their music but I do love some of the tracks off their last album. If you don’t like lengthy ego-massaging guitar solos, give these guys a miss.
Boy Child had darted off into the midst of the crowd as soon as they had started while I had slipped back down to the barrier at the corner of the stage. Perfect vantage point for my camera.
A few songs in and much moshing later, Boy Child appeared at my side, clutching his nose, muttering that he was OK and then thrust his sweaty t-shirt at me. It took me a moment or two to realise he’d been covered in blood, by which time, he was long gone back into the dark.
The “mother” in me twitched a bit but figured he’d be back if he was really hurt. I returned my attention to the stage.
Not however before I had stowed said sweaty t-shirt down the sleeve of his hoodie and re-tied it round my waist. Thank God it wasn’t overly hot in the venue!
This was the first night of Black Label Society’s European invasion…sorry, tour….so I’m possibly about to be a bit harsh. (If I am, I humbly apologise)
On stage at Zakk Wylde’s feet I had noticed a pile of A1 laminated sheets. Lyric sheets in large print. Everything about these guys is larger than life- even the cheat sheets!
I take my hat off to vocalists. I have no idea how they remember the lyrics to all their songs.
Highlight of their set for me was “Angel of Mercy”. Love that song.
It was followed by an impressive piano solo by Zakk Wylde and a song called “In This River”, sung in tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell.
Time was running away from them and curfew was fast approaching. Black Label Society declined to go off and return for an encore, electing instead to stay out on stage and just play the final couple of numbers.
As the last chords died away, the lights went up, roadies invaded the stage and I went in search of Boy Child, feeling somewhat weighed down by three hoodies with three t-shirts in their sleeves.
I found him. Hot, tired, sweaty, a bit battered and broken but grinning from ear to ear.
The “mum” in me was relieved to see him in one piece. Baby Boy Child was nursing a suspected broken nose, a punched face and some bashed ribs but he’d survived moshing with the big boys…just!
All in all, a successful night out. Wish Crobot had been able to play for longer. Wish Black Tusk hadn’t bothered to play at all!
And I wonder what Zakk Wylde was wearing under that kilt…………..