For most people, celebrating the festive time of year quite often starts and ends with work related staff outings. Not for me though, this rocker saw in the silly season at Rock City Nottingham for the manic craziness that was the Lawnmower Deth Xmas party. Those of a hardened nature joined the party from the early time of four in the afternoon, with music provided by thrash metallers Reign of Fury.
Perking up a docile audience with Gates of Sanity performed from the newest album ‘Death be thy Shepherd’, songs are also pulled from ‘Psycho intentions’ from back in 2011. Those that have entered this domain disregard the early hour and set the moshing to full throttle as Born to Die from ‘World Detonation’, is played, a fine start to a moshing Christmas.
The venue is slowly awakening with a respectable crowd gathering to catch fast paced punk outfit Consumed. Led by the gurning anarchist Steve Ford on vocal, Consumed offer the crowd a taste of manic punk sandwiched in the line up between two intense thrash metal bands. Track Black and Blue is introduced as a song for those with ‘dog shit for neighbours’ spoken in a thick local accent which to my Nottingham tuned ears sounds familiar. Proving punk can do romantic, Ford dedicates the next track to his wife, the quite catchy song Wake up with a Smile quickly followed by his statement she is flirty girty at number thirty, how rude! The set is wrapped up with A Twat called Maurice and Heavy Metal Winner.
Back to the metal as the mighty Beholder open their set by showing off newbie track Frozen Steps of Utoya ahead of their video premiere on New Year’s Day. There’s no escaping Simon Hall, domineering the stage in presence and vocally as he teases fans with delicious new tracks pulled from the forthcoming ‘ Reflections’ album. Older fans were left happy too with a track taken from way back in the beginning, The Awakening leading to Here I Stand, Speak to Me and finishing with Footprints in the Sand. The night is still so young yet I feel I have been musically spoilt already.
Standing out like a sore thumb, Slade UK took the only spot for a tribute band for the night. Far from actually seeming out of place, fake Noddy and his merry men were embraced by their audience. The classics began with Slades We Will Bring the House Down, Coz I Luv You, Far Far Away, Get Down and Get With It, Mama Weer all Crazee Now, and Cum on Feel the Noize. They emerged in Santa hats for the encore, I bet you couldn’t guess what it was?
Battling drums, followed by frantic strobe use causing a total assault on the senses Acid Reign have landed. Crazy full on metal with occasional intense swearing fronted by the one
man Tasmanian devil lead singer Howard ‘H’ Smith. Assuming the H stands for hyper, Smith is the bands only original member. He doesn’t stay in same place for two minutes, his stamina is admirable. One minute he’s on stage the next he’s gone running from one end of the stage to the other as if in training for the Olympics. While on his mad dashes, fly kicks and stage dives there’s also some music too, in the form of Dream has Died, Life Informs, Humonia and a sneaky cover of Blondie’s Hanging on the Telephone.
Headlining all this chaos is the main act who defines crazy, the one and only Lawnmower deth. I have seen a lot in my years as a reviewer but nothing could quite prepare me for what lay ahead. Kick starting the night to The Muppet show
theme, the veteran band wasted no time in performing Flying Killer Cobs from the Planet Bob. The song had barely come to an end when green helium fed balls bounced their way to the crowd from the stage taken from the stage budget apparently of 37p. Lead singer Pete Lee meets his audience exclaiming Happy fucking Christmas, it’s been a while! Having disbanded back in 1993 and recently resurrected he wasn’t wrong.
Watching a Lawnmower Deth show can only be described as what would happen if the viewer took mind altering drugs and set off to watch a play at the theatre, none of the ensuing madness would make any sense yet there’s a huge sense of fun. I felt like this during tracks Cob woman of Deth meets Mr. Smellymop and again during Sumo Rabbit and his Inseparable Trap of Doom. Even the song titles should give away the true zaniness of the band, portrayed clearly onstage during a bizarre fight between a Santa on stilts and a woman with a mop. Did I mention a guy dressed as a Sumo rabbit armed with cream pies while air humping everything in sight?
Even the unsuspecting crowd are unsafe as an innocent woman distracted on her phone is called on stage during Sheep Dip. Helping out by playing dress up were Matt and Jordan from crazy metallers Evil Scarecrow, casting aside their dignities by donning many disguises throughout the night. Onlookers are called to participate in a Mexican wave, thrash conga, the hokey cokey and even toward the end of the night a sing off.
The band are famed for their quick twenty second songs, leaving the track listing fresh and fast paced. Shockingly the set list didn’t include Lawnmower Deth’s version of Kim Wilde’s Kids in America especially as the track is being promoted for Christmas number one. Encores came in the form of Seventh Church and Satan’s Trampoline. The final song of the night was another rendition of We Will bring the House Down, for which band members from the earlier bands joined them on stage. Ending quite possibly the most bizarre gig I’ve ever witnessed I urge you to go and see them for yourselves as I don’t think I have done them justice.
Drink to be sick/Drunk in charge/Back and forwards/Buddy Holly/Fat/Ooo crikey its Lawnmower Deth/Sheep dip/Egg sandwich/Duck off/Ikkie thickie/Weebles wobble/Herman Sermon 125/Sumo Rabbit and his Inseparable Trap of Doom/Did You Spill my Pint/Watch out Grandma.
Images by Sean Larkin Photography[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157661981828499″ size=”z” count=”100″]