My desire to be a music journalist is nothing new. Once upon a time, aged 13-16, I kept a scrapbook of concerts that I attended. However, not realising just how many I would end up going to, it wasn’t updated very often.
In this series, I will brush off the dust and transcribe these old diary entries (with emphasis on ‘diary’ as they aren’t reviews) in all their flawed glory. I’m not proud of some of these, or what I write about (crowd surfing and being dropped on your head in retrospect is annoying, and nothing to be proud of). Maybe it’s not the greatest idea to post these in the middle of a portfolio of serious work, but I was barely a teenager. You can forgive me can’t you?
The music wasn’t to my usual taste (as you are about to read, as my only reference to the songs themselves are pretty critical) but it was so much fun. This first entry was where it began.
WEDNESDAY 13 (Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms, 15th March 2004)
This was the first proper gig that I had attended without parents. Before that night I had only been to one show, a Thin Lizzy tribute with my Dad (Limehouse Lizzy) at the Wedgewood Rooms. This would also be my last for a while after a big fall out with friends.I went with Phil, Jon (who had dyed and shaved his hair into a double mohawk for the event), Josh and his brother George. I was the odd one out though, as I knew nothing about who I would be seeing tonight, aside from him being a member of Murderdolls.
There were two supports. The first doesn’t stand out much because it was traditional grunting. And as it was the Wedgewood Rooms, it was bloody loud. Their name was Facelift Wired apparently. However, the second support was far more enjoyable – Engerica. This was definitely more intelligible and ‘singalongable’. I picked up several promotional stickers. Dave Gardner, the lead singer, signed one and I stuck another on a ‘Parental Advisory’ poster that I had on my wall for no good reason. I have since given the poster to my brother, but cut out the sticker to stick in a scrapbook. I don’t think he was impressed by the oblongular hole in it.
(NOTE: Don’t complain. I was very proud of my new words ‘singalongable’ and ‘oblongular’. They will make it to the dictionary one day…)
I bought a CD single of theirs – Trick or Treat. I was disappointed to find my favourite track of the night, Did You Hear What Sylvia Said, was missing from it. Why did I like it so much? Probably because I liked lines such as “You are shit, ‘coz you eat shit.”
(NOTE: Engerica were great. They did release an album in 2006, but split up not long afterwards. It’s a pity.)
And then came the main attraction: Mister W. 13. His backing band was called Death Becomes You. With a name like that, already you know that it will be a bumpy ride. After a short chat with drunken 20-year-old twin brothers, they convinced me to do something really stupid. I accomplished my first crowd surf. Aside from George, I must have been the youngest and probably the smallest person in attendance. Over estimating my weight, they threw me so high that I came down with a lot of force, belly-flopped and sank. Everyone then pushed me up so hard that I did a flip in the air and landed in a perfect position to surf – a rousing success!
Musically, it was pretty good and fun. Lyrically? Hmm… yeah, about that… I am by no means a great lyricist, but here are some quotes. Draw your own conclusions.
(NOTE: Wednesday 13 himself made his own conclusion when he shared this blog post on Twitter. He can’t have been too upset. To be fair, one isn’t going to take a clueless 13-year-old who coined the word ‘singalongable’.)
“R-A-M-B-O, blow ‘em up like Rambo!” – Rambo
“I’m gonna chop-chop-chop-chop-chop off my hand, It’s possessed by the evil dead, It will be over before too long, ‘Coz we’ll all be dead by dawn.” – Chop Off My Hand
And one more for luck… “The Wolfman came and stole my baby… Yeah he took her, that’s what he did, And nothing can help her now except for silver bullets” – The Wolfman Stole My Baby.
They were as cheesy as morbid lyrics can be. Another track that stood out was Your Mother Sucks Cocks In Hell, giving the famous Exorcist quote its own plot.
(NOTE: I recall having a massive grin during this song, because swearing is hilarious when you’re 13.)
After the show, my ears were ringing and we all needed quiet, but we stayed a bit longer to meet the band. I got autographs from most of Death Becomes You. Perhaps the most memorable moment here was not our meeting with Wednesday, but with lead guitarist Skull Bashin’ Nicodemous. He looked like a Satanic zombie but was a really nice guy. We had a chat with him, and we got our own special thanks. He gave us all a thank you hug, going around in a circle saying “Thanks buddy!” in exactly the same way. I won’t forget the voice. Nor will Jon in particular, who got two!
This was the only thing I could find for them to sign. It is a before-they-were-famous Zutons poster that had fallen off the wall, and it still has a footprint on it. This made Nicodemous laugh. “Any ol’ shit man…”
Looking back I felt sorry for the members of Engerica, as we spoke to them and got autographs. Then when Wednesday stepped out, George shouted “WEDNESDAY!”, and we all abandoned them. Sorry!
In retrospect, it was a fantastic and monumental night for me. Thanks Wednesday!