As is often the case with these multi-band shows the first act started criminally early, so I can’t tell you much about Three Inches of Blood – their set finished at 7:05, just as I was strolling in to the three-quarters full Academy.

After a £3.35 plastic cup of Strong bow (the lager is simply unspeakable) I settled down to watch Santa Barbara’s Devildriver. Although dogged by appalling sound (the sound guy had taken delivery of a new Soundcraft mixing desk today, and was still learning how to use it) they put on a fine thirty minute set. Highlights included ‘Horn of Betrayal’ and ‘Not All Who Wander Are Lost’.

Arch Enemy - 8:10 -9:20

Blood On Your Hands/Ravenous/Dead Eyes See No Future/The Day You Died/
Night Falls Fast/Drum Solo/Intermezzo Liberte/Dead Bury Their Dead/Vultures/
Enemy Within/Nemesis/We Will Rise

Just twenty minutes later the lovely Angela Gossow returned to a Birmingham stage and Arch Enemy took us through their latest CD. Although the performance was energetic, it suffered from both poor sound and rather second rate material (the last CD is dreadful), although as usual I enjoyed gaping at Ange in a slack-jawed manner for the entire performance.

Opeth - 9:50-11:05
Demons of the Fall/Serenity Painted Death/The Baying of the Hounds/In My Time of Need/Wreath/Heir Apparent/The Drapery Falls

As regular readers are aware, I am quite partial to a bit of Opeth, and as usual the Stockholm four were stunning. Although limited to a seventy-five minute set, Akerfeldt reached way back into the catalogue to treat us to some superb selections, including ‘Wreath’ which has never been played before.

We also got a fantastic ‘Baying of the Hounds’, in which the break out of the middle section was particularly joyous. Only one song from the new CD (‘Heir Apparent’) which was enjoyable but not overwhelming.

New guitar player Fredrik Akesson (who used to be in Arch Enemy, it seems there are only three bands in Sweden!) played superbly, and other than a little stiffness that came from it being the first gig for ages and ages (apart from the cruise show in March), Opeth were as awe-inspiring as ever.

Being a greedy sod I am off to Brixton to see it all again on Saturday. And why not?

By Roy Evans



BRIXTON ACADEMY, London 26th April, 2008

So why go 100 miles to see exactly the same show three days later? ‘Cos it’s Opeth. At Brixton.

Just as in Birmingham, I was still in the pub while Three Inches of Blood played their set. I did hear their last two songs, and it was adequate – noisy power metal.

Devildriver have proved the revelation of this tour. A hell of a lot of the crowd was here specifically to see them, apparently after an impressive Download set last year. Their half-an-hour set had far better sound than the Birmingham show, and the London crowd gave them an enthusiastic reception. Strange that there were quite a few normally attired people at the show, maybe they were “going clubbin’” afterwards. Such ludicrous poseurs would have had multiple plastic cups of lager hurled at them in Brum, seconds after stepping through the door. Smart casual at an Opeth show? Devil Driver treated us to a nice version of ‘Clouds over California’, and then it was the turn of Arch Enemy.

A carbon copy of the Birmingham performance, with equally poor sound and an identical set list. Their show is extremely well-paced and the kids loved it, but I still feel that the songs from ‘Rise of the Tyrants’ were p*ss poor. I don’t need to see Arch Enemy again for a little while; they are veering towards Lacuna Coil in my estimations.

Demons of the Fall/Serenity Painted Death/The Baying of the Hounds/In My Time of Need/Wreath/Heir Apparent/The Drapery Falls

A slightly earlier start for Opeth, and NO intro music – wandered on, tuned up, straight into ‘Demons’. All a bit odd, especially when they then played ‘Serenity’ without Mikael even saying Hello!

He did finally chat a bit before a stunning ‘Baying of the Hounds’, but he and the rest of the band seemed slightly out of sorts. Their mood didn’t affect their playing, which was stunning on ‘Wreath’. We even got some pink dry ice during ‘In My Time of Need’, which was as gay as it sounds.

I had forgotten that whenever the temperature outside reaches about 18 degrees, the stalls at Brixton turn into a sauna – although the deranged moshing was fairly mild tonight, it was still incredibly hot. Maybe I will remember to go in the circle next time – I’m too damned old for this.

When I got home I found an e-mail with Opeth’s November tour dates – guess I better pop along.

By Roy Evans