Date / Venue: Wednesday October 4th, 2017 - Kings Arms, Auckland
Billed as the Campaign for Musical Destruction - there's no way about it - the way my body is feeling right now: Napalm Death, Brujeria, Lock Up, and local act Malevolence brought forth bodily destruction as well.
As I arrived at the Kings Arm's Tavern for what will most likely be one of the last "big" shows before being torn down, I could swear I could still feel bruises and ill effects from Napalm Death's 2015 outing with Carcass - and I suspect now I'll be feeling these new ones for several years to come as well (that's definitely one way to remember a show!)
Auckland's Malevolence opened the night with little fanfare, and immediately set the pace and the mood of the evening - and it was nothing short of grindcore glory. The audience, however, took longer to get into the 'swing' of things and mostly hung back from the stage as if to work out which of the audience members were likely to be "that guy" of the night. You know the kind - obnoxious, already drunk, overeagerly aggressive - there's usually at least one at the bigger shows and unfortunately, we didn't escape having him as our guest either - a sour point on an evening that not even bruises or twisted ankles would provide.
Next up "Lock Up". Up until a few weeks ago I was largely unfamiliar with the band, or it's work so set about to prepare myself... for nothing like what I saw. Cowboy hats and boots mixed (and the sight of seeing some woman licking, and almost swallowing said boot) provided a somewhat disconnecting visual for the aural carnage that Nick Barker (ex-Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir) and Shane Embury (also performing with Brujeria and Napalm Death) laid out before us all - whatever it was, it was intense and blissful.
Brujeria soon took the stage with what must have been one of the most fun shows I've seen. What struck me most was, was the strange sensation of trying to follow along with songs sung/growled in Spanish - my mind has grown accustomed to hearing death/grind vocals in English and not speaking Spanish, I had this disconnected feeling, but man - that in no way lowered the enjoyment and instead made for something unique.
Finally, it was time for Napalm Death. By this stage, I'd managed to escape a majority of physical pain in the pit trying to get photos, but I knew this was soon to over - my mission: get photos and GET OUT. It was now that I encountered "that guy" and my resolve was set . Yes we're a bit crazy taking camera gear into the pit to capture the moment, and we're well aware of the risks, But when you're told blanketly "I don't care if I smash you, or your gear" you know what you're dealing with.....but I digress. After what seemed to be a lengthy drum setup, along with minor technical difficulties with drum mics - Barney and crew fired up the amps and launched full speed into unrelenting grindcore bliss, and equally the aggressive pit behind me erupted with an unrelenting show of force.
Between trying to stay standing, take photos, and not get smashed in the head- I have pretty much zero recollection of what songs were actually played, but that's ok by me - I'm alive. I was there, I witnessed, I heard, I survived, and then - I escaped. Sauntering off to the back of the Kings Arms to relax outside watching the band perform on the TV screen whilst catching up with people also avoiding the pit - the evening rounded itself out as one of the best live shows I've seen at the Kings Arms, and one that will definitely be leaving a lasting memory.
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