I have a fear of flying.
Like a fucking serious one.
I’ve tried Xanax and whiskey in the past and, although I get buzzed I still panic. Buzzed and panicky sucks.
With this in mind, a few months ago I bought a ticket for the Fu Manchu London date as I knew from the past tours that Ireland tends to get overlooked when the dates are being arranged.
As a bonus bit of craic I thought to book myself into the legendary Ruskin arms, now a hotel in East Ham, to get the ultimate metal for my buck.
And so I boarded the ferry to Holyhead with a song in my heart and the Bunce boxing podcast in my headphones.
Coach journeys always SEEM to be a good idea to me.
The reality of course is that you are trapped in a mobile dryout unit for ex pats, students, drop outs and those like myself who have a flying phobia.
One elderly woman with a tartan shopping trolley appeared by the smell of it at least , to be transferring rotting cooked vegetables to England, The whole coach fucking stank.
12 hours later I arrived in Victoria, sore, under slept and smelling like a tramps sleeping bag.
The underground to East ham was fairly uneventful, but I was a bit disappointed in the Ruskin arms to be honest.
It still deserves its place in the pantheon of important metal venues, but little has been done to preserve its illustrious past, a single ‘Killers’ cover adorns the wall but apart from that its just another 2 star hotel in a pretty run down area. A quick power nap and shower and I was off again, this time to Islington.
An hour later I was supping a pint of IPA in the York pub opposite the venue, a fine boozer and reasonably priced pub grub.
A few stoner looking types dragged on roll ups outside but apart from that you wouldn’t have known that one of the seminal stoner acts of the last twenty years was about to play across the road.
The O2 Islington is located in a shopping precinct, and size wise would be similar to Vicar street.
I took my place at the front of the stage and watched the support band who’s name sadly escaped me do a decent job of warming the crowd up with their Dinosaur Jnr stylings and Michael Hutchence clone front man.
Good job whoever you were.
And so the time is at hand, Southern California’s heaviest stoner combo take the stage and crank up ‘eatin dust’ to a heaving mass of a crowd. Scott Hills hair whipping about the place and Scott Reeder smacking the shite out of his kit. The sounds amazing in this place.
The title track from new album ‘Clone of the universe’ erupts from the Marshalls, easily one of their best albums to date, Bob Baulch’s reverend guitar cutting through the mix with soaring wah and phase.
‘California Crossing’ from 1999’s album of the same name follows, then ‘Weird Beard’ with Hill milking the gaps in the chorus for all its worth follows, and was a definite highlight for me.
Annoyingly, Londoners cant drink gargle.
Every few minutes a half full plastic glass of weak lager would go skyward.
If you cant drink full pints then order a half. No ones going to hit you if you do. One lad who was diving off the stage neatly back healed one of said pints right at Scotts Dan Armstrong plexi guitar; soaking him.
A lot of other bands that I could think of would take a strop, but he just flicked the lad a middle finger, dried the fretboard with his hair and got through to the end where a dry guitar was produced.
‘Ive Been Hexxed’ ( a classic already) and already bone fide classic ‘Mongoose’ continue what is rapidly turning into one of the best gigs I have been to, Quick Jack and coke to avoid spillage and i’m back in the game, stage right beside various half mast wearing hipsters and stoned surf types.
The twin guitars of Fu Manchu are immense.
A fuzz current that moves as one, occasionaly lifted by Bob Balches blues leanings and wide vibrato.
They have been at this caper so long that everything has power-a panzer unit of doom that hits you in the chest with each Vans clad salvo. Bliss.
A fantastic evening is unfortunately coming to a close ‘Thanks London, this is our last song of the night’ draws a few boo’s from the crowd but WHAT a song to finish on. ‘Il mostro Atomico’ is just that.
A monster, clocking in at around the 15 minute mark and featuring Rush’s Alex Lifeson, its a master class in stoner riffage with Baulch handling the Lifeson parts admirably.
A few chants later and they return to the stage to finish us off with the homage to classic surfer transport ‘Boogie van’ and its all done. I am spent.
In summing up, buy or steal this album and always fly to Europe. Unless you have a boogie van
– Rim ::: 02/04/18