Corrosion of Conformity
Saturday 7th March 2015
Manchester Academy 2
I’ve been a Corrosion of Conformity fan for a long time. Starting with a cassette copy of their hardcore punk/thrash crossover Eye For An Eye back in my early skateboarding days; through their major label success as a stoner metal band; and on. Never seen them live, though. Ridiculous, no?
All that was about to change: I decided to get my act together and go see the band in Manchester for their latest tour. The fact that vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan was back fronting the band, completing their Deliverance era line-up, was a nice little sweetener too.
The afternoon got off to a great start when, mere seconds from arriving in the car park next to the Academy, I spotted bass player Mike Dean walking along the road. I greeted him and wished the band well in a brief, pleasant conversation. I think I managed to remain cool and not look like a total weirdo.
A few beers were had in the early evening, before we made our way to the venue. Unfortunately we were in Manchester Academy 2, not the nice big main Academy building. The Academy 2 is the size of a sports hall and was too small for this band. People were crammed in tighter than a glam rockers spandex pants; it was not cool.
When Corrosion of Conformity hit the stage, there’s a genuine sense of excitement in the (tiny) room. They open with instrumental “These Shrouded Temples” from the Blind album, before charging into “Senor Limpio” and “King of the Rotten”. There’s hardly a breather between songs, and minimal banter – it seems COC are on a mission to destroy. Pepper leads the band confidently, like he’s never been away; whilst Woody throws down a barrage of guitar.
In keeping with the tour theme, there’s a healthy chunk of tracks from the devastating Deliverance album. This is fine with me. My sad fanboy credentials mean I love all their output, but Deliverance is the cream of the crop as far as I’m concerned. A genuine metal/punk/stoner/doom/whatever classic, rated in the same bracket as Volume 4 and Master of Puppets. “Albatross” and “My Grain” are highlights amongst a head crushing set, though the slower pace of “Seven Days” is my favourite from that era of the evening – forgot how great that song is.
There’s a pinch of tracks from across several albums, with “Long Whip/Big America” shining from Wiseblood. “Thirteen Angels” (America’s Volume Dealer) and “Paranoid Opioid” (In the Arms of God) also stand out in a set filled with gems. The band are well rehearsed – Reed’s drums and Mike’s bass sound tight and locked in.
COC return for their encore with “Broken Man”, before launching into the inevitable “Vote With a Bullet”. This song is still an absolute monster, and is welcomed heartily by the audience. “Clean My Wounds”, another Deliverance era stormer, finishes the night off with it’s awesome riff.
Despite being crowded in the tiny Manchester Academy 2, it’s a great night. Corrosion of Conformity perform a powerful set, which I only wish could have been longer. I got to tick a band off my “must see” list tonight, and I retire with obligatory tour t-shirt a very happy punter.