REVIEW: Orange Goblin The Fleece 8/10
A BIG-value four-band metal bill at the recently refurbished Fleece begins with the Sabbathy Baron Greenback. Alas, they swiftly lose momentum and their perennial opening act status is unlikely to change unless they tighten up those unwieldy arrangements.
Tonight's wild card are the Earls of Mars, who are an unknown quantity to most of us. Self-styled weirdos led by a keyboard player who stabs away inexpertly at his instrument. They're also the only metal band in existence to feature an upright bass guitar. The Earls keep the ominous spectre of wackiness at bay with a fine set of eerie, semi-proggy metal. The Mirrored Staircase even sounds like the score to a Giallo movie that Dario Argento never got around to making. The metal audience loves them, and one fears hipsters will too.
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell was a real-life 17th century English naval hero. Google his name today and you're more likely to find a loveable trio of Julian Cope-approved gorblimey 'Sarf' Londoners with a taste for Budgie-style album cover artwork and the late Sixties proto-metal of the similarly named Sir Lord Baltimore. The singer's called Johnny Gorilla, the bass player appears to have acquired Graeme Garden's old sideburns, and, rather magnificently, they play a song entitled Scratchin' and Sniffin'.
Rabble-rousing man-mountain Ben Ward – part buffoon, part Viking warrior – is the reason why Orange Goblin can pack out the Fleece on a Sunday night. But excellent diminutive guitarist Joe Hoare's contribution to the band's success should never be overlooked. It's goodbye beer as the place erupts into a huge sweaty moshpit on Ward's command for a set that includes a few welcome surprises, such as the rarely played Saruman's Wish. Fortunately, nobody acts on his suggestion that we should feast on each other's brains during the zombie-themed riff frenzy of They Come Back.
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