It’s hard to imagine that a few days before this gig, this band
headlined the UKs Bloodstock Festival. I don’t mean that in a bad way at all,
it’s just that there is only space for 300 people at Rock Planet. I think that
made it more enjoyable. I have met Down before but never actually been able to
see them at their own gig – they’ve always been at a festival, so I was very
much looking forward to this gig and it was not a disappointment.
The stage is smaller than my living room. The security gates are
knocked over and the band have to stop. I must praise the venue security because
their patience was tested on several occasions, not least when a guy tried to
slip back stage at the end of the show.
A tip for when you go to Italian venues – never order beer. It
tastes fucking awful and it’s a half pint cup for €5. That’s a London price for
something even worse that Fosters – something I didn’t think was possible. Order
vodka or whiskey. It’s still the same price - but - they don’t actually do
measures here, they just fill the glass up to well over half way an stick a
couple of ice cubes in it.
We arrive slightly late, just as ‘Lifer’ is half way through. A
couple of songs in and I can contain myself no longer as I push through the
crowd to get right to the front. Bobby is a fine replacement for Kirk Windstein
who recently left Down to focus on Crowbar.
Anyway, the show itself was fantastic. The resilience of everyone
there was commendable in respect to the heat. It was 28 degrees outside, so you
can imagine being inside a room comparable in size to the lower area of the
Islington O2 in London crammed full of drunk and sweaty metalheads. Even the
band were getting towels and bandanas thrown to them from the crowd. Like I said
with Annihilator in a review last month, it makes all the difference as a fan
when you see that the bands really love and care about putting on a great show.
Phil smiles as he politely reminds the crowd that there are 5 band members when
he responds to chants of “AN-SEL-MO! AN-SEL-MO!”.
It’s a short set of slightly over an hour, and it does not
feature any Pantera covers that a few people seem to have been expecting, but
that didn’t matter because everyone was singing along. To be perfectly honest,
it’s commendable that they didn’t call it quits before then given how hot it
was. Particular heavy hitters with the crowd were both the encore songs, ‘Stone
The Crow’ and ‘Bury Me In Smoke’. Somebody actually inadvertently tripped over
me trying to get to the front during in ‘Witchtripper’ and (how she knew I was
English I have no idea) apologised for having tripped and said “I’m trippa
beckoz I’m witch”. I don’t think she understood the context.
The crowd response to the performance really resonated with the
band and they let everyone know it, the importance of which cannot be
overstated. It’s great to see a bands that are sincere in their thanks to their
fans, and it always makes for a better performance. This was a great gig.