Cradle of Filth / Circus of Horrors / Medulla Nocte

Nottingham Rock City

April 14 2001

Despite not actually owning a CoF album, (just the last EP and an album sampler I was sent), I went to this for 2 reasons. One was curiosity as to what they'd actually be like, and the other I heard as I approached Rock City at the late late late hour of 7.15pm. Medulla were already on, merely 15 minutes after the official door time. Now, I feel I have to say this. I know I'm often late and miss bands, but, but BUT, why the kcufing hell to venues / promoters (whoever it is that's responsible), send the opening band on moments after the doors have opened. There's fuck all people in yet to see them, it's a missed opportunity for the band and in all, an utter waste of time. If you're going to do 3 band bills, at least sort out the fucking logistics so that ALL the bands, and therefore by association, the people who have paid for their tickets get a fair crack at the whip. It really does piss the living daylights out of me.

Still, by the time I get in, I reckon I've only missed half of their set. I'm able to fight my way through the masses almost up t the front of the stage to see Paul hurling himself around the floor, resplendant in white shirt, almost making a bit more of a progression towards the extreme Patton end of things. The sound is far too echoy, it's like they're in a gigantic hall and the acoustics mean the sound is bouncing everywhere, nowhere to be absorbed. Ah, that'll be the empty hall syndrome partly due to band being sent on moments after doors open into an empty hall - reckon there's a theme to this?!?

Scared of Strangers and All Our Friends Are Dead are blasting through the night, added a real death metal flavour in the backing vocals tonight. At least there's one good thing about this,in that people whether they like it or not, as they eventually wander in, are pretty much forced to witness the force that is Medulla live. I kind of thought that it was a strange pairing, Medulla with CoF, but there again, they're both extreme, and I await the person who is into CoF and says that they don't like Medulla cos they're too fast, too aggressive or they don't like the vocal style. Good to see them on a big stage at last, but really, if bands are going to be given the opportunity, it's up to the powers that be to ensure they really ARE given the opportunity.

As the lights go off, 2 cloaked figures march to the front of the stage, either side of the ringmaster, the crowd cheers, the cameras that are here filming wheel into motion, the cloaks come off and too scantily clad dancers start their thing. It's Circus of Horrors time. Dancing, bloke pulled out of crowd, shirt removed, pop tarantula and scorpion on his chest as he lies down. Mongolian Laughing boy sticks nails through throat and chin, lies on broken glass while big guy from crowd (though not Jammer!), stands on top of bed of nails placed on Mongolian boys chest. Crowd gets soaked in all directions next time Laughing man takes a drink. (One of those is a lie). Girls from crowd remove nails. Dancers dance, swing hoops, climb on podium, lift each other dance. Mongolian geezerige sticks meat hook through knob and lifts something. I manage thank god to avoid seeing that. They depart.

Not sure what I expected from Cradle of Filth, but given the presence of cameras (did my best to hide, hopefully my best is good enough), I think I was expecting more than was delivered. Of course, not knowing pretty much any of their material is not the best way to go into any gig, but hey, it's their opportunity to impress the hell out of me.

The leather clad mob take the stage (really, some of the stuff the guitarist is wearing looks really restrictive for comfortable playing. I know it's an image, but you'd think they'd try and make things easier for themselves - or maybe it's not restrictive at all), along with the leather clad female backing singer, who goes to a podium stage left (as you're looking at the stage), and kind of has to stand there for the entire duration of the set. What must go through the mind. "Fuck me I'm bored, ooh, look at those people, la-de-da, maybe I should skip across the stage, just for a laugh you know, be rebellious and extreme". The music, and of the little deathly black metal I've heard (hey, pull me up on the terminology, I'm just stupid, I can't tell the difference between half the shit) this is a general feeling for me, is kind of swamped by the keyboards. By that I mean that what comes through the most are not the riffs, but they keyboard orchestration that gives it it's effect. There's no big fat juicy riffs to get your teeth into. That for me, is playing too fast, but you know, whatever floats your boat. After a while the songs do merge for me, but there's obvious excitement at different offerings going on around me.

I find myself in my pedantic just for the hell of it mood. some peoples traits tend to stick in my mind. Barney Napalm Death always reminds me of some kind of robot sentinel as he sings. He starts, and his head moves all the way across the line of sight. Mr Filth has a trait. It looks like for singing, he sticks his left arm in position, elbow cocked, mike poised, and then aims his head at it. For his arm is stock still, and it's his body that moves, rather than the other way around. Look, I just notice these things. Don't worry about it, just pointing out stuff that amuses me. Speaking of which, the ridiculous voice between songs. It's more ridiculous given that I watched Never Mind The Buzzcocks a few days earlier,so heard his natural voice. I just kind think singers should drop the act between songs - even Ricky Warwick of The Almighty used to do it. Hey an Almighty reference. Wonder if I can piss of the purists. Let's see if I can get a Portishead reference in here or something like that. Oh too late, I've already done it and pissed off the purists. Good name for a song. Got to admit I admire the way he can change from the low growl to the high pitch, though that feels like all he does.

"Hello you horrible lot" he welcomes people, before going on to mention the cameras recording the gig for a DVD. If I were being harsh, which I never am of course, I may say that deciding to record a gig in Nottingham for release is well, not a great idea. The place may be thought of as a rock haven, but crowds really can be pitiful. Not that I'm saying this was.

One of the songs that has Fog in the title (weyhey, stop showing off your indepth knowledge Dave) gets a burst of dry ice from the side of the stage, to give a foggy effect. Like I said, I was expecting more "I've just been taking a look at our setup, it looks like a cheap Tahitan monestry" reckons Dani, or words of a similar effect. During two songs, two girls on stilts come out and dance with each other and the band. I guess it kind of looks ok, different certainly, but for me, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever in the gig. Maybe it does, maybe I'm stupid. But it was just effect for the sake of it. And the band are relatively static, which is understandable, not everyone can play and run or jump or leap at the same time. Some of us can't even play, so can't really crticise that, but Dani doesn't really seem to work the crowd, relying instead I guess on his personality or aura. Which is fine, but I really wonder how that would extend to the larger festival stages.

There's quite a few repeated cries of "make some noise", maybe I wasn't the only one who felt slightly underwhelmed, or maybe I'm just a picky git. Yep, that's more closer to the truth I suspect. At the end of the day, the end result is that it's not really kind of dragged me anywhere near the whole death metal scene. Or whatever it's called.