Voivod / Cynical Smile

London Finsbury Park Powerhaus

October 6 1997

The next time I think I have a good idea, someone shoot me. Drive down to London he says, to see Voivod. Not accounting for the fact that the couple of days before I drive down, I get a shitty cold and feel like death. Still, a round trip of 300 miles, 5 hours driving. There's only a few bands even I'll go to those lengths to see, and one of them is Voivod. Still, good ideas and me seem to be relative strangers.

So, having had this great idea, I thought there'd be 3 bands, but as it turned out, there wasn't. Dunno what happened, or if that was how it was supposed to be all along, but Stampin' Ground weren't there. And I only managed to catch the last couple of songs by Cynical Smile, but from what I did catch, I will be catching them again. Good powerful stuff, and Ed the singer, as it says in the Org fanzine, seems good and powerful and energetic. They've got some tracks on the second Organ Radio CD, and should be recording their debut album soon. Good band. Check them out.

But not much compares to the mighty Voivod. Phobos is probably the best the harsh Voivod has sounded. Certainly better than Negatron, and the album dominates the set. And in fact, it actually sounds damn good live, better than I thought they'd be able to recreate. The time flew by. Rise, The Tower, M-Body, Phobos, Bacteria, Forlorn and Mercury are all offered up. Mix in a couple of tracks from Negatron in the shape of Project-X and Nanoman and Tribal Convictions and Astronomy Dominie from the older albums and you have a crushing main set that literally flies by.

Actually, apart from the fact that it's in support of a new album, it's not that much different to the last time they played in the UK in support of the Negatron album. Basically, it means that they are supporting the stuff recorded with Eric, and throwing in some old stuff as well. Which works, and is fair enough. But it probably means I'll never achieve my ambition of seeing the band perform the Nothingface set. But that's my bad luck for missing out on them when it happened.

Their also a lot tighter live than in a way I'd expected. As they do so few gigs over here, you tend to forget that they probably have done a lot of touring in the last few years. And more importantly, they look like they're having fun and enjoying it.

The band deserve so much more than being forced to play one lousy gig in the UK, to a few hundred people. This is a band with style, flair and vision. You can only imagine at the kind of spectacle it would be if they had the oppoortunity. But some of that may lie in the pre-conceived notions of the masses. Voivod they're a thrash band aren't they or are they STILL going. And as nice as it was to see Eric honouring London's finest by wearing a Maiden Killer's T-shirt, that almost summed up what could still hold them back. Too many people consider them something of the past, rather than of NOW. Sure, it makes for a nice intimate gig, but the band deserve so much more. I mean, selling the CD that you've just performed live, basically because the distribution in this country is so shit. It's sad. And when the magazine's just don't even bother to cover them anymore. Yet they pissed all over Megadeth's gig last week, and were a damn sight better than Bore O'Negative were. In fact, better than a hell of a lot of bands. But people are just not interested.

Still, the band seem genuinely grateful of the turnout, coming back to do 2 encores, including a ludicrous version of In League with Satan. They promise to come back. Last time I saw them I wondered. And they did. And I am thankful. Next time. Well, if there is a god ...