This is another interesting one. In keeping with that “theme” of mine. Basically I hear that Sepultura are performing in Newcastle and I go to check them out two weeks later. The band have added a last minute Newcastle date on a free night – so late in fact, if memory serves me correctly, that they didn’t even have the date listed on their tour shirts.
Which is a good thing too, because judging the attendance was about 15 in Academy 1, I doubt very much they sold many shirts beyond the one I purchased that night. I remember going to a job induction the following day dressed in that shirt. I must have taught I was a rebel. Or I was just stupid.
There used to be one video on YouTube of this gig. You could clearly see me as the ONLY person in the middle of the floor in an empty venue. Bloody brilliant.
When drummer Igor Cavalera and vocalist Wagner Lamounier founded Sepultura in 1984, few believed their legacy would continue for a quarter of a century, even if somewhat different from their initial vision. Many will argue Sepultura’s most successful period was with Igor’s brother Max, who joined as vocalist for 11 years, before a massive disagreement broke both a band and a family apart for well over a decade.
Fast forward to a rainy Newcastle night and the band are opening their UK tour to a pretty low key audience. Despite having not performed in the UK in four years, the band only announced this opening date two weeks prior, and as a result the arena is visibly empty. Igor has since departed, reconciled with his brother, and vocalist Derrick Green has been “the new guy” since 1997. Only bassist Paulo Jnr, the quietest and most reserved member of the group by far, has lasted from the start.
A local opening act have brought with them an arsenal of fans – all taking advantage of the ‘guest list prices’ – and witnessing what is this particular band’s final concert. Without doubt, there is no finer way to go out, and their admirable performance shows their inspiration for music was certainly tonight’s headliners.
Next is Ireland’s Gama Bomb, who are missing bassist Joe McGuigan due to personal reasons, and performing with drummer Paul Caffrey’s apparent broken kit. While they try to fix it early into the set, guitarist Luke Graham and vocalist Philly Byrne entertain the audience with a rendition of ‘Guess That Lick’ before continuing with a fantastic old meets new school thrash set. The highlight belongs to ‘O.C.P.’ – the rather short, but entertaining track, based on the film RoboCop.
Soon, it’s time for the headliners, who take to the stage later then expected. Despite this, the band emerge as victorious as if they are performing the main stage at Donnington. To call the setlist a greatest hits would be unfair as there are more than enough cuts from the band’s latest release, A-Plex, but with a catalogue spanning 11 albums there is ample material to choose from.
Crowd pleasers include the classics ‘Territory’ and ‘Refuse/Resist’ with phenomenal speed and agression, proving there is no harder touring band on the circut – Green commenting on his shoes being robbed earlier that day – but also mentioning that the person who took them is in for a smelly shock. Newer tracks like ‘What I Do’ get a lukewarm response; those in attendance were certainly happy the band are still releasing current material, but more eager to hear less of it. Celebrating the years previously, drummer Jean Dobella and vocalist Derrick Green are unlikely to mess up ‘Troops Of Doom’, even if they never originally recorded it.
While personal hopes of ‘Hatred Aside’ being aired seemed to fall on deaf ears, the band fail to upset with a trio of legendary tracks: ‘Arise’, ‘Attitude’ and ‘Roots…’ bring the performance to a close.
Who knows when Sepultura will next grace UK shores with such force and headlining ability. The crowd in Newcastle have witnessed a special performance that’s unlikely to be repeated for a long time.
Sepultura perform at the Hevy Festival on 8th August 2010 in Kent.