GIG REVIEW: Obituary, Exodus, Prong & King Parrot Live at O2 Academy 2, Birmingham
On Saturday 29th October 2016, I traveled to Birmingham (known to many as the birthplace of this genre of music) to see one of the most impressive tours the UK has seen all year in terms of heavier metal. I’m talking about Obituary’s first set of shows in the UK since the Deathcrusher tour exactly one year earlier with Napalm Death, Carcass, Voivod and Herod, except this time the bands accompanying Obituary were to be famed US thrash legends Exodus, American metallers Prong and the Australian hardcore punk band King Parrot.
King Parrot came on stage first to open the show, and throughout my time of being aware of this band many things were said about the energy of their live performances, leading me to think that they’d be the contemporary equivalent of what groups such as Slipknot and The Dillinger Escape Plan were doing back in the late 1990s. While their set was definitely decent, the visual spectacle that I had expected was certainly not as present as I had hoped, but nonetheless they were still an enjoyable start to the night.
Up next was Prong, a band that I am admittedly not up to speed with in terms of their discography. Their style of groove-influenced thrash metal went down well with the audience, as it was obvious that some of the people in the crowd were fans of the band. The only problem with their set, as with King Parrot, was that the sound was very dodgy on the right hand side of the room, but fortunately that was solved for the next band on the roster.
Tonight’s occasion was the third time I have seen Exodus live, and I struggle to think of a more consistent live band in metal. Opening with ‘The Ballad of Leonard and Charles’ (a song I never thought I would ever see live), the band appeared comfortable in the support slot as the entire front half of the audience was Exodus devotees, who responded positively to every song regardless of whether it was new tracks like ‘Blood In Blood Out’ or ‘Body Harvest’, or older material such as ‘And Then There Were None’, ‘Blacklist’ and of course ‘The Toxic Waltz’ and ‘Strike of the Beast’. Exodus stole the show as far as I’m concerned.
The final band of the night was of course US death metal pioneers Obituary, who released their EP ’10,000 Ways to Die’ on October 21st, with a new studio record due sometime next year. Having seen Obituary for the first time exactly one year previously, as mentioned in the introduction, I knew what to expect, and they did not disappoint. The 15 song set that the band performed included their usual staples such as ‘Bloodsoaked’, ‘Intoxicated’, ‘Visions in My Head’ and ‘Slowly We Rot’, but also material such as ‘Deadly Intentions’ and ‘Words of Evil’. Overall, a respectable performance from one of extreme metal’s most important bands, even though Exodus’ performance beforehand was a hard thing to follow.
To round up, the ‘Battle of the Bays’ tour was a definite success. Exodus and Obituary were as formidable as always in the special guest and headliner slots, respectively, while King Parrot and Prong put on impressive performances even though the sound was very bad for those acts.