With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Monday, 17 December 2012

RED FANG, El Caco @Birmingham Institute Temple 6/12/12

The last time Red Fang were in these parts they were opening for Mastodon downstairs in the main institute. It seems that a spring spent touring with the Georgia legends has paid off as the venue is packed to the rafters despite the horrendous weather conditions outside.

The early beneficiaries of the heaving crowd are Norway’s El Caco. The band are a mixture of hard rock and stoner rock, although RTM detects more than a hint of Therapy? In their songs. Indeed they seem to be enjoying their first visit to Birmingham, as although relative unknowns over here they are on to their sixth album in their homeland. The three piece are led by bassist/vocalist Oyvind Osa, who combines nicely with guitarist Anders Gjesti, but as they don’t actually introduce any of their songs nothing quite sticks in the mind the way it might have done.

Sticking in the mind is exactly what Red Fang did back in the spring. RTM saw them perform opening duties for Mastodon at the Brixton Academy and couldn’t help but be impressed at what was essentially four beardy fellas plugging in and playing some great heavy, Black Sabbath-inspired songs. Good job, then, that pretty much the same thing occurs here.

Most of their songs are built on immense riffs, but occasionally they can get extremely catchy to go with it. Second song in “Throw Up” with its “say what you gotta say” refrain is everything that tonight’s opening act didn’t have. If most of their set came from 2011’s stellar outing “Move The Mountains, then the move back into their first album for “Bird on Fire” is a very successful foray indeed.  Elsewhere, “Human Remains” sounds epic in this setting, while “Number Thirteen” and “Malverde” most echo Mastodon.

Fang do share something else in common with their more illustrious touring partners too, a reluctance to communicate with the audience. Frontman Bryan Giles is not an especially charismatic man – even to the point where a new song is played but not introduced.

However, this is a minor quibble, because this type of music, perhaps more than any other, doesn't need to rely on charisma, more just great songs. And beards, obviously.

Luckily, as Red Fang have proved tonight, they have both those things in abundance. 

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