Let me start off by stating something obvious: This is a highly irresponsible line-up to have on tour. A co-headline tour between Corrosion of Conformity and Orange Goblin is an enticing enough proposition for those looking for low-down and dirty riffs but then to add in Fireball Ministry and Black Moth, well, that’s just asking for trouble.
Due to the early doors time, I only managed to catch the last few songs from Black Moth who hail from Leeds and London. Squeezed onto the available real estate on stage, the quintet churned out a solid set that got the heads of those who made it in to the venue in time rocking and rolling. Next time I will try my damnedest to catch their full set as what I did hear was very intriguing.
As we sadly missed Black Moth here's them performing the song "Tumbleweave" live:
Fireball Ministry are a peculiar band. They have the elements that should make them world-beaters like solid song craft and excellent hard-rock riffs delivered by talented musicians, but they remain a criminally underrated outfit. Taking to the stage a couple of minutes early, the twin guitars of James A. Rota and Emily Burton lay down the bedrock for the groove-filled set that follows. Rota cuts an imposing figure, looking like a wild-eyed cousin of Neil Young while long-time drummer John Oreshnick and local lady Helen Storer keep the rhythm section in check. It’s a fabulous display of heavy guitar work fused with harmonious vocals and funky, groovy rhythms that just proves that more people should be worshipping at the altar of Fireball Ministry.
Orange Goblin have been going for almost a quarter of a century and in that time they have been able to consistently count themselves amongst the leaders of the many UK stoner-doom-groove metal bands and it’s no surprise to find them co-headlining a tour such as this. Frontman Ben Ward is a big unit of a man and, combined with the high stage in the venue, his imposing stature is amplified. He spends the first couple of songs lampooning the slightly static nature of the audience but once those folk realise they aren’t going to be able to hide, it was full ahead go on all cylinders. Where Fireball Ministry have a laid back groove to their music, Orange Goblin are more take-no-prisoners in their approach with non-stop riffs, pounding bass lines and Ben prowling across the stage when not delivering guttural vocal lines about pigboys, wolves and rats. It’s hard to beat Orange Goblin live for simple good time party vibes when they are in this kind of form.
Here's Corrosion Of Conformity's classic track "Albatross"
If Orange Goblin have been going a long time, Corrosion of Conformity have been going for a very very long time. About 36 years at last count. This timeline has obviously included many well documented line-up changes but, in 2014, Pepper Keenan re-joined the band to complete the Deliverance-era roster and this led to the release of 2018’s No Cross No Crown record. Tonight’s set sees a range of songs from across their back catalogue and, owing to their co-headline status and tight set length, there’s very little room for filler with minimal talking between songs and only the odd “come on Manchester” being shouted before another crushing song smashes forth from the PA system.
Sometimes Keenan’s vocals get lost in the mix due to the sludgy nature of the tunes but it’s never enough to impact the shear ferocity that comes across in songs like "Seven Days", "Broken Man" and "Wolf Named Crow". Having 4 bands on a bill can sometimes make for a hard slog, having to watch acts plod through a set before you can get to the band you want to see. Luckily whoever booked this tour knew what they were doing and got 4 bands that worked great on paper and, more importantly, who brought their A-games to Manchester on a cold and wet mid-week night.
01. Seven Days
02. Novus Deus
03. The Luddite
04. Broken Man
05. Forgive Me
07. Who's Got the Fire
08. 13 Angels
09. Diablo Blvd.
10. Vote With a Bullet
11. Wolf Named Crow
13. Clean My Wounds