Dave's Diary
This journal of the comings'n'goings and musings'n'enthusings of Dave Ling will be updated daily
(except after nights of excess)

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Friday 31st March
The postie has just delivered something tasty for the weekend. You've gotta admire the attention to detail of Rock Candy Records, a specialist re-issue label run by ex-journos Dante Bonutto and Derek Oliver. Their albums are beautifully re-mastered and lovingly packaged, with bonus tracks wherever possible. The latest three albums to be afforded this treatment are Lita Ford's 'Lita' (from 1988), 'Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Ram' by Ram Jam (of 'Black Betty' fame, first issued in 1978) and Stampede's sole studio disc 'Hurricane Town' (1983). 'Lita' went straight into the Death Deck and will probably remain there for some time.
It's the day of Judas Priest and the Scorpions' Teenage Cancer Trust benefit at the Royal Albert Hall, and I'm gutted not to be able to attend. Palace have a crunch home game against Watford, and having paid for four season tickets this year I just can't afford to waste that sort of money. No doubt it'll be a killer show, and of course it's for an excellent cause so I've asked my good pal Malcolm Dome to drop a tenner into the collection box on my behalf. A fantastic quote from Rob Halford about the show has been posted at Rock Detector "This will be the first time that a Harley Davidson has trundled across the Royal Albert Hall stage! I'm absolutely certain that when Queen Victoria had the place built for Prince Albert she never imagined that in her wildest dreams!"
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Thursday 30th March
Was stuck at the PC in the office till gone 11pm last night, and I'm so rammed with work that I've had to cancel my ticket for tonight's Thin Lizzy's gig at Hammersmith. Even had to stall tomorrow's plans to hook up with ex-FM men Pete Jupp and Steve Overland for a preview of their new album as The Ladder. Being self-employed, I can't complain about being this snowed-under. Gave the new Survivor album, 'Reach', a few spins as I typed. Gotta admit it had registered as merely average on first hearing but there's no doubt that it's a bit of a grower. Also gave Europe's 'Prisoners In Paradise' a good blasting; that one is still a fuggin' classic.
Now here's something that definitely excites me for the future. Drummer's Digest have confirmed the rumours that Dream Theater's Mike Portnoy is putting together a side project with Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth, and according to Portnoy there's also even talk of Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree becoming involved. But hang on a minute... a website for drummers? Do they pay their roadies to read it out to 'em?!
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Monday 27th March
Dreadful news for Rose Tattoo fans. After a lengthy period of illness, guitarist Pete Wells has died. Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002, Wells sat out the band's last few visits to Europe. Tragically, the growth became so widespread, not even surgery could help. Now he's gone, aged just 58. As a major Tatts follower and somebody who witnessed all the Aussie group's fantastic early shows at places like the Marquee Club (even though Angry Anderson said: "You look far too young" when I told him that last year!), my condolences go to Pete's family, friends and band-mates. By way of a tribute, I'll be posting my Classic Rock interview with Pete and Angry from 2001 as soon as time permits.
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Sunday 26th March
Yesterday's defeat at Derby County (yes, Derby fuggin' County) made me pig-sick. It's the lottery of the play-offs for Palace now. But good luck in the Premiership to CPFC legend Steve Coppell, whose Reading side have reached the top tier for the first time in their history. Given Eagles chairman Simon Jordan's false bravado about demanding to be promoted as champions this year, I wonder if he's now regretting sacking Coppell - or forcing him to resign, at least - as the first thing he did when he bought Palace out of administration. This supreme irony became obvious whilst watching the televised promotion party scenes on Sky TV.
Still green with envy at Reading's good fortune (I admit it) and seething at my own club's ineptitude, it was off to the Mean Fiddler to check out a pair of reunited bands. I never really rated original Onslaught singer Sy Keeler, but he and the new-look Bristolians (guitarist Alan Jordan joining the newly-mohawked guitarist Nige Rockett and the All-Dwarf Rhythm Section of bassist Jim Hinder and drummer Steve Grice) exceeded my expectations. A brand new song called 'Destroyer Of Worlds' stood its ground alongside 'Let There Be Death', 'Angels Of Death', 'Metal Forces', 'Demoniac', 'Power From Hell' and they even included even a song from the Steve Grimmett-fronted swansong 'In Search Of Sanity', namely 'Shellshock'. Most of the crowd loved 'em.
Compensating for a 15-year silence, headliners Venom burst out of the traps with four classic songs; 'Black Metal', 'Welcome To Hell', 'Bloodlust' and 'Die Hard'. Their sole survivor from the 1980s glory years, bassist/growler Cronos then introduced an impressive newie called 'Antechrist' from the 'Metal Black' comeback disc, following it with 'The Evil One', from 1997's 'Cast In Stone'. Tying up a segment of 'At War With Satan' with 'Countess Bathory' in medley form, then roaring through 'The Seven Gates Of Hell', all was going according to plan. But after another two new songs, 'Burn In Hell' and 'Metal Black' itself, Venom shocked the Mean Fiddler by exiting after around three-quarters of an hour. How ironic that after an encore of 'Witching Hour' everyone was back on the Tottenham Court Road pavement by (ahem) 9.31pm.
So let's get this straight... 41 minutes of Onslaught and less than an hour from Venom costs £17.50??!! In theory I'd agree with Cronos' parting rant ("C'mon England, we invented this type of music. Why have we let the Americans take over?"), but at least most Yank acts know how to sell their wares and leave us happy. Yes, it was hard to fault the very little music that was actually played (okay, I was also lucky enough not to have paid), but such an exercise in minimalism hardly represents value for mayhem.
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Friday 24th March
I'm nurturing a rather sore head. Last night, Mrs L and I tubed it to Camden for a soiree to introduce Khoma, a Swedish band that features ex-members of the highly rated Cult Of Luna, and their rather good debut album 'Tsunami'. With glasses of wine hitting the back of neck all too frequently and no evening meal before leaving home, the mussus and I may possibly have over-indulged in Roadrunner Records' hospitality. We didn't last till the end of the set, but it was definitely above average... I think.
There have been more hilarious developments in the Guns N' Roses-Velvet Revolver feud. Alan Niven, who managed GN'R between 1986 and 1991, has posted an extraordinary statement at Metal Sludge. Calling for a reunion of the band's 'Appetite For Destruction' line-up, it slams singer Scott Weiland as "delusional" and having "no discernable talent". Velvet Revolver are also dismissed as "a thorough waste of a truly great guitar player and terrific rhythm section", not to mention responsible for an "entirely forgettable" output. Can't wait for Weiland's response.
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Thursday 23rd March
In Flames rocked the Forum last night. With a clever light show and enough pyro to do their name justice, the Swedes were little short of sensational. Gotta admit, my fear was that they'd be upstaged by Sepultura, a band that shouldn't really be supporting anyone at this stage of their career. I've watched the Brazilians' rise (or perhaps 'Arise') since their very first UK appearance opening for Sodom at the Marquee. I rate much of the work they've done since Max Cavalera left them after a 1996 gig in London and have a lot of respect for current frontman Derrick Green. On last night's evidence, however, they're running out of steam. Ex-Soulfly man Roy Mayorga was a
surprisingly good stand-in for the absent Igor Cavalera and the crowd went apeshit to Refuse/Resist', 'Troops Of Doom', 'Beneath The Remains', 'Arise' and an encore of 'Roots' but their lack of patience for material from the new album 'Dante XXI ('Convicted In Life', 'Buried Words') was all too obvious.
The headliners seemed to have a bee in their bonnet about Trivium, singer Anders Fridén demanding that two fans in the front row remove their Trivs T-shirts and replace them with specially supplied In Flames garments, and introducing the new track 'Vacuum' as "a Trivium cover song". It seemed
rather petty, especially as with a mixture of oldies like 'Behind Space and 'Moonshield' and such recent material as 'System', 'Trigger', 'Black And White', 'Crawl Through Knives', 'Take This Life' and a thunderous 'Cloud Connected' the quintet had the Forum eating out of their hands.
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Tuesday 21st March
Bouncebackability's back... and not a moment too soon! Last night's away win for Palace at promotion rivals Leeds was a magnificent achievement. The increasingly important Jobi McAnuff notched the goal that silenced Elland Road, claiming sweet revenge for the match at Selhurst. If we can play as well for the rest of the season, anything might happen. And how hilarious that Flatnose Bruce's relegation-bound Blues were spanked 0-7 in the FA Cup Quarter Finals by Liverpool. After the disgusting way he walked out on his contract with CPFC, maybe there is such a thing as karma after all.
p.s. Talking of bouncebackability, the Guestbook has at last risen from the dead!
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Monday 20th March
It had been 15 years since the Edgar Broughton Band's last tour, so after savouring a plethora of recently re-issued product I reckoned I'd better check 'em out. It was a wise move. Even on a chilling Sunday night, the 100 Club was pretty stuffed with inquisitive punters. Initially a power-trio of guitarist/vocalist Edgar Broughton, his drumming bother Steve and bassist Arthur Grant, the 2006 line-up has been expanded by a second guitarist and keyboard player. But as you'd expect, it's namesake Edgar's idiosyncratic vocals, fluent soloing and eerily crazed between-song banter that fascinate. A mixture of standards and unheard material was largely unintroduced, but 'Speak Down The Wires', a lyrically revised 'Homes Fit For Heroes', 'For Doctor Spock', 'Out Demons Out' and 'Love In The Rain' (the latter performed as a three-piece) all suggested that the EBB's mixture of space-tinged progressive rock, pychedelia, dirty blues and politically charged imagery remains musically effective and socially revelant.
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Sunday 19th March
Palace's habit of giving away goals needlessly is really starting to bug me. Yesterday, against a drab Ipswich team, we conceded a stupid own goal and later our so-called 'defence' stood back to allow Matthew Richards to cross for the visitors' second equaliser, then failed to break down a 10-man side for the last goal. Unfortunately, it's another season in the Fizzy Pop League for the Eagles next year.... but at least we won't be playing Scumwall or Shiteon & Homo Albion, who both suffered their own damaging (and quite hilarious) results yesterday.
BTW, just rediscovered a bizarre cutting that I'd kept from last week's Daily Star. Apparently, the music collections of us Brits "are now bigger than ever, with the average music fan owning a whopping 164 CDs". Men are "the biggest spenders, with an average of 21 more albums than women in their collection". You can say that again, as Mrs L would wearily confirm. It would be impossible to whittle down my prized collection to just 164 albums if somebody asked; I've probably got that many by Status Quo and Uriah Heep alone. Does that make me a saddo? Don't even answer that...
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Saturday 18th March
Yesterday morning I made the trip to enemy territory, footie-speaking at least, for an extremely pleasaurable interview with Gary Moore, who lives in that unmentionable cess-pit on the South Coast that starts with the letter 'B' and ends with 'N'. Spotting my Crystal Palace scarf as I exited the cab, he said: "I hope you won't be wearing that in the town centre afterwards, you might end up in trouble." Seems that the guitar legend almost got caught up the victory celebrations after our fine away win last November. Of course the colours stayed on as I wandered round the record shops after our chat. Nobody said a word. With the Al**on staring down the barrel of relegation, why would they risk the embarassment?
The evening involved a trip to the Royal Standard in Walthamstow, a venue I used to frequent in my youth. My old mates Chariot were the headliners, delivering their reliably robust brand of entertainment with all the usual zeal. And with Martin Ball, the old deejay from the Marquee Cub on the decks, it felt like a bit of a timewarp - in a nice way.
I was also heartily impressed by Messiah, a young band from Harrow who opened the show. When I say 'young' I mean frighteningly fresh-faced. Heard a whisper that Tony Platt, of AC/DC, Uriah Heep, Gary Moore and Foreigner fame, is rather keen to produce 'em. Apparently there was also a person from SPV Records checking them out. The six-piece's demo doesn't really do their pomp-laden brand of hard rock a great deal of justice, but Messiah are definitely one to watch.
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Friday 17th March
Avenged Sevenfold's major label debut 'City Of Evil' might have been among the best albums of 2005, but the Californian quintet's gig at the Forum last night wasn't the religious experience I'd hoped for. Sorry to gripe on about this subject yet again, but the sound was so dreadful for the first three numbers that I almost left early. Synyster Gates and Zachy Vengeance are a formidable guitar unit, and the flamboyant potency of songs like 'Burn It Down' and 'Trashed And Scattered' is as obvious as the band's charisma, but something definitely seemed to be amiss with M Shadows' voice. If, as is being mooted, Avenged Sevenfold are metal's great white hopes then they must do considerably better than playing for just 50 minutes - including a cover of Pantera's 'Walk' - before walking off. We got two classy encore numbers ('Strength Of The World' and 'Bat Country'), but a schoolteacher marking this performance would use the words "must try harder" in big red letters.
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Thursday 16th March
Until last night I hadn't seen what Trivium could do on a big stage, my sole live experience of them being at shows in relatively small venues like the Garage and the Barfly. So I'm pleased to report that their Metallica-meets-Maiden raunch translates well into larger-proportioned environs, boding well for their support on Maiden's upcoming UK tour and another spot at the Download Festival. After a somewhat lumpen opening set from God Forbid, the US foursome romped through 70 minutes of rampant though sometimes suprisingly commercial metal. Known by now for jamming-out covers of their favourite bands during their encores, last night we got Maiden's 'The Trooper' as usual, plus 'Seek And Destroy' by Metallica and Megadeth's 'Symphony Of Destruction', plus infinitely the less expected Van Halen classic 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love' and 'Another One Bites The Dust' by Queen. Great fun, but can't help thinking it'll become an albatross before too long.
BTW, thanks to my pal Darren Edwards of Eagle Rock records for pointing out that this website recently made the pages of Kerrang!, a bit of a shock as the last time my name appeared in that magazine Kurt Cobain was probably still a Sammy Hagar fan!
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Tuesday 14th March
I've a rather sore head following Palace's televised 3-1 away triumph over Stoke City last night. I'm pretty sure that we'll make the play-offs now, but that habit of giving away silly goals is still rather worrying.
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Monday 13th March
Yesterday was a lotta fun. Under the cover of pretending it was for their benefit, I took the kids to Catford's Broadway Theatre for a stage performance of Rentaghost, the cult children's show that first aired on the BBC way back in 1976. As a trip down memory lane it was hugely enjoyable; not even the regrettable presence of deejay Danny Baker - a vile Scumwall fan of the lowest kind - and his own brood further along the row could remove the polish from this memorable occasion. Alas, the re-make didn't feature Dobbin the original show's celebrated pantomime horse, and we only heard Joe Pasquale's dismembodied voice in the role of a talking statue, but Joseph Wicks' sterling performance as the jovial jester Timothy Claypole had adults and tots alike rolling in the aisles.
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Saturday 11th March
How times flies. Until last night's trip to Shepherds Bush Empire, I'd not crossed paths with Jethro Tull for almost seven years. The tube home was full of fans griping about the band having overlooked their favourite songs, but Ian Anderson and company were in darned fine form all the same. Tull played for more than two hours, including all of their classic 1971 album 'Aqualung', plus 'Life Is A Long Song', 'Skating Away On The Thin Ice Of The New Day', 'Living In The Past', 'Bourée', 'Cross Eyed Mary' (the latter once covered by Iron Maiden), 'Budapest' and more. There were several classical interludes, mostly featuring special guest Lucia Micarelli, a Julliard-educated 22-year-old whose violin playing was as chillingly beautiful as her physical attributes. Personally speaking, however, I'd rather have heard Tull's own 'Thick As A Brick' than the band and Micarelli's somewhat cheesy stabs at 'Bohemian Rhapsody' and Zeppelin's 'Kashmir', or indeed Martin Barre's snoozeworthy guitar workout 'French Correction'. Minor niggles aside, though, Tull have still got it.
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Friday 10th March
Nurse, please find a surgeon to sew up my aching sides... this is so funny. Velvet Revolver frontman Scott Weiland has issued a stinging response to W Axl Rose's recent allegations regarding Slash and Duff McKagan's "ever changing - and false - stories regarding the formation of the band and its history", and the "complete betrayal across the board of [Slash's] alleged friendship and business relationship." Branding Axl a "fat, botox-faced, wig-wearin' fuck", Weiland retaliates: "Get in the ring. Go to the gym, motherfucker, or if you prefer, get a new wig. Shame on you! How dare you call our bass player 'spineless?' We toured our album over a year and a half. How many shows have you played over the last ten years? Oh, that's right - you bailed out on your long-awaited comeback tour. We're talking about a frightened little man who once thought he was king, but this king without his court is nothing but a memory of the asshole he once was."
Scott, will you please say what you mean and get off the friggin' fence?
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Thursday 9th March
Wow - I've just been thoroughly blown away by 'The Adversary', a solo debut from Emperor's vocalist/guitarist Ihsahn. An ambitious cross-pollination of black metal, progressive and symphonic-based hard rock styles, overlain with Rush and King Diamond influences, it's destined to stay superglued in the Ling Towers death deck for a while after its April 10 release date. Also in the same sphere of music, a promo of the sixth Satyricon album has just dropped onto the mat. Can it really be more than four years since I went to Oslo to interview the duo for their last release, the brilliant 'Volcano'? Due via Roadrunner on April 24, the oddly titled 'Now, Diabolical' picks up right where its illustrious predecessor left off. Just two spins so far and I'm hooked.

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Wednesday 8th March
Maybe I should just move my bed into the Underworld and be done with it? Last night it was back to Camden again for Evergrey's debut headline appearance in London. The Swedish prog-metallers have supported various bands before (including Dream Theater's James LaBrie) but I'd never crossed paths with 'em or really listened to their records with any great interest. The forthcoming 'Monday Morning Apocalypse' album is likely to be the quintet's best shot at crossover success, but sad to say while their 90-minute show left the chaps from Rocker's Digest almost soiling their undergarments with ecstasy, for me they were workmanlike and devoid of any real star quality. Evergrey are definitely a group that you need to be familiar with before leaping into the deep end, and the gradual seeping away of what had been a fairly large crowd confirmed the foolhardiness of saving their two best tracks, 'A Touch Of Blessing' and 'The Masterplan', until the encores.
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Tuesday 7th March
Iron Maiden's British tour dates were announced overnight. They're playing eight shows in December, the last of which being a return to London's cavernous Earls Court on the 22nd. Having been spoiled rotten by seeing them at Hammersmith last year, the choice of venue is more than a tad disappointing. But Maiden in an oversized aircraft hanger is better than no Maiden at all. And Trivium as a support act... cool.
Like any other footie fan, I'm hardly surprised that relegation certainties Sunderland have given manager Mick McCarthy the bullet - but their timing's pretty strange. Until now I've disliked McCarthy for two key reasons; firstly he's a dour, tedious northerner, and secondly he once managed Scumwall. But my, hasn't he behaved with dignity this year? McCarthy had wanted to try to get the club promoted again next season, but took his dismissal on the chin. "It [the sacking] has happened," he told Sky Sports. "That's all I'm going to say. I'm not going to dash away [from here] all aggressive and horrible, I'll leave you with a smile." Are you listening Jose 'Bad Loser' Mourinho??!!
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Sunday 5th March
I won't dwell on yesterday's game. A distinctly average looking Leeds scored their first goal against the run of play (or did Gabor Kiraly give it them as a consequence of bad positioning?), after which Palace's confidence evaporated and Leeds nabbed a second - then there was no way back. Although I'd forgotten what a cynical, dirty, time-wasting side Leeds are, I still hope they're promoted automatically instead of Sheffield United and that utter wankbag N**l W***ock.
Downing my post-game sorrows, I bussed across to New Cross to see former Little Angels singer Toby Jepson. With its wide-ranging clientele of libido-charged students, besuited rentboys and assorted freaks - my friend Mark quite rightly stated that he and I seemed to be the only two people in the place not fucked out of our minds on drugs - the Amersham Arms was a surreal venue. Support came from the Dean Howard Project, featuring the former T'Pau guitarist of the same name. Howard's 'Volume One' album is rather tasty, but stripped of its special guests (Jepson, Ian Gillan and Thunder's Danny Bowes) much of its lustre vanished. The same couldn't be said of Jepson, who added a few extra solo songs ('Unwind', 'Inside Out') to the nucleus of the set he played at Hammersmith with Thunder last month. Toby releases a new album in November. Regarding my reservations of his former band... you know what, maybe I was a little harsh? His current group play fantastically well and I'm glad he's back on the scene.
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Saturday 4th March
I admit, I'd had my worries about last night's John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes gig at the Mean Fiddler. Wetton has had much-publicised alcohol problems - reportedly a thing of the past - and Asia's future (both immediate and long-term) is now of course clouded with uncertainty. Backed by John Mitchell of Kino/Arena on guitar and Steve Christey on drums, this could almost have been viewed as a dress rehearsal for Asia's classic line-up reunion. Certainly it answered several outstanding questions marks. For instance...
1) Would Wetton actually show up and leave the bottle at home? Box ticked. Firmly so. His voice hadn't sounded this good in a very long time, and it was great to hear him perform 'The Smile Has Left Your Eyes' with Geoff again after all these years. He also seemed to be having fun. Speaking of which...
2) Does the chemistry between John and Geoff remain? Undoubtedly so. Primarily here to promote 'Icon', the album that really got them working together again, 'Hey Josephine', 'Let Me Go' and 'Meet Me At Midnight' were among the best songs of the night. Oddly, they also chose to include 'We Move As One', the song they wrote for Abba's Agnetha Fältskog.
3) If Wetton and Downes do reunite as planned with Howe and Palmer, would it work? It's a toughie, but halfway through a quite brilliant version of 'Open Your Eyes' I realised the answer is a categorical 'yes'. The set also included 'The Heat Goes On', 'Only Time Will Tell', 'Voice Of America', 'Days Like These', 'Don't Cry', 'Go', 'Sole Survivor' and 'Heat Of The Moment'.
4) In this media conscious age, have the pair taken on a wardrobe assistant? Alas, no. Not at all. John's straining belt was responsible for almost as many quiet titters as Geoff's hilarious black and white zebra-print strides. This is something we've learned to live with by now.
5) On a far more serious note, after the Asia reunion is done and dusted what fate awaits Downes? Wetton will revive his solo career, Howe head back to Planet Yes and Palmer to his Island In The Sun. That's something only Geoffrey can answer; he's made his bed and must now lie in it come what may.
The best comment of the whole evening came from behind me during the early stages of the show. When Wetton asked: "Who's come a long way tonight?", Scarborough, Norwich and Shepherds Bush were among the audience's replies, though sage-like somebody replied: "You have, John." They were so right.
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Thursday 2nd March
Well, England managed to beat Uruguay last night, though as we've come to expect by now they made desperately hard work of it. A quite unbelievable shot from Omar Pouso had given the vistors a shock lead, but Peter Crouch's header and an injury time shot from Joe Cole finally gave Sven's men the reward that their domination deserved. Oh, and the hapless Darren Bent?! Anyone care to tell me what that's all about? Purr-leassssse!
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Wednesday 1st March
Jesus. After our cricketers' calamitous performance in Parkistan, the opening day of England's First Test match against India saw stand-in captain Flintoff winning the toss and electing to bat on a flat, run-friendly wicket. By the end of play a precarious 246-7 was reached. Those halycon days of Ashes triumph now seem a distant memory.
Still with pleasant recollections, last night I renewed my live acquaintance with Sick Of It All, an excellent group that I first witnessed back on 1994's 'Scratch The Surface' tour. Now into their 20th year, the New Yorkers still tear up the room like no other. As well as slipping in tasters from the forthcoming 'Death To Tyrants' album, they added a new twist to a form of moshing known as 'the Braveheart'. Basically, Lou Koller splits the crowd down the middle and gives the command for both sides to charge at each other. Only last night, "because everyone and their grandmother" has copied the trick, SOIA attempted a 'doubledecker Braveheart' - fans mounted on piggyback... a helluva sight. Special guests from Virginia, Municipal Waste tore through a surprisingly effective 35 minutes of (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek thrash, though their singer's resemblance to that porksome fella from the TV show Lost was kinda distracting. UK sludgers Mistress had set things off impressively, but the evening's other band - Boston's The Unseen - were just a little too hardcore-by-numbers for me.
Anyway, with England's World Cup warm-up against Uruguay just a few hours away, I'm off to start drinking...