Stampin' Ground

Wednesday 13th June, 2001

The Charlotte, Leicester, ENGLAND.

Another midweek gig here at the Charlotte and again the turnout is a little on the disappointing side.  It does slightly improve as the night goes on, but there is still considerably less than 100 people in total here to see a top class metal band.  Unfortunately, this kind of attendance is all too common at gigs these days, especially midweek.  And this is actually one of the better attended metal gigs here but, I guess eventually it will be the undoing of heavy music in this country. No support, no bands, so I'd better enjoy this while it lasts.  Anyway, mini-rant over and onto the gig.

First band up tonight was Decimate.  A band from Brum who play vigorously brutal hardcore metal that is not too dissimilar to Stampin' Ground's own sound.  In fact that was the problem, I never got over the hugely similar song structures and riff compositions and for me that tarnished what they did.  Being a young and maybe slightly inexperienced band without the charm of a charismatic front-man, I found myself repeatedly thinking (unfairly) that I will see this done properly a little later in the evening with Stampin' Ground themselves.

Having said all that, they may not be producing anything we haven't heard before, but the music they are producing is done well.  Their abilities and performance were commendable, and other than a lack of rapport with the crowd (this will come with confidence) and an extremely short set (22mins), there was little to complain about.  It's worth noting that the lads have an EP out called In The Name Of A God on Blackfish which will give you a good idea what they are about.  I reckon they would be a good band to see on a different bill and if they stretched their performance to 30 minutes minimum, I would be surprised if they disappointed anyone who is into this style of metal.

God Forbid @ The Charlotte, Leicester
After a short break, the second group of the night was an American band called God Forbid (the band that took Stampin' Ground on tour in America).  And they were definitely the surprise of the evening. Five blokes, four of which were African Americans playing what was essentially old school thrash metal at it's nucleus, but with mixes and influences of more modern metal styles intermingled, to produce a varied and very very heavy set of songs.  Often fairly technical and intricate, ranging from extremely fast pace down to slow grooves, there ain't no hip-hop or rapping found anywhere.  This is extreme heavy metal, a crossbreed of everything intense...
God Forbid
The vocals were the most amazing element of the sound with an awesome, loud, heavy, full-on treatment from the loudest set of lungs I've ever heard.  Byronde Davis is a staggering character in his own right and he demands your attention, charging around like a massive unleashed gorilla he is quite frightening.   It was very amusing to see the reaction of the crowd when he jumped off the stage into the pit and began charging at people in the now vacated area.  I know it frightened the life out of me and I wasn't going to argue with him...
I was mightily impressed by this band, their sound was very powerful, they were great entertainers and extremely professional.  It was a real shame that the crowd was limited in size and didn't do to much in the way of reaction, as they deserved much more than that.  Despite that, they still gave a good performance but on the odd occasion couldn't help but show their disappointment with our response. "...You people suck..." was a comment at one point from Byronde, as there was no moshing or dancing.  However, there was a general acceptance of approval from the crowd with lots of head nodding and foot tapping and big applause between songs.   And, they did an encore of sorts, where we were given the choice of songs they would play, an original or a cover.  After much debate with the crowd, they played an original called 'Divide My Destiny' which they claimed would only be played here tonight on this tour.

Yes, they gave a thoroughly enjoyable performance and having had several spins now since the gig, I'd like to mention

Byronde of God Forbid @ The Charlotte, Leicester
that their album on Century Media called Determination, is well worth a listen as it is a fine slab of extreme music.

Finally tonight was the band I came to see, kings of UK hardcore metal, the mighty Stampin' Ground.  I have seen these guys once before on the excellent Evolution Phase One tour with Earthtone9 and a massive gig was the result.   It was never going to be as big tonight as the crowd was just not here to make it happen, but I must say that what crowd there was, were soon whipped into shape by the amazing live presence of lead-man Adam.  He really knows how to involve the crowd and before the first song had finished, the place was rockin'.

Scott of Stampin' Ground - Click for larger picture.Adam of Stampin' Ground - Click for larger picture.Mobs & Ian of Stampin' Ground @ The Charlotte, Leicester
Officer Down opened the set and what an explosive start it was, dictating the way things were going to be for the rest of the gig.  Considering there was a maximum of 100 people here, a good proportion of them were down the front giving it some serious attention.  The barriers at the front of the stage were moving like a dancer and unfortunately, my hand somehow got between the rapidly moving barrier and the speaker stack.  SPLAT!, went my fingers momentarily sandwiched between two solid objects.  Fuck that hurt, and for a instant pain was the over-riding factor.  Yes, pain it was until those crunching riffs somehow pushed their way through the mists of agony and insisted that there is only one thing of importance at the moment and they were on stage in front of me.  The power of the mind, quite amazing!
In-between songs Adam commented "It's never been a fixed rule that you need a lot of people to have a good time, as long as the people there are up for having a good laugh.  You know, we've already got a great atmosphere here so, lets make the most of it yeah..." and the band launched into Outside Looking In.

The shear power and energy that this band put into their music and then more so into a live performance, is just staggering.  You just have to admire what they are doing and with songs as strong as they have, I can't imagine a bad gig from this lot.  There were some great songs played tonight including among others, The Death You Deserve, By What Ever Means Necessary, Mid-Death Crisis and Lesion.

More comments from Adam "..Ian our bass player has really injured his neck, and err, it happens now and again, he was head-banging that hard his head actually fell off.  And when I put it back on I think I put it on slightly awkward and it's giving him some grief right now, so come give it up for him..." before encouraging a circle pit.  "Come on, your never to old to dance, man..."

Mobs of Stampin' Ground - Click for larger picture.
There were some great highlights to this gig, but I will remember the debate that was raging between the band and crowd over how the word GLASS should be pronounced.  There were some great comedy moments over whether it should be "G-l-ass" or "G-l-arse"...
Scott & Adam of Stampin' Ground @ The Charlotte, Leicester After leaving the stage for a few moments they reappeared on stage.   "Well, why not do one more?" says Adam and they introduced a cover by Sick Of It All called Scratch The Surface, which nicely finished off the night.

I have to salute this band, because although this wasn't the best turnout for them on the tour, they continued to produce a performance that was top notch and played as if there were in front of thousands.  When talking to Scott and Adam after the gig, Scott was well impressed with my now well swollen fingers and blood stained hand.  But, I mentioned how I thought they gave 100% despite the crowd numbers, Adam said "..well you have to don't you, I mean it's about all of us having a good laugh..."  This I think, epitomised the spirit of the evening.  Thank you Stampin Ground for a wonderful gig and you have won the respect of everyone here in Leicester.


Don't forget Stampin' Ground's most excellent album Carved From Empty Words available on Century Media.

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