St Paddy’s day, neither of the TINAS operatives in action are Irish, so what better way to celebrate than a night out with a few jars of the old falling down water, and some heavy body wrenching tunes provided by three bands from three different nations. Sanctorum, Headcharger and My Ruin are on the menu, and we have our knives and forks ready to tuck in for the final night of the “Ghosts and Good Stories” tour at Nottingham Rock City.
Sanctorum are from England, they’re young, brutal, and bloody talented. With their third album “Semper Fidelis” due to land on March 21st these boys have an arsenal of thrash infused weaponry that defies their youth. They take to the stage early, almost too early for most as the doors have only been open 15 minutes and deliver a set that threatens to separate your skull from your spine.
Frontman Aaron Sly is a monster, he spews sandblasted, razor driven vocals over the top of precision old school speed riffing. Lead guitarist Al Commons is equally adept, throwing in enough fretboard trickery and flowing solos to have the guitar nerds in the crowd nursing semis. Matt Alston pounds the skins to within an inch of their lives, one of the most talented young drummers on the scene, he is a technical rhythm machine and he is backed up with the latest addition to the band Adam “Cousin It” Paterson on bass. Delivering a set that is short and to the point, these boys really do deserve a larger stage. “Rise Of The Underdog” is huge and anthemic giving the crowd a taste of what is to come from the new album, sitting nicely alongside TINAS favourites “Carved In Stone” and the aptly dedicated to My Ruin and Headcharger “Call To Arms”. Tairrie B Murphy and the My Ruin crew love these guys, they have taken them on the road twice now, and with a set like this it’s bloody easy to see why.
Headcharger are French, they sing in English, they are brilliant, and they sound like a Gallic orgy between Clutch, Maylene And The Sons of Disaster and Priestess… why not throw a bit of Helmet in too for good measure. A genius addition to the bill this lot deliver a groove laden, southern tinged, bouncing set and get the increasing crowd out front moving. Our introduction to these boys came at last year’s UK Sonisphere where they blew us away, so we knew what to expect. Leaning heavily on their storming third album “The End Starts Here”, the set is high octane from start to finish. “Intoxicated” gets the girls at the front dancing together, and frontman Seb holds your attention completely, you cannot take your eyes him. Flitting from downright insane to hyper-actively mischievous he “wants to feel” us. Headcharger bring the party, they bring the groove, they clearly enjoy themselves and the kind of music they play is impossively addictive.
Mr and Mrs Mick Murphy and their entourage are the final dish tonight, more commonly known as My Ruin; these guys on their good days can blow holes in the opposition. Tairrie B Murphy is the original Scream Queen of rock, intoxicating, gorgeous yet vicious. Her vocals can destroy and her presence is illuminating. But tonight we are worried, we have heard she has been struggling with throat problems and illness on the tour, and as this is the last night before their appearance at Hammerfest we had to wonder whether she would be able to deliver the goods?
Fuck yeah is the answer. My Ruin hit the stage and she arrives. Considering she is suffering, she proves she really has bigger balls than most of the men in the audience. Yes, she is slightly toned down to what we have seen before, and yes she relies on some crowd and crew participation for some chorus screams, but the adoring throng in front of her are more than forgiving. She holds us in her hands, we are at her command, she doesn’t like any drop in volume from us between songs, so we scream for her.
My Ruin are solid and tear through the set. The cracking “Ghosts And Good Stories” forms the backbone of the set with the haunting “Diggin’ For Ghosts” sending chills down our collective spine, and “Repose” and “Money Shot” are huge, furious and energetic, bringing up a sweat with the crowd jumping. “Burn The Witch” is disgustingly good, and the AC/DC cover “Have a Drink On Me” is epic. The band are tight, and despite her health issues Tairrie B is on fire, she clearly loves what she does, and appreciates the fans. My Ruin are a do it yourself band with no major label behind them, they are doing it for themselves and the fans, no frills, just plain guts and rock n roll and we love them for it.
Tairrie B makes no secret of being a huge fan of Sanctorum, and she gets Aaron Sly on stage with her for a dual vocal attack on “Ready for Blood” which proves to be one of the highlights of the evening. Complimenting each other perfectly, it is like a perverse version of Beauty and the Beast, delivering such an aural punch the whole room is blown away.
With such a presence as Tairrie B, it is easy to overlook the rest of the My Ruin band, but what stood out tonight is the sheer talent of Mick Murphy. Surely one of the most underrated guitarists on the scene, he is the perfect foil for such a front-woman. His fretwork is sublime, emotional, full of personality and carefully carved, he is armed with a pedal board to die for and utilises his weaponry with flair. Finishing the set with his own instrumental from Neanderthal, “Mi Ruina” it’s show-boating in it’s finest form, but show-boating that is justified and well deserved, a top ending to a top night.