CoC UK PosterPepper Keenan’s return to the Corrosion Of Conformity fold has generated a lot of interest and news over the past few months, so it was fitting that when they ventured out on their first tour with the classic ‘Deliverance’ line up in nearly fifteen years, that an eager and sold out Manchester crowd was waiting for them to arrive. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I missed Hang The Bastard, but by the time I got into the venue it was heartening to see that they had drawn a large crowd and that they had seemed to enjoy their brief set.

It was soon time for the headliners and anticipation was huge, and they showed no sign of disappointment. Opening with ‘These Shrouded Temples’, they settled right back into the groove and it was as if they had never been away. A following trio of ‘Senor Limpio’, “King Of The Rotten’ and ‘Heavens Not Overflowing’ almost brought the venue to fever pitch. This was obviously going to live up to expectations. Woody Weatherman looked as happy as I had ever seen anyone on stage as the band frequently gathered round Reed Mullin’s drum kit, this really did seem like a proper reunion, a group of friends playing live together for the first time in a while. Mike Dean spent most of the night in a trance like state at the side of the stage. There wasn’t too much crowd interaction, but they focused instead on fitting as much as they could into a set that just got better as it went on.

‘Albatross’ seemed heavier than ever; a song that I thought impossible to improve on, but tonight they did it. Manchester also got a treat with ‘Goodbye Windows’ closing the main set, apparently the first time it has ever been played live. After such a good show, the crowd was understandably appreciative and as soon as the band walked offstage, you could hear people trying to figure out which songs hadn’t been played yet.

As if the show wasn’t impressive enough, the encore turned things up a notch, ‘Broken Man’ getting its first live outing in 20 years, before rounding off a quality nights entertainment with ‘Vote With A Bullet’ and Clean My Wounds’.  The latter drifted into a chilled out jam midway through before the classic riff returned one last time close what could very easily be the best show I see all year.

I was always gutted that C.O.C. never properly broke into the big time. They toured with Megadeth and Metallica and regularly featured on festival bills, but always quite low down despite the amount of people that seemed to like them. Maybe now is their time. With a new album is in the works, and hopefully more shows, 2015 could be the year that they truly get the recognition they deserve..

Setlist

These Shrouded Temples – Senor Limpio – King Of The Rotten – Heavens Not Overflowing – Long Whip / Big America – Wiseblood – Seven Days – Paranoid Opioid – 13 Angels – Albatross – My Grain – Stonebreaker – Goodbye Windows – Broken Man – Vote With A Bullet – Clean My Wounds

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Photos by Stephen Fallows.