I've been to a number of gigs in Birmingham, Vader at Edward No 8, Slipknot and Slayer (co-headline) at the National Indoor Arena and Rammstien and Motley Crew at the National Exhibition Centre. I've also spent a good number of new years, including the millennium, in Birmingham with friends. This was my first trip to the Carling Academy and it's a reasonable venue, with a reasonable sound system, but with a whole lot of unnecessarily rude and unfriendly people, a lot of who don't know how to use deodorant and have no respect for the smoking ban. This was not the Birmingham I know. I did however meet some very friendly scousers and a very chatty girl for Leicester who'd lost her friends, her purse and her Nintendo DS!
Unfortunately we missed Five Finger Death Punch, the band I had been looking forward to the most, as we didn't get there in time. I'll be looking out for them touring the UK in the future. Unearth were as expected, not very good.
I felt rather sorry for Dimmu Borgir. This was meant to be a co-headlining with Lamb of God, but Dimmu got a substandard sound check and although they played very well, the sound was dreadful, bar the final two songs. The days when Dimmu Borgir were pretty much my favorite are long gone and I find that even the Black Metal of Emperor and vintage Cradle of Filth no longer hold my attention. Having said that they were good, just like at Bloodstock in the summer.
Just when I'd pretty much decided the reason Dimmu Borgir sounded so bad was due to the PA, Lamb of God came on with an incredible sound. Very sharp and very clear. They play exceptionally well and are a very tight band. Once we'd moved far enough back to not et knocked into every 2 minutes, I thoroughly enjoyed every song. I would travel half way across the country to see them again, but they'd be a welcome Bloodstock headliner in the future. They did the usual stuff about keeping the metal faith and played a number of new songs, all of which sound superb.
The sound man should not go without a mention. I've never seen someone so keen to get the bands to run to time.