You might be thinking that I’m on commission, given the recent coverage of Phil Campbell & the Bastard Sons. Wishful thinking on my part, but I can’t think of a better and more genuine bunch of musicians to support through this medium.
Phil Campbell And The Bastard Sons
Kings Of The Asylum Album Launch – The Patriot, Crumlin – 7 September 2023
Words And Photography: Paul Hutchings
Having reviewed their latest album, Kings Of The Asylum, attended the listening party at Fuel Rock Club in Cardiff, and chatted with the main man Phil Campbell last week, covering the opening night of their European and UK tour is an apt way to close this part of our coverage.
It’s a steamy night in South Wales, with the whole country sweltering in the heatwave that is making everything a little bit more uncomfortable. Cramming 200+ bodies into The Patriot is challenging enough when it’s a more temperate evening, so the wave of stifling warmth that greets you as you enter the main part of the building is not at all pleasant.
But this is rock ‘n’ roll, and sweaty evenings in sauna-like temperatures are part of the fabric of our music scene, and it’s brilliant to see so many excited fans arrive at this beautiful venue, eager for their first taste of songs from the new album played live for the first time.
It was only ten days since I’d seen PCATBS open for Hawkwind at Chepstow Castle. They play each gig at the same tempo, regardless of position on the bill, and tonight is no different. Of course, they have longer on stage and slowly ease up the gears as the show progresses.
It’s what you’ve come to expect from a band who are in polished mode, thanks to a summer of touring European festivals. It’s loud, raucous, and in your face.
We are treated to four tracks from the new album. Early single Schizophrenia is slotted in early, after opener We’re the Bastards, and it now feels like a proper staple in the setlist. The second single Hammer & Dance gets everyone singing, whilst Strike The Match is already in the psyche of all those at the listening party, thanks to the six play-throughs we experienced. They all sound great and stand comfortably alongside the sprinkling of tracks from the first two albums.
As usual, Dark Days allows a chance to catch the breath, with the bluesy vibes of Phil Campbell’s guitar work ringing through the venue. He takes to the microphone a couple of times during the evening. Inevitably, he offers up some Motörhead, and we get four tracks, including a raging Born To Raise Hell, the chaos of Ace Of Spades and the evil Killed By Death.
We also get a cover of Bowie’s Heroes, one of the tracks that featured on Motörhead’s 2017 Under Cover release.
It’s soon time to finish the night, and the fourth song from Kings Of The Asylum brings the event to a close. It’s inevitable that Maniac would be that song, for it is a riotous splurge of foul-mouthed vitriol that works on every level.
There is a jovial atmosphere as the sweat-clad fans raise one last middle finger before filing out into the cooling night air.
The first live performances of new songs, in the heart of the valleys, with a partisan crowd. Yeah, that seems a good way to conclude MetalTalk’s latest chapter of coverage on a band that will hopefully be in the UK top 40 by the time you read this.
Pay The Man
Pay The Man is the solo acoustic project of Kyle David Smith, who also stars in Caesars Rome and Icantdie. The front barrier is already full when Kyle walks on stage, already perspiring in the heat. He had earlier noted on his social media pages that he was both nervous and excited.
He’s reflective about his position on the bill. Everyone is here for the headliners, and to stand in front of some of the most dedicated fans who have travelled from across the UK with nothing but an acoustic guitar and his wit and humour is a brave move.
It pays off, as Kyle’s manner is relaxed and engaging, and he’s got enough talent to shine through. A couple of covers, as well as some original material, cover a range of subject matter and his between-song banter, slightly muffled, gets a few laughs. He gets through his set with ease, the crowd are receptive, and everyone is happy.