New venue for me – the now legendary (and sadly defunct) Astoria on Charing Cross Road. Fantastic little theatre, really intimate and a good sound. Also, by far the smallest gig I’d been to thus far, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Kreator themselves calmly carrying their own gear (well, little bits of it anyway) from the bus into the stage door. You don’t get that sort of thing at Wembley.
I knew ‘All For One’ by Raven from one of the many dodgy metal compilations I collected, but nothing else. They were an odd choice to be supporting a German thrash band but they were pretty good, very professional (I guess they had been doing it since the late seventies). They were a bit soft for most of the crowd though, and largely ignored as far as I can remember. They didn’t play ‘All For One’ either.
Kreator were promoting Extreme Aggression, to this day my favourite album of theirs (and one of my favourites of the whole thrash ‘thang’), and they played it very fast and very loud. Ventor is one of the most talented drummers in metal, and one of the masters of the double kick. Bands like this don’t tend to do wanky self-indulgent solos, but he was so aggressive, so powerful that I might have been able to stomach a little one, had he felt the urge. Mille is a pretty awful guitarist – widdly diddly solos that just try and cram as many notes as possible into a short space of time, but the crunching riffs and his barking snapping vocals are what attracts me to this band. The old saying about ‘knowing which notes not to play’ was certainly apt, conspicuous in its absence. Unfortunately I spent most of the gig standing at the back of the theatre, having lost my left trainer in the mosh pit during the second song. It was very frustrating having to watch from afar, trying to protect my bruised and beer sodden foot from further damage. At lights-up I waited until the crowd had filed out into the night and began the search for my trainer. There were loads of other trainers on the floor down at the front, just not my one. Oddly enough, nobody else seemed to be looking for any of this missing footwear, so thinking about the long walk back to Charing Cross station, I contemplated trying a couple on for size, just as a temporary measure, you understand. No luck, though, all the other careless/unlucky people that night had very small feet and were missing their right shoes – no size 11 lefts to be had. As I turned to leave, I happened to glance up at the stage as the roadies were breaking everything down, and there it was – my elusive left black Converse All Star, right under the centre stage mike stand. I can only assume it had been offered to Mille as a gift, but the ungrateful fucker had ignored it. Anyway, all’s well that ends well etc etc.