This show, the first of three that week, was billed as the first time Carcass had played in London in seventeen years. OK, so they weren’t an active band for a fair amount of that period, but it perhaps did strike me as curious that they hadn’t found a reason to play the city since their resumption of activity up to now.
Carcass: Undertaking The Underworld
The Underworld, London NW1
26 March 2013
Anyway, their return to London was done in a rather different way to the norm. Rather than the expensive tickets in a large, soulless venue that they could easily have gone for, they (rather impressively) set up a three night residency at The Underworld, and sold the tickets for a paltry Â£5.99 each, over the bar of The World’s End pub upstairs. What a great idea! It probably meant the band didn’t earn as much as they could have done, but they did have a large number of happy and grateful fans as a result.
There was quite a buzz in the run-up to the show, too, and it was certainly notable once we were in the venue. Support act Age of Taurus seemed to go down quite well, too, their heavy, stoner metal grooves played by band members apparently entirely consisting of hair.
To be fair to the support act, though, everyone was there to see Carcass. I’ve seen them already since they reformed, at their ill-tempered and much larger show at Damnation a few years back, where the crowd around me were such asshats that I decided to head to the other stage to catch a much better Pitchshifter show. So I was hoping that this show would right a few of those wrongs, and happily this was the case.
Incarnated Solvent Abuse
No Love Lost
Symposium of Sickness
Edge of Darkness
This Mortal Coil
Reek of Putrefaction
Rot ‘n’ Roll
Pyosisified (Rotten to the Gore)
Exhume to Consume
Corporal Jigsore Quandary
The Sanguine Article
Ruptured in Purulence
No time was wasted when they did take the stage, ripping straight into the kind of set that took most corners of their past and present. I’m well aware opinion is divided somewhat on certain areas of their back catalogue, but I was perfectly happy to hear at least half of Heartwork across the evening, and especially a savage, bruising take on Buried Dreams that opened proceedings.
Indeed, there was little in the set not to like if you’re a fan of the band, new or old. They blitzed through the shorter, older tracks with some relish, helped enormously by a punchy sound that never allowed elements to disappear into the mix, while the one corner of the set avoided – predictably, perhaps – was a total absence of Swansong tracks, which I’m sure all concerned, band and fans, were perfectly happy with.
What was perhaps more surprising was the appearance of at least one new song in the set – which, to be honest, sounded just like I’d expect a new Carcass song to sound – and more news was provided on the album front. Colin Richardson has apparently left the sessions, according, rather bitterly it appeared, to Jeff “to work on Trivium’s new album”, and has been replaced by Andy Sneap. Still no idea when it will be released, mind.
This show was by no means one to promote the new album, though – it was one to celebrate the past and in that respect it was a great show. Ken Owen appeared onstage for a short while, still looking worryingly frail, to a heroes welcome, and as the end of the set neared, Jeff was happy to admit that he was playing exactly what the fans wanted, drily noting before a blistering Corporal Jigsore Quandary that he knew “[the crowd] were waiting for one particular song before [they] fuck off home on the night bus”.
So all in, something of a success, and certainly much better than the Damnation comeback show those few years ago. It did strike me as odd how reserved the crowd were, though. Is it just that we, like the band, are getting old?