Andrew O’Neill – Milton Keynes, Craufurd Arms - 9 October 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Martin Haslam   
Thursday, 19 October 2017 04:20

Andrew ONeill tour posterThis is a first for me: reviewing a stand up gig. Albeit one dedicated to the history of heavy metal, via Andrew O’Neill’s recent book ‘A History Of Heavy Metal’… I kid you not!


The beauty of Andrew’s stand up is that his personality makes you listen intently to what he’s saying, regardless of whether you have an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject matter. The only ‘heavy’ I really love is Motörhead, but I read his book because I knew that I’d be entertained and educated at the same time. I enjoy The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing, with whom he plays guitar, and from there watched his stand up on YouTube.


So, we’re here tonight, feeling rather old, watching support band Hell’s Gazelles. They are remarkably tight, and the singer is likeable with a vast octave range, but they clearly are in thrall to 1987. I was there; not quite the golden age they might imagine it was.


Andrew plays two sets of 45 minutes each, starting with the dawn of metal; Black Sabbath. With his trusty Flying V, he launches into that riff, and we’re off. “1970; not a brilliant year for album titles, see also ‘Hello, I’m Johnny Cash’”. Live, he can address some points that solicitors asked him to remove from the book. No, you’ll have to go and see him! Rest assured, he is as knowledgeable as he is funny, and no slouch on the fretboard.


He covers what isn’t metal; anything before ‘Black Sabbath’; goth; Guns n’ Roses; Stomp. His nan had some confusion over the latter, bin-beating combo. Motörhead, clearly to Lemmy’s disdain, are indeed metal, regardless of his protestations. He covers the amazing ‘hiding in plain sight’ success of Rob Halford’s closet time in Judas Priest, NWOBHM, the supposedly separate genres of black/thrash/speed metal, and his enduring but difficult love for Metallica; “SIT DOWN, Lars!”.


There are too many fantastic jokes to mention/recall, and the backdrop screen offers some lovely moments. From now on, when I see Dave Murray, I will always think of Helen Lederer. Uncanny. And, for that alone, I heartily recommend you dust off your patched denim, put on your best Bolt Thrower T shirt and get to one of his dates before it’s too late.


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