The Old, The Bold and the Bonkers!!! – Golden Gods 2013
Words by Nicholas Holmes
Photos by Tess Donohoe
An army of coffin dodgers took over London’s O2 Arena on a balmy Monday evening. Neil Young and Crazy Horse were playing the main venue while across the building a different kind of craziness took over Indigo once again. Metal Hammer magazine’s traditional post-Download shindig was the biggest Golden Gods yet. Larger than life in lots of ways!
The punters had to wait patiently as an array of rock star types rolled along the red carpet. Local rascals The Defiled fell over themselves literally, clearly well-oiled after their set on the pre-party aboard HMS Hammer that afternoon. Judging by the state of them they had drank a Thames-full and capsized spectacularly on arrival, with added mooning for good measure.
The Defiled fall up the red carpet!
Meanwhile, following a delay Axl Rose would be proud of, the event finally kicked off. Fresh from Donington at the weekend re-formed ’90s nu-metallers Coal Chamber crushed any doubts about their ability to boot serious backside. Devildriver vocalist Dez, fronting his old band, led the foursome in a short and savage set with a special highlight in opener “Loco’. “Never say never!!!!” he roared at the audience. A fine sentiment.
Next up “British institution” Paradise Lost proved worthy of the compere’s label. Nick Holmes greeted a bloke dressed as banana in the audience and dedicated “From Another World” to said loon. The dour Yorkshiremen (and Swede on drums) proved they have friends too. Lacuna Coil singer Christina Scabbia duetted with Holmes on a storming “Say Just Words”, before Firewind axeman and Ozzy protege Gus G joined them for an equally striking cover of Black Sabbath’s “Into The Void”.
Finally some awards were produced but not before the actual host, the inimitable Devin Townsend, had managed to make schoolboy banter. The bald, suited Hevy Devy declared his microphone “really phallic!” adding, “I’m going to hold this like a penis for the entire night!”
No cock talk from Metal Hammer ‘ead ‘itter Alexander Milas. Introducing Best New Band winners Bleed From Within, he celebrated a great time to be a metalhead. The Glasgow-based five-piece nodded and raised fists as he hailed Black Sabbath at number 1 in the album charts, the biggest Golden Gods event so far (with 500,000 votes cast) and a shameless plug for the magazine’s new tie-in radio station, TeamRock, stating naysayers may have knocked it “but we fucking did it anyway!” He also paid tribute to those lost from the metal world, including ex-Iron Maiden drummer Clive Burr and Slayer guitarist Jeff Hanneman. Loud cheers greeted a video montage soundtracked by the latter’s iconic “Raining Blood”.
Congratulations and celebrations! Scotch death mob Bleed From Within
Best Underground Band was awarded to The Algorithm while Floridian guitar maestro Eric Calderone won the Dimebag Darrell “Shredder” Award. Yorkshire metalcore crew Asking Alexandria won Best Breakthrough Artist. The crowd roared their approval for Best Live winners, fearsome French foursome Gojira, who thanked Devin for his “interesting conversation” as well as the fans who voted.
Joe Duplantier chuffed with his award for Gojira’s monster shows. Awesome.
The rest of the evening took a strongly classic turn. Devy humorously noted his Retinal Circus spectacular did not win Best Event, which went to the declaration of heavy metal as a religion following the 2011 census. Several thousand people claimed it on the forms, with support from a campaign headed by Metal Hammer and Saxon frontman Biff Byford. Appropriately he stepped up to accept the award saying, “Keep the fucking faith!”
Father Byford gives heavy metal blessings to all
Miraculously still standing after singing with Slipknot and Stone Sour at Donington, the seemingly inexhaustible Corey Taylor took the Best International Band award on behalf of his Sour colleagues. He paid tribute to the “eloquent and Tourette’s ridden” Devin adding, “We’re just a bunch of bums from Iowa!” Taylor then hinted at yet another musical project “next year!”
Corey Taylor with the hand that shook Tony Iommi’s. “I’m never fuckin’ washing it, man!”
Introducing the next award, Devy described oafish ex-Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher as a “weedy little prick!” and laughed at his current band, Beady Eye, being kept off the top spot in the album charts by a certain band from Birmingham. To cap an incredible week for those that arguably started it all, Black Sabbath won both Best UK Band and Best Album. The Brummie legends’ guitar player, a healthy-looking Tony Iommi, made a very brief speech thanking the fans.
Tony Iommi has two gongs, one for each hand
Something old was followed by something new-ish in the savage form of Californians Five Finger Death Punch. Devy warned they “will tear your sphincter to pieces!!!!” And the rest. Vocalist Ivan Moody swaggered around the stage throwing drinks at the crowd. He prowled like he owned the place and proved his clean singing mettle too on new song “Lift Me Up”, which originally featured Rob Halford. Moody hinted at a comeback of some sort by the Judas Priest screamer saying, “He can’t wait to see you!”
Calm before the storm, Five Finger Death Punch arrive to tear the place up.
During an interlude the now-infamous banana-man, who heckled loudly during most of the show, ended up on stage. He and two others, a very rough-looking Eddie (Iron Maiden mascot) and a girl in a kind of RAF uniform (?!) took part in possibly the most retarded air guitar contest ever. While most of the audience rightly headed for the bar, somewhat inevitably “banana man” won. After flashing his beer gut for good measure.
Another shirtless fiend was Joel from Airbourne. His band raceed onstage and did what they do best. They shook the place until it was like a rock-induced earthquake. In a hail of sweat, beer and flying hair the Aussies really got the party started, with “Running Wild” capping a riotous set. It was fucking brilliant.
Airbourne spread the rock n’ roll love. With added sweat!
One pair who missed that were a guy who looked like a washed up Vince Neil and his female companion, who were now asleep on the disabled viewing platform. Having flooded it with spilled beer, they passed out propping each other up in their chairs. Very, very, dwunk.
Devy returned to introduce his good buddy and seasoned Metal Hammer gibberer Dom Lawson, who had the job of handing out the Metal As Fuck gong. He spoke powerfully and in serious tone about the Indonesian metal scene, saying he had made a lot of friends and really admires the people there. With more than a hint of sarcasm he dead-panned, “Theirs is a scene that sticks together, unlike the whining bitches over here!” The winners, Burgerkill, were clearly in awe and blown away to be there. They held the award up and declared it was for “metal brothers!” Presumably sisters too. A reminder that metal music is a universal, world-wide language.
All the way from Indonesia, Burgerkill! You say “Who?” Go check ’em out!
After Devy telling the audience Lawson has “nipples like saucepans”, Gus G re-appeared to present the Inspiration award. There was an embarrassingly funny moment as he read his cue card and paused before laughing that the winners were “miserable fucking cunts but we love them!” And so Paradise Lost appeared. Guitarist Gregor Mackintosh said he wasn’t sure he’d been called a “fucking cunt” before?” The looks from the rest of the band answered that! A good deal of ribbing followed, and Devy claimed recent tour pal Nick Holmes’ “ass is like two elbows pressing together!”
With such puerile silliness done, a shades and hat-wearing Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) appeared to present Scott Gorham with the Riff Lord award. The Thin Lizzy guitarist, now playing with the band re-branded as Black Star Riders, thanked everybody involved in Lizzy past and present as well as the fans. “See you in November!” he beamed.
Thin Lizzy and Black Star Riders’ Scott Gorham, now officially a Riff Lord!
With the event running considerably late, Devy paused to check the watch before the loudest moment of the night. The Canadian was about to be upstaged and out-eccentric-ed. The Spirit of Hammer award is given to someone who embodies the attitude of metal, ie. being true to oneself. And probably making a lot of fucking noise doing it. There are few, if any, noisier than British TV, film and advert star Brian Blessed. The great man appeared dressed like someone’s dad who had accidentally wandered in and may well have taken advantage of the complimentary bar. Though this formidable character needs no alcohol and no microphone to be LOUD!!! He saluted the crowd with the devil hands sign and a huge grin roaring, “This is a celebration! I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life!” He then claimed his “metal” credentials reminding the audience he’d been to the North Pole “three times! And it was metal!” Before departing he declared, “I will say this! Nature does not cheat! Follow your dreams! Don’t let the bastards grind you down!” Repeating the last statement several times and increasingly loudly, he left the stage to a huge ovation blowing kisses as he went. Awesome stuff. (Note – he is so metal he performed on Pythia’s “Army of the Damned”. Look it up!)
Big of build, big of beard and BIG of VOICE! The unique beast that is Brian Blessed!!!
Huntress singer Jill Janus celebrates summer solstice early. And/or Hallowe’en!
The jubilant pantomime mood continued when Huntress singer Jill Janus came onstage dressed in full fancy dress witch-type regalia. She hammed it up introducing the Legend award, screeching her words in hilariously enthusiastic fashion. She’d make a great children’s TV presenter in another life, and that’s meant as a compliment. The aforementioned Legend this year was another stunning blonde siren, German vocalist Doro Pesch. The “warrior metal queen” and “animal protector” seemed genuinely moved saying, “Let’s celebrate all we are! See you soon on tour!”
Delighted Deutschland Dame, Doro Pesch. Queen of Warrior Metal!
Ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted introduces his new band…Newsted!
Then came the finale. It began with former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted, now fronting his own band cunningly called Newsted, introducing his longtime friends Alice In Chains. It was just over 20 years since the Seattle band withdrew from supporting Metallica at the legendary Milton Keynes Bowl gig because of late singer Layne Staley’s fatal battle with heroin. In a slow and thoughtful way Newsted, who is no stranger to substance issues himself, paid tribute to the band and the crowd listened respectfully. Apart from a few idiots drunk at the back. The mood lightened when Alice In Chains walked on and drummer Sean Kinney quipped the award will “look great in the ninth bedroom of my castle!” They left with the poignant statement, “ We are together! We are here! Keep metal alive!”
Seattle legends Alice In Chains, the best dressed men in the building. Probably.
The Seattle connection was kept up when someone who was a young lad back when Motorhead started came on to introduce this year’s Golden God. Lemmy and crew were praised to the rafters by ex-Gun N’ Roses bass player Duff McKagan. Time was now so tight the podium had been removed, but referring to the award’s title he said, “Try to think of life without sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Deities? We don’t have to do any of that rubbish. We have our own gods. All hail Motorhead!”
With the clock ticking Lemmy croaked from the shadows, “Very nice to be here! Give us two minutes and we will rock your world!” Very shortly he added, “As you know, we are Motorhead and we play rock n’ roll!” A fast and frantic set followed, with Lemmy grumbling about the impending curfew time. But Motorhead have always done things their own way. Golden God status surely added to that. While various minions in the wings motioned to wind up, the band played on. And on. Inevitably the crowd went apeshit for “Ace of Spades” and a belligerent Lemmy milked everything possible from the stop-start breaks of closer “Overkill”. And so he damn well should.
Devy then wound up the event, long over curfew, with his parting thoughts. “Whether you’re Sabbath or a Canadian douche bag, we can’t do this without you! We love you!” The thoroughly wasted, tired and sweat-soaked audience grabbed their free goodie bags and headed out to battle for bus seats with Neil Young fans. That drunk couple on the platform were still asleep. They may even be there now.
‘Til next year! \m/
Full list of winners:
Best New Band (Sponsored by Kraken) Bleed From Within
Best Underground Band (Sponsored by Ave Satanas) The Algorithm
Dimebag Darrell ‘Shredder’ (Sponsored by Vans) Eric Calderone
Breakthrough Artist (Sponsored by Hobgoblin) Asking Alexandria
Best Event (Sponsored by Alchemy) Heavy Metal Census
Best International Band (Sponsored by Nuclear Blast) Stone Sour
Best Live Band (Redbull Records) Gojira
Best UK Band (Sponsored by Roadrunner Records) Black Sabbath
Best Album (Sponsored by TeamRock Radio) Black Sabbath
Metal As Fuck (Sponsored by World Of Warplanes) Burgerkill
Riff Lord (Sponsored by All Axess) Scott Gorham
Spirit Of Hammer (Sponsored by Jägermeister) Brian Blessed
Inspiration (Sponsored by USM) Paradise Lost
Legend (Sponsored by UDR) Doro
Icons (Sponsored by Century Media) Alice In Chains
The Golden God (Sponsored by Orange Amplification) Motörhead
Metal Hammer magazine is available from all good newsagents and online here:
Check out Team Rock Radio online here:
Devin Townsend: http://www.hevydevy.com/
Jill Janus & Huntress: http://huntresskills.com/
Jason Newsted: http://newstedheavymetal.com/
Duff McKagan: http://duff-loaded.com/