Words and Photography by Jon Holt
5:00pm – Zombification process begins in the flat. It’s a strange feeling having what is essentially PVA glue smeared on my face, I’m thinking, “I hope this shit comes off or leaves my actual skin on my face.” However it’s a far cry from being torn to bits by a real flesh eater.
5:30pm – Taxi down to The Black Bull where I am meeting the rest of the Bone-Yard crew. I am pretty much the only Zombie Metalhead or for that matter ghoulish apparition I see on the ride down. It is only the 26th of October but this is the night Studio24 have deemed fit to hold a Metal extravaganza of epically evil proportions. Halloween Holocaust, four of the best bands in Edinburgh tearing up Studio’s like a pack of rabid Werewolves. Dog Tired, Lords of Bastard, Torn Face and Certain Death are the chosen noise barons for the night and I am looking forward to watching their guised performances. First, however, I have to get out of this taxi. Traffics a bitch but the driver is a dude. He takes one look at me in my 70’s Ozzy Osborne wig and starts talking about the good old days. He saw Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple back in the day. He says I sound like I was born in the wrong decade and I agree. He regales me with the story of how he met The Prince of Darkness himself in a bar in London and by its end I am getting out at my destination. He never once batted an eyelid, or mentioned in anyway the fact that I was looking decidedly under the weather. Just another rocker from Tollcross!
6:00pm – I walk into a very busy Black Bull. A very busy and very normal looking Black Bull, obviously the festive fright night has yet to sink its teeth into this establishment. I sit on my own, pint in claw, waiting for Babs, Adam and Stacey to turn up. I realise that even without the facial disfigurements and long, bandana bound hair, I would look out of place here. The rest of the clientele look more like that of a Wetherspoons than the rowdy little rock bar I once knew as the Black Bull, but that is for another story. Eventually an angel descends the stairs in the form of Babs and we find a little nook in which to imbibe our poisons. Babs is shortly followed my Stacey the Mummy and Adam the crazy killer Mime, the crazy killer Mime with an exceptional amount of black make up in and around his eyeballs. But that is just how we roll in our family, we take dressing up seriously. Some of us make a half decent living doing it and some of us are willing to lose their own sight.
7:30pm – With a couple of beers in our bellies and Adam’s vision still holding out we make the short walk down to Studio24. On entering the hallowed venue I am greeted by the first signs of Halloween of the night. One being other people dressed up as stuff. The other is the decorations that have been lovingly draped and hung all over the place, including a massive big inflatable vampire mouth which is used as a gateway into the club. It’s very early to be in Studios on a Saturday night but Dog Tired have told everyone to come done and see their opening set and more importantly their costumes. Every band will be dressed up tonight and the excitement of showing off their creations is more palpable than their excitement to play.
8:00ish – Dog Tired take to the stage to the rousing medieval sounds of Monty Python. Dressed as the Knights Round Table with handmade cardboard armour and hoodies for chainmail, the band launch themselves like a bunch of fiery dragon beaters into the awesome “Iron Sky.” It might be the costumes, it might be the anarchic air of the evening, it might be the fact Dog Tired are on top, Witch burning form tonight but the place just goes Big Tits O’Hoolahan! There is an energy in the room and everyone is feeding off it. Heads are being banged. Horns are thrown. I am taking snaps like it’s the end of the world. The band as always sound tight and they play with passion and a genuine look of pleasure in their eyes. And masks off to them for playing their brand of energetic whiskey soaked riff metal in their quite obviously boiling costumes, it looked tough but they conquered and kicked off the night with valour.
8:45ish – Next on this carnivorous cavalcade are Edinburgh’s very own psychodelic space rockers Lords of Bastard. They are dressed as what at first looks like a bunch of Mummies, we are told that they are actually crazy inmates from a dark Asylum. It’s a far more fitting atheistic for a band whose music is definitely unhinged. The Lords looks menacing and their twisted riff infused space fuzz sounds even more demented. They thrash through their set with power and confidence. I really enjoy their sound; it’s very different to a lot of stuff which is happening in Edinburgh right now. It’s heavy, there no doubt about that, but its heavy with an intelligence rather than brawn. I think a lot of people who had not heard them before tonight will have been blown away by them, as I was the first time I saw them.
Around about 9:15, maybe? – Torn Face! Torn Face! Torn Face! Next up was Torn Face. These guys have decided to come as Flash Gordon. We have two winged guitar players, Ming the Merciless and of course the main man himself fronting the band. I love seeing this band live. Torn Face absolutely destroys the place tonight. They’re having fun and the crowd of party animals, Witches, Werewolves, Swamp Monsters and other such monstrosities are having fun with them. They tear through their set with riffs falling upon riffs falling upon thunderous drums and deathly screams. They may just be men with a men’s courage but they fucking kicked the front teeth out of the gig.
And finally…The last band of the night is Certain Death from Kirkcaldy. Now these guys know something about theatrics. Not only did they have walk on music but they had a strange dancing girl dressed up in her mum’s good sheets. It was of course all part of their dramatic 300 theme. So on marched the Spartan hordes, well three of them anyway and a guy in a black cloak of silver mask. I’ll have to re-watch the film to find out the detail of the costumes but for the purposes of the gig they all looked mightily impressive. What was more impressive however was their performance. Energy is not the word; it was like some kind of steroid fuelled speed party in there. However hard the band pushed the crowd would not be defeated. Circle pits opened up like black holes. Limbs began to fly through the air like twigs in a storm. Beetlejuice was getting it on with Medusa. It was without a doubt the over the top, balls to the walls, end of the gig finale the night deserved. Like brave Spartan warriors Certain Death came out and put a big old sandaled foot squarely into our collective face and stomped the shit out of it.
The night was an absolute belter. Everyone there was in good spirits and Vampire and Vampire hunter alike got along like good old friends. There were some brilliant costumes and even better entertainment. Good times were had by all. While the rest of the city watched their Saturday night T.V. shite or went to their favourite white washed bland drinking holes, the colourful characters came out to play. All hail Halloween!