Recently, local metal club Rebellion in Manchester was the venue for one of their fastest selling gigs of the year, CKY. Selling out in a little under six hours, this was technically a comeback tour for the band, as they had not properly toured the UK in eight years and the last time they played Manchester was 2005. Coming right before the release of their new album The Phoenix, this tour was a perfect opportunity for the band to re-acquaint the UK with their old material and introduce us to their new material, with the help of support band PUPPY.
PUPPY hit the stage in Rebellion to a relatively full room – unsurprising considering that they were the only supports of the night. For being a relatively unknown band, they delivered a solid performance that, whilst being low in energy, brought a stellar groove to the room. A three-piece band hailing from London, their sound is reminiscent of early Ghost, with haunting high-pitched vocals and booming, dominant bass. One of the stars of the performance was drummer Billy Howard who, in true heavy metal style, thrashed their drum kit to within an inch of its life during their half hour performance. At one point – leading to a comment from their singer Jock Norton that he was ‘playing the drums too well’, there were technical problems with the drums, however this did little to interrupt the flow of their performance. All in all, a very accomplished performance from the up and coming British metallers, and definitely a band to look out for the next few years.
Following PUPPY’s set, the excitement was high in anticipation of CKY. In the half-hour of setup in-between sets, the room filled up to full capacity and the temperature rose to an uncomfortable level – later leading to an early end to their set. The band hit the stage to applause and chants of ‘CKY!’ before diving straight into classics such as The Human Drive in Hi-Fi and Sporadic Movement from albums Volume 1 and cult classic Infiltrate Destroy Rebuild. Stage chat was generally quite limited as the band seemed to be suffering from the incredible heat in the room, leading to debates between singer and guitarist Chad Ginsburg and bassist Matt Deis on whether the room was sweaty, or the room was hot and it was just Matt that was sweaty. High points of the set were predictably the band’s most popular songs, with the room reaching hysteric levels during Shock and Terror, 96 Quite Bitter Beings and Escape From Hellview.
New songs such as Days of Self-Destruction were taken with noticeably less enthusiasm from the crowd, but such a reaction is to be expected when the majority of the band’s most popular material comes from 15 years ago with a different vocalist. An hour in, the band took a break to cool down after complaints from drummer Jess Margera about the heat, which seemed to be just as bad on stage as it was in the audience. With the gig having sold out so quickly and the venue being so packed on the night, a possible criticism is that the band could have chosen a slightly bigger venue such as Gorilla or Sound Control. However, despite the sweat, Rebellion delivered an intimate, throw-back atmosphere that could only have been improved with some air-conditioning. The band hit the stage for the encore with crowd-pleaser Inhuman Creation Station and then finished on a cover of GG ALLIN’s song Bite It, You Scum. This led to disappointment in the crowd as it was evidently an early finish, but with Jess Margera’s comments that he could only do a couple more songs before he passed out, it was justified. Overall, this was an energetic return for CKY, and it showed that their classic crossover of skater punk and 90s alt-metal hasn’t been forgotten yet.