Corrosion of conformity live in Wolverhampton


Tonight’s show is one I have high hopes for. My first ever “proper” gig was Metallica back in 1996 at
the Birmingham NEC, and tonight’s headliner was, back then, the opening act (although they had no problem commanding the arena that’s for sure).

C.O.C hail from North Carolina and have been around for an age, going through many line up changes in their time but always churning out a huge amount of Sludge, having released 10 studio albums to date (my pick of the bunch being the 1996 release “Wiseblood” one I still play on regular rotation today). Deep heavy grooves that are driven by a thick wall of fuzz which make for a very pleasant listening experience, at times bringing out the “That Riff Tho” face. Influenced by a lot of the greats of Metal and Hardcore Punk (such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Discharge and Black Flag) they are a staple for those into Stoner Rock.

Last in the UK in 2020 it is almost 3 years since their last visit to the West Midlands and rather than
the usual Birmingham gigs Wolverhampton has managed to snap them up to play at KKs Steel Mill,
the venue owned by KK of Judas Priest fame.

The support acts for tonight are German based “Plainride”and local metal act “The Black Hounds

The Black Hounds kick off the evening, and for a Wednesday night gig in Wolverhampton they had a sizeable crowd, and the noise coming from the crowd made it sound like there was twice as many
than there was.

The short opening set from “The Black Hounds” – formed in Wolverhampton in 2013 – certainly showcased how well practiced and polished they were. A band that certainly lean more towards the more traditional side of Heavy Metal, with plenty of riffs and solos.

Refusing to rest on any one particular style you can definitely hear a variety of inspirations in
their songwriting. The singers voice is certainly well suited and ranges from the tones of David
Draiman to Bruce Dickinson, and their music would certainly appeal to fans of both Disturbed and
Iron Maiden alike. There are also twists where the lead guitarist guttural vocals came in and things
got heavy, mixing very well indeed with the lead vocalist’s range.

Add in the very tight rhythm section of the bassist and drummer and you have a very solid band
indeed who definitely wouldn’t be out of place on the stage of Download festival amongst the likes
of Five Finger Death Punch or Trivium. It’s not my usual own cup of tea however I can recognise
good musicians and they certainly held my interest and had many others hooked and banging their

Next up are “Plainride”, another band that refuses to stay still in the spectrum of
sound. They start off with some very funky numbers, adding disco-esque groove patterns with
fuzzed up guitars. The one thing that struck me straight away was the absence of a bassist, but this
was masterfully filled out with the clever use of octave pedals, with the two guitarists sharing the
low-end provision throughout the set.

As the set progressed things got a bit grungier, with hints of Pearl Jam/Alice In Chains style guitar
hooks and vocals, well-written songs with clever use of multiple time signatures throughout.
Towards the end, things got thicker, chunkier, more towards the stoner rock side of things. The
reaction from the crowd towards the start of the set was quite subdued, but as they progressed this got louder, and come the end of their time on stage the appreciation for their efforts were rewarded with a healthy level of cheering and applause. This is a band I shall be listening to more after tonight (I just love the funk/rock mix).

Now the headline act…Corrosion Of Conformity. The venue filled up very quickly and as the lights went down, up went the horns and the noise was immense. Mike Dean (Bass) came on, playing a slow bass intro, deep, down tuned and setting the mood for what was to come. When Pepper Keenan and Woody Weatherman walked into view the place erupted with delight, a fitting welcome for one of Southern Stoner Rocks finest bands.

Bottom Feeder was the first track, which made me very happy, being from my favourite C.O.C
album, a song that starts medium paced, deep and heavy song that sounded massive and had
everyone swimming in a sea of vibration. This lead seamlessly into Paranoid Opiod which picked up
the tempo, the crowd turning into a mass of flying hair.

Other crowd pleasers followed such as Shake Like You, 7 Days (A real fuzzy treat live), Diablo Blvd,
Senor Limpio, Wiseblood (another personal favourite of mine), Who’s Got The Fire and a few more,
the setlist was filled with some of their best work. Pepper addressed the crowd like they were old friends, and you could tell that C.O.C were down to earth and humbled that, after a lengthy career (with hopefully many more years to come) the fans flocked to see them smash through a list of classics, singing along at such volume that if I closed my eyes I was back in 1996 in a crowd much bigger than was present tonight.

When it came to Encore time, it was only a matter of time before they played perhaps one of their
most loved songs – Albatross. This was followed by the closing track of the night Clean My Wounds.. The band were rightly met with a huge ovation, showing these Southern Rock legends that Wolverhampton really loved hosting them and we all hope they return again soon.
I’d also like to give a massive shout out to the security at KKs Steel Mill. As a photographer you deal
with security a lot and tonight’s security were very pleasant, talkative and helpful. You can find more out about C.O.C HERE

Next up Manchester tonight for the final UK headline show on 5th May at The Bread Shed.