Slayer! Slayer! Slayer!

My last full day in Perth and I didn’t do a whole heck of a lot except work on the 1000 Mile Walk page, eat food and watch telly.

Until 7pm when I headed for the train station, then the Claremont Showgrounds for Slayer’s first Australian appearance in 10 years.

Perth Central station was packed with black t-shirts, leather boots and bizarre hairstyles as the Fremantle line trains filled with loud metal fans off to the first major concert by pretty much any well-known act in a long time. It seems Perth has reached the population level it needs to make a tour date on the west coast economically viable as other acts are starting to dribble through now as well.

I got there in time to see the tail end of Mastodon who were OK, but nothing special. Outside, the concession vans were charging inflated prices for food and drinks but I did enjoy a fairly tasty and scorching hot chicken roll for $6. I also weakened and bought a tour t-shirt at $45 (quite pricey – they’re normally around $30 in Oz) just so I could get one with Australian dates on the back.

The original venue had sold out in next to no time, so the Showgrounds were selected as a larger one. Tickets were on sale at the door, but looking at the crowd inside it must have been very close to a sell-out. As soon as Mastodon finished and left the stage, the chants for Slayer began. And kept on going for the usual extended set-change times you have to get used to at these things.

The crowd got rowdy, people started shoving around as they always do, temperatures rose (and it must have been over 30 degrees to start with) and empty drinks containers flew through the air.

Then… darkness.

Then… smoke.

Then… Slayer!

Over 90 minutes of very loud, very fast music and people collapsing all over. Definitely the warmest indoor gig I’ve ever been at. Both my t-shirts and my shorts were drenched by the time I left. I was rather disappointed in the sound, though. Tom’s vocals were far too quiet and Kerry’s guitar kept dying – sounded like a dry joint or a dodgy cable somewhere.

Still, the crowd were active but much like the Brisbane mob for Fear Factory, content to do no more than move around occasionally, shove a bit and crowdsurf. Try to start a pit and you rapidly find yourself in a little empty spot thrashing at thin air. Wusses.

Talking to people on the train before and after only a handful had seen the band live before, and most of them while they were abroad in the UK or US. I have Slayer t-shirts at home older than some of the kids at the show. That’s scary.

The train back was delayed something rotten as well. It doesn’t help when the station display says that the next train is due in three minutes and you’re still standing there half an hour later. Of course, there was a mad crush when it did arrive and the driver’s pleas of “do not crowd onto the train – there is another one behind this one” fell on deaf ears. After all, if you can’t trust the sign to tell you when one is arriving, why believe the driver. As it turns out, the next train was over 20 minutes behind – I watched it pull into Perth later on.

The noise and atmosphere on the train was almost as intense as that at the Showgrounds. For three stops, almost the entire carriage I was on were chanting the band’s name. It was good to see that the “normal” passengers weren’t cowering, though. Instead, they sat and smiled at the loonies knowing that they weren’t going to be mugged or anything. Not what happens in the UK where anyone with a leather jacket or long hair is mentally branded a potential criminal.

I made it back to Mel’s around 12:30 and spent far too long packing my bags, showering and drinking lots of water before crashing at around 2:30. A bit silly as my alarm was set for 6:15 so I didn’t miss my flight the next morning.

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