Live Review: Metro Manilla Aide @ The Magnet

Posted on 20 May 2010
By Peter Charles
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Fully primed for a night of psychedelic space rock at the Magnet, Purple Revolver is disheartened to discover that spandex-clad masters of noise, Barberos, have pulled their headline slot, possibly because the Magnet’s stage lacks the necessary room for two full-size drumkits. A punter quips that when they used to practice in the flat below hers, they actually had four kits: “it was such a relief when they stripped down to two”, she adds matter-of-factly.


No matter, as Metro Manila Aide are on hand to put the willies up us bad style with their familiar fire-and-brimstone sermons about God, the devil, the universe and, um…star-sized pocket clocks. Uncharted lyrical territory in ANY genre we know of; it’s called Life Metal (geddit?), MMA are its flagship band and, anathema to the accepted norms of metal, it’s inclusive, positive and, um, fun.

With a charismatic new bassist Phil in tow, the focus shifts noticeably from lead singer Saul Godman – the new guy scuttles around the stage, plaited beard and low-slung bass nearly scraping the deck, and howling in unison with Godman. At times, he’s perilously close to stepping on the singer’s toes, both literally and figuratively. Meanwhile, cantankerous lead guitarist Danny manages to get through yet another gig apparently oblivious to how close he’s come to pole-axing himself on stage apparatus.

Technically, of course, MMA are streets ahead of most other metal bands in Liverpool. Rhythms in songs such as ‘Perfect Devotee’ are ambitious and convoluted while still retaining a listenability and intrigue that so many progressive bands lack (hello, Mars Volta).

Their energy feeds into the crowd and by the time the hypnotic stomp of ‘Tao’ reverberates around the Magnet, you can’t take your eyes off them. The song’s lyrics could well be the slogan for Life Metal:

“If you try to understand everything, you will not understand anything. The only way is to understand yourself.”

We’re on it in a big way. Fear, Anger and Hatred are like so last year.