Hark’s Jimbob Isaac Remembers His 10 Favourite Gigs

By on 13 July 2016

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Welsh riff enthusiasts Hark have recently added a main stage slot at this year’s Bloodstock Festival to the dates for their ‘Summer Disintegration’ tour this August, which promises to be a show to remember. To celebrate, we asked frontman Jimbob Isaac to talk us through his ten most memorable gigs, from catching Xentrix in a sweaty pub back in the early ’90s right the way through to Neurosis’ triumphant Roadburn set…

XENTRIX + SKYCLAD
Swansea Patti Pavillion, 1991

“My first proper metal show, after having seen just a few pub rock gigs in the Swansea area. It was the first time I felt the tribal spirit of metal, the assertion of personalities, metal credentials and hierarchies (someone allegedly got their Poison shirt slashed for being a poser that night). I was 14yrs old and the odiferous gathering of Patchouli (junk juice?) scented metallers gave me a real sense of being part of something. I did my first stage dives that night, and hit the floor pretty badly on at least two of them. ”

METALLICA
Birmingham NEC, 1992

“This concert was what dreams were made of at that time of my life. Having bought ‘Kill ‘Em All’ as my first Metallica album in ’89 and them helping shape my world for the four years that followed, seeing them on tour for the ‘Black’ album, playing on the diamond stage was an unreal experience. The gig helped anchor some key friendships, with the oldest music friends I have. Dudes who I was in school with, and with whom went on to see more amazing shows, and also start jamming with pre-Taint. Seeing Metallica’s show of such massive production value, and seeing them at what I believe to have been their apex at just 15yrs old makes me feel very fortunate.”

CLUTCH + BIOHAZARD
Cardiff Bogiez, 1993

“Trepidation and nervous excitement came along with the opportunity to see this lineup. Already a massive fan of ‘Urban Discipline’ and their self titled, and as my gateway band into hardcore I didn’t know what to expect at my first Biohazard show. Bogiez was essentially Cardiff’s CBGB, with bands like Sick Of It All and Fear Factory also passing through around this time. I had vaguely read about Clutch at this point, and seeing and hearing them for the first time really changed my life, as their set inspired me to start jamming with friends and to write music. I was never a technical/metal guitarist, and for the first time Clutch made me think “I could do this too”. I thought Neil was legitimately unhinged during their set, and was fascinated by seeing him calmly buying a beer at the bar afterwards. Little did I realise then, how important the band would continue to become in my life over the years that followed.”

ACRIMONY
Swansea Coach House, 1993

“Witnessing this band’s early days is another part of my life that I feel incredibly fortunate to have. Acrimony shows at this time were mini tribal gatherings. It blew my mind that there was a band as great, groovy, uplifting and heavy as Acrimony, that were from just down the road from where I lived. I was discovering the underground more and more by this time, and getting into the fanzine and tape trading scenes which the Acrimony guys encouraged me to feel even more a part of and driven to delve into. The DIY attitude, and hands-on approach to my first band Taint came to me simultaneously, and was further anchored and supported the more I got to know these mysterious valley wizards. Acrimony were a world class band and outclassed probably any other British band around that time for me.”

SEPULTURA + PANTERA
Monsters of Rock, Donnington, 1994

“All out war. That was the overarching vibe in the mosh pits for these brutal sets. It was my first time on the hallowed Donnighton ground, and it was an absolute dream to finally be there. After having been glued to the radio, and taping the day from the BBC radio coverage in years prior. My teenage long hair had been replaced by a fresh buzz cut which my father loathed. I had continued my love of metal and thrash, discovered hardcore, the underground and a taste for extreme music with suitably extreme moshpits. It was the first time for me and the UK to see such extreme and forward thinking bands as Pantera and Sepultura on the main stage at this prestigious festival. Once again, I feel privileged to have seen these two bands in particular at what I feel was the peak in their careers.”

13640943_10153566062906262_8275950175092473202_oHark Summer 2016

IRON MONKEY
Swansea Coach House, 1996

“Iron Monkey were a phenomenon, and with Acrimony and Hard To Swallow, part of my holy trinity of UK bands from that time. This was their 3rd or 4th gig if memory serves correctly, and Johnny Morrow’s captivating, charismatic and vital performance struck me as another significant mark in UK metal’s history books. Already being a massive Eyehategod fan, seeing a darker and more grittily urban and British counterpart was a sight to behold. Again, I feel lucky to have been around to witness and be a part of what I consider a keystone period in underground British metal. Iron Monkey are one of the few bands that I can unreservedly wear a back patch of to this day.”

SPIRIT CARAVAN
Europe, 2003

“Filling in on drums for The Dukes Of Nothing, I was thrown in at the deep end on my first ever tour. I was 21, and after learning the DON set on my walkman while finishing my end of year University graphics project, we had two rehearsals and hit the road with Spirit Caravan. The class and power of Wino, Gary and Sherman’s performances each night were incredibly inspiring. I was lucky enough to see how high the bar can be raised with a live heavy rock band, and what one of the most soulful, world class guitarists out there looks like, in an intimate setting each night for 14 days straight. Needless to say, touring with my brothers in Dukes Of Nothing was an unforgettable, drunk, hilarious experience.”

DUKES OF NOTHING + KEELHAUL + KNUT
Netherlands, 2003
“My last short run depping on drums for DON, we came across the powerhouses that were Knut and Keelhaul. I had never seen anything like these bands until that time, and they really turned my perception of technical playing versus organic vision inside out. I was less into tech/math/progressive bands at that time, as I have since grown to become. However, having already started hearing more bands from the Hydrahead, Second Nature and Escape Artist records stables, being able to experience two prime examples of this noisy wave became another notch on my gratitude belt. I regret missing the Dillinger/Botch tour that came through a couple of years earlier.”

TOOL
Cardiff Arena, 2006

“Having initially missed Tool Reading Festival 1993, and already being a big fan since ‘Undertow’ it took me 13 years to finally see them. This band have had such a musical and visual impact on me, that it was a stand out experience to them indoors with their full vision to be enveloped by. It felt like the kind of tribal and trance inducing gathering that I could even parallel to the early Acrimony basement shows. Scale and production doesn’t have to be the deal breaker, it’s all in the feeling.”

NEUROSIS
Roadburn Festival, Netherlands 2007
“My humble contribution to the tapestry of live Neurosis reports, is that this is one of the only bands that can bring tears to my eye. After having played Roadburn for the first time with Taint in 2006, it was a luxury to see Neurosis in the blissful Roadburn settings. A perfect band in a perfect festival. The set was deeply cathartic and helped exorcise some internal tensions at that time. A honed, matured, organic machine of a band that devastate everything in it’s path.”

The full list of tour dates is as follows:

29.07 – CARDIFF, RED SUN FESTIVAL (Tickets)

05.08 – MILTON KEYNES, CRAWFORD ARMS (Tickets)

06.08 – SHEFFIELD, CORPORATION (Tickets)

20.08 – EDINBURGH BANNERMANS (Tickets)

12.08 – BLOODSTOCK FESTIVAL (Tickets)

19.08 – LEEDS ASSEMBLY HOUSE STUDIOS (Tickets)

21.08 – GLASGOW, KING TUT’S (Tickets)

26.08 – BRISTOL, THE EXCHANGE (Tickets)

27.08 – LONDON, BOSTON MUSIC ROOMS (Tickets)

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