Jake Owens Photography

Venom Prison Tour Diary - November 2017

I was lucky enough to go out on the road with Venom Prison for the second time this year, this time taking in a bit more of the north of England (and Scotland) and headline shows (woo). Before I get into the post too much, a big thanks to Larissa, Ash, Ben, Jeff, Jay, Steve and Stu for being the best people to be locked in a van with, and for letting me hang out. You’re all swell.


November 11th - Thekla, Bristol

November 12th - The Black Heart, London

November 13th - The Flapper, Birmingham

November 14th - Classic Grand, Glasgow

November 15th - Key Club, Leeds

November 16th - The Star and Garter, Manchester


I recently got a Nikon D4, which is now my main camera (a review of that will be coming at some point between now and the end of human existence). This tour was the first opportunity I had to shoot some shows with it, as well as testing out the video capabilities that it has. Lens wise I used the Sigma Art 35mm 1.4 and Nikon 24-70mm 2.8, and a Nikon flash of some description.

Day 1 - Bristol

Mosh; Decent mosh, apparently someone copped a sweet chin music, but I didn’t see that. 7/10

Food; We used buyout to get pizza. Obviously. Decent. 7/10

Green Room; In a boat, which is pretty cool. Sofa transformed into a bed which is dubious at best. 6/10

Drive; N/A, got the train.

The first show was at (on?) Thekla, which is basically a big boat parked up in Bristol. I arrived as the guys were in the middle of what had been a 3 hour soundcheck/practice, all of which was very audible from outside, which is what we like. A few hugs later I had my laminate attached to my keys and had witnessed the strobes in effect. The show was cool, as close to a hometown show as there was on this run. I think the band had a fair amount of mates in attendance. I did not. It was still fun. Afterwards we went to a place called Beer Emporium for a couple of drinks which was nice, then we went to Ben’s to sleep.

Day 2 - London

Mosh; The show was real busy, some acceptable mosh. Bonus point for mic grabs. 7/10

Food; We used buyout to get vegetarian takeout buffet stuff. Me and Stu definitely had about twice as much as was necessary. 8/10

Green Room; Non existent really. 2/10

Drive; Respectable. Weather was good and we stopped for Greggs. 7/10

Show two was in lovely Camden. We got up, played with Ben’s exceptional dog for a while and then went out for some pastries in Bristol while we waited for the others to arrive. A quick zoom down the M4 and we were in London. Soundcheck seemed to take about 5 hours, which meant I could have a lie down on the sofa thing. Lovely. The actual show was great, pretty much sold out I think, and it was toasty warm inside too. Always good to see the aforementioned mic grabs too. After the show I stayed around for a little while and then shot off back to my flat for the night whilst the guys drove home to sleep.


Day 3 - Birmingham

Mosh; One girl moshed herself out and wrecked her ankle early doors. Also saw some pogo from chaps in the front. 10/10

Food; We went to Wagamama. Tasty, but portion sizes were pathetic. 6/10

Green Room; Cold and loud. Did have a kettle and a fridge though. 5/10

Drive; Got the train again so a big fat N/A

Show day 3 was on my birthday, so I got the train up to meet the guys at the venue. Trains are good for both work and day drinking, and are highly recommended. Birmingham was really cold. Horribly cold. I arrived just in time to help load in, and then it was time to soundcheck and set up. Luckily this was much faster than in London. Afterwards we had a little trek to Wagamama and then show time. The crowd was a decent size, and they moved around a fair bit, which is always good fun. Some zesty moves on display. After the show we loaded out and drove to Manchester to stay in Steve’s lovely flat.

Day 4 - Glasgow

Mosh; Minimal moshing, caught one guy having a go at it to little effect. 2/10

Food; Mac N’ Cheese Burrito was nowhere near as good as it sounds. Glasgow was redeemed by a double helping of lovely salty chips. 6/10

Green Room; Spacious, had a heater, a sofa AND a shower with nice towels and hand wash. 9/10

Drive; 4 and a bit hours of quality trucking in each direction. Return journey was accompanied by horrid back pain. Miserable. 1/10

Glasgow is a fun town. It has some cool venues too, including where we played at the Classic Grand. What isn’t cool though is loading in to the venue when it’s up what feels like 1000 steps and Ash’s recent decision to get a flight case that weighs about the same as I do. No matter, the show was pretty good, in spite of one (both?) of the monitors failing and Ash dropping his nice new Jackson. Load out was easier with some help, and then it was time for some trucking. Me and Stu decided that we’d provide Ben with some quality mid 2000’s deathcore and Trustkill Records bangers. We’re good people.

Day 5 - Leeds

Mosh; SPICY. Some cool headbanging on display also. 7/10

Food; Pad Thai next to the venue, and a 20 pack of walkers in the venue. Exceptional. 10/10

Green Room; Small but did have a fridge and a shower, and more than one plug socket. 5/10

Drive; 1 hour from our overnight at Steve’s. Bliss. 8/10

We got back from Glasgow so late that we all slept until 12, and then realised that we actually didn’t have a lot of time to get ready and get to Leeds for our 3pm load in. The day basically comprised of 8 people getting around 43 seconds of natural light all day, which led to most of us becoming essentially nocturnal. The load in was down a pretty narrow staircase which isn’t great, but the venue was kinda cool and we had lots of space. We had access to a particularly aggro strobe for the set, which went down a treat, and made my life much more painful. After playing it was back to Manchester (again) where the final show was. Steve proved that he is the best human alive by making us many yummy treats.

Day 6 - Manchester

Mosh; Good, consistent moshing. No fruity moves or stage dives, but some good vintage push pit action. 8/10

Food; Wanky coffee and a Leon halloumi wrap, 2 bags of Walkers Cheese and Onion crisps. Snazzy. 9/10

Green Room; None. Some beers though, but they vanished pretty speedily. 2/10

Drive; To the venue was fairly non-existent, see below for details of other transportation. 4/10

After a pretty hefty night on Steve’s home made humous (10/10) and vegan friendly nachos (10/10), we got up early to go and source some moderate pyrotechnics. We got to the venue super early to head off and shoot some new promos for the band, which I’ll post about another time. Ben found a delightful Scandinavian-esque coffee place where we had lattes with pictures on the top of them before heading back to load in. Load in was not fun, but shoutout to Leeched for helping us with the cabs. The show saw the glorious return of Eddie, who is 72 and read about Venom Prison in Kerrang. He’s a really cool, interesting dude, and he spent the whole set down the front, rocking out. Be more like Eddie. After the show we had a quick pack of the van, waved goodbye to God Complex and Corrupt Moral Alter who had been on tour with us, and then said farewell to Stu. Stu is a top death metal visual merchandiser and pyrotechnician, so you should hire him for those things. I rode up front with Ben in the van to provide moral support and tunes for the long drive home. Manchester to Bristol via Liverpool and Newport. It was also freezing cold. 0/10.

So that’s that. Venom Prison’s Animus UK Headline Tour 2017. Big thanks to everyone in all the bands for being cool to hang out with, thanks to Steve for letting us crash at his place and generally being a great tour dad and sound guy, thanks to Stu for having a good taste in music and pastel clothing. Thanks for reading this, I’ve really waffled on for ages. Go and get a life.

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