Live Review: Lawnmower Deth – Manchester

Live Review: Lawnmower Deth – Rebellion, Manchester
16th December 2023
Support: Ward XVI, Solitary
Words: Matthew Williams
Photos: Bill Mawdsley

It’s the penultimate Saturday in December before Christmas, and the heavy build-up of traffic into Manchester can only mean one thing, it’s time for the annual Lawnmower Deth Christmas shindig. This year they have descended upon Rebellion in Manchester, and as per normal, you never know quite what you are going to get, and this year is no exception.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

The Xmas show kicks off with UK thrashers Solitary, who dive head long into a set of decent thrash songs that get the crowd head banging along, with the drummer set to the far left of the stage. They play around seven songs, including 'Abominate' and 'Requim', to get the party started before we are treated to the spectacle that is Ward XVI, with their avantgarde theatrical, Alice Cooper-esque stage show of costume changes, pretend chopping of bodies, emptying of contents, blood spewed into the crowd, bodies in the bin madness! They are all clearly bonkers, but their set was so much fun to watch and they all clearly enjoy what they are doing, and with the cardboard doors, table and chairs cleared away, it was time for the return of the fabulous metal bozo clowns.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

I’m unashamedly a massive Lawnmower Deth fanboy, hooked from the first time of seeing them back in 1990, so I always look forward to seeing them live, as you just don’t know what’s going to happen, and from the first notes of 'Into the Pit', you could sense that this was going to be one of those nights, with Pete introducing the wrong song next, as they ripped into 'Sumo Rabbit and his Inescapable Trap of Doom' instead of 'Flying Killer Cobs' which was up next on the set list. "The gift that keeps on giving” bellows Chris, taking the piss out of Pete, as the crowd laugh at the hilarity.

After releasing lots of big green balloons into the crowd and giving a cheer to the man from Ireland who had travelled over to celebrate his 50th birthday at the gig, they crack on with a great mixture of old and new songs, 'Weebles Wobble' and 'Botheration' which Pete asks straight after, “is it tolerable so far?” getting massive roars of approval from the crowd. We are then treated to a song of great gravitas, 'Swarfega', before one of my favourites 'Spook Perv Happenings in the Snooker Hall'.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

At the start of 'I Don’t Want To' Pete gets Father Xmas of all people, to lead a giant conga line around the venue, and then more unexpected madness, as first Steve, then Chris, then Paddy, albeit on purpose, all mess up the intro to song of the night 'Rad Dude'. It all just adds to the wonderful atmosphere, as the band and crowd are as one, all laughing and joking and having a cracking Saturday night out.

The next lot of songs seem to go without any hitches, but prove that behind the hilarious on stage antics and joking around, that they are actually a very, very good live band, who know exactly what their crowd want, and they deliver every single time. 'Got No Legs', 'Drink to be Sick', 'Bobblehead', 'Sheep Dip' with excellent crowd participation and rhythmic waving all go down an absolute storm and with their acceptance that lots of their songs have the word bastard in them, they produce a killer version of 'Bastard Squad'.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

We are then treated to something different, as is their way, with Pete having the words on his phone, they begin their classic number 'Watch out Grandma', with Sumo Rabbit and Father Xmas (two members of Evil Scarecrow) dancing around on stage before halfway through they begin their own rendition of 'Merry Xmas Everyone'. Afterwards Pete commented on “how beautiful it was to see my 21 year old son moshing about to Shakin Stevens

More old songs, 'Urban Surfer 125', 'Egg Sandwich', 'Icky Ficky' and then midway through 'Buddy Holly' we got the first stage diver, which was closely followed by the second one, the lead singer of Ward XVI, still in her stage gear. The story of them getting booked for a grindcore festival in Holland got told before 'F.A.T.' and with Pete proclaiming that they were “racing towards the end” which was met with large boos, as the crowd were loving each and every minute of this Xmas special, we got 'Did you Spill My Pint?' and then the brilliant 'Raise Your Snails'.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

A quick band change, with the promise of a better vocalist who can follow a set list correctly, saw Pete play bass and Chris take centre stage for the epic 'Punk as Fuck', then after thanking the stage crew, bar staff, security and the fans for turning up, we arrive at the final song of 'Power Bagging'.

It’s been “a fucking blast” claims Pete and with loud applause from every corner of the venue, the annual Lawnmower Deth Christmas extravaganza is brought to an end, and we’ll all be waiting for it again next year. A brilliant last gig of the year for me, spending it with a band I’ve loved and watched many times over many years, Cheers.

Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley
Photo Credit: Bill Mawdsley

Photo credits: Bill Mawdsley

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.