Earache NextGen 98 Tour - Dub War, Misery Loves Co, Janus Stark, Pulkas

Sheffield Corporation

January 2 1998

Ok, first up, this is an excellent idea. Earache, a label that has established itself with a particualar brandof music, is spreading it's wings more, and then putting on a tour featuring 4 of its now diverse bands (5 if you count the gabba sets DJ'd by Johnny Violent).

Driving up to this, one thought was great idea, but if it's nextgen, then what about the nextgen of fans. Kids who aren't as fortunate as me in having a car, or being able to fly up the motorway to gigs. In other words, more than 2 dates in the UK please.. But then you're confronted with the reality of the situation. A reasonable sized club, a distressingly small turnout. New Year hangovers? Possibly. General apathy. As if I would suggest such a thing ...

But first, Pulkas. A band who I was looking forward to seeing for the first time. My listening experience is limited to their contributions to the first Org Radio cd. And might fine contributions they are too. And I wasn't disappointed. Playing to an empty floor didnt seem to unduly perturb them, and the band turned in an intense performance which makes you wonder what they'd actually be like if they had a crowd to play to. Don't know the names of the songs I'm afraid, but the one now officially known as Song 3 had a really heavy, simple effective riff. A band I'll certainly be looking to find out and hear more by.

Janus Stark. That guitarist blokey from The Prodigy is in 'em inni. Yep, I know as much about them as anyone else. But forget the Prodigy if you're looking for any overlap here. There is none. Janus Stark are playing punk. With humour it would seem, especially between songs. And too a not overly receptive audience. Why? Apathy? Maybe, but maybe it's because the songs don't really grab you much. It's traditional punk, but there's not quite the melody of some bands, not quite the catchiness of others. I'm sure that listening to the album when it is released will help, but you have to wonder what would happen if they didn't have that That guitarist blokey from The Prodigy is in 'em inni element to them.

Misery Loves Co. An audience. So that's what it looks like? Scary. Actually, fair's fair, they probably had the biggest crowd of the night. Unfortunately, I've only listened to the debut album a couple of times many moons back, and can't remember much about it. So, no titles again, except for Kiss My Boots, which according to them, they haven't played in a while. If that's true, they should play it more often, because not only was it good, it got the best reception from the crowd. The rest of the set was, I guess, a mix of the 2 albums. Performed quite well, but maybe I just wasn't in the mood tonight for industrial metal style. I've got no problem with it normally, but I was begining to look forward to the groove of Dub War. Still, a victory for the band, but you can't help that feel that following on from the Machine Tour a couple of weeks back, this must've been a comedown to earth for the band.

Dub War. Ah, what a band. Still, criminally, it would seem, one of Britains best kept secrets. This is a band which can always put a smile on your face. Respected, Nar Say a Ting', Bassball Bat (featuring big humdinger upright bass) Gorrit, Million Dollar Love. The songs. A glorious mish mash or rock, punk, hardcore, reggae soul. Topped off by Benji. A laugh, a voice to die for. Layed back and in your face. Encouraging and joking. This is how it should be when music crosses over. The audience may have been relatively small, but that didn't deter. Some classic quotes from the band, some wonderful music. But summed up I think at the end by Benji, this is for all those people who love dub war, but just haven't gotten round to buying our records yet. you know who you 'kin are. Indeed. Dub War, one of THE best bands in the UK. Go and listen. Make '98 the year that we get some things right.

So a great idea. The result was a little bumpy in places. Still think it should be taken out to the masses in a few more places. And come on people. Make Dub War the stars that they already should be.