Napalm Death / The Haunted / Huge Baby

Nottingham Rock City

November 7 1998

Wow, this one gave me so many things to think about and write about. There’s probably an entire issue of YAZ in it in terms of potential interview questions that popped into the head, potential rants and all those lovely little thinks. Anyway, me being me, I didn’t trust RC when they said what time the first band would be on, so as I got there, huge Baby were playing their final two tracks. Bugger. RC were actually right for once. So anyway, I can’t really make a comment on the band. Dan reckoned “they need to grow their hair” and someone talking to him decreed them to be “bollocks”. Me, I wanted to hear them, and still do as the people at the Org seem to have good things to say about them. Maybe next time.

Like I said, I don’t know what it was about last night, but things seem to be coming at me from all angles. In the mind I mean. I don’t know what kind of mood I was in, semi-pissed off, antaganistic. Or just feeling petty and silly. I don’t know. But whatever it was, I was cheered up totally by the sight minutes before the Haunted came on, of 4 guys in totally derigeur outfit. Those pants were so baggy, the wallet chains so big, the basketball tops in place and the hair at regulation cut. No, I really tried not to snigger. Just had to keep pouring my pint towards my mouth in order to stop myself. They were so, you know, just SO. Ah, gotta love ‘em. And the great thing was, The Haunted then came onto the stage, and launched into their first track. 4 out of 5 of the band wore their hair long. T-shirts. Probably jeans. And suddenly we take a musical trip back in time to the thrash heyday, and you know what? Me in me old long hair, jeans, t-shirt and leather jacket. I ruled over those four fuckers. Victory was mine. And it was for the next 45 minutes as they nipped through pretty much all of the album. Tracks like Hate Song, Choke Hold, Three Times (the song about drinking in Copenhagen apparently) and more. And a pit starts up. One of our beloved quartet is in there giving it some. With arms flailing. Ah, the pseudo-violence taken into the pit in order to show how hard you are. There is only one rule. Do not enter without a wallet chain. The looks on some of the other faces as The Haunted started was a bit of a picture as well, the grins breaking open as the realisation of the speed and Slayeresque music takes hold. For 45 minutes thrash is back. If we’re not careful, it may get popular again. Then what will the brigade do? So good, I’ll even forgive the little tease. “Do you know who we are? The ?” Haunted comes the cry. “We’re the infamous Dead Kennedys”. Ah, blasphemy. Still, they are forgiven. And the very metal drinking of the water was cool as well.

Then something weird happened. Well, a few things. One was that I went upstairs to get a newkie brown, and they actually gave me a bottle instead of the plastic glass. Unusual. Then after that I went to the toilets. Ok, that’s not so weird, but uh, do RC need to have a security blokey in the toilets these days? Uh, isn’t that a bit excessive. The other week I got upset getting searched on the way out. It seems to be a bit overkill these days. Something in various ways that RC to my mind is guilty of.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of Napalm Death. And as a result, this is what, the fourth time I’ve seen them. And it’s kind of bizarre, cos in all those times, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a stage diver at the gigs. Usually it seems to be the result of the venue being played, and tonight is no exception, as despite the fact it’s downstairs in RC, and it’s not totally packed, the barriers of prevention are still required. So they launch into the hour long set. Don’t ask for song names, cos there’s not a hope in hell of me recognising any of it. I can remember some, like Suffer The Children, Scum, Diatribes, some songs from Inside the Torn Apart and a bunch of new songs, including one about Tony Blair and new Labour (“don’t vote Tony Blair, he’s just a Tory in disguise”). We have a heckler tonight trying to bait Barney with cries “I’ve been into Napalm longer than you”. No you haven’t mate. This is a song from before you were into Napalm. This one’s from 2 albums ago as Barney introduces Diatribes. “Come on Shane” goes out the cry. “I don’t know what you’re expecting him to do?” I don’t think I want to know. I may not be a big fan, but I do respect what they do, especially live, with Barney holding court over everything in genial fashion. It’s also fun cos you notice how Barney reminds you of a robot sentinel as he sings. The way his head starts on one side, and as he sings, swings around to the other side in a gradual sweeping motion. Every line near enough. Most people have their little traits, and that’s one of his. Just seemed to pick up on it tonight. Like I said, it was an interesting night. The mind was on overkill. “I’m not going to be baited on the football tonight” he claims, before adding the counterpunch of “we all know who’s top of the league” in reference to his beloved Aston Villa. He wasn’t so reticent though with a little attack towards the label. “This one’s the first track from the new album, which is out Monday, provided there’s no natural disasters which always seem to happen with the label”, and later the “quick impression for you. ‘No, we can’t give you 10p, we’re over budget’. Famous local record label”. Wooow. Even The Haunted had a little dig at their label in their set. And they just happen to be on the same label as ND.

Before long there’s only 5 minutes left. Time for 4 more songs then, as they blast through 4 oldies in the Napalm fashion that if like me, you’re not into them but are just led by some of the legends that persist about the band, is the manner in which you expect ND to play the entire gig. And then, the one song I do know. The infamous, and glorious final track that is the Dead Kennedys Nazi Punks Fuck Off. A great way to end a good gig. Well, apart from Barney leaving the stage with the parting comment of “I still think Dion Dublin’s a waste of money.” He had to get that footie quote in, didn’t he!