Strapping Young Lad / Medulla Nocte

Birmingham Foundry

June 14 1998

Another venue discovered, even if man had been there prior to me. But still, another place to see gigs. Anyway, that's not the point of this is it. The gig.

Right, the Nocte are first up. I've had time to live with the album for a week by now, and it's intense. The ball is in the Seps, Fear Factory, Machine Head etc court to come up with some more vibrant and intense than A Conversation Alone. And to know when to draw the line.

But the Nocte suffer a little tonight. Those gremlins known as technical problems rear their ugly head, what with the power cutting on the very first number. Then the microphones, so Paul nicks Neals. Not the first time that has happened.

Still, when everything is running smoothly, they devestate once more. Not sure what most people made of it all. It is very intense. Of course, if they were American and this intense, we'd love it right. But they're not. Still, the material is strong enough to see them through. And in spite of it all being so intense, that key element remains. There are distinct songs. For all the ferocity of the delivering, there is difference in it all. Ones to watch for. Just give them the right chances and they'll sort it. Apparently the gig in London the other night was special. And get Paul talking on Faith No More and you're home and dry. Ok, now go and get the album. It's called A Conversation Alone and it's superb.

As are Strapping Young Lad. Albeit dogged by those technical difficulties as well. Before a ball's been kicked even, to borrow a sporting phrase which I'm sure Devin would disapprove of. So, while the kick drums are fixed, we're treated to a little chat from the Townsend. Nice. One of my favourite subjects. Kerrang!

Apparently they were at the gig in London and don't consider SYL to act hardcore enough on stage, cos they don't welcome people with size 12 boots, standing up, dancing, waiting to be congratulated by the band for being onstage before jumping off. They don't pretend to be hoodlums or anything and are just honest about themselves. Let's face it. Touring sucks. There's no way we'd rather be at home sleeping with our girlfriends now is there quote the Devin monster. No. Ah, someone here who obviously didn't have enough attention as a child. See how I shake their hands. And now wipe the ketchup off the monitors. You see, Townsend is what some people call, a bit of a character. some consider that to be nuts. Anyway, it was fun. I'm really not embarrassed by this, no not at all. A guitar solo. . Which is followed by a bass solo. And the other guitarists solo. And a keyboard one. All in the name of fun.

Finally, the kicks are there. We start.

Metal to the maximum. The tongue is embedded firmly in the cheek as a Priestesque body swaying motion picks things up. But the music is brutal. Heavy, sleek and modern. In the face. As is Townsend, albeit pulling faces the Scorpions would've been proud of. Ah, that strange old concept of entertainment.

One thing you can't argue, is the guys talent. He has an awesome voice. Sure, there's a lot of modern in it, but also classic old school metal. Which of course is cliche and cheesy these days right. But as he says Metal is about paraody. . As is Far Beyond Metal. Which suitably enough goes so far beyond metal that it blows the power again. How appropriate. It's fixed and they go from the first verse again.

Devin enquires about the World Cup, and how people would react if England lost. Unfortunately they didn't. Hey I'm Welsh. If you can't take a bit of fun, give up now. We go Beneath The Waves and come out the other side. And then they depart, to return with some Ocean Machine.

But UK licensing laws means a 10.30 shut, so they only have time for two songs. One Ocean Machine - Seventh Wave and Detox by SYL. It's over. Fun. Parody. A Laugh. Cheesy. Of course some people just won't get it. It'll no doubt be too close to Spinal Tap for them. Treading the wrong side of the line. Well, that's up to you. Get this. Music is about fun. Enjoyment. Not being so fucked up and rigid that you can't deviate from your narrow minded perspective on things. If you're so wrapped up in your own self-importance and ego that you can't go outside of things for a while, then you're missing out on a lot of the more fun, ludicrous enjoyable things in life. Go OUT THERE for a while.