Anethema / Hangnail

Birmingham Foundry

July 1 1999

Went to this gig for a few reasons. One is there's been a dearth of them lately, it's all quiet. Which may or may not be good for me, because work has been so busy lately I haven't had the time or felt like it. Which is another reason. Worrying in a sense. At least to me. There's a cloud of doubt hanging over the zine at least in some respects. I mean, I've got #11 together. Well, when I type up the interviews. Which are hell to type. Take so long to do. No interest in them, I mean, I was there when they happened, cos I did them. So I know what was said, so they hold no interest TO ME in that respect. Got to find the time. But though the basis for #11 is done, it's missing so much. Well, I mean it is and it isn't. It's up to 72 pages. Yet missing so much. A few labels that have sent review material in the past seem to be more selective at the moment. I can go and ask for something, but that feels too much like them dictating you. I don't want that to happen. I think I'm pretty fair and thorough in my reviews, so kinda feel that I shouldn't have to proove myself all the time. "So what zine you from, can you send us a copy?" No, fuck off. I sent the other person in your PR group a copy, I can't afford to keep sending freebie copies of a zine that costs everyone bar me nothing, or free copies of a zine and CD which only costs the punters 3 quid. It's 3quid to them, but it's ALL the cd's and zines paid for by me. Money therefore is a little tight. If I don't get review material, I have to buy it. Which I have been, but that puts a strain on the finances already strained by me financing the CD that they then want me to send them free. So you combine that with the current lack of time that I seem to find I have, at least time where I don't want to de-stress and just lie down, and there forms a little cloud of doubt. It'll pass, because despite all this, I want to do a Vol 2 of Yazcore. And I know what I want to put into issue 12.

Now the other reason I had to go to this gig, was because after receiving a two track promo of the new Anethema album, I was so impressed with it I had to go and buy the album. Ah yeah, I just whinged about that didn't I? Yeah, but this is one of a select few. This sounded great, not just hyped well. And as it looked like I wasn't going to get a review copy, I had to buy it on the strength of the music. And so now I had to see them. And once we've dealt with Hangnail, that's what ew'll do.

So Hangnail came on to about 5 people down the front. The Foundry is a decent venue. I wish we had a place like this in Nottingham. It's not Rock City sized, but can house decent bands, big and small. There's always gigs, and though I don't know anyone here, and so don't talk to anyone, (like I would anyway!), it feels like a friendly place. It feels like it's there for the music. Which makes it a major shame that there's so few people here, especially given that this is I understand, the second largest city in Britain. But anyway, Hangnail come on. And I'm trying to decide. There's a major element of the Soundgarden and Monster Magnets going on in here for me. Yet my first reaction to the vocalist was an 80s cheesmetalmeister. But then I thought, no, it's more a Chris Cornell of Soundgarden thing. Which to my mind can often be one and the same thing, but hey, that's just me. The first track just kind of drift's on by, does nothing. The second one starts promisingly. Half way through it gets a bit of the old musonoodlejam syndrome, and I have to check myself a few times, because my mind has wandered back to work issues. Yet perversely I'm begining to enjoy this. And it's like that throughout the set. I don't know the song titles, though if I remember correctly, they said they have an album out soon on rise Above Records. And if I can afford it, then I might well check out a copy. It's a bit of a mmmmmmm kind of affair I guess. I can enjoy them, but they're not essential to me.

Luckily, a few people who had hung back for Hangnail wander up as Anethema hit the stage, though it's still a depressingly small turnout for them. Towards the end Vincent quips "thanks. Even though there's so few, it's been a good rehersal for Bradford tomorrow where there'll be people." Humour? Attitude? You need to know the person to know, and I don't. I kinda grate when bands seem to slag the people who are actually there for the people that haven't turned up, but that's a personal bugbear. Anyway, the music is the most important thing, and although throwing a straight run of the first 5 tracks from the new album Judgement might seem to be risky, for someone like myself who has only heard that one album, it works, and works well. So we get the Paradise Lost inspired Deep, through Pitiless, Forgotten Hopes, Destiny Is Dead and the Metallica Sanitarium recalling intro of Make It Right. From there I guess it's a mixture of old and new, Angelica is in there, along with a few other oldies whose names were given but I've forgotten. There's Rory Harper song apparently, which features an incessent guitar part that actually made me think of Marillion around say the Misplaced Childhood album, which was a phenomenal album.

Having said all that, I got a mixed feeling about the gig. There's no visual impact, but I don't think there's meant to be. No spotlights on the band, and the lighting is impressive in a minimal kind of way. It echoes almost the album cover, and you get the feeling that in a larger venue it impresses on you, but doesn't detract from the music, in fact it all feels that it's designed to draw you in more to the music. The vocals are a bit high in the mx, and there's a little bit of hesitancy at the start, but there again, it is the first night of the tour. Give them a couple of weeks to warm up, and it should be hugely impressive. At the moment it was good. I think they're better than that. Be interesting to see though what they'll make of the lack of crowd that they'll probably get in Derby in a few weeks time. I'll hopefully be at that one as well, so at least then, unlike this time, I'll have a kind of benchmark to measure it all by.