Biohazard / Pulkas

Wolves Wulfrun

September 1 1999

Managed to miss the entire set by Rico, d'oh, so no words about him then.

Word about the heat though - hot. Shessssh. Were a tad warm in here tonight.

Pulkas, yeah Pulkas. I've got to be honest, I'm in 2 minds about this band at the moment. A lot of people seem to regard them as one of, if not THE best UK metal/new metal band. I don't. I mean, the album is good, but a year down the line, it hasn't retained my interest. Live I'm a little unconvinced. I mean, this is with retrospect. This time last year I'd interviewed them and I was excited, but it feels a false dawn. Tonight didn't help. On the one hand, the likes of Control and Loaded did SOUND very powerful, and it kind of made sense a bit. Though those comparisons with Neurosis and Tool now seem utterly ludicrous to me. But, Vickie summed up what I was wondering when they finished. "They were a bit boring weren't they?" And near the back of even a venue this size, you have to say yes, they were. It's not just a fault of Pulkas. Many bands these days if you take them outside of the club or toilet venue, just don't project well. If you're not right down the front, and hey, you don't have to be, it's not a cast iron rule you know, then boredom can set in. Pulkas have the ability, but at the moment I feel they need a re-think and a fresh start, because although the set went down well, they don't really have that impetus and spark.

God, Biohazard I think were the first "hardcore" band I ever saw. Back in Cardiff Bogiez in about '90 or '91. And it remains probably the finest gig I've seen them do, and one of the best hardcore gigs I've seen. Maybe it was because it was the first. They've been eclipsed in the live stakes by Sick Of It All though as far as I'm concerned.

But what can you say about them. "Cheesy" was what I thought, something back up by Vickie. But cheesy in a funny and endearing way. Or is it? I mean, it's only because they appear so passionate and to believe so much in what they do and say, that it sets it apart from 80s cheese metal. Every song is punctuated by tales of togetherness, unit, "not taking any shit from any muthafucka, right mutherfuckinfuckas?" Tell them Biohazard said not to. It's cheesy when you consider the queries, "ever been told what to do or not to do by your parents, teachers, boss, authority? Don't do what they tell you, do what you want", coming from a band playing a venue which, as they put it later "has a really strict curfew" and doesn't allow stage diving and crowd surfing. Fuck the people, and fuck the curfew. It's soundbites, sloganeering, and appealing to everything that everyone goes through. "Ever felt like not getting up in the morning?" No, I bounce out of bed at first light every single morning with joy and a bounce in my step. "Ever been stabbed in the back by your friends?" No, my friends are lovely fluffy people who wouldn't do that. "Sometimes life is positive and negative". Really? And I thought it was just ME. Wow. "One of the reasons YOU like US is because we write songs that you can relate to." Ok, that's not cheesy, just arrogant. "Last time we played London, they said you were a bunch of fucking pussies. They were wrong. Wolverhampton rules man. We're going to move to Wolverhampton". And punch the air, hands in the air, let's rock. Cheese on baby, cheese on.

But it's all part of it, and it makes it a hugely entertaining gig. It gets a response, but I guess it's also where REAL hardcore fans may take a stance. Cos you know, "it's all a bit too cheesy, too METAL". Yeah, but wasn't there a show of unity in here tonight? Can't unity exist between 1000 people instead of just between 100? Billy and Evan bounce around the stage, sharing vocal duties and egging people on. As ever the rally cry of old school new school is utter shite. The "old school" are due to show the new how it's done by getting a circle pit going. In all the years I've been going to gigs, I've never seen a circle pit done properly yet. Boy, the old school must've been playing truant a hell of a lot. That fine line between hardcore and metal is visible again, well, that's when they're not crossing it, and there's a cry of "come on you heavy metal fuckers". Years ago when I first saw them and metal was still in, it was the other way around. It's always like bands try to side with the underdogs for a bit of credibility. Shades of Grey is pounded out, as are the likes of Wrong Side Of The Tracks, Down For Life and What Makes Us Tick. If the truth be told, State Of The World Address was the last album of their I bought, so I don't know the new stuff. Something like Flickswitch was there, and a newbie that bordered on the Metallica ballad style. Sad but true. Nah, it was actually pretty good.

At the end, Vickie reckoned it was hugely cheesy, possibly the cheesiest gig she'd seen. I wouldn't argue with that. But it was extremely entertaining. Just remember to take a bag of salt with you, you might need it. Oh, and some air conditioning.