Earthtone 9 / Chasm / Unfounded

Derby Vic

10 September 1999

Ah, back to the harshness of reality after Wednesdays public destruction of Megadeth at Rock City. There's a lot I could say about it, but it would mean another War and Peace size gig review. So I'm going to hold on to some of the thoughts and maybe write another "Oh dave for fucks sake will you stop whinging about the same thing all the time" piece for Yaz 12.

But one thing that I must say here, is how I was watching the TV today, and heard one of the biggest crocks of shit it's been my displeasure to hear this year. Discussing the MTV awards that took place last night, the editor of the NME was talking. They were on about the lack of British nominees. His verdict as to the reason. Simple. "America is producing better rock music than we are. They have Marilyn Manson". Cough and splutter. Nope. Wrong. Bzzzzt. America is producing better publicists, and the people that influence an entire nation of record buyers, ie, the likes of the editor of the NME, are buying into this smokescreen and passing it on to the people of this country.

And after witnessing these 3 tonight, I can safely say, AGAIN, that the UK is just as good musically. Unfortunately, arriving at what is the normal time for the first band, I found I'd missed Aultura, as this had been extended to a four band line up. So, apologies to them for that.

First band I did catch were Unfounded again. Who were better tonight than in Dudley. Maybe it's the end of the week instead of the start. Maybe it's the free beer they're partaking of. Musically I still feel that they're better when they add more melody, and vocalist Baz sings. When he goes for the more extreme stuff, it sounds a bit forced. The music is complex. It's thrash and high speed, but again, they exhibit enough suss in the like of Fall, Dry and Cold Broken Dream to show the way forward. As long as they don't beat each other up on stage, as Baz first "interferes" with guitarist Jon, only for the other guitarist Andy to take on Baz. And be banished to the side of the stage for a few minutes. All with a grin on the face. And afterwards with a beer in the hand.

After the gig, there was something like an interview with the next band Chasm. Except that with 20 days left to PhD thesis submission, stress and panic levels rising, I don't uphold my side of things and think of some questions. At least that's my excuse. So things "will be finished" and you can read the results in Yaz 12.

But enough of my ineptitude. What about the live Chasm. Well, what can I say. I can repeat myself and say they're getting better all the time, or I can lie to you. So I'll repeat myself. They're getting better all the time. They really are, it's as simple as that. The older material such as 54 and the superb Almost There mix in with new material such as Zen LUNACY. I've got to point out that song. It's a good song. And it's taken me at least three listens to remember the title. And that was helped by Chris should "It's Zen Lunacy Dave" from the stage. Ta muchly. Could do with more bands helping out us old forgetful people like that. Now what's the other one? Is it Simon Says, which is unfortunate being that's the name of one of the new Earthtone9 tracks, or Psion Says. Or Some say? I dunno. I'm going to cover my tracks here by saying that the music is so good that details such as song titles become irrelevant. They're going to play the Angel in Nottingham in November with Dai Lo and Shallow. I mean, how good is that going to be? Better than a good thing at a very good time. The potential is enormous. The publicity? Well ok, granted, the Americans have us beat on that. They've got people hyping up cruddy third rate Kornabbie bands, and we have people who can't even come up with interview questions or remember the names of song titles. But publicity isn't what counts, it's the music. Just remember that.

Earthtone9. Well what can I say. What a letdown, and this was even better. Letdown in terms of the pretty pisspoor turnout. Even better in that they were nearly twice as good as at that Megadeth annihilation, because they played for nearly twice as long. This is my third time seeing them in the last 6 days. I can repeat myself again if you like, about the sheer power of the music they're producing and the performance. 2:00:00 was a particular highlight I thought tonight, but whereever you look from the opening of Serpentine Placement to the closing Simon Says, it's just an awesome experience. The backing vocals of Jo really have added to the sound, sharing some duties with Karl as well. Another pointer to the future maybe. It's simple things. Simple things are all that's needed to stand out. Simple things like certain guitarists totally fucking up the guitar scrape in I-nagual-eye. And then claiming it's on purpose!

The sad thing in a way, is what makes them SOOOOOO good is possibly what's holding them back at the moment. Classed as a "hardcore" band by many, they are in possession of so many more ace cards. There's variety to what they do, that essential commodity that I complain is lacking in so many bands. Subtlety. Their musical experiences extend beyond the blinkers that are worn by many. And it's exactly these reasons that I think means that the "real" hardcore fans seem to be staying away at the moment. They're not American and on Revelation or Victory. And though they're UK, they're not on Household Name and they have a chance. Like some people have this misguided belief that you can't or shouldn't be able to make a living out of this sort of thing. Of course you should. Look, if this had been Will Haven playing tonight, people would've been hanging from the rafters and they'd still turn people away. In fact any American hardcore band with half the good reviews that they've received would've rammed the place solid. But they're British. They're awesome. You can believe the likes of the editor of the NME if you like, or you can get out there, seek, find and support what is a priceless band and a wonderful scene of music throughout the UK. Not just hardcore. The whole "rock" thing. Or you can watch live music in this country wither and die. It's up to you really.

I'm going to stop there cos already I'm off into what I want to write seperately. What can I say though, if you claim to be a fan, stop sitting on your trend obsessed "it's only good if it's American" arse and listen to music for what it is. Music. You might just learn something.