Iron Monkey / Medulla Nocte

Derby Vic

April 12 1999

Well, the ads said that a third band, Grudge 13 were playing. I don't think they did, but if they did I missed them. Why is that Dave, you always go on about checking out all the bands? True, I do, and thanks for asking. I'll tell you. Because I was finishing the master of Yazcore Vol 1. Yep, it's finally mastered and being packaged as I type to go to the pressing plant. Oohhhhhhh yeah. Finally, at beeping last. Is it good? Did Wales upstage England on Sunday in the rugby? Did I watch most of the game from behind the door, too scared to watch cos of the tension. Am I still celebrating that victory, and going to for years to come whenever anyone mentions the rugby? Course it's 'kin good. 17 tracks. 72 1/2 minutes. Marvellous. It'll hopefully be ready soon now. So see, I had good reason to be late.

But luckily I wasn't too late to miss the Nocte. So how do I describe them this time? I mean, surely there's only so many times you can say how intense this band is, how great they are? Well, yeah, to an extent. But until more people take notice, you repeat it. But the great thing about them, and indeed about all gigs, is that there's always something new, something different to mention. Anyway, luckily tonight I don't have to go on to you about poor attendance, because despite Paul saying "another great Derby gig. So much to do here" a sizeable crowd has gathered to witness tonights proceedings. Though a suitable distance is maintained. "Get yourselves away from the bar. And that includes you Morrow. Baldy" is the introduction to proceedings, followed by a swift "We're Medulla Nocte and we sound like this" after which Paul emits a sound that I'm not even going to attempt to type. You see it, then you understand. And from there in, it's time to get intense. The two new tracks aired in their entirety, Nothing For Second and Inside I'm Dying, are nestling nicely alongside older favourites like All Our Friends Are Dead, Hooked On Masterbation, A Conversation Alone and the set closer All That I Ask. They sit nicely, but are a progression and a diversion from the older sound. Longer, more intricate, it's a good indication to the future hopefully. We're also treated to about a minute of a new song. Afterwards Paul explains that the song isn't finished, but they're excited enough about it to try it out as it stands, and see if it "passes the intensity test." Like you ever had any doubt.

Now, there aren't many more intense bands than Iron Monkey, but even they struggle to follow a performance like that, at least in my eyes. Which I guess some may say has something to do in part with the fact that I'm not as wrapped up in them. Musically great, but, and this is in some respects the odd bit, Morrow's vocals kinda grate with me. But tonight, it made so much more sense than any of the other times I've seen them. It was more focussed, concentrating on the faster, more hardcore like current, and in some places, new material, as opposed to the sludged out, slowed down crawls they can do. And so it works so much better. And I can't understand a word Morrow says even when he talks between songs. That's class. The ending is still treading that line of self indulgence, with the noise finish, the feeback drench and, I guess, the art. And for me it crosses the line more times than it stays on the right side. But a few more performances like the main part of the set, and I may even be getting to understand them.