Samiam / Caffeine / Douglas

Derby Vic

June 23 1999

I only managed to catch the final song of Douglas' set, which is a shame, because I've heard and read good things about this Cardiff based band. One song isn't enough to judge, but we're one a melodic punky hardcore trip here. I can tell you more when I've listened to their CD which I bought at the end of the gig. So expect a review in Yaz 11.

Now Caffeine on the other hand I've seen once before in all their glory. The subsequent review in the printed Yaz 10 is barely readable due to the crap font I used. But it's maybe appropriate. Have you ever had that thing where there can be 2 bands playing almost identical music. One band makes the connection with you and it works, you can enjoy it. The others seem utterly pointless, a waste of time and highly derivative. For me, Caffeine are that second band. Sure, I reckon that if you listen long enough and like this NOFX based musical style, then the songs will kick in and sound good. But, it's so pointless and derivative. Between songs there are awkward quotes, including, "for those that have seen us before in Derby ... we love you". Yeah right. Of course there's that Dead Or Alive cover, cos every wannabe NOFX has to have a funny cover tune. They're unceremonisouly told that they'll have to cut their set. "What do you want us to play" is the slightly optimistic question asked by the bare chested bassist/vocalist. I may be in a minority, but I don't want them to play. Sorry, stressy day in work where death died at an inoportune moment, so maybe I'm just looking for an easy target. But Caffeine have "easy target" tattoed on their collective skatecorepunkwannabe forheads.

And so with the frame of mind, I was ready to lambast Samiam. Partly cos I believe they're regarded as something of a semi-legendary band, they're American which means they've pulled a way decent crowd, and I've never heard one of their tracks. No, I lie, I've heard one on the Big Cheese compilation. But yeah, come on, let me rip you apart.

So who feels the fool now? Me of course. They were utterly excellent. Very melodic emo-style sort of music that had me thinking of yer Sensefields and Sunny Day Real Estate. Easy going, fun, unpretentious, with a bunch of songs that on first listen make me think that it's about time I familiarised myself with their material. The only title I can give is Mexico, which apparently is "a new song to us". Which I may be being pedantic about, but I reckon probably makes it a new song for the crowd as well. Anyway, the singer reminds me of Bob Hoskins. Ok, so that may just be because my mind and logic operates at a different kind of angle to most peoples at times, but whoever he looks like, he seems to be pouring his everything into the songs. And he's singing. Real singing, not some gutteral grunt. It just works. The 45 minutes fly by, and during it, there's a few thoughts fluttering through my mind. One is that it's bloody hot in here again tonight. The other is it just highlights how redundant Caffeine are. And the other? Well, I'm saving that for another possible rant / piece for a future Yaz.