Shallow / Houdini

the Old Angel - Nottingham

August 20 1999

It's looking good. A few new toys in here to play with, and half way through the gig I was thinking how good a venue this could become. Especially with The Foundry in Birmingham having now closed down, it seems to me to emphasis how important it is that we look after these places. They ain't going to be around forever otherwise, and you need a breeding place for the bands of the future. And places, that like this, will play something new between sets. Tonight it was Defcon, whose vocalist seemed a bit chuffed at the time, and who will be supporting Medulla Nocte at this very place in a few short months. This could become an important place.

Houdini were first, apparently a local band having arisen from the ashes of a band called Silencer. Not heard either of them, and to be honest, this didn't really move me much. There were some nice bass lines running through everything, but that was the main thing that captured me. Sounded a bit more indie than I normally listen to, and there were a few times the vocalist kind of missed the microphone to sing into because it looked like his eyes were closed and head down. Which is something I'm not keen on. I like a band to try and at least make me feel like they want to be here, and they want us to be here. To try and engage. They didn't for me. The slower songs stood out as the best, but sorry, not really my thing.

Neither in some respects should Shallow be. Not being the biggest stoner fan. But there's something about this band. Them and Blackrock for me are the best 2 bands of their ilk in the UK at the moment. There's a quality to the songs that drags you in. It's the third song into the set that really does it, Tony has introduced the band as being "from Stoke. Stoke-on-Trent" In that dramatic James Bond would've been proud way. And they launch into Titanic. And it just grooves along. It's an awesome sound. The guitar tone is rich, reminds me of Queens Of The Stone Age, and it just drags you along. It's highlighted later in the set by Something and Sugar Glide from the "Live at ..." EP. I find myself thinking this is the sort of groove that modern day Metallica keep on about, but for all that, to my mind, they just can't achieve it in the same way Shallow can. It's pretty outrageous really. "You want one more? Troops of Doom" is Tony's pretty bad Sepultura impression as they launch into set closer Cake Ape which finishes off an excellent set. Really, if you like QOTSA, Kyuss and their ilk, then check out Shallow, especially live. Excellent.