earthtone9 / Linea 77

Nottingham Rock City

April 22 2000

Told you I'd make it to an entire Linea 77 set by the end of the tour. 2 minutes before they start, with the heavens having just decided to empty its hail contents again, I make it in. To my surprise there's already a fairly sizeable crowd here as the Italians take the stage. For the next half an hour, they seem to win a fair few new friends. There's two ways to look at this, the, "what I thought" and the "what I observed". Subjective and objective I believe. Me, well I saw another competant band delivering a rap style dose of nu-metal. There's the increasingly popular use of twin vocalists and the band throw all the right moves on stage, inciting the crowd to throw similar shapes back at them. It's very now. And it works a treat for them. From a personal point of view though, for all this, there was nothing inspiring. It comes down to whether this is your general sort of music. If it is, then you'll love them, as many people here seemed to, if it's not, then you can appreciate it, but not get moved, which is where it fits with me. Of course there's the obligatory cover, this time it's Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles. Which to be honest, is butchered. I love The Bangles, indeed had a Bangles evening the other week, but they ruined it. Still, others liked it and that's what's important.

To say or not to say, that is the question.

I know what I mean.

You know what I mean.

Ah bugger it, at the risk of offending a few people. So where the fuck were all the people that were here tonight when earthtone9 played Nottingham the other month? That night there was a respectable crowd, but tonight I'd guess there's twice or three times as many people in attendance as the band take the stage. Maybe it's curiosity that's brought them down from upstairs. Maybe they don't actually realise that there's other venues apart from Rock City where you can see bands play. Whatever it is, it's pleasing to see so many people here, but it is annoying that it seems to be ONLY here that you see them in Nottingham.

Ok, the bottom line. Yeah, I thought they were excellent again tonight. I really do want to say they were crap once, just to be able to say it. But they weren't. Ok, the mix wasn't great. Joe's backing vocals were way to low, and the bass drum was too dominant. But that's the nit picking. I guess it's that thing that sometimes a band just clicks for you, and no matter what, they seem to do no wrong. Why does it click? Dunno, all I know is that every time I see the band, something happens. Something moves me inside. There's an element that you always want to shout in peoples faces that don't appear to get the band. Or there's a satisfying grin as tonight when people seem to go off to them. That feeling that no matter who they're playing with, the other bands aren't going to be as good, they'll pale in comparison. You know what I mean. I guess everyone has a band, or a few bands that do that for them. And earthtone9 are one of those bands for me.

Tonight they manage to play a balanced set, focussing on both the albums, and throwing in three new tracks as well. At the moment it's the new tracks that are standing out for me personally, Tat Twam Asi, Alpha Hi and the other new one that they opened the Rugeley gig with last week. I forget the name now. It's got that big wah wah thing going on offset by a big fat guitar riff, and half way through there's an Indian sounding vocal. In amidst the new is the old. Opening with Grind & Click and careering straight into Off Kilter, one of the big differences for me between earthtone9 and many other bands strikes me. It's one of the differences tonight between them and say Linea 77, and to an extent Kill II This each time I've seen them. Those bands seem to have the right moves. The current moves. But it means there's a mechanical element about it. It's what people want. It's what they can imitate. It appeals to the more basic instincts. But it's boring, predictable, and sometimes feels a little false. earthtone9 don't go in for that. There's no visual performance, no leaping, no shapes. Instead they let the music do the talking, but watch carefully and each body on the stage is moving in time with the music, seemingly lost in their own world within it all. Dunno, it just seems more genuine, more what music should be about - a personal thing. Mind you, during one of the new tracks there's a moment where the crowd is able to "connect". And that strange "nu" style bowing takes place. It's like everyone at the front is bowing in time to the band. Maybe there's something within that! Withered predicatbly gets perhaps the biggest response, though Vitriolic HSF fairs well also. And I'm saying nothing about guitar scrapes in set closer I Nagual Eye!

Tonight they finally received something approaching the response they deserve in Nottingham. I hope it continues the next time they play these parts.

Yep, Kill II This were playing here as well. The sound miraculously seems to have improved. How often does that happen? I'm saying nothing. But well to be honest, I left after 3 songs. It's part of an all-nighter, meaning they didn't go on till past midnight. And as vocalist Matt thanks people for hanging round to see them (don't delude yourself mate), it seems an appropriate cue to leave. I've got a 2 1/2 drive to Wales first thing in the morning, have seen 5 gigs in 6 nights this week, and I guess old age is catching up. Besides, Rock City rubs me up the wrong way. Only been here a couple of hours and already I want to kill nearly everyone here. It's strange. Guess it's just me. I know some people that love the place, and that's fair enough. It just feels like a place where you always have to look right to impress the right people. And I always feel out of place, can never relax here, always feel like I'm being looked down upon. Though maybe I'm the one that does the looking down. My problem. Would've liked to see Skindred who were playing as well. I don't know what the politics are, but I'm afraid I ain't waiting until 2am to see them.