earthtone9 / Vacant Stare

Wolves Varsity

July 30 2000

It's the end of the road tonight for Vacant Stare, as their stint on the road with earthtone9 comes to an end. For the headliners, there's a few days off before a few more gigs and finally a well deserved break. In honour of the final gig, the vocalist wears a rather fetchingly large beard, in honour perhaps of someone. Or taking the piss. One or the other. I'm still not really a fan of Vacant Stare's music, but what they do they do well, and they certainly manage to elicit a response from an audience which was far healthier in size than I expected (being an ever so slightly cynical person). Tonight things seem to come across as heavier, some of the "nu" influences seem to be pushed a bit further back, and it makes more sense. I forget the name of it (I did make a mental note to remember, and promptly forgot AGAIN), but the last but one song they played (it's got a one word name, I remember that much), is by far their best. A good riff, and some nice melodies in there. But hey, last night being last night, you have to expect things to happen, and sure enough, there's a blur of tattoos and buttocks as various members (ahem) are drapped in white cloth.

Despite the fact that it's the final gig, or maybe because of it, earthtone9 seem a bit lethargic tonight. It's only really on Evil Crawling I towards the end of the set that they really seem to come alive, although Simon it would appear is incapable of playing the drums without a huge big grin on his face. They open up with Off Kilter, and from there on in it's mainly a charge through the awesome new material (the album is due September 25 and it really is something special, you've not heard anything yet by e9 in comparison to this). Star Damage (for beginers) is the first of the new tracks, one of the harder ones, but the chorus highlights the new e9, melodic and catchy, joe contributing to the vocals in a much bigger manner than previously (though tonight the soundman has it so that his vocals are actually louder than Karl's). Tat Twam Asi is the track that finally sees the decent turnout make some real reaction, in fact, if this is how the tour has been, then it would appear that perhaps at least their star is in the ascendency. Alpha Hi is thrown in as is approx purified (but no room tonight for the rather tasty p.r.d chaos. Withered is thrown out in an almost obligatory manner rather than with any real conviction, understandably the number of times they've had to play it, and as tt's last night tonight, so Vacant Stare invade the stage dressed as well, something, and proceed to let off a couple of stink bombs, which as well as stinking the place, cause Karl to laugh manically rather than sing. For a moment I didn't think they were actually going to finish the song. It's also at this point that the "twats in crowd" syndrome arrives again. A group of 4 or 5 people, mainly stripped to the waist and big burly guys decide that they want to throw each other from side to side, and basically have a wrestling competition. It's fine to have fun, each to his own, but it pisses me off when I have to keep one eye on the crowd in case a body is suddenly thrown at me. When it impinges on others enjoyment, then it's an issue. With all due respect, fuck off somewhere else. Eye Nagual I ends it, remarkebly enough with a new variation on the pick scrape (is there no end to the imagination!) and although it's far from being the best they've done, people seem to enjoy it. Now they need a break. So far this year they've toured for at the very least 3 months, recorded an album (had to write the album as well!). They'll be back out on tour in October, they look like they need the rest. The album really is something special, what it needs is a fresh, up for it eager earthtone9 to promote it. Couple of months rest maybe, and then watch this thing really happen.