H20, F-, Spine, Primate, Farce

Birmingham XLs

Febraury 17 2000

Sometimes I get annoyed. Really annoyed. Annoyed at the blinkered nature I think goes on in music. That annoyance is pretty much global across the types of music that I like. I dislike the barriers, the segregation. I also like to laugh at music. So you can imagine that there's a little bit of me that thinks "yeah!!!", when during H2O's set, Toby Morse utters the words, "hardcore punk metal, we're all on the same level." Later he mentions that "closed mindedness is killing the scene in the States, it's good to see you all here, don't let it all happen here", and a number of musical denominations are thanked for their attendance here tonight. They even throw in a snippet of Black Sabbath. Well they're in Birmingham after all. But we'll come back to them later.

First were Farce, who as far as I'm aware weren't initially on the bill. They played a chirpy enough set of pop-punky sort of stuff that kind of reminded me at times of NOFX. A bit ropey in places, but enjoyable. They anounced that they had a CD for sale which I really should've bought, but I didn't.

Another CD I will have to buy on the basis of the performances, is the split CD featuring Primate and Spine. Both of whom are here tonight, luckily enough. First were Primate, who as far as I'm concerned played metal. Fast, aggressive, bit thick chuggy riffs. It's all there. Say what you will, but it was metal without the solos. Hell, the bassist is even wearing an old Anthrax t-shirt. Now that's what I like to see. Especially given that they went down well, which was right cos they were good. Vocally there's been attendance at the Morrow school, a good few yayyys in there. But it's engaging enough, and the bassist is doing everything that he can to be the central point of a circle pit or a mosh pit. Good stuff.

Which led into Spine, who I've heard loads about from some people but never managed to see live. Being a local band they went down a storm with people. Less metal more hardcore than Primate, there's plenty of energy and a few nice things going on. Will have to get and listen to that CD before I can say much more. One good thing was that the vocalist announced that The Foundry is a going concern again in Birmingham.

Next were F- who announce that their bassist Jennifer had to go back home to work, so they've got a stand in, their friend Joe. The first couple of songs are an absolute mess, all you can make out is the hyper fast drums and then noise. In fact it only really sorts itself out when the vocalist puts down his guitar for the last few songs. But it's such a chaotic shambles it's good. Entertaining and fun. Not sure that I'd particularly want to listen to them on CD or tape, but live it was ok.

Finally, at about 11.10 H2O take the stage. A hardcore band I like - gasp, because well, they've got great tunes and although this is only the second time I've seen them, they've created a really nice atmosphere. Also, as mentioned at the start, I like the fact that it doesn't appear to matter what scene you're perceived to be in, you're still welcome. That's how I'd like to see music. Where people go simply because of the music, not the scene. They start up with Faster Than The World from the current FTTW album, and from there on in it's an hours run through of great tune after great tune. "Shout outs" are given to all the bands, and to the individual members of F-. There's a mixture of songs from all three albums, only two of which I own. Personal highlights for me were Guilty By Association and Thicker Than Water, and of course the lead in about closedmindedness which led to the Dead Kennedys classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off. A good evening, and one that I guess I needed as I do get disenchanted with a lot of the hardcore stuff. And the nu-metal stuff. And the traditional metal stuff. And the punk stuff, in fact, whatever I listen to. More of this where the music comes first please. And there's a decent crowd here. All in all, H2O and Birmingham have XL'ed themselves tonight.

Oh come on, look, you can't tell me that you didn't see that one coming from the very start of this "review"!