Cityjam 2001

Nottingham Rock City

August 11 2001

Uh huh, where to start. Ok, don't expect much here (like you were), as, to nick a phrase, i managed to not only fall off the self imposed wagon, but got dragged along behind it by the end of the night. To the extent that I end up sending text messages twice, because I couldn't remember sending them a wopping 30 seconds earlier. Oops. Sorry Vicks. Uh, so the chances of me remembering such details as song titles and quotes is a little um, unlikely. So if I am slightly out with things, please don't kill me. It's only an opinion after all, and if you remember it better than me, then write it yourself ;-) Oh and the fridge broke. And there were far too many kids in Sainsbury's while I was shopping this morning, trying their best to tangle up in your legs wherever you walk. Which is kind of drifting away from the subject a bit.

And for all those wishing to take a potshot after all the "support your scenes" stuff, well, form a queue. An orderley one if you'd be so kind. See, I've been bored shitless with music recently, or at least newer stuff, not a lot is piqueing my interest. So the thought of spending an entire day in Rock City, which doesn't appeal at the best of times, to watch some bands I know nothing about, is even less appealing. So I didn't. Instead I arrived just in time for Dai Lo. Unfortunately it did mean missing Big Sister, but I was lucky enough to get a copy of the demo later on, and well, uh, something might have just got me interested enough to write a "review" elsewhere on these hear pages in a few days time. Bit tasty it is. But uh, yeah, I wasn't supporting the scene cos I couldn't be arsed (heretic, burn him at the stake). Hey I'm a hypocrit. So?

First impressions were that not too many other people were either. It's kind of a nice idea, but I dunno. Rock City can be a big yawning chasm when there's not too many people in there. And with bands and DJs being stretched out amongst the 3 halls, it kind of means that it can look a little thinner on the ground than it may actually be. So when Dai Lo take the stage, it's possibly a bit anti-climatical for them as Shaun says "this isn't how it was in our dreams". There's a couple of lines of people close to the stage, and then turning round, it looks like people are sat on the step by the mixing desk. Still, it doesn't stop them doing their thang, and it seems things warm up on both sides. Alloted 30 minutes, it seems to me like they reach their final song after only about 20, but after a few false starts it seems like they're perhaps trying to nail their sound and their set down a bit. Green Machine off the single is a standout, those as ever these days, their best is Close. A new song, that the title was given but I can only remember as being "a song we've only played down in London before", is a thicker chunkier offering than some of their more recent stuff, and a bit of a belter. Shaun switches between spending half the set crouching and the other half jumping off the stage to the front row. Though his offer for anyone to take a suicide stage dive remains untaken.

Downstairs it's time for Skinny Sumo, but for whatever reason, they're well late in comparison to the time they're supposedly on, so midway through the first song, it's time to wander back upstairs for Black Rock. Ah man, what can I say? I believe I've said it before, if not then I should've done, but they are the best stoner band in the UK. In my opinion of course before anyone challenges me. The last time I saw them was supporting Clutch, for a gig I've still not done a review for (coming soon? don't hold yer breath!) That night they seemed to have ditched most of their older material, and the new stuff took some getting used to. Tonight it's mainly new stuff again, this time it makes sooooo much more sense. It seems more fluid, though I still think some of their absolute best material is on those 2 demos and that they don't play tonight, and if Sean is correct when he says "the last of the demos are available downstairs, there'll be no more after that" then maybe we won't hear those songs again live. Still, the new stuff does sound like it's begining to match up, and I keep forgetting just what a great voice he has. From the opening it just makes you grin and nod the head. The guitar sound is so warm. Yeah, they've borrowed from Kyuss, (well they do finish with a cover) so what, they've got quality stamped all the way through them, and they look like they're absolutely loving it up there. The crowd has swelled quite a bit by this time as well, so that Sean is laughing when he says "we really thought it would be about 4 people down here". There's some new tracks off the forthcoming release on Copro / Threefold, but who knows what will happen with the planned release for Man's Ruin, who by the sound have things have transformed slightly to Man's Ruined. Shame. But yeah, Black Rock, still the best stoner band in the UK.

It's kind of strange seeing a different drumkit up on stage for earthtone9 following Si's departure. It's also kind of strange seeing their stuff up on the large stage here in advance. Ie, last band on rather than first. To be fair, for the whole event I think it might have been better if they'd say managed to get Pitchshifter to do a headline 40 minute set. The play is filling appreciably, but how many are now club night punters rolling in is hard to say. Pitchshifter may have been a slightly bigger draw for all. But that's bytheby. "Welcome to Cityjam" announces Karl as they start things off with Star Damage. Things kind of go by in a bit of a blur tonight, they've switched the set list a bit. Hell fact fiends, they've even switched positions on stage, with Joe on the left and Oz on the right as you look at them. The boat is being pushed out. Little else has changed. Though is it me or do they rearrange Withered quite a bit, taking out the nu-metaly be numbers part. I know I was drunk but was I that drunk? Ah I don't know, it sounded different, and I'm not saying that just because Karl says "we should know that by now, did you spot the mistake". They introduce 2 of the new songs demoed this evening, Revelation being introduced by Karl saying "some of you may have downloaded this." I know some people were a bit skeptical about the songs becoming available for download, but well, not everyone knows everything all the time. And it also sounds a lot heavier live for those that may be worried by the melodic nature of the new tracks, though again the set seems to be a shift further away from the overtly heavy aggressive material of the first couple of albums. And THAT riff at the end just sounds awesome. Tat twam asi is introduced as Technical Error, and it's the one song that sounds a bit different in the drumming. Again, I may well be wrong, it just did. "Who's that behind the drumkit? Is it that bloke from the Foo Fighters" is Karl's way of introducing stand-in drummer Richie. Amnesia is the second, and last of the new songs aired tonight. It's kind of interesting looking around during it, there's been a pit forming most of the evening, but the song kind of breaks it up a bit. Binary 101 or "a song from the fourth Led Zeppelin album" ends things off, as mighty and epic as ever, the usual jam at the end seemingly a bit more focused this time round. It's getting there. 2 years ago they played this hall and blew Megadeth off the stage, but no-one was interested. It's not happened as fast as I think it should, but maybe just maybe they're starting to make a few ripples around here.