Weyhey, a new venue. Never been to Northampton before, but turns out it's only just over an hour from Nottingham. First impressions inside the Roadmender is that it looks very much like Rugely Red Rose. Simiar kind of size, similar atmosphere. Room is a block, but with a decent stage a lighting / PA rigging. And the crowd is just as young. Which is not a bad thing if you think along the lines of "so where the funk are all the people aged about 25". See if you think from that perspective, a young crowd is good, because without them, there'd have been a very small (in size rather than stature) audience. Instead it looks pretty much full.
I only manage to catch the tail end of Linea77, including Walk Like An Egyptian. It's not enough to really be able to say anything, so knowing the virtue of silence, I'll shut up.
Half an hour later, the lights go down, the tape rolls, the dry ice creates an atmosphere for the er, red clad quintet to amble on stage. It's a much more professional entrance than perhaps a year ago. Star Damage starts things off, and there sounds like, or rather doesn't sound like there's any bottom to anything. The bass is missing, and there's no real weight behind the guitars, and to top it all, it sounds like Karl might be struggling tonight. The inclusion of i nagual eye is a surprise, and sees most of the sound gremlins ironed out. Either it's been a long time since I listened to the song, or they've changed it a little. It sounded like the closing instrumental section was spun out a little more. p.r.d. chaos sees the crowd finally hit a stride, and Karls asks the question "where were all you lot when we headlined. It's a rhetorical question of course, I can't hear what you're saying because you haven't got microphones." I have to chuckle inwardly as someone nearby explains to another what rhetorical means.
Dave seems to really be developing his snarl on stage, and Withered is introduced as "taking a time journey, metaphorically speaking of course." And of course people go mad because it's an easy song for them to go mad to. Which is fun. But in a sense, pretty boring. The rhetorical thing and the apparent desire of people to only like songs of one particular dimension live seems to me to sum up a lot of the problems with music at the moment, maybe society? There's no love of a challenge, of learning or experiencing something new. A sense that to further yourself is not a credible exercise. Maybe I'm wrong and I'm missing what's really happening, but that's how it feels, and that feels sad and a shame and a waste of the experience of music and of life. There's no Evil Crawling I tonight, but the magnicifent and moody Binary 101 finishes things. Later in the OMS set, Yap says "give it up for a band who I've spent the last 5 weeks getting to know, and who in all the musical climate at the moment, are just a little bit different, a lit bit original". Not his precise words, but the general gist of things. And there's no more apt a way to describe them. Truth be told, tonight seemed like a solid professional but not outstanding night. But even then, it's just that little bit of challenge and something different. And that's always good.
OMS are a top live outfit there's no question of that. From the moment they hit the stage running, a cliche, but one which for them is literally true, they've got the crowd in the palm of their hands in a way neither et9 or Linea77 have manage to do. It's based on their energy and their communication with the crowd as much as the songs. Although the songs are geared towards a high energy set. Which is where maybe I've lost a little bit of favour with them over the years. The songs work live, but not on a more personal level for me. Yet I believe they have the ability within themselves really develop and push further. But still, no-one else appears worried about that as the likes of South Central, Fish Out Of Water, Roof of the world and more are belted out. Glen's cut down on the more sexual chat, instead concentrating on saying "tuna and something sandwich 57p." Surely not practising for a future career if things go the shape of pears. Tin pears 43p.
It's been a while since I've seen them, and Massey seems to have really grown into his role now, he sticks to his side of the stage, but does at least attempt to give Glen a run for his money in the leap around in a demented manner stakes. Though Glen wins by crawling along the wall and then perform a backflip into the crowd. Bass in tow.
Apparently Northampton is Eddie's hometown, so he's given a hometown welcome of "Fuck of Eddie", for which he appears grateful, and Yap thanks the person that wrote into Kerrang! last year complaining about the fact that OMS had cancelled gigs here twice. "Thankyou. Sometimes you have to kick bands up the arse. We were uncontrollably ill, but you have to make bands come and play. If you see me in the street, headbutt me and tell me to play your place more often. But a soft headbutt please." He's in fine form, and launches into a speech about how the band had been in Spain the previous week and there was a 60year old guy in a clown outfit hitting tourists over the head for money. "It's embarrassing that this person, with so many tales to tell, is reduced to this. We should never be reduced to this, and it's up to you to ensure it doesn't happen." He also launches into a speech about the pit being about controlled violence and that the people in the pit can show others how to respect violence. Which may or may not be slightly misguided. But it's a personal opinion.
The set ends with Please Remain Calm, and the band get a circle pit to form, to walk slowly, speed it up before they launch into the song. Attempts to get the pit going again later in the song are somewhat fruitless.
As ever, the band give everything and the crowd love. Even the venue is dripping with the condensation, to the extent that as he moves from behind his drumkit yet again, Eddie is heard to remark, "it's raining". It pretty nearly was.