Pitchshifter / earthtone9 / Lost Prophets

Nottingham Rock City

February 10 2001

Well well well. So, for 2 of the bands here tonight, if you consider them "Nottingham" bands or at least "Nottingham based", then this is a hometown gig, and is therefore oh so special (please place extra sarcasm on the oh). So I feel it's only right that I try and appreciate that fact by going out on a limb with ye olde reviewe.

So, there's going to be a theme running through this one. I'll leave you to figure it out, because it will make it oh so much more fun (please place extra sarcasm on the oh) - No, that's no the theme.

But anyway, "yes, I fucking did it!" I actually saw Lost Prophets tonight for the first time. Well, most of them, due to having been told they'd likely start at 7.30 when it appears they actually started closer to 7.15. Very definitely in the Incubus mode, but you know hey, that's no bad thing, as Incubus are one of the better bands currently doing the rounds. And it means there's yer actual music and singing going on here. The vocalist is also engaging, trading jokes with the crowd, offering up the chance for people to say something into the microphone, sharing water and lurve throughout their set. As they progress, more and more people seem to be getting into it, and at the end there's a fair ripple of applause reverberating around Rock City. Mind you, you can't help but think, "if they were American ..."

As I'm wandering around during the changeover, I hear some words of wisdom emerge from someone's mouth. It's basically "no point watching them, we already know what they're going to play." Such wise words from one so stupid. Let's just think about this shall we? Yes, let's. Ok ok, I'll do the thinking, you can do the reading. Let's not bother cos we know what they'll play. Wow. Great. Bet that applies to all your favourite bands eh. Let's just imagine if everyone followed that logic, there'd be fuck all people at gigs half the time. Shit, that's how it is anyway. But I stand there and I think "but hang on, every time you put on your Slipknot CD, isn't the same thing each time? Why do you bother to listen to it then." Award for most stupid excuse yet for paying no attention to a band at a gig that you've paid best part of a tenner for. Some people need their head examined. Wait a few more years, and medical science may come up with a brain to insert into the void.

Just my personal opinion you understand.

So tonight there's a load of people in here already. It's what, 1/2 to 3/4's full. So I decide to hang around towards the back. Tonight is earthtone9's chance. Or more precisely, from my point of view, it's the crowds chance. To resurrect a little bit of faith in my doubting body. As they emerge, Oz is wearing the hat, and Karl is wearing his little headband thing and rock star glasses. Well, he needs to, they've always been blinded by the reaction in Nottingham before. From the opening strums of p.r.d, one girl appears on someone's shoulders, arms in the air, willing them on. She soon disappears surfing as the band launch into the song. It's a promising start. Maybe Nottingham is feeling a little redemption in its water tonight. I deliberately take a look around me, size up what's going on. I'm feeling in a judgemental mood tonight. There's an array of Knot Manson Bizkit Korn shirts around me. Their hands are resolutely stuck in their pockets. Their bodies are motionless. Further down the front, as Tat Twam unfurls, there's a little bit of action going on. That girl seems to be at the centre of it, almost as though she's the catalyst for a pocket of people around to actually, uh, enjoy this! Further back around me, there's still little motion. Star Damage is next. One thing someone on the et9 messageboard said is that the current set is a "little leftfield." Which is probably right. Personally I think it's well balanced and is the best live set they've put together, but it's entirely noticeable in the gigs that I've seen that people only ever seem interested when the aggressive bounciness is up. So Star Damage sees the little body of people enjoying it spread a little further.

There's a few whoops and even some clapping along as the intro to binary is strummed out. Of course it confuses people, a slow building sprawling epic, that doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator. The Korny Slip Bizkits are still motionless. I'm tempted to prod them, just to make sure there's some life left in them. Yep, I know I know. Everyone's got different tastes, and everyones entitled to their own opinion. And this is my opinion, and it's that well, "if et9 were American ...." I just find it pretty difficult to really accept that people into this sort of music could dismiss things so readily. I mean, we are in the midst of a revival of heavy music. We are. The press has been telling us that we are. And it's readily apparent right here and now. Any doubting Thomas' would surely have those doubts removed if they were a witness to this.

Of course binary gives way to the full on onslaught of Grind & Click. It's time to bounce baby, time to bounce. Of course I'm still motionless, but I'm motionless for all bands. Gave up on the pit thing a few years ago. I like to watch and appreciate. And then show that appreciation at the end by moving my hands together, apart, together again. I find it a useful ability. Ni9e provides a respite for those that are getting it, before the slow burn of Yellow Fever, which I still reckon contains a grinding riff that Slayer would've been proud of, and which would've seen a definite waist bow to the floor action were it American. Evil Crawling I is the final balancing act, providing the bouncy aggressive end to the set. There's a fair splattering of applause at the end of it all, and to be fair, it's probably the best response they've had in Nottingham. But that's on the basis that despite having played a number of great gigs here, they've always had a shite response here in the past. But at the end of it, as the band depart with the genius of Bill Hicks playing Marilyn's Roach Bizkit still haven't moved. No applause. No nothing. Respect to those that made it happen, but it fair makes me sick. I mean, it's not like these people can have avoided et9. They've done 3 albums in 3 years, had great reviews, done countless number of tours, been on the cover CDs on magazines. If an American band did that, they'd either be headlining this place, have split, or people would be complaining that they never play in their town.

Now I know some people may think I'm biased, or being preachy. It's your right to think that, and you are probably right to think that. But it's because I firmly believe they are the best band in the UK right now, and one of the best bands in the world. They challenge the listener, and it seems maybe that's too much for people. But in the same way that many people will defend Slipknot to the end, and their right to say people=shit and maggots, then it's my right to say that I think this band deserves far more than they get, and that the sense of apathy that pervades this country is immense. Unless of course you have an American accent. That's not xenophobic, (cos I'll state again that some of the best bands come from the States), it's just factual. Really, if they were American ....

I'll solve the theme for you here and now. If Pitchshifter were American .... they'd have sold this place out weeks ago, no actually, that's about 10 years or more ago, when they'd had one album out and their faces plastered all over the magazine covers. Dead Battery would've been entering the charts tomorrow at number 3, showing that heavy music really was making a comeback, not just some sanitised rubbish. But instead, they've fought their way to be in this position, and now they're going to blast it back in your face. The Pitchshifter gig at the moment isn't really like a typical rock show. The projections just draw you in and aid and abet the music so much. I've never been to a rave or anything, but I've seen the pictures and everything, and that's kind of like the feeling that is being given off.

But you know what, having seen them 3 times live this week, I reckon I know what they're going to play and say. But you know what again, our genius from earlier is wrong. It is worth seeing a band even if you do know what they're going to play. Because a gig isn't just about the music. It's about the band, the venue, the crowd. It's about your own emotions at the time, it's about the vibe that you're giving off and receiving. It's about so many things OTHER than just what they're playing. And if you don't feel that yourself, then I really feel sorry for you, and that you're missing out on some of the fundamental essences of the live gig.

JS Clayden is resplendant all in white tonight, maybe it's his way of trying to make this a special or standout gig, after all, as he says, it's a local gig for local people. Wafer Thin opens, there's condescenion and the rock meets techno collision of Genius, which with all the samples going on sounds absolutely massive. Watching from the side, it's refreshing to see so many people enjoying it. I also find it hugely ironic that, as he has done at all the gigs thus far, JS dedicates a song to Lost Prophets and earthtone9 with the words "you may have noticed, all the bands on this tour, none of them are American." There's a cheer from at least half of the people here. Now, I may be a pedantic wanker, but I find that soooooooooooooo strange, sooooooooooo ironic, given that half of those people cheering either weren't here or stood motionless and didn't clap or cheer once for the actual bands that played earlier. Just a thought. Maybe I'm right or maybe I'm right. Heavy music is making a comeback. As long as it's got an American accent. Maybe they misunderstood the words. Maybe they thought he said they were American. I don't know, I'll puzzle that one out over time.

Please Sir is the best song they've ever done, Triad and Virus, despite claims to be rarely played (I think it's been played every time I've seen PSI) represent the old days, the rest of the set it culled pretty much exclusively from www and Deviant. Mind you, that's no bad thing given that they are both superb albums, that are probably too good to get the kind of appreciation they deserve. Un-United Kingdom is one of the most punk songs I've heard in recent years, Microwaved a collision of samples and punk, and Keep It Clean is once more dedicated to the Popstars, and Claydens wish for them to die at their first gig. Scene This and Everything's Fuck continue the momentum, and as they end with What's In It For Me and WYSIWYG, the announcement that they are talking to labels and will not be splitting up is greeted with the biggest roar of the night. At least people got that right.

Half an hour after it finishes, I depart. I always kind of find it amusingly ironic that in a place filled with people who seem to claim to be unique and individual, that in this place, this Rock City, I always feel like a spare part. Out of place. But that's great, I'm not going to change my appearance to fit in with the masses here. I'm comfortable with who I am. I'll leave the beautiful unique people. I'm neither. But as I leave, I can't help but think that If I Were American .....

I should of course put in the disclaimer. This is all purely my opinion. I can get fairly passionate and opinionated about some subjects. If you choose to disagree with what I write or find it offensive., fair enough. It's your right, biut you won't stop me saying what I think, even if it's sometimes an instinctive reaction rather than a totally thought through argument. I won't apologise for these things being about emotion.