Human Waste Project, Far, Man Will Surrender

Troubador, Los Angeles

Friday, January 16

Rating 4/5

This gig review appeared in Kerrang issue dated Jan 31 1998

Man Will Surrender, while in possession of a major label deal in the US (with Revoution), are still a mostly unknown quantity even in their hometown of Las Angeles. But blond dreadlocked singer Lance Webber (who wears a cast on his arm tonight) has an appealingly earnest croon, and the band's heavy Quicksand like delivery offers songs that frantically search for signs of life in this last decade of a dead century.

Despite a complete dearth of press attention, Far has developed a rabid following; the cheers for this clean cut Sacramento band are huge. Singer Jonah Sonz Matranga looks utterly gobsmacked, and though Far's songs require steely poise and composure, the singer cracks wide smiles when he notices fans singing along with his impassioned cries.

Performing a set consisting mostly of songs from the forthcoming Water & Solutions album, Far demonstrate why they've becomes such favourites of the likes of the Deftones. As with Chino Moreno's crew, Far's music is of delicate silences and crashing fury: there are moments in Man Overboard and Waiting for Sunday where Matranga's little boy lost persona looks too fragile to compete with guitarist Shaun Lopez's blistering riffing, yet his voice soars mightily inside the Troubador's tight confines. When you notice fans joining in on songs from an album that isn't actually available yet, you know that Far will, er, be going places.

Oddly for someone who's admitted to Kerrang! that she gets really bad hangovers, Human Waste Project's Aimee Echo comes onstage swigging lustfully from a bottle of wine. As eerie black and white fright night movies are projected onto a screen behind the band, they tear into 'Shine' like a hungry zombie before a fresh, steaming plate of brains.

You're probably aware of the Project sound by now: jangly, ear-pleasing new wave hooks are grafted onto a raw, Sabbath-y throb, with Echo's airy singing a stark contrast to the downtuned and dense gringd of Mike Tempesta's effects drenched guitars.

Echo's presence tonight is totally unhinged, and she's more frenzied than usual. Maybe it's the drink - or maybe there's something else going on behind the scenes. "If you guys don't buy this record, we might be homeless soon," she says, addressing the enthusiastic audience during a break from the action, before adding with a laugh, "I'm SERIOUS!"

But with so many smiling onlookers - and a crowd of young women jostling for space down the front - this is not a night of despair, and Echo realises this. She swigs the vino again in a gleeful farewell toast: "to all my friends!"

One great album, months of shows, and still they're being hassled by The Man? Such a Waste ...

Joshua Sindell

Most Rocking Moment: Far's entire set.

Least Rocking Moment: The awkward moments of silence during Man Will Surrender's set.

Best Onstage Quote: "I saw Titanic, and I learned how to spit like a man!" - Aimee Echo proceeding to hock another saliva discharge.

Verdict: Emo-core defeats horror-core, by Far.