Here it is in all it's glory, the all in one review of the tour.
And we're off. If all things go as planned, car doesn't pack in, I find my way around London, and manage to do the trip to Bradford from Wales in a near record time on Tuesday, this is the first of 6 on the latest Human Waste Tour. As with the Tura tour, they're support, but the main band I'm there to see, so not much mention of headliners Coal Chamber I'm afraid.
But first, before we get even to HWP, respect to whoever played the warm up tape, as lo, for the first time in the UK, System of a Down were given an airing, with the track War? from the last demo. And mighty fine it sounds on a proper PA. We will fight the heathens
So, mere weeks after the Tura Satana jaunt, Human Waste roll into town again. And it would seem that a sizeable number of people who got their first taster at that gig want more. From the start of opener Shine, the first of many surfers is over the barrier within seconds. I don't know if it's crowds that feed off bands or bands that feed of crowds, probably a combination of both, but tonight it happened.
The set is pretty much the same as on the Tura tour, with some exceptions, which we'll get to, but this time, although people may not know the material yet, they know a good thing when they see and hear it. Get With It, Slide, Drowned are all rattled off. Aimee gets up onto the barrier, almost toppling into the security guard below her, to which she apologises. I used to be a gymnast she teases leanging over the front. The chant of tits out goes up, which is a real shame. There's more to this band than that, but still, Aimee does get Scott to show his tits, with threats of Jeff showing a bit more, but er, I don't think Jeff was too impressed, and we should move on, as the band did, to the song about getting fucked, not penetration though and Exit Wound blasts out. After thanks to Coal Chamber, we get She Gives, from the b-side of the Powerstrip single, and this is followed by the single itself, complete still with the Men Without Hats rap. When Aimee asked how many people had bought the single, a sizeable shout went up. We can still then live in hope that it might dent the charts on the weekend.
More teasing of parts of the flesh goes on between crowd and Aimee and Aimee and crowd, along with more songs. Drugstore and Disease finish things off. It's a triumph if you ask me. I think that they got a better reception than Coal Chamber. Sure, there were more there for Coal Chamber, but there seemed more activity for HWP. It won't be long before they sell this place out themselves though. Mark my words. The fliers and stickers were snapped up anyway, even if people might have just been humouring me in taking them.
Coal Chamber themselves gave a good performance. Starting with Oddity and Bradley, they basically covered pretty much the entirety of the album. Unspoiled, Clock, My Frustration, they all sound good, and the crowd laps up the chance to join in the chants to the songs. Dez came across as being quite a humble guy between songs, and genuinely happy with the reception for the band on their return to the UK.
The stage itself is adorned with toys, recreating as best as possible, the album cover, with drapes on the sides, covered with phrases, I guess making up some kind of poem. The band also play a new song, Anxiety, which sounded pretty good on first listen, and of course Big Truck gets a Big Reception. Sorry, too easy. Meegs introduces the final track of the night, which is of course Loco, and then it's over.
The juggernaut moves on. Only the second time I've been to Manchester for a gig, the other time was for Human Waste Project as well. But, it has to be said, last time it was the best gig on the tour, and tonight's has put in a strong bid for that award again.
By the time HWP came onstage, the place looked pretty much full, a rarity for a support act, and I'd already been almost hit by the night's first stage diver. Umm, before the bands! Someone explain that to me. Anyway, the cheer that went up when they wandered onstage would've done headliners proud. There is a buzz building about this band. Deservedly. Yeah, it's partly due to the press now getting a hold, but it's also partly down to the band themselves doing something many bands have seemingly forgot. And that's to come to the UK and tour. To prove themselves to people. Hell, this is the second tour and the album ain't even out here yet. How many US bands have done that recently. The last great band that did it consistently like this that I can think of was Faith No More, when they toured the UK about 4 or 5 times in support of The Real Thing. And we all know how immense that album was and how truly great a band FNM are. Just imagine what it should be like a year from now for HWP.
As ever, Shine get's things going, the gentle intro being the calm before the storm (hey, I had to get at least one decent cliche into this, it's part of the rules). Drowned follows up, and the place is bouncing. Support bands aren't supposed to be received this well. Get With It is one of the finest moments on the album, and is just as good live, albeit a little slower I think.
She Gives, from the single, is introduced as 'being off the backside of our single'. A wise move playing this song, due to it not only being a great song, but another uptempo track, which after all, is what most of the crowd craves, and being one which people will have had the chance to hear, because you have bought the single haven't you. You haven't? Stop reading, go buy it, then come back to this.
Things then start to look as if they could get dodgy. Aimee gets stuck in the first row, holding peoples hands. I'm stuck she says a couple of times. Eventually Dan comes over to help. Something must've happened as Aimee rebukes someone you fucking try to violate me and I'll kick you're fucking ass. and if she doesn't, which she probably would, then Jeff, Mike and Scott, who start converging to that point of the stage, and Dan who turns back round, will. If there was a moment to see how together the band is, and look out for each other, then that was it. Maybe as a result, Powerstrip seems even more charged. Maybe some of the crowd are trying to make amends in a way. If that song doesn't damage the charts when they're announced later today, there's something wrong somewhere.
Slide is still a masterpiece, Exit Wound will be sung by everyone next year,Hold Me Down's opening bass still reminds me of the Wildhearts Naievety Play and tonight, tonight sees Spain again, which should be on the radio sometime next year. Drugstore and disease as ever, provide a powerful finish, but not before Aimee has asked if we all know who they are. The resounding cheer tells her. Well if you don't, go and ask someone. The words of someone who I think knows that things are looking good. I don't wanna go home are also the words of someone who seems to be enjoying themselves, but probably the best news of all, or to borrow from Kerrang!, best onstage quote for the rest of the crowd will have been, We've got a record coming out on February 9th. So now you know. Start saving those pennies, and then Jeff departs the stage via the crowd.
And tonight, Sheffield. Worst gig of the last tour, this one will really show I think if people are begining to take notice.
Sheffield, as on the last tour, was a battle tonight. Though this time it wasn't so much with the apathy of the crowd, who were pretty good, but with the effects of 6 weeks touring with only 4 days off and the sickness that brings on. On the way in, Dan had explained that Scott was really sick, which might explain the delay in the band coming on. But during the delay, a very sizeable crowd had gathered, waiting, unlike at the Tura gig.
Eventually the band do make it on, with Aimee apologising for them all being a bit froggy tonight, and that Scott was dying. Scott's drumkit is right at the front of the stage, cutting it in 2. It's basically Aimee and Mike on one side, versus Jeff on the other. Hi over there, Jeff. Miss you! laughs Aimee at one stage.
A couple of songs seem to get cut tonight, namely Spain and Drowned (I think, I do all this from memory, and sometimes make mistakes), and it's a little of a battle, with Aimee, as she said afterwards, struggling to hit some of the highs and the lows. But this time round it doesn't really matter. The crowd are fine, which is a testament to a band who've yet to officially release their album over here. The buzz is out about the band, and they're living up to it.
Someone starts shouting for Dog. Dog, dog, for fucks sake you've gotta play dog he shouts when Aimee passes the mike in front. Well, if you know all the words you can sing it, do you know all the words. Of course, like every other night so far, it's not played, but it's an indication of things to come for the band. Once the album is out, people will be yelling for them to play everything and then some.
The rest of the set passes off without too much incident. By the time we get to the final song Disease, Aimee is asking if anyone wants to sing it for her, such is the way the voice is going. And that's it. A battle again, but a brave performance. Some would run off and cry when things are getting rough. Human Waste just ploughed on through, and from the number of people crowding and talking to Jeff and Aimee outside after the gig, the time will come soon when they can dictate tour schedules which are slightly more friendly towards them, allowing that luxury of a day off.
Ah, London. Centre of chaos. Well, I bottled the idea of driving into the centre of London and settled for the less stressful parking of the car and catching of the tube. Plenty of time. I was there by 6. As were hundreds of others. Lining the entire length of the building. And around the corner. Not a good sign. By the time we started moving some 75 minutes later, the queue had maybe doubled in size, and a procession of pantomine horses, and various other disguises had walked by. And people think Coal Chamber look weird. Oh, and the tension had started to rise for me. Was I gonna make it in. This could top even the frustration of Wolves and Bristol on the last tour. This time I was there, but still not there. But there was a God this time, and 5 minutes before Human Waste hit the stage, I was in.
Now, I've no idea how well support bands normally go down in London, but the female cries of 'Aimeeeee' around me suggested that HWP were doing Ok. Aimee was sounding better and teasing with the audience as noraml. You know the set list by know, Shine, Get With It, She Gives, Powerstrip, Slide, Exit Wound, Drowned, Drugstore and the stompathon (Copyright me as of this moment in time) of Disease.
London, as on the rest of the tour, seems to be a Hate crowd. You know what I mean if you were there. I found out later, well, about a day later when I tried to do another interview that the band loved the gig and the venue. One which is an ideal size for them, it provides a stage on which to perform, but keeps the intimacy that arenas loose. Soon they'll be capable of headlining even bigger places, I just hope they decide to stick with these and continue to provide the magic.
Later, during the Coal Chamber set, both Aimee and Scott can be seen dancing by the side of the stage, before coming on for the HWP shout ritual, and passing out shots to the entire band as well as downing some themselves. Later Aimee tell me that I'm drunk before giggling and carrying on with signing more fliers that people are giving her. Stars in the making. Scott also said that he'd started feeling better about an hour before the gig, and was now able to talk, so things look like they'll work out just fine.
So it's a quick shifty back to Wales, before a long trip up to Bradford tomorrow night.
OK, I'm now getting tired. Long drives are taking their toll, and it's all I can manage to merely watch the band. Which is a shame as they shredded the place. This was the location of their first UK gig as Aimee pointed out, and this time you look like you're having fun. As they were.
A few people were chanting for Coal Chamber just before HWP started, which seems a bit dumb. Like you know they ain't gonna be on yet. Still, I think HWP silenced those people, and had them eating out of their hands by the end. And the number of people wearing HWP shirts around me before the gig even started is proof enough. This tour is seeing the passing of the band from a relatively well kept secret to public knowldege and acceptance. Indeed, when I interviewed them after, they said they didn't know what had happened in the 3 or 4 weeks they'd been away, but the interest had trebled or quadrupled. And still the country awaits the album. Some predictions for 1998. Best band, best female singer, sexiest female, best drummer. You can guess who I reckon people are going to vote for. The start of something big.
The end of a long, tiring but fun trip for me, this was a gig that I believe the band were looking forward to after the last time here with Tura Satana. As with all the other dates on the tour, there's an air of anticipation which might just be curiosity before the band come on. Many people will have now either heard of them or seen them, but maybe not heard much BY them, but the cheer as they walk onstage indicates that people want to hear something.
Shine is followed by Drowned, with Jeff venturing out onto a space right beside the speaker stack for the first time. Get With It gets people bouncing again, before Aimee then asks if anyone has bought the single, before launching into She Gives, followed by a quick dose of Powerstrip. You may not like it now but you will, you may not like it now but you will sings Aimee. I don't know if that's a quote from a song, or just a vision of what's to come, but it's on the mark. Those that don't like it now, soon will, and will then tell everyone they always did.
I'm feeling a little disappointed, as I kinda expected the reaction to be more intense than it feels, but maybe that's just too high expectations on my behalf. Slide is destined to be a classic, while once more, this is a hate crowd, but maybe a hate crowd that always gets what they want in love, yep, it's time for Exit Wound and the end is in sight.
Hold Me Down immediately gets people bouncing with that bass intro, before Aimee once more mentions the release of E-Lux on Feb 9th. Not a great enthusiasm shown, but maybe that's just the reserved British nature. Drugstore of course throws on the intro, that gentleness followed by one of the most bruising riffs of the year, which I still think wouldn't have been out of place on the latest Lard album, and then, it's the final song. The stomp that is Disease. And it's over. For me, 6 in 6, and now I have to wait until next year for the return.
So the band move on to Newcastle on the road to success, and I can return to normality, which is something they are not going to have in a long, long time.
Ok, I gotta do some. My car. what a star. It didn't break down or have any arguments this time, maybe the threat of selling it worked, though I am gonna get rid of it, but don't tell it. And of course the band for the music, and for not getting pissed off or saying that I'm strange, even if they think it. And Dan the manager, for the same.