Well, this is my review on the debut UK tour by the Human Waste Project. Apparently Tura Satana headlined, and Bullyrag were main support. HWP were first on. And the other bands were good. But, for me, there was only one real headliners. So here is my collection of gig reviews, all rolled into one. Long, waffly, biased, yep, all that and more. So what.
Human Waste Project's first ever in the UK, and believe me, it isn't going to be the last. Coming on to the intro tape, the band open up immediately with one of the real aces in their pack. Powerstrip. Aimee is wearing a face mask, which tends to make her look like someone out of Kiss, but we won't hold that against her. As an opener, it's pretty much as powerful as they come, and probably helps in terms of winning over a lot of people instantly. We're Human Waste Project ... and we're not from here says Aimee pacing nervously round the stage in circles.
The band then progress to whip through a choice selection of material from the album E-Lux, Drowned, One Night In Spain, Shine, Exit Wound (introduced as a song for lovers, who are fuckers, Dog (where Aimee messed up I reckon by singing the second verse first), and Drugstore. Requests for This Town are met be a tantalising few words, before Aimee says that we can't do it without Jonathon. I'll do it goes up the cry from somewhere. This is going to get difficult grins Aimee.
As the set progresses, more and more people are gradually being sucked into the HWP spell, by the end, they enticed a pretty good response out of the crowd and won over a host of new friends, something evident by the amount of posters and leaflets that the band end up signing afterwards. Somone mentioned later on the bus, that it was the best opening act reception he'd seen a band get at Rio's.
Disease ends things, with Aimee asking if there is any girl or boy that you really hate, and dedicating the song to them. Are we only allowed to choose one person though. Before the band finishes, Aimee announces that they will be back soon with Coal Chamber. Like I said, the first of many, and this band is going to be huge in this country. Catch them NOW.
Just to try and show that I can be objective, there were lowpoints, the non appearance of This Town and Slide, but hey, time constraints. It'll only be for a while. Cos mighty soon, if they want to, they are going to be headlining places like this. Just wait until the album is released here.
I swear this tour is going to cost me my driving license. Setting off a few minutes later than intended, I managed to make up the time on the road, until the last few minutes, when the Great British motorway system showed itself for what it really is. A fucked up pile of junk. Roadworks, bleeding roadworks. I'm only about 10 miles away, and it take half an hour to move 3. I'm going to miss the start of the Human Waste set, and it feels like a bit of road rage is ready to set in. Not with people, with the road itself. God, this is so fucking annoying. I don't want to be here, I want to be there.
It's not often a band does that to me. Sure, I go and see a lot, and like the majority. There are some incredible bands around at the moment, but when you're seeing a band 4 times in 10 dates, missing a few minutes one night isn't really a problem. Well it is now. Thats what makes this band special for me. They, along with System of a Down and the rejuvinated Gorilla, have inspired me again. Made me feel excited and like a kid again. The Wildhearts had done it, but their recent antics has just brushed me off a bit. And there are other bands that are special, but not like this.
I'm sure most people have one band that they are passionate about. And when people ask why, you can't explain. Sure, there's the old, well, I love the music, or I love the voice, or they're great live, but somehow, that's not enough. It's that and more, it's an undefinable something, but being stuck on a motorway, getting annoyed, that's when you suddenly begin to realise.
Sorry, there's nothing about the gig there is there. It's just trying to show what this band means to me, and pretty damn soon, are going to mean to others. Still, I did arrive just as Aimee announced they would be back real soon with Coal Chamber. To a big cheer. And then they were powering through Slide, a welcome return to the set. And it's crowded down the front. People are pogoing. HWP are definitely making friends fast. But once people get to hear and see them, there was never really any doubt that it would happen.
The band look happy as well, and I'm still in time to hear Exit Wound, Hold Me Down, Drugstore and of course, Disease when I say I am the one, you are the one Echo. It's more energetic than in Bradford, probably the band settling into things, and the jet lag wearing off. The same could be said of the Tura performance later on.
People are really getting this band. For me, they were probably the best received band of the night. Sure, there were a few more people down there for Tura, but I really don't think they went off quite as well as for HWP. Six months after the album is released in February this year,er, 1998, Aimee quickly corrects herself, the band are going to be able to headline the bigger Civic Hall next door. Make no mistake about it. The trade they were doing after the gig at the merchandise stall proves it, sure, partly it's because they're all there signing anything and everything, but probably also because they are so good.
Apparently, according to Andy, they started off with a jammed out version of Shine, and Powerstrip was the third song they played. I'll take a guess and say that I missed One Night in Spain and Dog as well. This will not happen again. Otherwise, watch out if you're on the roads. Hey, I was kidding.
Afterwards Jeff said the tour was going great, they're bringing something else over with them when they return with Coal Chamber, some drum machine thing, which he said is really cool. And they're likely going to be returning to the UK in February to tour in support of the album, which will probably have a different cover to the US version.
Ok, that's it. The second totally biased review of this tour, I make no bones about it. And there'll be another 2 totally biased reviews to come.
Ok, so you may be getting the idea that I like this band right! And that I can't be objective. Well wrong. No, not on the liking the band bit, t'other bit I'm on about. In my opinion, this was the worst of the gigs they've done so far. See, I can criticise. Well, to a degree. It seemed the worst to me, because Aimee seemed to be having trouble with the vocals, asking for the monitor to be turned up, and the reaction wasn't as good as I was expecting, or hoping for.
Opening with Shine, they then followed up with Drowned. Afterwards Aimee introduces the band as being Human Waste Project, to pretty much silence. Oh,she says, and tries again. This time it's more like the response they deserve.
Powerstrip finally starts to get a response from the crowd, as well it should. If the right backing is given, this could well become a surprise hit single when it's released in December. Aimee holds on to the lighting rig whilst singing, the stage is a tad too small, as Bullyrag discover later. Now things are begining to warm up. Slide, Get With It, Hold Me Down all continue the warm up process, with Aimee mentioning that she heard we like to danc,e so bounce along. Talking to Jeff afterwards, they seem to refer to a few of the songs as bouncing songs.
Aimee once more announces that the band will be back in December with Coal Chamber, cue a decent enough cheer, before asking if we'll be back, all of you. She also announces that Powerstrip is the single, it's one you can dance to.
Of course Exit Wound is just immense. And then there's the throbbing intro to Drugstore, followed by that huge riff, and it's time for Aimee to once more announce that they have just one song left, and that one is Disease.
As they troop off, Graverobbers from Mars is playing, to chants of more, more. So I think that after a lukewarm start, things got there in the end. Course in a years time when they're headlining the bigger hall upstairs, everyone will probably tell you how they were here and into it from the first note.
Talking to Jeff afterwards, he seemed to be quite happy with the gig, and thought the relative silence at the start was pretty nice. I guess in a way it's to be expected, as they don't actually have anything officially released here yet, the single is a month away, and the album 3 months. He also explained the absence of Dog and Spain, mainly due to time constraints, but also a bit of messing around. I'm not going to tell you what he said they may do on the Coal Chamber tour. If he's telling the truth, I have one word, gulp.
So, do I travel to Manchester tonight, or just wait until Sheffield tomorrow night. Decisions decisions. Adios for now.
Ok, so it wasn't much of a choice really in the end was it. Still, I probably should've decided earlier, as when I got there, twas sold out. Bugger. So, after I don't know how many gigs in my life, I end up having to buy a ticket from the touts. A bit of haggling and whatever, and it's not too bad. I've paid more for tickets to see bands when buying them from the venues themselves, but that has nothing to do with exhoborent ticket prices in general has it. Anyway, that's beside the point. At the end of the day it was worth it in terms of seeing this gig, because it was easily the best of the tour so far, all round.
Everything that was apparently missing from the Nottingham gig was here in abundance. From the off, the crowd was into it. The set is pretty much as it has been for the rest of the tour, with the exception of the opening night in Bradford.
Mike looks as if he's enjoying this one more tonight, while Jeff as ever swings between being a study of concentration and then letting go. The vocals, and indeed the entire mix is sounding better tonight, and everything is really gelling. Again Aimee lets people know that they are returning soon with Coal Chamber, I think pretty much everyone that was odwn the front tonight will be back for that one.
Aimee teases about jumping into the pit just before Drugstore, but never does, and before introducing the final song, Disease, says that this has been the best gig of the tour so far. And she wasn't kidding or saying it for the sake of it. This one was intense.
Afterwards Jeff seemed really happy, saying that the sound was perfect on the stage. I don't know how much of a difference that makes to a band, quite a bit I guess. When I give Aimee the Kerrang! sampler tape to sign she laughs, asking if I'm following them or something. As if ... She also asks what I thought of the gig. Common consensus seems to be that this was the best so far. When I tell Jeff that I had to get a ticket from the touts, he seems genuinely sorry, so I chance my arm to find out if there's any chance of getting me into the Bristol gig, as that will be the last I can see. So, if me poor car lives that long, it's Sheffield tonight and Bristol on Wednesday before I leave this trip. Until December that is.
Right, it's about time through all of this, that I mention the other bands, Bullyrag and Tura Satana. Basically, I'm not as familiar with either of the bands music, which is why I haven't really mentioned them. Plus, in my opinion, HWP have really blown them away each night anyway. But as I mentioned at the begining of this one, tonight was different.
Bullyrag are the most eccentric of the bands. A spastic mix of styles, with enough characters in the band to start their own soap opera, they take a bit of getting used in the context of the music from the other bands. But, if you like Dub War, Prodigy, and basically stuff where you mix rock, with reggae, hardcore and dance elements, then you'll get this as well. Frantic and Boom Boom Marajuana are the only names I know, with the latter being a 10 minutes set closing tour de force as the proffessionals would say. The band give off an impressive spirit and presence, and when viewed in their own right, I get the feeling I'm really going to like this lot. Damn impressive.
Tura Satana for the first time tonight really acted as headliners and took the mantle. Tarrie was obviously fired up for this one, as she explained later. This was the stage where just over a year ago, some kid was beaten up by a bouncer. Tarrie took the action she deemed necessary, and as a result got kicked off the Fear Factory tour. The rest is history. And so tonight she is at pains to explain how proud she is to be back. The crowd are well up for it. The security are basically fighting a loosing battle. Eventually people start making it to the stage. Even Tarrie has to try and encourage people to relax a bit.
One girl in particular is making it up practically all the time. Later Tarrie explains, listen sweetheart, unless you're going to sing every line of every song with me, you're going to have to spend some time off the stage. Yeah, I love you too, but I've got to sing. When we come back on, I'll have something for you.. Actually, I think she probably would have, given the chance. A star. And to the girl wearing the Dino Cazares shirt honey, you wore the wrong shirt to my show.
Basically, there have been times when it felt rehearsed and lacking a little spontaneity on the tour, but tonight Tarrie was going with the real spirit and feeling of what was happening. And boy did it make a difference. One of the banners was nicked, the speeches were impassioned, the songs had an extra cutting edge. Venus Diable, Luna, Storage, Down, Scavenger, Victim, following the usual Tarrie speech about men respecting women. They all had that extra element. Release through relief being described as we released our guitarist and I'm relieved. Introducing Brian, the new guitarist by way of getting everyone to shout Fuck you Brian, followed by, it means I love you, don't be such a pussy. Everything was just so much more impassioned. Negative Creep as ever finished up the set, before Tarrie announced that it was the best gig so far. Again, that was no bullshit coming from the stage. I think I might need to come to Manchester more often. Next time with a ticket though.
Isn't it amazing how things can swing around so quickly. It feels like a rollercoaster at the moment, one minute up on an exhilerating ride. The next it's all going down. That's what the last 3 gigs have been like. Nottingham, ropey crowd. Manchester, wow. Sheffield, the crowd was so ropey they could've hung themselves. On the way in Dan spots me and asks if I'm ok for a ticket tonight. Yep, just make sure I can get in on Wednesday.
Maybe the bands had knowledge of what to expect. After all, only minutes before HWP are due to take the stage there is absolutely noone at the front. As the minutes tick by, a few of us move down closer, but packed it isn't.
The band wander on without the normal intro tape going. Aimee joins them minus the facemask, and the gentle intro to Shine probably throws quite a few people. I think in a way maybe that's what's done it on a few of the dates. The band plough throw it, along with Drowned and receive some polite applause.
Aimee then does the by now standard we'll be back in December with Coal Chamberto almost silence, and you don't give a fuck about it. Well, you won't give a fuck either that we'll be releasing a single in December called Powerstrip, and this is it.. The Men Without Hats rap that's been added onto the song is done, and when Powerstrip launches, suddenly some people do begin to show some interest.
Throughout the rest of the set, the band seem to win some more people over, but it's not as good as I'd hoped. It's weird, I mean, i know they've got nothhing released here yet, so in a way, you can't expect much, but the way this band hit me on first hearing them, I kinda expect people to get it straight away, and when they don't it leaves you feeling, like, what the fuck. Don't you people realise the lies you're going to be telling in a year or so time. But still, maybe that's ok. Maybe I can act elitist and enjoy the trip now.
Slide sounds as though Aimee either deliberately switched the lyrics or messed up, and it's sung with more anger than I've heard on the entire tour. Exit wound, well what can you say about that song, Drugstore, and then of course, Disease. Do you have someone you really hate, I mean really HATE. Little response.How much do you hate themNot much more response. You don't hate them much then. Bounce to this one, and when you do, imagine the person you hate is the floor when you hit it. And the set finishes.
So some gigs are uphill struggles. There seemed nothing wrong with the sound and performance to me, it's just a lacklustre audience. But I guess bands go through these nights, some seem to thrive on them. Maybe in the return with Coal Chamber it'll be better. Mike recognises me, and as he's the last person signing the sampler thing for me, he acknowledges how great Manchester was. But it was, for everyone. Interestingly, he seemed to think Nottingham was better than tonight. I kinda put them on a par initially, but maybe it was that bit better, at least by the end. I mean, even Tarrie tonight said, we thought you weren't going to move. Admittedly, Tura got a decent reception, but for both HWP and Bullyrag, well, they both deserve better. But at least Mike now knows what the term The Dogs Bollocks means. And I hope he's not too disheartened by my description that The Fleece & Firkin in Bristol is like just a glorified pub. We're playing a pub he shouts and laughs at the same time. But at least it may have a better atmosphere than tonight.
One thing I don't get. Tarrie dedicated Venus Diablo tonight to the kids outside that couldn't get in. The place was not full or sold out. Why when that happens, can't either the bands, or more likely the venue, just let them in. Ok, you're not gaining ticket money, but you're not loosing it. They may buy something when inside, and most importantly, the atmosphere would've been so much better. Is it cos they're young. That's just bullshit.
What a tragic end. On the way to Bristol, when suddenly my car and the exhaust have a lovers tiff and decide to part comapny. Bollocks. And the AA don't turn up quickly. Double bollocks. So if you see one of those police programmes, with some long haired lunatic in a leather jacket screaming obscentities at the car, life and everything and everyone on the M42 it was me.
I mean, seriously, I was severly gutted. If I've missed a gig before, it's like, well ok, I'll see them again. This time, having seen them 5 times, I should be grateful for that. Instead I'm thinking, but I've missed them 5 times, and most importantly, tonight, when they were going to help me by getting me into the gig. I feel in a way I let them down. I know in a months time I'll be travelling seeing them again, but that doesn't compensate the way I feel at this moment. Utterly depressed. I didn't realise bands could have this effect on you.
So my adventure is over ... for now. It's been a blast. Some of the best gigs I've seen, made special by HWP. I want to thank them, and the other bands for this tour. I was going to thank my car, but at the moment I'm sulking about it. But you have to look to the future, and December sees the return bout, 6 gigs in a row ... with any luck. Until then arry ver derci (He's Italian apparently).