Don't know the name of the first band I saw. Standard hardcore fare, some interesting sounding stuff, but the acusation which I guess can be levelled at a lot of hardcore, is that if you haven't heard it before, it's hard to distinguish between them and others. That and there wasn't enough of a crowd reaction.
Which was still the case, surprisingly, for VOD. Sure, the album was only realeased in the UK at the begining of the week, but I've had it on import for months now, and they are causing enough ripples in the American hardcore scene that I thought they'd have got more of a reaction than they did. Something simialt I thought to when SOIA brought CIV with them the last time they visited, when the crowd was well into it. Or maybe it's that VOD are really maybe a bit too metal for a lot of *TRUE* hardcore kids, because the metal element is obvious in the guitar and the riffs. But there again, I reckon it's evident in most punk, hardcore and grunge or whatever these days. See my rant in the Biohazard review. Still, Tim Williams seemed to put enough into it all, although I think he may have been disappointed with the reaction. Through My Eyes, Ways to Destroy Ones Ambition, Gloom and a few more from the CD were played, as were some from the 7inch, which i don't have. Highlight, as on the CD, was suffer, where Tim switches between his hardcore (sounds like Pantera to me) yell, and his melodic (I know he'd hate this and people will disagree, but sounds to me like Dexter from Offpsring) vocals. They'll probably return, and get a better reaction at a later date. Somewhat disappointing, but only cos I had such high hopes
No such worries for SOIA. For me, the best live hardcore band around. One of the best bands around. Energy, commitment from the off, but all with a sense of fun and community. Scratch the Surface is offered up pretty quickly, as is Built To Last, Us against Them, Consumed (thank god they still play it), Politics, Maladjusted. Basically, you name it, it's there. Stage and speaker stack divers aplenty, as you'd expect, and lots of good natured chat from Lou, introducing Dad, James Hetfield, promising to do a Saxon song, telling how Craig had fucked all the Spice girls, twice. Pretty much everything you expect from a SOIA show, including a few injuries, including to Lou, who got injured during Step Down but still carried on, even though, he was in obvious pain. The difference in atmosphere for the bands was incredible, SOIA probably love playing here, they seem to give that impression, and head back every year, and it's easy to see why, whereas VOD would probably think twice. But that's what you get for building up a reputation over a decade. They finish up with Borstal Breakout and Betray, and Lou telling us to be gentle with Vinnie from Agnostic Front when they play in a few months "cos he's getting old now, but don't say I said". Basically, you have to see this band live. Words can't describe it, it's something to be experienced. Contender for gig of the year. And to think, a few hours after I got back, the motorway got closed for the day cos of the IRA bomb alerts again