Caffeine / Area 51
January 25 1999
Well, it's been a slow start to the year, but if the wind blows in the right direction and the car doesn't blow up (have to sweet talk it again!), then things should pick up again now. And so, with that in mind, I nipped over to Derby just in time to miss the first band on. Ah, the more things change ...
Next up, I believe, were Area51, a name I've seen around a few times over here, but never seen. So I guess they're local, and a bunch of school/college kids with loads of their mates carrying their backpacks for them. How else would you explain the need for so many in a place like this. Anyway, a 3 piece, with the the guitarist being left handed and singing. Hmm, where've I seen that before. It was fairly competent stuff, let down by the middle section of doing Nirvana's Lithium and followed by a song introduced as "this is for Kurt, it's called The Nirvana Way. Just wearing things a little too much on their sleeves really. Sure, it gets a decent reaction from friends as you would expect, but ... And the rest of the material indicated that they are capable of writing their own stuff.
Caffeine, once more a name I've seen a few times, and indeed their manager has made a few promises of sending a copy of the CD for me to review. But so far I've not received it. Which is ok. Means I can make a judgement tonight on whether to buy it or not. Uh-oh! So anyway, the first track starts out all fast and punky and then, lo, there's the not very subtle break into a couple of ska chords. Ah, nice, this makes it so easy to pigeon hole if I'm in the mood. It's pop punk, with a skate core ska middle filling, topped off with a baseball cap. A few more nuggets fly by of the same variety, the singer shows why he's wearing the baseball cap (bad hair day), they dedicate a song to the people who saw them last week (with The Offspring), and play their cover version of Spin Me Round, which gets a good reception even if just about everyone wasn't even born when the original was released. Yeah, I was :( A few more, and after about 35 minutes it's over. Someone asks if there'll be more "nah, that's all they know" says the sound engineer blokey.
Is the album being bought? Not on the strength of this. Not at 13 quid. It's competent stuff in a NOFX / Epitaph / FatWreckChords way that Consumed are doing way better and with more originality. It's not bad if you like that sort of thing, but "best punk band in the UK". Personally, I don't think so. Judgement is now finished. Until the next time.