One Minute Silence / Pulkas / Liberty 37

Dudley JBs January 26 1999

So, it's 7am at the moment, and sleep, in its infinite wisdom, decided to pay only fleeting visits this past night. So this is probably going to be long, boring, self-indulgent, egocentric, whatever. Don’t like that? Ok. Flip the page, go read something else then.

They say, I think, that stress is one of the biggest contributors to death and all that malarky. And I thought it was the roads that were going to do me. At the moment, it feels like stress is challenging me to a staring competition, just like the boxers do in the ring. Course that's all fake, so maybe this is. The thing I hate about stress, apart from its existence, is the way it creeps up on you. The way it takes things that are seemingly unrelated and applies the domino effect to them. And the way that additional things just then seem to happen, and add to it. Small stupid things become big ugly monsters.

So, you don't need to know that, but as ever it affects me at a gig. Or at least my view on a gig. Stress was there, the car deciding to play up on the way to the gig to the extent that I didn't expect to get back from this one, didn't really help. And as a result, the gig, in a way, went over the top of me in places. So, I return to the question I ask myself a lot now, should I review gigs objectively based on the music, or should it be based around the emotions connected with it. That of course makes it my emotions, so it becomes subjective and personal, but that's how I find music and tend to write about it.

Anyway, inside JBs, Liberty 37 are playing to less than a handful of people down the front. They're on the wrong tour really. Their music needs to be absorbed, its not the thing that's going to instantly grab the attention of a bunch of people here for the in your face antics of One Minute Silence. New single, Revolution, is reduced according to Ish, to being "a hit in Bargoed". Didn't know they'd actually developed some taste down there. Liberty 37 are better than what they received tonight.

Pulkas, well, Pulkas just went over the top of me. I like them, and I guess the set was pretty good, calling on a fair portion of the debut Greed. Highlights are still Loaded, Hippy Fascist, Control and Rubber Room. At least for me. There's a fair smattering of people down front now, bit like when OMS supported Pitchshifter here in this very place just about a year ago exactly.

But it's gone over the top. Some people are trying to communicate and I'm just kind of brushing them off. I'm not trying to be awkward. It's like I'm here but there's no-one at home, just the telephone answering machine, and it's not capable of saying a lot. Gigs are supposed to be places where you forget your worries or whatever, and relax, lighten up and enjoy the world. You know, “music soothes even the savage beast”.Yeah, it's a really nice concept. Sometimes it doesn't work for me. Arriving at the gig, suddenly it magnifies things. You know those films where people are suddenly transformed into giants compared to everything else, or they step out of their bodies and look around. That's how it feels. There's loads of people here and yet I feel like I'm completely alone, transparent almost to everything else. I’m watching people milling around oblivious to everything. Suddenly I don't know how to communicate because people are in a different place to me. I feel so out of place and like I don’t belong here.

Not even Bill Hicks being played can bring me round.

Ok, I’ll try do this bit objectively. And so One Minute Silence take the stage. Opening with Stuck Between A Rock And A White Face, they don't even have to try tonight. Everyone is up for it. Well, nearly everyone. After the first song, Yap has received a gash to the head and launches into a tirade about how his brother was stabbed in the mosh pit recently, and if someone wants to try it, they can step up now. He later apologises, but it's like that. He says what he thinks. I can respect that. If you've seen the band in the last 12 months, you know what to expect. New track Spoonful of Sugar nestles alongside album favourites such as South Central, Pig Until Proven Cop, A More Violent Approach and the rest. The stage is swarming. Yap has to tell people the truth, you get up, YOU GET OFF. Not fucking hang around dancing or waiting to set up camp. Up and off. Course there's a lot of the 16 year old girls dancing, making sure they get noticed. Off comes the tops, off comes the dresses. Don't worry, they had their bras on and whatever. But I'm sure the 16 year old guys enjoyed it. Still, it’s pretty sad.

There lies another, often missed element to the band. The way they actually respect and care about their fans. Glen can be seen having a word with one security bloke that led one guy off to the side for spending too long on stage (like 5 minutes near enough idiot! Up and off. Simple fucking concept), and there's a number of calls to dive safely, make sure people are caught and everything that goes with it. Course on the other hand, so to speak, Yap tells how he's become Christian again and leads a pray of thanks for being given a dick and a shitter. But then, later again, after another invasion has finally been cleared, that unseen side is shown again. Launching into an attack on the Millennium Dome "they should use the 750 million to house the homeless" and how "Tony Blair is a wanker", and apologising for his earlier outburst. "It could be worse, I have my arms and legs, some people don't". It's a side that inept or just plain lazy journalism tends to hide in favour of the cheap and easy (and of course it sells magazines) "well Glen likes to shag, or get a blow job and we sometimes masturbate" Sometimes you need to go below the surface.

It's basically a triumph tonight for the band, and one they deserve. Consensus at the end seems to be that it was a good gig, maybe one of their better ones. Kinda wish I'd actually been there for it.

Somehow, to my surprise, the car actually made it home. Though it's kind of limping. Times like this I need something soothing to listen to. Often it can be Sade. At the moment it's Milk by Garbage. I don't know how many times I listened to it, but still the sleep didn't come. And the stress is still trying to stare me out.