Iron Monkey / Medulla Nocte
Derby Vic- April 12 1999
Well, the ads said that a third band, Grudge 13 were playing. I don't think they did, but if they did I missed them. Why is that Dave, you always go on about checking out all the bands? True, I do, and thanks for asking. I'll tell you. Because I was finishing the master of Yazcore Vol 1. Yep, it's finally mastered and being packaged as I type to go to the pressing plant. Oohhhhhhh yeah. Finally, at beeping last. Is it good? Did Wales upstage England on Sunday in the rugby? Did I watch most of the game from behind the door, too scared to watch cos of the tension. Am I still celebrating that victory, and going to for years to come whenever anyone mentions the rugby? Course it's 'kin good. 17 tracks. 72 1/2 minutes. Marvellous. It'll hopefully be ready soon now. So see, I had good reason to be late.
But luckily I wasn't too late to miss the Nocte. So how do I describe them this time? I mean, surely there's only so many times you can say how intense this band is, how great they are? Well, yeah, to an extent. But until more people take notice, you repeat it. But the great thing about them, and indeed about all gigs, is that there's always something new, something different to mention.
Anyway, luckily tonight I don't have to go on to you about poor attendance, because despite Paul saying "another great Derby gig. So much to do here" a sizeable crowd has gathered to witness tonights proceedings. Though a suitable distance is maintained. "Get yourselves away from the bar. And that includes you Morrow. Baldy" is the introduction to proceedings, followed by a swift "We're Medulla Nocte and we sound like this" after which Paul emits a sound that I'm not even going to attempt to type. You see it, then you understand. And from there in, it's time to get intense. The two new tracks aired in their entirety, Nothing For Second and Inside I'm Dying, are nestling nicely alongside older favourites like All Our Friends Are Dead, Hooked On Masturbation, A Conversation Alone and the set closer All That I Ask. They sit nicely, but are a progression and a diversion from the older sound. Longer, more intricate, it's a good indication to the future hopefully. We're also treated to about a minute of a new song. Afterwards Paul explains that the song isn't finished, but they're excited enough about it to try it out as it stands, and see if it "passes the intensity test." Like you ever had any doubt.
Now, there aren't many more intense bands than Iron Monkey, but even they struggle to follow a performance like that, at least in my eyes. Which I guess some may say has something to do in part with the fact that I'm not as wrapped up in them. Musically great, but, and this is in some respects the odd bit, Morrow's vocals kinda grate with me. But tonight, it made so much more sense than any of the other times I've seen them. It was more focussed, concentrating on the faster, more hardcore like current, and in some places, new material, as opposed to the sludged out, slowed down crawls they can do. And so it works so much better. And I can't understand a word Morrow says even when he talks between songs. That's class. The ending is still treading that line of self indulgence, with the noise finish, the feeback drench and, I guess, the art. And for me it crosses the line more times than it stays on the right side. But a few more performances like the main part of the set, and I may even be getting to understand them.
Better Than A Thousand / Step Back
Birmingham Foundry - April 13 1999
Well, it's back into full swing on the gig going front. With a few more to come. But even that pales against BTAT tonight. But more on that later.
First, let's deal with Step Back. Not bad, I quite enjoyed them in a old school hardcore style not threatening sort of way. Though I don't think Vickie was overly impressed by them. I find it kinda hard to know what to say sometimes about these types of bands. It works well live, but is there enough to distinguish them from the rest of the bands? But does that even matter? There's a couple of friends down the front, so at least they're able as well to do the obligatory "slam the mike in front of someone's gob and hope that he comes out with either the lyrics, or failing that, at least a damn good scream." Which is all nice and good. Still think I should've tried to grab a copy of the CD they were on about at the end of the set, but well I didn't, and that sometimes happens.
Anyway, Better Than A Thousand. I have one album by them, don't know an awful lot, so don't expect too much from me. Cos I didn't from them. And it was simply awesome. As much as the music it was just the general atmosphere. It was laid back and relaxed, but still retaining enough intensity. Much is said of the communal spirit that likes to be associated with hardcore, and is something that I personally tend to question quite a bit, but you can see what people mean by it all tonight. Maybe it's because it's a band being fronted by, I guess, as near enough a legend in hardcore circles as there is. (Yes, I do know people will raise other names and go "waaaaaa"). But it just feels good, as it should be. There's no violence going on, just people having fun. Some new tracks are aired as well as older stuff, and so Ray teaches the words in order to sing along to I Can Make A Difference.
We had a balti earlier, so excuse us if we can't move around reckons Ray, to which someone, who tries hard to become the drunk star of the show, retorts with "Balti is good food." He subsequently follows up with cries of "England" when Ray introduces second singer for the evening Daniel from Sweden, and various other drunken football chants. Someone screwed up and double booked tonight, so we're playing Leicester at midnight if anyone wants to come along Ray informs the crowd. Like I said, some are doing it more than I am at the moment. It was too rock for me to get to two gigs in an evening. Besides, I didn't have enough money. But for the remainder of the set, there's the banter, and also guitarist Ken checking the watch to see how much longer they're allowed here. Another few singalongs, I wish I could remember them all, follow, Daniel does a track, after which Ray reckons "he's better looking than me, got a better voice than me and always makes me look dumb. I reckon he could sing for us after I retire. Who votes Daniel as singer for BTAT?. Silence. Looks like Rays job is safe for a while yet then. Yeah really, we're playing Leicester after this, and you can all come, well except you he points good naturedly to the drunken friend. And while talking about the new album that they're proud of, he's interrupted again. Shut up while I'm talking will you. Now I know what I was like. When I was five years old. There were so many little things that made this such a great gig. A poor memory like mine just can't do it justice. It's an example and a time when you need to be there to be able to appreciate everything.
We'll be selling stuff for about 15 minutes, then we're off to Leicester. Not sure iif they ever did make it there in time and how it went off. I'll try and find out. Hope it was half as good as this, cos this was wonderful. There'd been a debate on going to see Pitchshifter again tonight, until I was told of this gig by both Vickie and Dan. And as much as I love Pitchshifter, I've seen them so many times in the last year. And I'm so glad I saw this gig instead. So thanks to both of them for letting me know about it.
Anyway, I get this evening off I think, before another little burst of gigs. Woooo woooo, rock'n'roll dude. Shoot that man now.
Aye, Graham has managed to put out yet another copy in the time itís taken me to get this one together. Actually, itíll probably be two copies by the time you read this. Anyway, if youíve read the Intox before, you know what youíre getting. More interviews per issue than anyone should be allowed to feature, and a shit load of reviews. This time round the interviews are with Fear Factory, The Gathering, Entombed (who are fucking hard work to interview), Monkey Boy (yay!!!), Spineshank and the one and only, the mighty Medulla.
And heís also joining us on the web.
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Send £1 (+2 2nd class stamps) or $3 to:
Intoxicated Zine, PO Box 2581, Reading, Berks, RG1 7GT.