Kill II This / 3D House of Beef / Skeem / Milque
May 3 1999
A bank holiday. Four bands. Four quid. Can't really go wrong can you. Plus it has to be said I was in quite a good mood for me as I'd finally managed to get my vinyl copy of quite possibly the greatest EP released by a UK band recorded again, and have been listening to it ever since. Thanks Vickie. The band? The Beyond, the EP, Manic Sound Panic. Still sounds as awesome today as it did 9 years ago. You'll never find it, cos I only ever saw one copy in the shops when it was released, but if you do, then buy it. Don't even think twice. And finally we've been reunited. And it feels good.
So yep, I'm in a pretty good mood, and that gets followed by Milque. Who always seem to be able to put me in a good mood anyway. As ever, the songs flow, and the initially unaware crowd slowly begins to get into it. As ever at the Vic, someone's sound suffers, and in this instance it's Kaye's bass which goes walkabout during Dynamo, and doesn't really decide to return during the rest of the set. But not even that can deter. The likes of Target and Deal With It see to that, and joined by newer tracks such as Old Man. They're as good as anything that the bands in the States that are receiving saturation coverage are doing. In fact the only thing really missing are the crowds. Which is kind of a major problem isn't it? I mean, what else are people doing on a Monday evening. It's one of the problems in this country. Have an excellent scene going, but need the crowds to support it. And you wonder where they're going to come from. We need for people to realise that you don't have to be spoonfed the music by Kerrang! and Metal Hammer. We need to get it so that people get accustomed to checking out bands, that that almost becomes the ritual. We need to get past the clique scene elements, so that people get used to checking out the new bands, and not just the new bands that are wearing the correct brand of clothes to fit in with people. Music is defined by music, not by what you wear. I don't know how you do it and get people to check stuff out. Maybe if the venues dedicated a particular night per week to gigs by bands playing a certain style. So that people become used to thinking "right, it's X tonight. Nip to the local venue, see some friends, see who's playing." The bands are there, and if they're playing to packed venues, well maybe it'll start the ball rolling to where it should be going. I don't know, it's an idea. Because at the moment, we have a fine collection of bands let down purely by Apathy in the UK. Which is far closer to reality than the other version that the Sex Pistols used to sing.
Next were Skeem, whom I saw on Friday night as well. And after which my thought's were kind of, "well, they're ok, but the singer is trying to hard to be American and a rappy sort of Fred Durst thing." Which is still my thought after this show. It's ok musically, though it's another in a long line of similar things, but it's let down by being generic. And generic of an American sound isn't going to work for a UK band. Hell, it's hard enough getting people out to see bands anyway. Still, I've tried to place an order to get a copy of the demo, and we'll see more then. Musically they seemed talented enough, just hope they can manage to divert that to a more original sound, because at the moment the flood barriers holding back the tide of KornBizkitToneShanks is begining to look shaky. And when it breaks, the flood is going to sweep many away. Skeem need to make sure they're on safer ground when that happens.
3D House of Beef. Well, in the face of my "support UK bands" theme, it's time to cross the pond to the States. See, I like this band. And they're an example that should be held up to those singing Apathy in the UK. This is their third time over to the UK in as many years. Always self-financed. No-one knows them tonight. It's a bit worrying how they'll go down. And it's only at the end after Biffo and some incredible noise effects has ended that applause breaks through. It seems like most people have been shocked into the ground, which is probably the effect they're after. Anyway, they keep coming back. First time I saw them play, there were 2 other people besides myself. Last time was at least relatively crowded, and there's a few bodies here tonight. It's proof that you don't need to sell millions to be good. To be valid. To exist. It's an example to people in the UK. I almost feel embarrassed though when they've travelled from San Francisco to do shows like this. But why not? They're more than relevent. A huge monolithic sludge fest, through tracks such as Live, Coward Live, Thalidamide and Abate. It's like Neurosis on downers. Some guy walked back and forth past me in a t-shirt with None Fucking Heavier, or something like that on the back. I think he might have just discovered that the shirt was lying. Cos 3D are fucking heavy. Massive. And some of those noises tonight from Nial's guitar and effects pedals. I think he may have said afterwards that they're from Merzbrow. Beef is an acquired taste. As are these guys. They work better live really than on CD, yet you need to hear the CD to appreciate the live. It's a contradiction. It doesn't make sense. But then, neither does travelling from the States to play gigs like this. But they do it. And they may do it again. And I'll be there again.
And finally, Kill II This, who have to cut the set short as things are running behind. So it's about half an hour, during which they showcase some of the best moments from the Deviate album, including the best song on there, The Flood, Funeral Around My Heart, Faith Rape. There's also a new track, which continues the sample and riff formula that they've started to establish for themselves, and in cutting short the set, Cross to Bare is the closing track. Still think vocalist Matt needs to develop some more onstage charisma, mainly because guitarist Mark, due to his personality I guess, manages to upstage him most of the time, which isn't how it should be. But there's time for that to happen.
So personally I reckon it was a pretty good way to spend a Bank Holiday Monday evening. Ok, so it was a nice day, so you could've lounged out in the beer garden, soaking up the atmosphere, while complaining to your mates at how the UK music scene sucks. So others tell me, cos I really am struggling to figure it all out here. Answer me the question. What exactly will it take to get you to go and see some bands that you know very little, or nothing about? What is the key?
Chasm Derby Vic
April 30 1999
Chasm finished off a 3 band bill that included Skeem, who are just above this review. And it was a pretty mad strange gig. There were mistakes, and it was probably the most ragged I've seen them. But, and this to me is the strange, it was also the best I've seen them. The songs are really begining to settle in now, and I'm hearing the Far connection come through much more strongly than the Deftones thing. And to me, that's a good thing. Songs such as 54, Cold, and Almost There have lots of different things going on that it's easy to miss initally. Towards the end, a couple of girls decide it would be a good idea to stand onstage and well, just stand there. When handed the mike, they decide to just shout into it. Y'know, sometimes good ideas aren't quite as good as they seem now, are they. Almost There is the best song they have at the moment, and talk of good ideas, inviting anyone on to the stage for the final part of final track, Block, turns out not to be a great idea. The stage is swamped, Chris unplugs his guitar, and walks out of the room through where the crowdhad been, with the rest of the band looking to see where he's gone. The end gets lost as everyone either stands on stage or, in some people's cases, hang from the ceiling. There again, maybe some ideas ARE good ideas.
Small pocket of space. Got to use it to tell you about next time. So much stuff, I canít fit it all in. Next time, ooh, thereíll be Mr Bungle reviewed in juicy detail. Just buy it. Youíre open minded right, you like variety yeah, bit of crossover? Crossover to the new Mr Bungle. Itís in croon heaven. New Type OíNegative, Sevendust, Today Is The Day and Amen. Mindjuice, Lounge:Fly demos, cos theyíre here but I just havenít got the room. What else? Hero, Clam Abuse, Chasm interviews. More as well, I just donít know which ones yet. May catch up on some releases like Biohazard. May even review Limp Bizkit. Beyond Dawn. God, so much stuff already.