One Minute Silence / Stampin' Ground / Breed 77

Birmingham Foundry May 6 1999

If you've read any or many of my reviews, you probably know that every now and again it's not a review as such, but more a whinge or whatever. Another one coming. If you don't like it, turn the page. Or just read the last couple of paragraphs which are probably going to be about the music.

Man, the thesis re-writing is really boring the shit out of me. And I'm getting increasingly worried/convinced that I'm going to be the first one in the group to fail their PhD. It really is utter cack. Though I didn't say that of course. And the last two days network trials have been a bit of a disaster. You expect teething problems with this stuff, that I can deal with, but when you're supposedly hosting them, and you're the one making dumb mistakes that everyone else is digging you out of and being gracious about, well it just makes you think. Makes you think that once that thesis is submitted (for better or for worse), and the current contract is up, it'll be time when you're encouraged that maybe your future lies elsewhere. Because of how utterly incapable you are at present. Into the real world. Where I don't wanna go, because my stress levels couldn't handle a job that my qualifications would say I'm right for, but which I know that I would struggle so much at. And would pretty much certainly mean the end of the zine.

And in a matter of days I "celebrate" turning 29. And you look around at everyone and wonder how I've managed to fuck up so much, and achieve so little. Everyone else is getting married, they're in a serious long term relationship or whatever. I kind of realise how alone in everything I feel and empty. Can't even get simple things like that right. The need to be able to at least share your inner most feelings with someone but not able to cos thereís no-one there. Or at least have someone there so that they make sure you don't stoop to feeling sorry for yourself. I seem to have an unerring habit of only liking those that either don't like me or are not interested or unavailble. Friends, dunno. I know people. I know some wonderful people, but I always feel guilty and uncomfortable ringing "friends" just to have a chat. Or asking if anyone is going for a drink. I want to, but canít or find it hard. Or joining a group of people if I'm out on my own and know just one person in that group. Insecure, or just not trusting. Probably both. But you kind of feel like a failure with everything. And as that new figure approaches, you wonder where all that is going to change. And work worries just add to that. People ask how things are, and you do the "yeah fine" ritual. You can't really say anything else, cos what does it matter to them anyway. And then you write stuff like this. Will the real me please stand up?

Yet I have nothing to complain about. My life is easy. I don't have any disabilities, I'm not subject to any kind of abuse, or dependent upon any kind of substance. I'm free to do what I want. I have an easy life. I've just been told the CD's for Yaz #10 should arrive Monday. The zine has been handed over today for printing. I should be relieved and excited about that. I am. And nervous as hell as to how it's going to look sound, and ultimately, whether I'll sell them. There's been talk of possibly planning for an inaugral Yaz sponsored/promoted gig. Seen some great gigs lately. Everything is wonderful.

Yet still I end up writing self indulgent ego filled "gig reviews" which it appears are nothing of the sort. Maybe I should stick to the tried and trusted, "they came, they saw, they rocked." I don't really even know why I'm writing this, it doesn't matter to anyone. It's a cliche, but sometimes life feels like a rollercoaster, ups and downs and off in too many directions, leaving you feeling directionless. And sometimes you feel sick and just want to get off it.

Well maybe I do know why I'm writing this. Maybe at the moment this is my outlet. And maybe it also means that I just so needed this gig tonight. I sometimes reckon music and gigs are personal things, and should be treated as such and not relegated to meaningless technicalities of whether a chord was played correctly or that shit. And I mean, it is an awesome line up, with three great bands. OMS are an amazing live band, and I love them. Yet increasingly it seems, whereas going to their gigs should inspire me in the same way that it seemingly inspires everyone else there, the opposite happens. I turn more in on myself. It's like you see everyone else doing their thing, and it just makes me realise more and more how much I mess up. But whatever, that makes no sense and doesn't matter. It's time for some words about the bands I guess. After all, that is the reason for this.

First up are Breed 77. Having only heard the single The Message, it's only that and b-side Downer that I know the name of. Which means I didn't know the name of the opening track, which is a shame cos it was damn good, maybe their best track of the evening, because it showcased a number of styles and elements, and Paul really sang in places on it. And when he does, he sounds great, reminding me a bit of Keith Caputo. Though that's probably off the mark. But it's the "new metal" of the aforementioned tracks that sets the pit off. And it seems these days, the pit has to happen for a gig to seemingly have any impact or meaning to some. Which sometimes strikes me as a bit of a shame, but what the fuck does it matter what I think. All the metal fans are encouraged to give "the metal sign", which of course cos i'm a bit of a c!*t I don't do. Ah well, consider it my journo head tonight, where apparently you don't have to partake in that sort of thing or joining in, cos you're a journo. Utter bollocks. Karma is another new song, which is a little generic maybe, but will see them winning the fans. As they leave, Paul thanks the crowd, but berates them for their apparent lack of enthusiasm when he mentioned Black Sabbath.

Next up Stampin' Ground, who are seemingly, and deservedly, getting everywhere at the moment. Adam states that "for the next half hour, this isn't a metal show, this is a hardcore show. Which means there are no rules and you can do what you want." Shame really. This is just a show, a gig. Why have to differentiate between metal and hardcore. Everyone's here for the same reasons hopefully. Neither has rules. There's not a great deal of difference. And yeah, I know it's because Breed and OMS go with the "we're a metal band" thing, so it's just the other camp stating it's case. It's just such an unecessary division. Especially when there's songs like the metallic quality of Lesion, Emascilate and the devestating The Death You Deserve. The one thing that was highlighted tonight, sandwiched as they were, was that I still feel that a bit more vocal variation wouldn't go amiss. Indeed, there's some indication of it on the new track from the current split CD with Knuckledust (sorry, forgot the title and can't be arsed to find it). And they end the set with the Knuckledust cover. Not their best, but still not bad.

And not their best is my view on the OMS set. But still not bad. Not by a long shot. They never really are. Breaking in a new guitarist as well as a plethora of new songs is never going to be easy. But it's confounded by Glen having to do his "Bon Jovi" impression and sit all gig having injured his knee the night before. And you can see he doesn't want to be sat as he bounces on the chair and holds conversations pretty much between every song. The oldies are as ever, A More Violent Approach, South Central, Stuck .... You know them by now. The new material such as 1,4,5 or some sequence of numbers offer a touch more variety, and is perhaps why it doesn't all quite feel as vintage. Because the tracks need time to be absorbed by people. Yap tries, unsuccessfully to get the barrier removed, and also launches into a long rap regarding racism, tying in with the recent nail bombings in London, pointing out individuality and that it's harder to tell a friend that they are wrong than to just accept what they say for fear of being ostracised. There is one majestic stage dive come roll from the speaker stack, which is well caught by the crowd, and that sense of enjoyment and forget your worries that the live set is supposed to encourage seems to be alive and kicking. For most people. As ever Glen plays up his sexual reputation from the media, and intersperses it with snippets of Maiden. Tonight we also get Fu Manchu, Sabbath and a er, walk through Pantera's Walk. Even if Yap does try to claim that Pantera stole it from OMS.

It's all fun, it's enjoyable. And as Remain Calm finishes it, you can walk away feeling better. Though like I said, at the moment it's all seemingly contradictory to me. OMS are a phenomenal live band that should make you feel good. Maybe it's because it IS how it should be, that I keep thinking about how bad things feel when I see them. Questioning why it is that I feel that I can't do simple things and fit. Everyone else just seems to make it all look so easy. But that doesn't make sense. And neither does the rest of this review. It's not supposed to though. I know what I'm thinking, and I know what I mean. And why do these doubts arise for me at OMS gigs?

Still, I'll probably be enthusing about some gig again soon enough, those System ones are coming up. And in the meantime, I've got that first Beyond EP on tape again to listen to, and that's working a treat. At least it's one thing I understand and feel good with.