Medulla Nocte / Milque (the final gig?)
Bradford Rios July 30 1999
Motorways are bad for your health. I'll explain why. Because some people it seems don't realise that when people say "did you hit the traffic?" that it's a figure of speech. I find that actually NOT hitting other traffic is way more healthy for you. And for others. Because then it doesn't mean you get stuck in traffic jams, as the temperature rises, looking at the watch wondering if you're going to get there in time. Then you get past that and discover that people have forgotten that in this country the outside line is the fast lane, not the lane for dawdling and seeing if others will get pissed off enough and overtake you on the inside. Which all means you end up going over the speed limit and risk being pulled over by the police. It also increases the risk of "hitting the traffic". Yep, motorways are bad for your health. But in spite of that I arrived in time.
Anyway, I've taken a couple of days thought before writing this. See, last week in Derby I said I was worried about the Milque gig. Indications are that things are not what you'd call well within the camp, and the feeling I was sensing was that this could be the last gig for Milque. At least in it's present state. And as with last week, they turned in the most powerful performance I've seen them do. Half way through the video screens either side of the stage descend and are turned on. They're turned off early in the final song, which might be a sad reflection on what's going on here. I've said more than enough times how good the material is, and that it would be a crime if the new unrecorded material is allowed to escape. That feeling remains. Tracks such as Long Time, and Old Man in particualar show the band moving along in such a way that they position themselves smack bang in the middle of everything. No matter how the current musical trend sways, these are classic songs that will get recognised. Last week, watching the performance and seeing the visible tension between the band onstage and off left me thinking the words "Faith No More." I've been hoping all week that someone in the band will see sense and sit down and resolve whatever problems have escalated, or that someone will bang their collective heads together. Or lock them in a room and not let them out until they've resolved their problems. But of course that's not happened, and is purely selfish of me. I don't know what's gone on, what I know is that Milque for me has always been Zoe, Colin, Kaye and Duncan. And the thought of it being any other way is kind of hard to get my head around. However, it looks like some other way is how it's going to be. I hope that EVERYONE in the band pulls out of whatever is happening, and continues to create and deliver music in the way they've been doing for me for the last year. But, it would seem that that's it for the band. At least in this format. Like I said, I've sat on writing this review for a couple of days. Bitten my lip. Thought through what I was going to write. And I know that the above is let's just say a very gentle series of words on my behalf. At a later date I'll probably tie in the other stuff I was thinking of writing, but for now it's not appropriate. Suffice it to say, I've gone through another "pissed off at the industry" week, and this hasn't helped. I'd say there's a link there on my take of things, but it's just that it doesn't help things when bands shoot themselves in the foot. At the moment I feel and worry that's what's happened here. And trust me, that will send me off on such a rant. For now, as I said earlier, I just wish and hope everyone in the band well and that they make it back in some form or another.
And a couple of songs into the Nocte set I'm not helped. "This is our last gig" says Paul. Fortunately he follows it up by adding that they've been touring for 13 months, and so it's the last gig of the tour. So then they can do all those things that "rock stars" look forward to at the end of the tour, y'know, the "normal" things, like shopping at the supermarket, and going back to your day jobs. Oops, did you swithc the irony detectors on there? Medulla have been doing this tour while doing their day jobs, and looking at the way Paul is hurling himself through this set, it's like he's trying to exorcise the coming months work demons. Not like a caged animal, more like an animal about to be caged.
It's a phemonenal set. I know, I say it all the time, but it truly is. And for once, people recognise and respond to the classics such as All Our Friends Are Dead, A Conversation Alone and Spat On. Talking to Jammer before the set he reckons that "we're getting quite good at the long songs now" in reference to the brutal newbie Nothing For Second which is on the current split CD with Freebase and also Inside I'm Dying. They're huge, and the progression that the band have made is immense. Pauls vocals are reaching a new level, but the control is amazing. The Freebase cover, Trying To Change is faster than a fast thing on speed, and of course set closer All That I Ask is the song Machine Head never wrote but will wish they had. And so, the end is near, it's time for them, to get one with writing some new material. The indications are that it should be blistering, and despite Paul lavishing and salivating about the new Mr Bungle album beforehand (should I let him write a review like he asked???, yeah, I think maybe), it's going to be one of the most brutal and uncomprising releases you'll hear. Before the set Machine Head's Police cover was played, as was Fear Factory's Gary Numan and My Ruin's Soft Cell covers. Those bands are about intensity right? At least that's what they tell you? Well, if you're getting as frustrated as I am by bands, and more likely record labels, releasing these covers, try the Nocte. They're not going to let you down.
So, it's time for me to do the superlative again ain't it? Yeah. Thank god they're taking a break, I think I've exhausted my current supply. Next time there's a reference to them, it'll hopefully be about the new album (yes Paul if you're reading, that does mean a request for an interview when the new material is done!), but for now, I think I've found something. I believe an oft used cliche is "a cut above". Well, right now, Medulla Nocte's cut above any other extreme band is so above it, you need a bloody set of ladders to get to it!. Ok, that one was crap, they've drained me. Ever see them live, they'll drain you to.
I debated including that review this issue, cos thereís other gig reviews of both bands in here. And thereís plenty more of both on the web site as well if you want to check them out. Theyíre pretty regular gigs for me, because I know that itís going to be good each and every time. But thereís some things associated with all this that I think I want to say. Remember, this is me speaking for me, and for no-one else. This is my view on some things, and really Iím just using these two bands as examples to try and illustrate some points.
Now, I know youíve heard it before, read it before and I really should change the record, but tough, Iím not. Here see is a situation that is totally fucked up. Two situations in fact. One is band shooting self in foot. Now I can always link that in these instance to the second thing. Lack of support. Yeah, youíve read it all before. But it really is about fucking time that people in this country seriously woke the fuck up. If you want a cultural and musical wasteland, then just keep on doing things the way you are. Because the lack of support is going to fuck the music scene in this country eventually. I mean, how long realistically can you expect the Nocte to keep on pounding the length and breadth of the country like this? Maybe if Milque had gotten anything like the recognition they and many other unsigned bands deserved, then maybe things wouldnít have become so strained.Maybe, just maybe itís time Kerrang!, Metal Hammer and all the other fuckers that actually have some kind of impact in this country did something. Maybe, just maybe itís about time they stopped being run by certain record labels. You know the ones. Maybe itís about time that instead of the highest bidder buying on to their cover CDs that they actually gave up some tracks to UK bands. To those without the financial clout of the youknowwho labels. Maybe itís about time they stopped insulting bands and dedicated more than one paragraph per week to unsigned bands under the guise of "supporting the UK scene". Youíre doing no such fucking thing. You need to push bands like you do those on the record labels. One feature per year on the Nocte is not enough. Nowhere fucking near enough. Some bands breath in the States and get a feature. Itís whatís needed for the UK bands. Not derisory pieces. Start giving up a couple of pages per issue. I know itís about "business", but actually let the people decide. You can "make room" for them and still keep youíre beloved guarrantteed income bands.
But what I was alluding to in the Dia Lo interview is that this country needs support from a bigger power. The government. We have to realise that music is a part of the culture nowadays, the bigger names bring in tremendous revenue for the country. And some of that needs to be pumped back in at the grassroots. Setup an infrastructure so that small bands can survive. Venues can survive and put the bands on. Itís a long term thing, but it needs and deserves to be done. In the meantime, the rest of us need to pull our fingers out, or thereíll be nothing left for such an infrastructure to support. It means me, you and the powers that be.