September 5 1999
Part of the earthtone9 gig. But there’s going to be lots of their reviews elsewhere in this issue.
Unfounded have had a pretty rough deal the last couple of weeks at the hands of the press. Too derivative. Lacking imagination. That sort of thing basically. Which is a tad unfair. I mean, ok, they're not inspirational at the moment, but not a lot is. And not a lot of what gets creamed over in the press is inspirational at the moment. But them's the breaks you get being British. Besides, it must be pretty hard after driving for 5 hours to get to a place to be confronted by a line of tables and chairs at which everyone sits or stands behind. Yes, including me. It's like the Maginot line. Though shalt not cross. Undeterred they go through a 6 song set. The guitars feel a little too far back in the mix to get the full effect, but for lovers of high speed thrash style shenanigans, there's something to take a look at here. There's also something to see in the drum setup. Using a strange looking kit, there are no bass drums. I guess its triggered into pads. But it's fun, cos as those high speed double bass runs kick in during the likes of Cold, Dry and Four, you can see the drummers little legs pelting away for all they're worth. As on record, I prefer it when they just slow down a little, open out the melody, and start developing their own thing. They're not great yet, but they're not as bad as the press are making out. Actually, maybe it's not the bands that are shite, maybe it's the press and audiences off which they have to feed.
Nottingham - The Old Angel
September 3 1999
Not sure what the first band were called, I'll have to check. But whatever they were, they weren't really my thing. A bit more indie than my tastes, there were fleeting moments where they became slightly noisier and more interesting, for some reason bring the name Girls Against Boys to my mind. But whatever, one thing that they did that is sure to get me annoyed, is that bloody habit of the singing putting his hands behind his back to sing. Stock still. "Feeling the moment baby". Bollocks. It's utter utter shite, something I really can't stand seeing a vocalist do. At least do the decency of trying to look as if YOU'RE enjoying it. Really can't stand that sort of thing, and a band will lose marks with me any time they do that.
Never heard Bardo Pond before. The flier was mentioning Sonic Youth and Spiritualised. Now I've never listened to either of those bands either, so I won't bullshit about whether it was like that or not. But what it felt like to me, was a show of 2 halves. It started all drawn out and trippy. The female vocalist has her eyes clapped tight. I'm sure she's feeling it. The music unwinds slowly. There's noise and feedback, but as the flute and violin is used by the vocalist as well, there's a feeling of hippy elements. It's almost like a contradiction. The closest I could think of was like trying to create trance music but without the trance. You know, sort of using guitars rather than technology. The vocals are altogether too low, you can't make anything out, though I'm not sure there was much to make out. Then, towards the end, things pick up the pace and the noise. They unwisely do a 2 song encore, which is one too many for me, even though the final track is a fine piece, holding a riff from the Sabbath back catalogue. Or maybe it's just the guitar tone that made me think it. But man was it hot in here this evening. There's a sizeable audience, so obviously my ignorance towards this band is totally that, my ignorance. Does feel a little exclusive. Even in this heat there's no excuses for the people that are sat on chairs. In this kind of venue, you don't sit to experience the event. Not in my book anyway. I was willing it to end, but that's the effect of an hour of unknown music, which isn't totally to taste, combined with intense heat. Still, there was a Jack Daniels promo going on tonight as well, something to do with marking Mr Ds birthday. Free whisky. Nice. With a bit of ice please in this weather.
Nottingham Old Angel
September 4 1999
This one is going to test me. Not on about just the heat, though it is still stifling. No, I mean I have this thing that if you write a zine or whatever, you should be able to write a review of any gig. Don't hold with this bollocks of "Oh, I'm not going to review this tonight", or just hiding at the bar and doing a review from there based on 2 minutes of music. Nope, you should be able to do it, because every gig should give you something to think about and write about.
Having said that, things don't look promising. Me neanderthal rock man. Woargh. Marine Research are rather delicate and twee. Just to set the record straight. Not a good match. "They don't rock baby" and so yeah well um... There's twin female vocals going on. Normally I like female vocals, but these need some oomph for me. The whole thing made me think of The Beautiful South, which is something I try not to do if possible. But there's another reasonable sized crowd in, and they seem to appreciate and understand. Some are even trying to dance, which draws appreciation from the band given the heat. They offer to share some cake to the crowd, which is nice. However, any band that tries to over analyse music looses point. Especially when you say that "indie music is like a Venn diagram" and then try to explain it. Noooooo. Don't you know that over analytical bollocks is the domain of crap reviewers. That's what we do badly. And there, I manage to at the last moment get something from the gig to write about. Phew, got close to proving myself to be stupid once more there. Rescued from the edge.