Shallow / Houdini

the Old Angel - Nottingham

August 20 1999

It's looking good. A few new toys in here to play with, and half way through the gig I was thinking how good a venue this could become. Especially with The Foundry in Birmingham having now closed down, it seems to me to emphasis how important it is that we look after these places. They ain't going to be around forever otherwise, and you need a breeding place for the bands of the future. And places, that like this, will play something new between sets. Tonight it was Defcon, whose vocalist seemed a bit chuffed at the time, and who will be supporting Medulla Nocte at this very place in a few short months. This could become an important place.

Houdini were first, apparently a local band having arisen from the ashes of a band called Silencer. Not heard either of them, and to be honest, this didn't really move me much. There were some nice bass lines running through everything, but that was the main thing that captured me. Sounded a bit more indie than I normally listen to, and there were a few times the vocalist kind of missed the microphone to sing into because it looked like his eyes were closed and head down. Which is something I'm not keen on. I like a band to try and at least make me feel like they want to be here, and they want us to be here. To try and engage. They didn't for me. The slower songs stood out as the best, but sorry, not really my thing.

Neither in some respects should Shallow be. Not being the biggest stoner fan. But there's something about this band. Them and Blackrock for me are the best 2 bands of their ilk in the UK at the moment. There's a quality to the songs that drags you in. It's the third song into the set that really does it, Tony has introduced the band as being "from Stoke. Stoke-on-Trent" In that dramatic James Bond would've been proud way. And they launch into Titanic. And it just grooves along. It's an awesome sound. The guitar tone is rich, reminds me of Queens Of The Stone Age, and it just drags you along. It's highlighted later in the set by Something and Sugar Glide from the "Live at ..." EP. I find myself thinking this is the sort of groove that modern day Metallica keep on about, but for all that, to my mind, they just can't achieve it in the same way Shallow can. It's pretty outrageous really. "You want one more? Troops of Doom" is Tony's pretty bad Sepultura impression as they launch into set closer Cake Ape which finishes off an excellent set. Really, if you like QOTSA, Kyuss and their ilk, then check out Shallow, especially live. Excellent.


Sack Trick

Nottingham Rock City

August 28 1999


In a slightly bad mood, which I shouldn't be given that Wales just beat France again this afternoon. That's 8 wins on the trot now. Unheard of. We may even do well in the world cup in just over a months time. But I think a bit of stress from work is affecting me. MAJOR deadlines coming looming way way to close and I'm getting worried.

There was a disappointingly poor turnout here tonight. Maybe it's the Reading / Leeds festival going on I dunno, but Rock City afterwards wasn't that full. Interestingly enough, the Rig seemed to have the best turnout, and that's the place that plays the 80s metal. Down here in the Disco II, the hardcore area, was pretty spartan. Whatever, I just thought it was an interesting observation. Read into it what you will.

First band I still can't make out what they were called. Queasy? QC? Quincy. Something like that is how it sounded. Whatever, it was ANOTHER rock'n'roll band. You know. Slicked back hair all that sort of thing that seems to be very in now. Very boring. There were some good riffs occassionaly, but it did nothing for me. Though I did keep wondering if this was "authentic" and not actually based on 80s hair metal. Well, I mean it's like everything at the moment is trying to claim authentic roots, whereas in reality it's more likely based in the stuff they try to ridicule. You know, punk bands were so influenced by the first generation of punk. Yeah right, I'm older than most of them and I can barely remember punk. All the new school really hard hardcore is based purely in hardcore. Yeah right, most of them are death metal and metal influenced bands in new make up. And so it is with all these sleazy/rock'n'roll bands. Influenced by the originals? Yeah right, more likely Motley Crue and the rest but changed your

image. Well I did say I was in a slightly bad mood.

Still, that doesn't extend to Sack Trick. A band who truly look like they're having fun every time they play. Tonight is a disappointly short set, with only the closing Kiss tune in Detroit Rock City. I guess it's partly because the usual available people are missing tonight, so maybe it's only playing what the entire band knows. But still, Perfect Today is gorgeous, Maths Teacher Words Of Wisdom is just what you'd expect with a title like that. Chris apologises for his nipples falling out all the time, covers them up again, only for them to fall right back out. There's also a safety lesson to be learned in the brutal Shoelaces. Of course, Kerrang! doesn't like them. Hiring Camels is apparently pointless filler. Hmm, I find that hard to fathom. Here's a band genuinely having fun and playing what they want, not what fashion dictates. And that, in the rebellious rock'n'roll world, is frowned upon. But at the same time, releasing a remix album, or doing a very bad impersonation of a rapper or hip hop artist brought up on the streets in the States is to be encouraged and welcomed as they do. Yeah, ok. And Slipknot of course are totally sensible and not a gimmick at all. Oooh no. Well they can't be. They're on RoadRunner, and the magazine writers need their wages paid somehow. I Play Bass as ever seems to get the best reception. Why? I mean, Kerrang! complains it's a funk metal wankfest. Hmm, maybe it gets the best reception cos it's a bit of fun, people raise a smile as the lyrics unfold, and hang on, doesn't Fieldy attempt that slap bass style that ST get hammered for? Oh yeah, he does. Sack Trick are one of the most entertaining and important bands in music at the moment. Go and discover them. Find out how far off the mark Kerrang! are. I mean, they started

the album review (only a year late) by making a link to The Wildhearts. For the album there is no link. The link is that former Wildheart Jef has played live with them. Not on the album. They can't even get they're basic facts right. In which case, how can you believe what they tell you. Trust me, Sack Trick are outstanding.

Just another thing to add. A while back I whinged about being searched on the way out of Rock City on a number of occassions. The reply when I asked why was "make sure you're not taking alcohol with you." Tonight as I walked out I wasn't searched. However, neither was the person who walked out with his girlfriend carrying in full view a bottle of Labbats Ice. Nice to see some consistency then.