It's to my surprise and shame that this is the first time I've seen the Rollins band live. I've seen the spoken word on a few occassions, but not the band. I'm not one of those that can honestly say I was into Black Flag when they existed - much like my affinity with the Dead Kennedys, my Rollins / Black Flag thing started after they'd (Black Flag) split and Rollins was already an established name. I'm not professing to be there from the start or even an expert. But 2 albums, End of Silence and Weight for me are so righteous, a cornerstone from a point of time in life. Oh, I had tickets to see them back in around 90whatever on the Weight tour. 'Twas on my birthday I believeat either the Forum or Brixton, but well, things went tits up and the shape of the pear, and I ended up about 200 miles away in the other direction that night. A few months later and I'd moved, and our paths just haven't had the opportunity to cross since. Maybe it was changes in my life, different taste in music or whatever, but we kind of parted company after Get Some Go Again, and I've not bought any of the last few albums.
But for back then and everything, I figure he still owes me. He owes me a set based on End of Silence and Weight, given how much of a role those albums played in my life about then and what they meant for me. And definitely figure he owes me Low Self Opinion and Liar. And for those reading, of course he doesn't owe me. No-one owes anyone. Still, it's kind of ironic that at the time he comes round again, I kind of feel the way I feel. It's amazing what people can do to you without them even knowing it isn't it?
It also means that this gig is going to rule no matter what. Actually, it's a contradiction. It could suck and I'll still think it's great, cos this is my chance to see them, on the other hand, cos it's a different band and it's not the EoS / Weight era, it ain't going to be what it was. For me. Yep, it's going to be a purely selfish gig.
So I'm afraid I didn't give too much attention to Queen Adreena. It just doesn't click with me for some reason. I bought the album as soon as it was released, but in the meantime I don't think I've listened to it on more than 6 or 7 occassions. And this is I think the second time I've seen them live. It's a powerful expressive enough performance, at least from Katie Garside, but it still doesn't grip me. Sorry, should say more, but what's the point if I've got nothing to say?
I'd been a bit worried about this gig, it's the night before Incubus are playing the Ice Arena and 2 nights before Clutch play here. Which isn't to say that the audiences for those gigs are the same as the one for tonight, but that the curious might stay away in favour of those. So I'd thought it may even take place downstairs. But no, it's not packed, but there's a nice size crowd here by the time the current Rollins band take the stage, for me it has to be said a little bit anonymously, and Rollins himselfs backs out on to the stage before turning and twisting into Disconnect. He appears to be sporting a strange 'tache, which he soon removes. Later he will explain how he found it in the dressing room, and the tour manager told him to wear it for the entire gig, "He's not to be messed with but fuck you" he declares before dedicating a song to the manager not to be messed with. We also get Tearing soon after and this is it, this is what it's meant to be. Rollins is writhing, turning facing his band, drinking bottles of water and exhaling them, the sweat pouring off, driving the band ever onwards as he cries "up for it, I'm up for it".
During the set the likes of Hotter and Hotter, Get Some Go Again and Monster come and go. Low Self Opinion arrives and I've got a lump in my throat I don't think I've ever had at a gig before. I've been waiting years for this. It still works, still does it.
The audience reaction seems a little muted, "thankyou for coming out on a Sunday night to see us and Queen Adreena, and before silence hits the auditorium, it's on with the next song". On the other hand it's kind of quite nice that even with this music you can actually enjoy it and be moved by the music and allow it to take it's course with resorting to violence. It's a bit of a shame if violence is the only emotion that many people are able to feel and muster up. During the gig Rollins says "what's that band with the masks, they're from Iowa, I don't need to jump up and down all the time, when you've got good music", or similar words to that effect. And it's true. Violent reaction isn't the only emotion to enjoying good music.
There's also the acerbic wit side displayed as well. Rather than the normal American thankyou to NottingHAM, he explains how "the men are ugly in the UK, the women are gorgeous but the men, I was expecting everyone to be here in tight green pants and have longbows and everything", though he does go on to do an absolutely terrible impersonation of the Gallagher brothers, while berating the whole "I much prefer to be in a studio to playing a gig" syndrome.
The band briefly leave the stage before returning for an encore, Rollins declaring that this is "for our Irish Grandmother Philemina(sp?)" and of course that's the cue for some Thin Lizzy with I'm A Rocker, while Do It brings the proceedings to a halt and a promise to return. We'll see.
Was it as good as I'd hoped for? Dunno. Sometimes you can overthink things. I've wanted to see the Rollins band for ages, and now I have. I enjoyed the gig and so on that level I'm happy.