System of a Down / Dillenger Escape Plan

Nottingham Ice Arena April 1 2002

So this is the Ice Arena eh? Not much ice about at the moment. Lots of people though. Lots and lots of people. I don't know if it was full or not. The seating all looks full. I'm in the standing area. I've located myself about 1/3 of the way from the stage. As far as I can see back looks full, but I don't know if I can see all the way back. Still. There's a lot of people here. A lot.

I remember a quote. Mike Patton made it. Others may well have. It went along the lines of "the larger the crowd, the more the intelligence level decreases." Meaning you could get away with more. "How the fuck are you Nottingham" gets a roar in an Arena - lots of people, and a "fuck you" in a very small intimate venue.

Dillenger Escape Plan take the stage. The lights have dropped, there is a roar. Ahh, good. What follows, well, look, each to their own and that sort of thing. But it was nothing short of an utter fucking disgrace. No, not DEP. The sound for them was fucking awful it has to be said, rending the music one large mush. It's not an ideal manner in which to witness a band. Still, they tear things up, the music jerks and spazzes all over the place, which is what DEP music does. But boy do the people not like it. There's muted response after the first song, which turn to increasing levels of boos as things follow.

Now, like I said, each to his own, and as I'm writing this, this is my own and my opportunity to say what a bunch of utter fucking banal fuckwitted cunts those people booing were. I mean, lets look at this. Around me, people are complaining that "it's noise, there's no songs." Um, this is coming from people in Slipknot shirts. Uh, hang on just one fucking second there. Are you going to stand there and tell me that you heard "the song" in Slipknot the first time you heard it. Are you going to tell me that one of the reasons that you love Slipknot and their ilk isn't BECAUSE to others it sounds like noise. Are you going to tell me you can listen to the alleged blastbeats on their album, but not give this a chance. Around me are people in System shirts. Free thinkers are dangerous. Which is lucky that there appear to be none here. Because you are free thinking enough to have judged someone enough to give them that reception and reaction after 5 minutes. If you don't like or enjoy it fine, but show some respect. People complained that DEP threw bottles of water into the crowd, and drumsticks. Bands that triumph do that, but then it's ok, cos you like them? And it's ok for you to throw abuse to the band, but not for the band to respond. Oh I forgot, do you own the band? Uh, let me ponder that. No you don't.

Basically, this wasn't the place to judge them. The sound was awful, so I can fully understand and respect people not being impressed. What I can't really understand and respect was the reaction it provoked. It was utterly uncalled for. Some people ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Cos you know what, System really just underwhelmed me. Now let me explain myself here before I'm accused of being a killjoy. I did an interview with Serj before they were signed. I gave out about 200 of their demos years ago. I remember when War was played at Rock City at gigs and asking people what they thought of it, to be met by a number of nonplussed "uh, ok I guess". I travelled down to London to see 2 of the support gigs they did with Slayer and Sepultura the first time they were over here. I rate System. Very very much. Tonight though they just didn't really cut it for me. Part of it was the sound. Put it like this, if this had been my first exposure to them as a band, it wouldn't have overly impressed me. But I do know they are a good band, because of giving them a chance.

Anyway, Prison Song starts, and it just doesn't lack the power it does on CD. Just one guitar live makes things a bit flat and sparse, and during the course of the set, it feels like Daron spends too much time entertaining and too little time concentrating on his playing. He can play well, but there's too many times where they miss the little intricacies of the CD, or the power. Of course when War is played, the place goes ballistic as it should, Chop Suey garners an even better response. The thing is, System have it in them to be sooooooooo much more than soundbites, which is a little bit of how things come over tonight. Short sharp shocks, brutality, where it's the beauty of Spiders, and the melody that starts Toxicity wherein lies their true strengths. But occassionally it's too disposable. Yes Bounce is silly but it's disposable. Aerials is altogether so much better. Needles and Deer Dance have their moment, when their roots shine through, more please more, but focus on it. System will survive the current strangulation of music, but they should do it by being themselves.

As it's the last night of the tour, shenanigans are in order, and tonights are naked shenanigans courtesy of DEP. "What they fuck was that" the band exclaim at the end. Er, you were closer guys, you tell us sort of thing. "If you don't like Dillinger, you must have small tits or small dicks" cries Daron, to large cheers. Uh, free thinkers are dangerous. But this is sheer hypocrisy. At least have the conviction in your beliefs to have booed them then. Ah no, you can't.

Know and Sugar, of course gather large repsonses, and after about 80 minutes PLUCK brings things to an end. I'm underwhelmed and utterly pissed of with the spoonfed nature of the crowd. Inwardly the heart sinks a bit to know that in 2 days time, earthtone9 kick off their final UK tour after announcing they're to split. It's sad to think that looking around at all these free thinkers, you could probably place all the people that will attend each of their gigs onto the large stage that System have just occupied. I'll leave you to draw your own conclusion, or not give a shit.

Last modified: Tue Apr 9 15:33:05 BST 2002