I've got to say, my hopes are not high driving to this gig. Not meaning to be di sparaging to anyone, but after the minimal nature of Scunthorpe on a Saturday, the notion of Cleethorpes on a Monday rocking it's cotton socks, well, it doesn't fit well. Which is unfair of me, I've only been here once before, and I was surprised then at the turnout. So I shouldn't have preconceived notions of what will happen. Unfortunately, I'm a human being, therefore I do.
And it doesn't help by the fact that shortly before I leave, it decides to absol utely piss it down in a fashion not seen in quite a while, which means that most of the roads swiftly turn into rivers.
But fuck me sideways with a crossbow, there's people. Lots of them. Young people. Here. On a Monday. In this holiday camp hall almost on the seafront. I'm talking people as in there being an actual crowd for Thorn.11 to play to. Knocks me off course for a while. Thorn.11 are kind of begining to grow a bit, in that "ahhh, I recognise that part" sort of way. The key for me though is that they have to get to that "ahh, I remember that", which is slightly different, and they've not quite gotten to yet. They look like they're feeding off the fact of an audience, but as tumbleweed passes between songs, there's the first signs of what becomes a growing realisation that although there's people, and although they're expending a great deal of energy, they're perhaps the re to expend the energy, rather than potentially appreciate the music.
And that realisation slaps you round the head during Rabies Caste. Not the most obvious or accessible band. You can kind of understand people getting into Thorn on first listen, there's melody and obvious song structures there, but Rabies push you that bit more. The vocals are harsh, the music heavy and dischordant (can a bass guitar sound get much lower?), but still the people throw themselves ar ound with great vigour during the songs, and remain silent between them. Again, the band feed off it, the vocalist thanks people and says they'll see them again at the end of the set. But it's said to almost silence. The band have finished, no need to show any appreciation. You hope they've not been duped by the common misconception in live music these days that energy necessarily = interest and quality.
As earthtone9 take the stage, those that have been sat on the floor around the edges get up and make their way down to the front. It means that pretty much the whole of the dancefloor immediately in front of the stage looks full. Opening as ever on this tour with evil crawling i, it's the perfect opportunity for people to bounce up and down and side to side into each other, which they duly do. Others line up at the corners of the dancefloor at the back before running and launching themselves into the middle of the pit. It's a feature that continues for a lmost the entirety of the set, although the number of people thins out as they retire to the sides to sit on the floor once more. Either they've shot their load a bit toooooo soon, or they don't like the music. It requires a request mid set from Karl to get them back on their feet. The people are there, there's action going on, but the vibe just isn't quite the same as the previous couple of gigs that I've seen. Maybe the band are tired, maybe there's the sense that the connection isn't quite there as before. That tonight it's about people enjoying themselves rather than necessarily enjoying the music. But it could be worse. Withered garners the biggest response, there's a surprise, but it's still the melody that stands out in the likes of Amnesia, p.r.d, Revelation, Tat twam and of course, the massive Binary.
At the end, everything disperses pretty quickly, a bit vacuous, which sums up the gig. Good, but that vital something was missing tonight.