Rabies Caste / Own Worst Enemy Nottingham Old Angel October 19 2001

I'm knackered. And I'm late. First band has been and gone. Own Worst Enemy are n ext. Been a while since I've seen them. And to be fair, in that time, my love (i f it was ever that, love may be a slightly strong word), my appreciation of hard core has diminished somewhat in that time. I find it hard to get excited by this style any more. Maybe it's because I've heard this band before that I can appre ciate them a little more than if I was hearing them today for the first time. Th ere are times where it feels a little generic, though the mix doesn't really do too many favours, and one of the guitarists appears to be having technical probl ems. I reach this conclusion as I believe that effects pedals are normally opera ted by the guitarist using his feet, not bending down and typing things in with his fingers while at the same time not playing anything on the guitars. It's unf ortunate, but I guess it's one of those things that all guitarists and all bands go through at some point. Maybe the drummer decides to compensate, because it l ooks like he's determined to put a hole in the snare drum rather than merely pou nd it. One song is introduced as being short. It isn't. It twists and turns for 5 or 6 minutes, it's a little more intricate than I normally associate with hard core, but the best is saved for the final song. A naggingly incessant riff that' s so totally different to everything that's gone before, it's a band showing the re's more going on there if they want to explore. It's eventually roped into the hardcore fold, but it makes a pleasant change.

You do have to feel for Rabies. In the current climate, they've come from Israel , played on a tour which musically probably didn't do them too many favours and now they're here, in a venue in their labels home town, and it appears no-one fr om the label has seen fit to turn up. I may be wrong, but there are some people that I can recognise, and they ain't here. Wonder how encouraging and uplifting that must feel for a band. Still, they plough on regardless. I was expecting a l onger set being as this is a headline gig, but it's not, everything is still con tained within 30 minutes. Somehow it feels more at home in the dark confines of the Old Angel, the bass reverberating, pusing everything along. It's a sound tha t works better live for me, not really the sought of thing I listen to much at h ome these days. But it's the power of it live coupled with watching the band. Th e bassist head twisting and turning, as if constant pain, looking up to the ligh ts and the ceiling as he wrings the notes out of the bass, while the drums are e verywhere. Sometimes it seems like they've messed up, maybe it's improvising thi ngs. I believe the final song is called Haemaphilia, or something like that. It' s got an incredibly effective riff that runs through it, it's been the highlight song of all the gigs I've seen them do recently, and it's the case tonight. Thi s time though, due to there being no backstage area, it's possible to see the ba ssist leave at the end of the song, cower by the side of the stage, head covered in a towel as if in a deeply personal breakdown state. It feels like the sort o f exorcism you shouldn't really be a witness to.