Dog Eat Dog / Horny Toad

Bradford Rios

July 16

My how things have changed. A few songs into their set, and Horny Toad pulls out something akin to the Specials. This is ska core or whatever it's being called at the moment. It's ok. I can live with it, because, as I said, times change. I remember listening to Ska, the Specials, Bad Manners, that 2Tone stuff, as a very young kid, basically cos my Brother listened to Sabbath, and this was the opposite at the time, and would piss him off. How times change. Now here's bands mixing this stuff up, and having it go down pretty well in essentially a rock club. The band gets tracks on freebies given away with metal mags, and thanks them at the gig into the process. In the same instant, the metal mags dismiss old heavy metal bands stagesets as being naff, ie, this weeks Kerrang!'s best 100 gigs of all time, contained one Maiden gig and announced them as having a naff set any time from 1982 through to today. Ok, times have changed, but surely they shouldn't attack completely what they supposedly stood for. But what it all comes down to is the music. Horny Toad are ok. Nothing outstanding to these ears, but in a club, where you're there to relax and enjoy, then it fits nicely. Sometimes thought of Fishbone as well, but they're nowhere near that league.

Dog Eat Dog. First time I saw them was supporting Biohazard. Last time was at Donington. Each time I've been less impressed it would seem than a lot of other people. They're a good live band, but the songs didn't make me want to go out and buy the album. So, consequently, the only song I know tonight, is No Fronts, although others sound familiar. Anyway, this band, and really this sort of music, is a live proposition. And live in clubs, not distant, unatmospheric arenas.

So, how did they fare. Pretty well, again. This is music to be experienced live in the clubs, with no barrier between band and crowd. A lot of people don't like stage diving, which is fair enough, but to me, it's an essential part of this sort of show. The communication the band have with the crowd, is based on this closeness. Which is why John Connor tells stagedivers to keep going, and everyone on the dancefloor to keep going. If you don't like it, just hang back a bit. Without this interaction, how would you get some girl getting up there, telling him it's her 18th birthday that day, and having happy birthday Roxanne sang. It's all part of what makes this kind of live gig so exciting to witness. And throughout it all, there's no hint of violence or trouble. Go down the road a few miles to Leeds, and take a look at crowds at the T&C watching bands. Barriers, no stagedivers allowed, and that place constantly has people throwing shit at the bands and pissing them off. Maybe it's different crowds, but I'd hazard that a lot of the people at something like Dog Eat Dog in Bradford would go to see something like Korn and Marilyn Manson, or the Wildhearts at Leeds. All of whom have been subjected to shit being thrown at them the last time they played there. Then you get Sick of it All in Bradford. Biggest stage invasions I've witnessed, yet no hint of trouble. Same with Dog Eat Dog last night. And they feed off it (sorry about that one).

Some titles I think I recognised, In the Doghouse (which apparently Rios, being one of their favourite places, yeah, is), Games, Dog Eat Dog, some stuff from the Warrant Ep which they apparently haven't played in a year. All in all pretty entertaining. The new single, featuring vocals from the drummer, who abandoned his drums for that one.

Like I said, I don't own a cd by them, so I can't describe the songs. It comes down to atmosphere, which was good as usual in this place. So a good gig, fun. Wonder if it'll be the same in Nottingham. Might not even bother going to that one, even though it's the local place, because they just don't seem to allow that same interaction. Heavy handed security. But despite a good gig, I still don't think I'm going to be rushing to get the CD.