Call me Russ L

A tale of two… well, one city, but two gigs

Posted in Music by Russ L on 8 January, 2006

Originally posted on 6/11/5.

I’ve left it too long again. I know I’m always starting these things with a phrase along those lines, but this is even worse than usual. If we go back about three weeks I went to two gigs that couldn’t have had more different turnouts – loadsanloadsanloads at the first, and bugger all at the second.

We had Municipal Waste/Send More Paramedics/Mirror! Mirror!/Knives at The Flapper and Firkin, on Monday the 17th of October. I’m all in favour of varied bills, but this one just came across as odd – the top two bands “Ther-rash” and the bottom two “Cor, I’m mad, me.”

Knives (I seem to be seeing them a lot lately) had a lot of technical and tuning difficulties, and just seemed… I don’t know, off somehow. Ne’mind. Mirror! Mirror! were alright doing their disco Blood Brothers-y spazzy stuff, although they seemed to go on for a bit too long and I definitely preferred the first time I saw them. Response from the crowd as a whole was fairly muted for both bands, though, and in some ways that’s hardly surprising. It was the wrong gig for them.

I’d heard a few recorded bits and bobs by zombie thrashers Send More Paramedics in the past and didn’t get the fuss, but live they were unstoppable. Really anthemic and energetic, inciting a big moshpit. Their last song “Zombie Crew” was great. They’re visually good too (with what looks like a fair bit of effort put in), although it’s a given that a lot of the young, young people into them probably wouldn’t be if they just played the music they do without the dressing up. An excellent set, anyway.

Quite a few people left after they finished, which seems to have annoyed some. I don’t care. Since the place was still fairly full for Municipal Waste, it made more breathing space for the rest of us and it’s the loss of the saft sods who left. MW were great, anyway – they basically are DRI, but since we don’t have DRI anymore we need Municipal Waste. They have great crossover thrashing tunes (inspiring another enthusiastic pit) and a huge sense of fun, with not a hint of GRRRmetal po-facedness about them. Fantastic stage banter, too – consider “Tomorrow morning you won’t have a hangover, you’ll have a BANGOVER!” and “This is mosh city, and I am the mayor!” I thought Send More Paramedics had stolen the show after their great set, but Municipal Waste topped it.

On Saturday the 22nd I went to see Assert at The Market Tavern. The turnout couldn’t have been more of a contrast. There were only a handful of people in attendance who weren’t actually in one of the bands performing. Birmingham Turnout doesn’t come as a surprise to many anymore, but this really was rubbish. Really, really rubbish.

I missed Deadweight, anyway, and arrived in time for Headhunglow from Leicester. Metalcore-ish business, with the occasionaly grindy bit. Fairly generic but not too bad. I got the impression (not based on anything particular) that they’re one of these bands that feed off the crowd and would have been even better if there was a throng of people going mad in front of them. Dunno, though.

Broken Minds were next, and… surprising. Rap-metal bands aren’t so common these days, are they? Never mind two piece rap metal bands (guitarist and vocalist, everything else coming out of a box o’ tricks). For the most part they sounded kind of like Stuck Mojo with proper beats behind them, although some of the uptempo bits actually approached a much less angry Atari Teenage Riot (I realise that sounds strange, but trust me). The vocalist uses that same flow that rap-metal bands nearly always use (why is that?). I wasn’t particularly impressed with them, but they actually got quite a lot of the small number of people in attendance dancing or at least nodding their heads in appreciation. At an ASSERT gig! God bless the world and it’s non-predictability.

This was the first time I’ve seen Assert with drum machine. You can guess from that I haven’t seen ‘em for years (I have this tendency not to find out about their gigs till after they’ve already happened. Maybe that’s what happened to everyone else who should’ve been at this gig?) but I’ve always liked them – hard as nails punk/HC speed combined with groove and really catchy memorable songs. They’re an awesome live band too – Britt rampages around and makes for fantastic frontman. I think a lot of singers who play at doing the wild ‘n’ crazy thing would love to be him if they could. The medley of older songs (the ones I’m most familiar with) was the highlight for me, even prompting a bit of shouting along from my reserved self. Fantastic set, anyway; just a shame that next to no bleeder was there to see it.

~ Russ L

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