Breakneck & Matter

Saturday 5th August, 2000 - Mr Smiths, Bournemouth, ENGLAND.
So it took us two and a half hours and a 170 mile journey to get to this gig and people were amazed (including us), but when you looked at the bands on the bill, it all started to make sense (well to me anyway!) and was well worth it.   This was the second day of a two day metalfest at Mr Smiths, hosted and promoted by Snub. The first nights entertainment was Raging Speedhorn, Mindjuice, Lain and Rumblefish (the last two are local bands).  It would of been great to catch that night as well but it just wasn't possible, however the Saturday night was most enjoyable on it's own merits.

Whilst waiting for the doors to open, we met-up with Oz Packard from earthtone9.  We chatted about their new album arc'tan'gent (due for release on C+P Copro Records on the 25th September) and the bands hectic schedule this year.  Although they're all very tired and have earned a rest, they are looking forward to the album release and believe me, it is a real stormer!  (check out my review).  Anyway, Oz as usual was a perfect gentleman and looked after us during the evening, to which we were very grateful and I thank him sincerely.

earthtone9 @ Mr Smiths
Once inside the club it wasn't long before the first band of the evening took to the boards  I think they had a little trouble finding the venue and were literally off the street and onto the stage.  The band were called Matter and I think they're based in Brighton (going on the references made to it).   The frontman and vocalist was quite a strong character with a memorable stage presence, but was a little too negative about, well about everything really.  They were the first band on and relatively unknown, the crowd reaction was somewhat subdued and taken in context it wasn't that surprising, everyone needed warming up so his sarcastic comments were a little out-of-order.  Having said all that, overall I quite enjoyed them as they did present an intensely heavy set with some entertaining vocals that covered the scream and growl style comprehensively.  They also tried hard, especially that vocalist who gave 100%, and on reflection did manage to keep the attention (albeit without movement) of quite a number of the still growing audience.

The second band was another that I'd not seen before, but one that I was familiar with in name due to an existing connection with earthtone9.  They were called Breakneck and the story goes that their bass player Jamie Floate, left to join earthtone9 but for whatever reasons didn't stay long and now isn't in either band.  Anyway, I'm afraid I wasn't that keen on Breakneck, mainly because the music was too far in the death camp for my tastes, with seemingly self-indulgent songs that just went on too long.  Then there was the way the band looked, which kept reminding me of the "Deliverance" and banjo playing for some reason.  Hey, they really weren't bad and this is just my opinion, as many around me seemed to be enjoying it, but I just couldn't get comfortable with them or their music, sorry.

The venue was now just about full to brimming and everyone was waiting for the next band to start.  Then on they came, the mighty earthtone9 who wasted no time and from a flood of feedback launched straight into "approx.purified".  A track from their forthcoming arc'tan'gent album, such a powerful song that rips your face off and just doesn't give you a chance to avoid it.  An excellent song to open with and the crowd really appreciated it as the front started to erupt.   If that wasn't enough, they then discharged into the awesome "star damage (for beginners)" which is another arc'tan'gent track and a personal favourite, it mixes intense, crushing vocals and riffs with a harmonic chorus to die for.

It was clear that they were intent on playing predominately newer material tonight, and was hinted at by Karl before the next song when he acknowledged "Cheers, I know that you don't know much of this stuff, but hey we're gonna play it anyway".  But, it did seem to hinder as the crowd were enjoying it.

earthtone9 - Simon - click to enlarge "tat twam asi" was next up and despite a slight technical problem at the beginning, they were soon in their stride and from the songs slow subtle start they're quickly slamming into pure aggression.  And as they did the kids down front once again went berserk.  I think it was at this time I was down there trying to take some photo's, oh stupid boy what a silly thing to do, so I apologise for the quality.  I did get some unexpected help from "Choff" (Snub) who was also down the front and allowed me along side the stage where I was free from the lunatics.  Thanks dude, I appreciated that. earthtone9 - Oz - click to enlarge
The technical problems returned as the band tried to start "evil crawling i" and it took a couple of goes before they managed to unleash this formidable song, again from the new album.  It appears that Simon was having great difficulty with the drum kit moving around the stage every time he tried to play and this wasn't making things particularly easy.  The problem wasn't fixed and Simon just had to adapt.  And adapt he did as the opening riff seized the audience attention and the song kicked in and hacked randomly at the crowd, lacerating where it could.
earthtone9 - Karl and Oz - click to enlarge
There was a short break as the drum kit was secured and before we knew it "alpha-hi" was upon us and I noticed from the side of the stage that Choff indicate to "Joe" (guitar) that there was only time for one more song.  Ironically, it was "withered" (one of their oldest songs) that closed this fine fresh earthtonal set, with the pit moshing like mad and injury looked certain.  The band looked like they wanted to continue and we all certainly wanted them to, but it was not to be.  Due to the earlier bands overrunning slightly and the technical problems it was all over and far too soon.
earthtone9 - Dave - click to enlarge
But then we still had Snub to follow, and being the local band the crowd were really up for it.  There was an interesting statement by Choff (Vocals) at the very start of their set about a January festival in Bournemouth (in a park, I think) with the bands including Snub, Pitchshifter, One Minute Silence, earthtone9 and Raging Speedhorn all playing for charity!  Wow, it can't be real, but if it is and I can confirm it, I'll let you all know.

The venue had by now accumulated a tremendous atmosphere and Snub with "Memories In Richter" just

Snub - Stuart - click to enlarge added to it, again the place exploded.  The lads ripped through the song as their aggression and attitude started to pour.  They're a very tight unit and have a good strong local following that were reacting well, and the violence of their music started to entrench.   I thought I'd had problems taking photos of earthtone9, but that was nothing when trying to take Snub (not least of all because some cretin next to me kept insisting on bumping me it seemed deliberately, until I persuaded him not to anymore).  So apologies to Snub for the lack of pictures but blame the butthead. Snub - Choff - click to enlarge
The mayhem continued with more hard hitting songs, the devastating "Manmade" was dedicated to their own Simon Smith (Guitar) who looked so relaxed but at the same time ready to rip your head off.    Then there was "Wretched" which Choff dedicated to the crowd for coming down to the gig, but with a special mention for me. "...then there's Rigsby who came down from fucking Leicester to catch a show in     Bournemouth, fucking crazy!...." (thanks Choff, made my day).
The attacks came think and fast, with "The Cynic", "Arson" and "Raping Angels".  The sound was solid with an unyielding performance from the rhythm merchants of Vincent Edmonds (Drums) and Martin 'Dynamic' Jeffery (Bass) who played like men possessed.  The band is now a four piece after Marcus (guitar/b.vocals) left recently, even though I did see him at the gig (but missed my chance to talk to him).  I couldn't help feel that, when compared to seeing them back in March, a second guitar and particularly the backing growls of Marcus did add such a lot to the depth of their sound.   It's not something essential, but a nice enhancement.

Snub had promoted and organised both days of this mini-metalfest, to which I applaud, as they had done such an excellent job.   Choff thanked all of the bands that had taken part over the two days, in one of his chats to the crowd.  He really does create a good rapport between band and audience, one that makes you feel part of the gig and not just like a bystander.  The show was coming to an unwanted end and they finished with "360 Degree Conviction".  Well that was until the crowd demanded an encore, where they trailed a new song called "Six Deep" (thanks for the title Mr Jeffery) which was another good slab of angry hardcore and if it's anything to go by, bodes very well for their future.

Snub - Stuart - click to enlarge
Overall, an excellent evening of nu-metal and hardcore the British way!  I enjoyed almost every minute of the gig, despite a minor gripe of being made to feel like some kinda annoying 'shit fly' by Karl and Joe (et9).  It was a real pleasure sharing an evening with bands of this quality and as a bonus getting the opportunity to talk to earthtone9's Oz Packard and Dave Anderson which just rounded off the night perfectly.


Note:  All live pictures of the bands are the property of Rigsby and may only be used with prior permission