Thursday, October 24, 2002

A league of their own - no Argument

Only one thing could have made me forsake the chance to watch Newcastle beat Juventus, and that was the legendary Fugazi's rescheduled Nottingham gig. It had been a long wait since the original dates were postponed back in June, and an even longer wait since I last saw them in May 1999 at the Ball Room in Nottingham, not knowing any of their stuff. Kinda appropriate that the last band I'd seen in the main room at Rock City were The Hives, whose debt to Fugazi's Dischord buddies The Make-Up, not to mention Rocket From The Crypt, has been almost entirely ignored in the mainstream music media.

So, the support acts. First up were Twinkie – not bad. Three things to recommend them: 1. They sounded somewhere between Ikara Colt and bass-centric oddballs Billy Mahonie. 2. They have a song called ‘Dickhead’. 3. Their bassist has evidently decided that there just aren’t enough pencil moustaches and brown jumper-and-jacket combinations in rock these days. I have to agree.

Next, the infamous – locally, at least – Wolves (Of Greece!), who I last saw warming up and melting down for …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead two years ago. How to describe them? Well, how’s about ‘a sheer spastic noise attack with a schizophrenic Roddy Woomble-alike on vocals and a fundamental and alarming disregard for any conventional notions of structure or rhythm that makes Shellac and Les Savy Fav’s The Cat And The Cobra sound like easy listening’? “And is this a good thing?”, I hear you cry. Well, not really, no.

When Fugazi finally emerged, they seemed almost disarmingly relaxed. Guy Picciotto confessed it was the first time in the band’s 16 year history that he wasn’t wearing trainers on stage, but his shoes got so uncomfortable he took them off and asked for some size 9s to be thrown up. They later taking time to sign a card that Ian MacKaye joked would be appearing on Ebay today. When they laid into ‘Guilt-Free Fall’, it suddenly struck me that I haven’t listened to them for ages. It’s been a few months now that my obsession with In On The Kill Taker subsided. What’s incredible is that, with a back catalogue like theirs, it was the newest material that took their performance from the really good to the absolutely brilliant. A fantastic ‘Smallpox Champion’ aside, it was ‘Full Disclosure’, ‘Epic Problem’ and ‘The Argument’ that made the night so special. They are in every possible way – sonically, politically, inspirationally, ethically - a Very Important Band.

The new Dischord retrospective should be a compulsory purchase – check out the Dischord family for yourself.

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