Concert Reviews

Napalm Death - Today Is The Day
March 15th 1999
Les Foufounes Electriques, Montreal, PQ, Canada

Napalm Death. They invented grindcore. Their original drummer invented the blastbeat. It doesn't get much better than that.

The concert opened with Today is the Day, a hardcore band from England (I assume). I had never heard of the band before, but they were decent (and apparently they have something like 5 albums out). The drummer was really experimental, lots and lots of fills and strange time signatures. The guitar was just noise, but the vocalist was angry as hell, screaming one moment (and slobbering all over his mike), and then singing with cleaner vocals the next. The bass player was huge and was wearing leather. Enough said. Some nice riffs, in general a good band.

And that was it, no more opening acts, Napalm Death was on the stage. Even though they've been doing this for as long as I've been alive, they showed no signs of slowing down. Unfortunately, they were plagued with equipment problems the whole night. At one point the bass completely disappeared from the mix (and it was way too soft even when it was on), and they lost a guitar sound half way though the show and needed a roadie to come out and fiddle with the amp to get it back. Mix wise, Mitch's guitar was way too soft, Jesse's was just about right (the mix was actually a lot cleaner because you could only hear one guitar, and anyways Jesse's playing is very accurate), no bass, Barney's vocals were sometimes obscured by the guitar, and drum wise, the bassdrum was way too quiet until Danny did some double kicks, at which time the kicks were loud enough, usually it's the other way around. And the snare was impossible to hear. In general, the mix was a big mess, and I'm sad they didn't get a chance to make it a little more even.

Performance wise, it was all good. With so much music to choose from, the band played just about one song from all of their major releases. As well as several 20 second songs, I can remember the band playing 'Suffer the Children', 'Scum', 'Mass Appeal Madness', 'Downwards', 'Breed To Breath', 'The Infiltrator', 'Repression Out Of Uniform', 'Next To Kin Of Chaos', 'Greed Killing', 'Down In The Zero', and 'I Abstain'. 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off' was played during the 3 song encore. The band was tight, knew the material, and jumped around as much as they could on such a small stage. Barney's antics running around the stage looked a little silly and dated, but that's probably par for the course. Danny's drumming was excellent, his blastbeat technique was perfect, talk about a pair of strong wrists (not jokes, please). I still can't get over Shane's giant hair.

In general, they delivered the best that they could, an excellent performance hampered by bad sound, but you could see that they certainly knew what they were doing. This band is better than ever, the albums show a move from a more extreme noise oriented band to a more riff and song oriented band, and yet they have the smarts to know that they should have a good variety of songs from all their albums when performing live. A prime example of the fact that age does not mean you have to become obsolete.

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