So, Pitchshifter. To say I’m familiar with the band’s output and their live performances would be understating it a little: I’ve been following them since first discovering Triad years ago on a John Peel show (probably sometime around ’94/’95), and then saw them live 13 times between ’96 and ’02 (I never saw the “last” tour, or the return shows since). So it was with some trepidation, in some respects, that I went along to this gig.
Rock City was rammed – not only was this gig on, but legendary hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits were playing downstairs following their recent reformation also – making it something of a night of nostalgia for all.
There wasn’t anything to worry about, of course, with Pitchshifter. On the dot of 2100 JS Clayden and the band appeared, to big cheers and a big hometown crowd, and ripped straight into old favourite Microwaved, quickly followed by Subject To Status. A nice start – two of the most popular songs from their best album!
Subject To Status
[a This Is Menace track]
What’s In It For Me?
For the first time in aeons, I even was down in “the pit” for this gig – and it was notable that for once the etiquette of the pit was actually followed. Simple stuff really: if someone falls, you clear space and help them up, keep a sense of humour, don’t be a twat. Amazing that most of this kind of thing is completely ignored nowadays. In addition, it was nice to see anumber of familiar faces down the front, including a few friends from Huddersfield that I haven’t seen in some time!
A slight downer was the lack of properly “old” stuff played, but then with JS Clayden’s comments previously that he doesn’t like their older stuff anymore, it was hardly surprising. So the only representative from the first three albums was a stomping Virus, with even Triad missing from the set. Of newer things, brand new track Messiah (given away on a CD to all attendees) was aired, and it’s…ok. More of note was the punk-infused This Is Menace track, which was really rather great (can anyone tell me which one it was?). And seeing as they gave away a copy of the first This Is Menace album to all attendees too afterwards, it was a nice reminder to finally pay attention to that band.
The end was pretty much as expected, concentrating on the remainder of their biggest tracks. So, a race through Please Sir and W.Y.S.I.W.Y.G. (after all these years, still their best song), slowing down the pace a little for Shutdown, before Genius closed the night in some style (played heavier, faster and better than before). And for the first time in some time, we were treated to some proper rock star behaviour as Mark Clayden well and truly trashed his bass guitar on stage.
Is that the end, then? It’s difficult to tell. JS was saying at the end of the gig cryptic comments about this “being their last Rock City gig”, but then it is now on record that there will be an album in 2009 to celebrate their 20th anniversary. The thing is, they aren’t as good as the band they used to be on record, but live they are still untouchable. So let’s put it this way: I’d be happy to have them back live again next year, or any year…
As for the only support act of the three that we saw – Brigade – looking like McFly’s younger siblings, and providing a derivative take on alternative-rock does not keep my interest for long, if at all. Even odder: reading up later, the lead singer is actually Charlie from Fightstar/Busted’s younger brother. Right idea, wrong band…