Wednesday, 9 February 2011

No Roads Lead Home

Fugazi - 'The Ballroom' Nottingham - 13 May 1999
The venue where the concert is taking place is not in the middle of Nottingham
- in fact it's pretty far away from the town centre. Because I'd already been to
a concert there this year I knew where to go this time - but the first time I went
it took me ages to find it. It's also a pretty unusual venue for a concert, it's the
upstairs part of a building, and looks just like a big school hall.

It was an impressive sight arriving at the venue and seeing some hardcore guys
being interviewed by a film crew! - heck even the media knew what kind of deal
it was tonight! I end up talking to one of the guys (Matt) later down at the front
... turns out it was Channel 5 filming for some 'Straight-Edge special.

Once inside the atmosphere is really different to any gig I'd been to in the past,
it was really relaxed, small groups of people talking amid tables with various
literature on them. I go over and get my spot at the front, looking at the stage
from the right hand side.

I was actually really pissed off when I realised it was ANOTHER support band
on stage (Six By Seven) and not Fugazi like I had expected ... so I'm standing
there not impressed when the singer introduces their 2nd song 'My Life Was
A Mistake' (*My Life Is An Accident)  then it started to happen, there was a
part he was singing that really got to me. I knew then that was it. When you
have a moment when you know that something special is happening in front
of you, when you get that feeling that just hits you ... that this is what it's all
about. This all happened in that second song. The next song had me thinking
about how I now felt about the band because of that previous song ... and while
I was thinking about this, they were impressing me even more and making me
feel even more with a whole new song.

The songs are very interesting. I liked their structure and how they could be
all fast and intense one minute, then just splinter off and go down a whole new
avenue that you wern't expecting. Taking you with it. Then they'll play a slower
song straight after, and catch you off-guard. After they finished their set I was
in a real good mood. I would have been happy with just that ... I really felt like
that I'd had my moneys worth already. So you could be saying I was glad that
it wasn't Fugazi who'd stepped out on that stage.

Fugazi start with Ian saying they played here in 1991, someone shouts out
that it was 1989! - Ian seems surprised that it was so long ago,saying 'was
anyone else but the 4 of us at that gig?! ... well we were here and it was fucking
great! ... you should have been there!' ... I was very pleased when I realised that
'Break' was the first song, you could really see the devotion on the faces of the
fans and what it all meant to them. Before the gig I was a bit worried that
because I only had a couple of albums some of the songs might be lost on me.
I was real pleased to find this wasn't the case. It didn't matter that I didn't know
all the songs ... there were loads of moments in the gig when you were just
caught up in the music, having a good time.  Songs you didn't know were having
this effect on you. It was a really good feeling realising this. And added to this
they played my big favourites (Break/Place Position/Waiting room) so all in all
I was one happy guy!

Someone gets up on stage during a song, after it's finished Ian has this to say:
'Sir I'd like to apologise to you for shoving you in your face and pushing you
back into the crowd but I didn't realise that you wern't aware of the general
situation here, we have human beings on the front row (people start clapping)
and we would (consider?) if you would not jump up on stage and the gentleman
with the bald head we would appreciate it if you would also not jump on the
stage, in fact we would appreciate it if everyone would just dance on the floor!'
... the crowd cheers (the guy says something back) 'I'm sure you wern't trying
to hurt anyone but the point is you'd hurt a lot less people if you danced on the
floor! ... you're a growing lad, you know I have no fucking idea how many stone
you weigh! ... but you weigh at least 150lbs, so keep your 150lb ass on the floor!'
(everyone cheers)

We all felt the same as Ian. Everyone was just having a good time that night,
stage diving  just wasn't for this night, it was great how it was, all relaxed. I was
real happy too that I was able to take photos. I never got a photo pass because
I didn't know who to ask and I never found out in time. I thought I'd just take
my camera along with me and see what happens - and it was fine ... No-one
seemed to mind. So I was really pleased because I really wanted some photos
from this gig.

Rather ironic that it was at this gig that there was a drunk (middle aged) guy
staggering around the front (where I was) ... he was doing all these crazy dances
like this 'rain dance kind of thing, even though all of us near him were trying
not to look at him (FUGAZI are on stage!) - it was hard not to see him out the
corner of your eye and then start laughing. It wasn't funny for long because he
was getting on everyones nerves and we just wanted to watch Fugazi. Everyone
was fed up of him, Matt couldn't take any more of him being in his face and
pushed him away. Thankfully he didn't come back. Had to miss the end of the
gig (to allow plenty of time to get back to the town centre) to catch the coach.
But I wasn't sad cause I'd had such a great time there. I'd just seen Fugazi!!



  1. Great photos!
    My mom got to see them a couple times back in the '90s. I still ask her about the shows from time to time. I wish I could have seen them live too!

  2. i managed to see them at the Drexel University student center in Philadelphia in 1991 touring in support of Repeater. Token entry from NYC opened. the heat & exhaustion caused me to momentarily black out, but they played pretty much all of the first record and Repeater + 3. it was my first hardcore show and without a doubt one of the greatest nights of my life