Goodnight, Fresh Prince. Ultra//Negative’s swansong show at the Democracy

The death of any great band is a wake-up call to just how precious their time on this sorrowful hole of an Earth was. Doubling as the release anti-party for their split with Ira Graves and the burial of their live outings, it was a mixed bag of sadness, sexual arousal, and pure fucken hate. I’m only glad I got to see them 4 or 5 times, most of them while very un-sober.

Unlikely openers Floods were entertaining, but were the cigar to the audience’s blunt. Meaning that while they were indeed a Hardcore band, they were more along the lines of the modern bands like Xibalba or Harms Way: heavy with breakdowns, sludge metal influence, and a distinctive love of Bolt Thrower and Entombed-style riffage that just makes you want to go to war. Bad fit for the bill (though I’m sure their “Wolverine Blues” cover would have gotten some more enthusiasm), but certainly not a bad band.

Canada’s Spearhead (not to be confused with a metal band of the same name from the UK)  took us out of the swamps and into the fast lane, where they seemed to be playing so fast they had trouble keeping in time. Their energy was highly admirable, however, so they still get a big-up from me. Their countrymen in Total Trash had some speed, but overall it was steeped in 80s tradition a-la Slip It In-era Black Flag, but nowhere near as angsty, just very weird. The frontman seemed to have popped a molly cos he was sweatin’, bumping into just about everyone, getting within licking range of many of our finest warriors, and even put on a little lipstick to pretty himself up for the boys. I was at just the right angle to witness the lattermost embellishment, and it only made me like them even more. Ballzy.

Ultra//Negative‘s collective bandship has been rocked on seas of internal controversy, causing an unstable line-up situation and ultimately the decay of their ability to function as a unit. Holdin’ it down on tha block as the creme-filled centre were Jan and Cody Esq., the last two members who I saw the last two times I saw them. I swear they have usually been a 4 piece, but on this fateful night they came as a power trio, and were wicked pissed. Thrashing out their self-named song as an intro that makes for a real wall-buster, the rest was a blur of blastbeats, low-end infected guitars, and vocals screeched with such anger and conviction it could scare graffiti off the walls. Don’t try it at home unless you want a sore throat. Ashes to ashes, nothing to nothing. I sweated instead of crying, and I believe it was effective. The crowd had noticeably thinned out after Total Trash went off, but I say they’re all wussies.

Last but certainly not least were Tinnitus, who aren’t trying to re-invent the concept of powerviolence as it stands, but by Jove, they’re doing it well. Noisome, indefatigably blasting, ineffably brutal, and with a cover of “Behind This Tongue” by Infest for good measure. Sometimes keeping it simple is good, people.

And uh… that’s all there is to say about that. So yeah.


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