Soil Live in Newport, Wales

By Pauly D., UK Correspondant
Wednesday, June 12, 2002 @ 3:11 PM

Soil Reek Havoc at TJ's in New

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Currently hot property on both sides of the Atlantic, Soil rolled into the UK to promote the Scars album last week, playing around the country over 6 nights, and in what’s becoming a rarer occurrence these days, made the trip out to South Wales to entertain its hard rock crowd.

Instead of advertised support band Sugarcoma, we get the relatively unknown (certainly to these ears) “InMe.” The 3-piece from Essex take to the somewhat intimate stage and, I’ll be honest here -- look like they’ve had to skip their homework for the night just to make the show. Appearances can be oh so deceiving though, and as the band open up, it’s clear there is far more here than meets the eye. Unknown support bands tend to open with their best couple of tunes and then hope the rest of the set doesn’t see the crowd fall away back to the bar. InMe certainly open well, but the quality doesn’t drop off at all, with 40 minutes of solid, original material. The crowd respond well, people moving to the floor to see just who the hell these guys are, and a pit erupts to a couple of tunes -- something usually reserved for far bigger support acts.

Somewhat nutritionally challenged guitarist/singer Dave McPherson has a voice that ranges from a high pitched, almost angelic-like trill to a full on growl, and it’s a transition he makes effortlessly. For a band of their age, they really are mature beyond their years. It’s had not to draw comparisons to Placebo -- from a distance Dave even looks the part of a young Brian Molko. The sound however is a lot edgier, and packs more punch. Musically they display hints of Nirvana, Tool and the vocal change-ups of fellow Brits Muse. I’ve seen a lot of those bands live, and on this performance InMe rank right up there with them. Certainly a band to keep an eye, and ear out for.

Soil have achieved quite a following in the UK, without really having to try. Their raspy, gritty sound striking a note with the rock fans here. The venue TJ’s is certainly busy, and the floor is packed to the gills. Opening with “Breaking Me Down,” the band waste no time in creating a sweat-filled moshpit. There isn’t a great deal of room onstage for a 5 piece band to work with, but the crowd more than make up for it, the low ceiling finding itself on the wrong end of a few pairs crowdsurfers boots.

The material is drawn almost exclusively from Scars -- sadly no place in the set for the excellent “Broken Wings” or “F-hole.” The great sound set up that Inme had seems to of deserted Soil, and the vocals are a little too muffled to really appreciate. “My Own” goes down a storm, but isn’t as crisp as it maybe should have been. “Unreal” gives the crowd a half chance to catch its breath -- and to singalong. The band airs a new tune, “The Center,” and it’s typically Soil. One thing’s for sure, you know exactly what you get with these guys: no bullshit, loud guitars and bags of enthusiasm and a sense of genuine appreciation that this many people think they’re worth paying money to see. “The One” is one of the band’s very best tunes and it rattles along, sending more legs skyward and fists into the air. From this tune the band play “Black 7” -- a somewhat slow paced number for one of the final few tunes of the night, but the reasoning behind it becomes clear as the song ends and melds into the opening bars of Slayer’s “Raining Blood.” A cheer and a show of horns up brings a smile to the bands faces as they morph the tune into Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65.” More cheers, more horns. As the drums roll into the Zombie tune, they morph it into the opening of “Halo” and the place erupts. It’s a clever piece of work and sets up the end of the set to perfection. “Halo” is performed as you’d expect it to be -- musically spot-on and with bags of energy.

It’s easy to see the attraction with Soil – hard-edged rock will always have a place in music. Tonight’s show was great, but not quite as killer as it could have been, a combination of a poor vocal sound and a short set (approx. an hour) certainly not helping the bands cause. Nonetheless a damn fine show by one of the better bands out there.

Full set list:

Breaking Me Down
Need To Feel
My Own
Inside Out
Wide Open
Understanding Me
The Center
2 Skins
The One
Black 7

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