Atari Teenage Riot @ RKCNDY - 7/24/99
Negativland @ The Showbox - 7/16/99
Ozzfest @ The Gorge - 7/18/99
Pain Principle @ The Cellar - 6/26/99

[ atari teenage riot ]
Atari Teenage Riot
July 24, 1999
Seattle, WA

Atari Teenage Riot

"Revolution action!" was the call to arms on this humid Seattle Saturday night as Atari Teenage Riot stormed the stage at the RKCNDY, spending the next hour calling for the dissolution of oppressive government through immediate anarchy and blowing both the kids' minds and ears as they screamed overtop crushing, manic beats. Led by charismatic front man Alec Empire and propelled by the thunderous beats and samples of Nic Endo in the back, Atari Teenage Riot brought the roof down and the kids up onstage with their digital sonic kaboom. Empire stalked from one side of the platform to the other, and along with his two cohorts--Hanin Elias and Carl Crack (the former being knocked down and almost completely out for the count early on when Empire accidentally swung his fist and his microphone into her face)--they yelled for revolution, for destruction against society, against the status quo, against themselves even, "by any means necessary."

It didn't matter that each song was so similar to the next that they lost their identity, it didn't matter that ATR name checked themselves more than even the loveable KMFDM (R.I.P.) would; what mattered was the intensity and the delivery, both of which were delivered in crushing form. Between the Herculean hiccups of beat mistress Nic Endo, Empire took time out to banter with the audience about his hard-line political and social viewpoints, even being kind enough to allow one dissenter in the audience up onstage to call bullshit on ATR for allowing themselves to be arrested so easily several weeks ago in Germany while playing a protest against the war in Kosovo. Amidst several screams of "rock star sellout!" Empire explained that it wouldn't serve the political platform of Atari Teenage Riot very well to get taken out for throwing two fists against thirty riot cops, that there are more constructive ways of being an anarchist. He subtly implied to the hecklers that it's one thing to yell for change, but it takes something quite more than words to effect things for the better, and that he was dedicated to making that change happen. By the end of the night, and having been baptized in the percussive fire of ATR, all were believers, with a good number of the audience crowding onstage to testify; shouting out their anger and pumping their fists in the air while jumping up and down to the band's beats. All said and done, a fine sermon. The kids were all fired up, but did they know against what? As was evidenced recently by the closing night of Woodstock '99, being all pumped up and "ready to riot" with no cause and no discipline with which to channel it through can be terribly self-destructive. That kind of energy tends to fall back in upon itself. It's one thing to incite change, but it takes something more to empower people with the tools to build something better than what they just tore down. I couldn't leave without wondering if the band's message sunk into the crowd the way it was intended.

-Craig Young
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[ negativland ]
The Showbox
July 16, 1999
Seattle, WA


I was really looking forward to this show--that should have been warning sign #1.

After having not toured for several years, Negativland were playing only a handful of dates on the West Coast. I felt lucky at being one of the persons able to catch their sometimes prankish, sometimes anarchistic, mostly "the Man don't give a fuck and here's why" multi-media show--live and in person. Problem was, their show was more theater than rock 'n' roll, which meant seeing it at a club was not the ideal venue--but not entirely Negativland's fault.

They came out and announced theirs would be a two and a half hour show--including intermission--and invited everyone to take a seat on the club floor. But who in their right mind would pull up floor space in a club? The choices were: a) either sit your ass on someone's spilt drink and discarded cigarette butts; or b) stand. I chose the latter...didn't work too well.

Negativland's show and multi-media experience was equal parts interesting, humorous and informative, but not entertaining enough to stand for two-plus hours. Their splicing and intermixing of both audio and visual imagery, along with the addition of their own music or monologues to make their argument against big business, consumerism and the exploitation of man's compulsions was all well and good, but not enough to keep my attention. The more I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, the more I wondered: Why were they performing in a club? Why were they performing in an exclusively 21 and over venue? Why were the ticket prices in the double digits? Why were they allowing Ticketbastard to distribute them? Why am I still here?

Was it because I genuinely appreciated Negativland, their releases (regardless of format) and the issues and questions they forced us to consider? Or was it because I've become so desensitized to the flash and swagger of live shows being "jump up and down just don't stop to think about it" entertainment that I have lost the patience and the ability to really listen to the message and not the delivery? Or was it because Negativland is theater--damn good theater--and as such, is best enjoyed reclincing, in a seat, relaxed, able to abosrb the entire context of the performance unencumbered by the weight and thoughts gravity forces upon us when standing? I don't know...I didn't stick around to answer any of them.

-Craig Young
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[ ozzfest at the gorge ampitheater ]
The Gorge Amphitheater
July 18, 1999
George, Washington


Twelve hours. Sixteen bands. A typical festival day. Too much sensory input. Too little time. You fall in, you sink, you swim, you try to come out the other end with some delineation between each hour of the festival. You try.

7:58am: The eP bus actually leaves two minutes before schedule.
8:05am: Jeff can't get Copper River salmon or hummus on a bagel. The day is almost derailed before we even leave town. The Starbucks across the street is closed. Who ever heard of a Starbucks being closed on a Sunday morning in Seattle?
9:01am: Some momentary confusion in the car as to whether or not we're going to see Limp Bizkit or Korn. Further discussion ensues as to how to tell the difference.
10:00am: Cle Ellum. We actually consider the full case of Bud for $11.49. We run into friends who are at this Safeway to do exactly the same thing: buy beer for Ozzfest. We realize there's no hiding this fact from one another and nervous laughter is exchanged. There aren't enough tattoos or piercings among the five of us to make up a single committed head-banger. (We left our Supreme Editor at home.)
10:30am: The eP bus passes a couple of fellows laden with too much contraband who've put their Corvette in the ditch as we make the turn off I-90 to the Gorge. Less than two miles to go.
10:42am: Traffic is stopped dead. The beer drinking starts.
10:44am: Mark caves to peer pressure.
11:48am: Road-side vandalism begins. The first victim: a STOP sign.
11:23am: The mood in the car is so low we're playing Pitchshifter. We do "Genius" twice for lack of anything better to do.
12:00pm: We reach the parking lot. We've missed Drain S.T.H. We stop for a moment to consider just exactly why we've made this trek as we finish the half-rack of beer. Was this worth it? The question hangs for a moment. Mark screams "Fookin' Sabbath!" for about the eighteenth time and runs for the porta-potties.
1:00pm: We're in.
1:04pm: No one brought a schedule of times for the bands. We lose twenty minutes finding a set list posted on a sound board. We hear Pushmonkey in passing. Metal with a trumpet player. Actually novel enough that we stop for a couple of songs. In retrospect, one of the more memorable sounds all day. (around)
1:30pm: We're having trouble telling Static X from Flashpoint. Jeff makes the insightful observation that everything sounds like Front Line Assembly when heard from the other side of the hill. A secret that Bill Leeb probably doesn't want you to know.
2:10pm: System of a Down sounds better live. Which isn't hard. Jeff tried to put the album on during the drive out and only made it through three songs before Steve tried to throw the disc out the window.
2:22pm: Jeff screams "sugar!" like a little girl. Jeff and 30,000 other fans.
2:30pm: Mark wakes up from a nap on the amphitheater lawn for a Rammstein video on the main stage screen.
2:40pm: Jeff wakes up from a nap on the amphitheater lawn for a Marilyn Manson video.
2:45pm: Jeff mentions to us again that there will be no beer served at the Gorge today.

A Momentary Aside: We're reminded on several occasions by the bands just how amazing a stage the Gorge is. The ground drops away behind the main stage into the Columbia River which stretches out for many miles behind the Amphitheater. The river is a ribbon of dark cobalt beneath the striated red and brown and green ridges of the Gorge. The sun creeps across a clean sky, marred only by wisps of thin white cloud.

2:49pm: Jeff bitches about beer again.
3:10pm: Steve questions Mark's motives. "You didn't come here just for Rob Zombie, did you?"
3:12pm: Mark takes too long to reply.
3:40pm: We (the audience at large) are called "motherfuckers" for about the thirtieth time today. Heavy metal term of endearment.
3:45pm: Slipknot on the second stage. Nine guys in red overalls with barcodes on the backs and masks on their heads. You'll only see more drums at a ¡TchKung! concert. "We're from Des Moines, Iowa and this is a song about a girl we know, a girl in a box. It's called 'Purify.'" Evil Devo meets Slayer.
4:15pm: Primus. Les Claypool: "What a glorious lot of humanity you all are." His bass playing is on the same plane as his vocabulary. The crowd gets a little restless. Not a lot of banging to be done with complex polyrhythms.
4:17pm: Surprise guest: Buckethead! Jeff and Steve don't believe Mark when they return from foraging for food. They aren't convinced and Mark suspects it is because they don't know who Buckethead is. Still, for three minutes, Les had someone to really play with on stage.
5:02pm: A video is played on the main stage from a band that none of us recognize. It is slightly embarrassing that we have to ask a neighbor. So much for being professionals.
5:20pm: Slayer on the main stage. They're running early. Who has ever seen a show that runs early?
5:40pm: It is becoming easier to tell the bands which have been around a while from the ones which only have an album or two under their belt. Their sets aren't a half hour wall of the same sound. Slayer, for example, has pretty clearly been around the block once or twice and has picked up a few chords.
6:00pm: Fear Factory closes out the second stage. Their set is long and good and well deserving of a main stage slot. They even entertain us with their recent rendition of Gary Numan's "Cars."
6:45pm: Deftones. Note at 5:40 is pertinent again. Only for the other reason.
8:04pm: Rob Zombie. Do we thank Kiss for making pyrotechnics fashionable again? Rob--though noisy--seems to suffer from short term memory loss. The lyrics just aren't there for him.
8:12pm: "More Human Than Human" suffers when whole lines are dropped. We figure the presence of satanically lit Go-Go dancers are supposed to distract you from the MIA lyrics.
8:26pm: Sunset at the Gorge. Just in time for "Living Dead Girl." Some instances of timing are too perfect to be completely accidental.
9:07pm: Black Sabbath takes the stage. There are some things that are never truly appreciated until you can physically verify them with your eyes. Geezer Butler's bass playing for one.
9:12pm: Ozzy hops around on stage like a monkey. Not for the last time either.
9:16pm: Someone runs onstage to reassure Ozzy between numbers. Or to remind him what the next song is. Not for the last time either.
10:18pm: A wee slip mars "Children of the Grave." Steve points out that they were tighter back in January (see the Premier issue of Earpollution). It's still Black Sabbath, Mark reminds him. It is still a formative part of our youths. And not just ours either. Most of these bands grew up on Black Sabbath. It is Nouveau Nostalgia--the old mixed with the new. Something comfortable and something fresh. Or a reminder of the majesty that was and still is.
10:39pm: We're out. Jeff's still traumatized about Slipknot. He's only got one question he really wants to pose to the band: "What the fuck was that?"

-Mark Teppo
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[ we have no idea who this is ]
Pain Principle/Cryogenic (not the Australians)/Double Veteran/Beneath
The Cellar
June 26, 1999
DeLand, Florida
Beneath is a new old band that kicked off Metal Night at the Cellar, a small club hidden underneath (yes, a basement in Florida) Rose's Billiards in DeLand (call (407) 574-8555 for information). Beneath lost a couple of members and then picked up two new members and a new sound--industrial metal. Beneath show a lot of promise for the future, but only played four songs this night. They sound like a combination of Six Feet Under and Fear Factory. Really liked "Concrete"--it sounded a lot like a harder Demanufacture-era Fear Factory. "Sins of the Fathers" was their best song that night, it has a touch of black metal mixed with the industrial metal. Beneath have tremendous potential...I'll just keep watching. Double Veteran stormed the stage to show the club their death metal chops. Two of the most amazing young guitarists are showcased here within a very competent and professional band, except for a posturing pretty boy growler. Such shameful behavior fronting a death metal band--they're always such sweet gentlemen. Well maybe it's supposed to be different. Oh well, I liked the music a lot.

I was hoping for the Aussie Cryogenic, but I knew it was a long shot that they'd play America--especially DeLand (no offense to DeLand, but you know). I would highly recommend a name change for this local band. Aw heck, I'd just recommend that they give up. This was the worst frontman I've ever seen (even worse than that pretentious ass from Live). He danced like a doofus and struck the pathetic Jesus Christ pose several times while trying really hard to look like Derrick Green from Sepultura, but that's impossible for this African-American wuss. At least, I'm giving him credit for trying to look like Mr. Green. The guitarist and bassist were not bad players, but were victimized by a poor frontman and I think the drummer (who looked a lot like Goldberg) was really having a bad night. Several people in attendance said they were normally not this bad. Jamie Bard(the owner of The Cellar) swears the demo is awesome. They must have one hell of a producer. Or this could have been an incredibly off night. Pain Principle proceeded to assault our ears with a tumultuous stage performance. Pain Principle have been around for years, but had been taking a abbatical while band members got married, etc. This was their first show in months and to be fair a bit of rust showed, but they shook it off before the night was done. They play a stunning death metal that resembles old Obituary. The new material was every bit as good as their old material (hunt down some of their demos on disc--it's well worth it). Pain Principle always go above and beyond musically at their shows. This is definitely a band that deserves a good label.

Jamie is going to be putting on a huge rockabilly festival called the BillyBall and needs additional rockabilly bands, the date is September 18. Interested parties may contact Jamie at Bomb-o-matic Productions by email at or pager (407) 941-1858 or at the Cellar (407) 574-8555 or call this socially-distorted individual at home at (407) 860-4482.

-Sabrina Wade Haines
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