Rancid & The Unseen - Nottingham Rock City (with bits from Academy Birminham too) - 12th Novemeber 2006
The Unseen came onto the stage out of the darkness and kicked off into ’Dead Weight’, the crowd didn’t really respond as much they did in Birmingham, where they had moshed a mighty pit.
Here, there was a small amount of moshing going on down the front, enough to keep THe Unseen happy I should think. The entire set was lit very darkly and it set the mood for a hard and fast set. Most of the tracks they played were from their newest album ’State of Discontent’, but there were plenty of oldies to keep the fans happy, incl. ’A.D.D.’ off ’Lower Class Crucifixion’, a short sharp song of less than a minute long. The highlight for me though was ’So Sick Of You’ off ’Explode’, a damn good tune... not that you could tell, it all seemed a bit distorted and as a friend of mine said... "it all sounds the same" and I guess it probably did to someone who isn’t familiar with it... so there is only one way to change that!
They ended the Set with three tracks off ’State of Discontent’, ’Hit & Run’, ’On the Other Side’ and ’Scream Out’ (the later two can be heard on their myspace page... go there... www.myspace.com/theunseen)
Then after a bar break and some punk rock tunes playing on the P.A. the house music was turned down and the screen at the back of the stage showcased pictures of each member of Rancid... followed by massive cheers for each one. Finally, the band hit the stage, with Lars on the left and Matt on the right making a perfect bracket for Tim in the middle. On the drum kit though, a new arrival due to Brett Reed quitting the band. To fill his place they poached The Used’s drummer, Branden Steinekert for the job.
The set was one for the fans, taking many album tracks I’ve not heard the band play live before, as well as the obligatory hits that many of the crowd were waiting for, such as ’Time Bomb’ & ’Roots Radicals’. It’s now that I realise how old I am, now that the band are also looking so much older... back in 1994 Tim Armstrongs’ fresh face used to be there on the wall by my bed in the morning to great me into a new day... and now the guys are looking more and more like old skool punkers, but hey... they still look great! and more imporatantly they still sound amazing. Tims slurred vocals are his trademark and hearing him live again is bliss.
The band seemed to be really happy and really up for entertaining, the whole set flowed with Tim spinning round with his guitar playig antics and Lars jumping around the stage from side to side while Matt kept his cool in the corner... taking him limelight with his trademark bass solos.
They played many tracks off their older albums ’...And Out Come The Wolves’ and ’Lets Go!’, but for a real treat they went even further back in time and played ’Sound System’ from Tims old outfit Operation Ivy. Which really shows where the roots of Rancid began, with it’s semi-ska melody and Lars taking on the almost rap style vocals. lovely!
Actually, Lars got the shock of his life at one point, after turning to tune his guitar, a fan invaded the stage and gave him a hug... follwed by many bouncers dragging the lad off to many cheers. Well done young man!
For the encore Lars came on and played a mellow solo version of ’The Wars End’, which was totally moving as the crowd joined in unison.
They finished off the night with Tim fetching his acoustic guitar for ’Fall Back Down’ off ’Indestructable’, which made it feel like we were witnessing Rancid Unplugged. It was a real treasure. But, the finale whouldn’t be the same without them playing the ska/punk classic ’Ruby Soho’ which made for the end of a perfect evening... unless that is you were one of the lucky ones who got to shake Tim Armstrongs hand afterwards... he came back on to the stage and jumped down into the the photo pit to meet the fans... first time I’ve seen him do that... now there is the true perfect end to the evening!