In this year's Pennyblackmusic interview Guy Picciotto said that to truly understand his band's music one must see them live. After seeing them for the first time in the Lemon Grove, I have to say that he's quite accurate. Fugazi are a superb live spectacle.

The audience were first treated to the music of Once Over Twice, who come from Plymouth. They played a tight set with a couple of really great songs and tons of enthusiasm. Their singer had in fact supported Fugazi in this very venue back in 1989, and his experience showed. I hadn't heard of them before but they were good, in a Hot Water Music meets Rites Of Spring kind of way.

But the audience were all here for the headliners, and they didn't disappoint. Ian MacKaye was first onstage, and reminded the audience that "its a small room tonite, you know the drill, be nice!". It was so great to be able to go to the front of the room without having to worry about some idiot pushing you around. One stage diver broke the code but he duly received a ticking off from Ian.

Fugazi are perfect at making their music serious, and a gig something of an event without being ridiculous about it. Much of the stage banter tonight was incredibly funny, and there was room for Mackaye to have a dig at the English tabloids and say that he felt sorry for Ulrika Johnson ,and for Guy to dedicate a song to Freddie Mercury. They were also keen though to express the political side of their work, Guy pointing out that the Americans get uptight over the DC sniper, and quite right, but are prepared to nod and wink over the assassination of a foreign leader. Mackaye gave a long speech, backed by some tasty drum rolls from Brendan, in which he concluded that "all war is wrong".

As for the music itself, it was absolutely stunning. The band kicked off with 'Cashout', their best song, and proceeded to follow it with many of the tracks from their recent 'Argument' LP, and a selection as well of older numbers. Sure, some of the crowd were disappointed at the non playing of 'Repeater', but how can you complain at a set that included not one weak moment.

'Great Cop' was pummeling, ending with Ian howling "You'd make a great cop you fucking pig"! Bassist Joe took to the mike for "Recap Modetti", a bit more of a chilled out number, and Guy was on top form with his intense bluesy vocals. The use of two drummers. and the supreme bass playing of Joe was perfect support to the distinctive guitar interplay between Ian and Guy.

The nicest thing about the gig was the way that all of the band clearly loved every second of it, and played their hearts out. It really didn't bother them that people kept calling out for 'Repeater'. It was great to see a band so relaxed on stage, Ian casually saying to the rest of the band, "Shall we do 'Arpeggiator'?" as they came back on for an encore.

After the extensive, seven song, encore a member of the audience called into the dressing room area, "thanks for coming Fugazi". Thanks indeed.














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Commenting On: Exeter University Lemon Grove, 21/10/2002 - Fugazi








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