His Number Is One
Rollins Band (and some crappy punk band) at the Forum, London, England on March 25th, 2000
by: Paul Schwarz
Henry Rollins is an incredible front-man. I would go as far as to say he is -the- front-man. He certainly surpasses all others whom -I- have witnessed. And while the man is as much the focal point of the live arena as he is of the band name and band itself, this is not to downplay the role of his Band. The Mother Superior trio tear apart Rollins Band material past and present tonight, like they'd written the songs, and maybe even the book on how to reproduce them best live into the bargain. Drummer Jason Mackenroth deserves special mention for laying down such an unrelentingly energetic performance, remaining consistently powerful and precise the whole night through. The Forum was treated to a somewhat strange setlist comprising every song (bar monolithic closer "LA Money Train") from new album _Get Some Go Again_, but nothing from the past three albums (!) bar "Tearing" from 1992's _The End of Silence_. Thus tonight was a thoroughly pumping and energetic run through Rollins Band's abrasive late eighties past and the ROCK 'n' roll styled glory of their most recent present. The combination worked magic on that stage. The majority of the conspicuously absent tracks [e.g. "Liar"] would have confused this set, not improved it. Intense, building new track "Illumination" opened proceedings beautifully with the shirtless, shorts-clad Rollins tearing about his carpeted section of the stage barefoot; the picture of intensity and commanding power throughout the near two-hour stage time. Ear-splitting renditions of such decade-or-more-old numbers like "Hard", "Action", "What Have I Got" or "My Number Is One" were reeled off while classy new tracks like "Change it Up", "Thinking Cap" (with a free jam included in classic Rollins Band style) "Get Some Go Again" and "On the Day", along with two cracking Thin Lizzy covers played successively ("Are You Ready?" from the album and its natural second "The Rocker"), came off superbly. The "new" Rollins Band crushed all competition. I unfortunately have no personal basis for comparison, but I'd wager they'd -at least- give -any- of the old Rollins Band incarnations a serious run for their money. What is for definite is that for intensity and pure power, there is nothing harder than Rollins and his Band.

(article submitted 25/5/2000)


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