As the second of our Meat Beat/Consolidated double header that summer, the Tampa show couldn't live up to the discovery factor of just having seen these two bands for the first time. Still, a Meat Beat and Consolidated double bill would be a tough thing to call a disappointment, even on an off day.
As a budding political leftist and quasi-socialist, Consolidated hit all of the right notes for me (except for when they were showing baby chicks getting their beaks cut off by machines!) I love the introduction on their album that goes something like "Are you motherfuckers ready for the hardest, liberal, vegetarian, pro-choice, lesbian and gay supporting motherfuckers from San Francisco? Then make some motherfucking noise for CONSOLIDATED!" Yes. Though I wasn't sold on 100% of the Consolidated party line, I certainly found their mix of heavy beats and heavy politics with a little bit of humor and a cracking video show to be the perfect form of entertainment. Truth be told, I was much more a fan of Meat Beat Manifesto but Consolidated really stole these shows from the headliner in my eyes.
The problem with the Meat Beat show, (and this is a minor quip that has more to do with bogus expectations than with the band itself,) was that we were all ready to see the Meat Beat dancer and some crazy performance art stage show that never materialized. Instead, this iteration of Meat Beat was the musical duo of Jack and Johnny, accompanied by Mark Pistel on drums, with the occassional space dance of a dancer who was brought on to fill the theatrical void from previous Meat Beat shows, but was not the same crazy looking guy in the videos and on the album covers. In later years I would come to appreciate the musical side of the Meat Beat show much more than the theatrics, but at the time I was pretty amped up to see something mind blowing and weird.
Meat Beat would go on to become one of those bands I would almost religiously follow--making long trips to see them on occassion, picking up all the cds, singles, videos, and 12"es I could find, and collecting concert shirts as if a closet full of Meat Beat Manifesto t-shirts was a suitable substitute for an actual wardrobe. To get a glimpse of what this band meant to me at the time, one needs only look at my senior year high school yearbook in which nearly every photo of me has me wearing the Meat Beat Manifesto NOW shirt I bought at this show!