Pick Your Rock and Metal

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Gaps in Maiden tour dates

For the observant amongst you there are gaps in the currently announced Iron Maiden tour itinerary. Namely, they play in Paris on 1st July, the in London on 5th July, and then on 16th July in Stockholm. Promoters across the island of Ireland have been, no doubt, taking note. I am willing to offer the band £1.50, a packet of Smarties and a collection of recently quaffed empty Carlsberg cans to play in my back garden (subject to local council consent) but may raise my offered fee to £3.25 if Maiden agree to play Rosetta. I await the call.
More realistically, one can 'hint' that negotiations are underway!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Counting the dates

Fed up with not knowing the date? Worried that Aunt Aggie will get you another calendar of cute doggie pics? Fear no more! The Sorrowfall 2008 calendar is now available.

For the (extremely) reasonable price of £7 you can have a Sorrowfall calendar (complete with RokPix's finest live frames adorning each page) to replace the tatty Bon Jovi 2007 calendar 'yer ma bought ye' because she knew you liked them 'hippy bands'.

Head your way over to www.sorrowfall.co.uk or www.myspace.com/sorrowfall to purchase your essential metal Chrimbo pressie for the(sorrow)fallen among you all!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Kevin bows out

Quiet Riot singer Kevin Du Brow passed away this weekend. More details here:

Saturday, November 24, 2007

and yet more gigs...

Dillinger Escape Plan...February 17th, Spring & Airbrake...Smashing Pumpkins...February 10th King's Hall...Joe Satriani...May 24th Mandella Hall...

Friday, November 23, 2007

more bands playing Belfast

Yet more bands playing Belfast (see below). Hayseed Dixies on 27th February at The Empire

Here there be Tygers

No sooner that one gig update appears (see below) than another set of dates need to be added..80's NWOBHM pioneers Tygers of Pan Tang play Derry's Nerve Centre on 22nd February and Spring and Airbrake on 23rd...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Gig update

Updates...gigs, gigs, gigs...more gig news! This is a quick update of the previous list.

Avenged Sevenfold are playing the Ambassador on 1st February...British Sea Power are playing the Spring & Airbrake on 17th January...Bon Jovi play Punchestown Racecourse on 7th June...Joe Satriani plays Vicar St, Dublin on 23rd May...

Add that to the previous list and that's a damn load of playing by anyone's account

No doubt more to come, and let me know when your band is playing!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


In case you missed the Queens of the Stone Age update...here's the latest news onJosh 'Ginger' Homme's Belfast date...straight from Wonderland..

"Fans of Queens Of The Stone Age who were disappointed when their
concert date at the Balmoral Hall sold out within hours last week, will be
delighted to learn that due to phenomenal ticket demand, the band have
announced that their planned February show in the venue will now take
place in the Kings Hall - increasing the capacity to cope with the demand
from fans to see them live in Belfast."

Saturday, November 10, 2007

There are a few gigs coming up....

Been a bit busy of late...hence lack of posts....suffice to say there are a few gigs coming up...check the list below!

14th November – A Little Bitter – The Empire
17th November – My Chemical Romance – King’s Hall, Belfast
18th November – Machine ‘Fucking’ Head – Ambassador, Dublin
23rd November – Soundstone – The Magnet Centre, Newry
23rd November – A Little Bitter – Bound for Boston, Derry
24th Novemver – Overoth – Katy Daly’s
24th November – A Little Bitter – Common Room, Dungannon
25th November – Adler’s Appetite/Million$Reload - Spring & Airbrake
30th November – Jeff Scott Soto – The Rosetta
1st December – Escape Fails – INF, Warrenpoint
7th December – Ash – Mandella Hall
8th December - The Bon Jovi Experience- The Empire
9th December - The Bon Jovi Experience- The Empire
15th December – Apocalyptica – Ambassador, Dublin
15th December - The Damned - The Empire
16th December – Thin Lizzy – Waterfront Hall
21st December – Biffy Clyro – Mandella Hall
21st December – Escape Fails – The Magnet Centre, Warrenpoint
23rd January (08) (Kerrang! Tour) – Coheed & Cambria, Fightstar, Madina Lake +
24th January – Bullet for My Valentine – Spring & Airbrake
7th February - Queens of the Stone Age - Balmoral Hall
8th February – Nazareth – Spring & Airbrake
16th February - Deft Leppard - The Empire
26th February – Jimmy Eat World – St George’s Market, Belfast
4th March – The Cult – The Olympia, Dublin
2nd April – Nightwish/Pain – Mandella Hall

In this semi-sober state I may have missed one or three! Let me know if I have and I'll revise list accordingly!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coheed & Cambria - Belfast date

Prog Metal arch priests Coheed and Cambria are to headline this year's Kerrang! tour which kicks off in Belfast on 23rd January at the Mandella Hall. Joining the New Jerse noise crew will be Fightstar, Madina Lake and Circa Survive..well at least Coheed and Cambria will be there!

Hallowe'en cancellation

Circumstances beyond the control of bands, promoter and venue has led to the cancellation of the Hallowe'en metal night at the Rosetta. Corrupt Absolute, Psyatica and the Rosetta Bar apoloigise for the cancellation of what promised to be fantastic Hallowe'en noise fest...this was a no-one to blame situation for everyone invovled.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Circadian demo available at No Fake ID Required gig

On the subject of the No Fake ID Required gig... Circadian's debut 5-track demo EP is out now...copies available at the October 27th gig for the stupid price of £5!!!

No Fake ID Required - October 27th

The next No Fake ID Required gig is on Saturday Oct 27th. Line up is:

All that for just £4 at the Oh Yeah music complex, Gordon St, Belfast!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hawaiin Hallowe'en metal at the Rosetta

Hallowe'en night -it can be so clichéd - all those fancy dress costumes that cost a fortune...well to hell with that - head to the Rosetta on Wednesday 31st to witness the metallic majesty that is Hawaiin's Corrupt Absolute! And with Limerick's monstrous Psyatica backing them up.

And at £6 it's sure as hell cheaper than renting a costly fancy dress outfit that you'll only spill beer over while listening to the feckin' Time Warp for the third time!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

hallowe'en - check out Rosetta!

Hallowe'en night at the Rosetta (click here for details)...Hawaii, Limerick and Belfast in metal unity...check out the myspaces!

Corrupt Absolute



Their weird, Scottish and Baal hates them (my mate not the Mesoptamian diety)...and they're playing Belfast's Mandella Hall on 21st December.

Ok, they'll not appeal to many metal fans, but they rock hard, and their latest platter, Puzzle, is one of the finest hard rock albums of the year.

And, at a time when many acts are by-passing Belfast on their tour itinerary this will be Biffy's second visit this year...

Speed and RE

Stuck for something to do tomorrow nightt? Head along to the Spring & Airbrake...Raging Speedhorn are playing ably supported by local noiseniks (and all round great guys) Residual Effect. A metallic assault to clear the head!

Volcanic metal assault on Hallowe'en night

Hawaii is one of a series of volcanic islands in the Pacific Ocean. Corrupt Absolute are an old school thrash act from Honolulu, Hawaii – providing a volcanic metal soundtrack…a soundtrack that will descend on Ireland’s shores later this month.

Corrupt Absolute (formerly 8mm Overdose) are touring with Psyatica, a tour which culminates in Belfast at the Rosetta – on Hallowe’en night!

There has, of course, been a dearth of metal acts from Hawaii…name two apart Corrupt Absolute if you can!

And, left you think that Corrupt Absolute are new young things with no track record, the band has been going since the 90s, with their first CD out in 1997 (under the 8mm Overdose monicker).

Psyatica are currently midway what is an unlikely, but well deserved world tour (yep you read that right!) that has seen them tackle Hawaii, west coast USA, Ireland, Scotland and Scandanavian countries.

For anyone who has clocked the Limerick trio recently, you’ll know they’re worth the £6 entry fee to the Rosetta on Hallowe’en night alone. Throw in the Hawaiian metal assault...then get your metal asses along!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

International metal summit...

Fins are ok...oops sorry bad pun -an International Metal Summit of crushing tunes takes place at the Rosetta Bar this Saturday when Finnish stars For Selena and Sin take to the stage with one of the Republic of Ireland's finest noise crews, Psyatica. Representing Northern Ireland will be Arcance.

Doors open at 8pm...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Thank you

Belfastmetalheadsreunited.blogspot.com today celebrated our first full week of more than 1,500 visitors to this site! Thanks to all of you who dropped by for up-to-date rock and metal news, reviews and gossip....but who are you and why don't you leave messages?
As punishment you'll all have to go out and buy Sorrowfall, Residual Effect, A Little Bitter and Answer CDs...wait! That's not a punishment! Well if you haven't bought them already do so immediately!

26th November Zep tickets? No chance

For those wanting to see Led Zeppelin at the o2 arena on 26th November....good luck! BBC are saying that millions are trying. Read the BBC story here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy days ahead...

Lotsa rock and metal happening in next few months…here’s a quick blast through (some) of the dates. Let me know who I’ve left out!

14th September – A Little Bitter / Tapasia / Darwy – The Rosetta
14th September – Sorrowfall / 43 Seconds/ Ahriman / Rabid Bitch of the North/ Redustruct – Pavillion Bar
15th September – Interrogate / PetrochemicalAccelerator – Katy Daly’s
21st September – Limehouse Lizzy – The Rosetta
22nd September - For Selena & Sin / Arcane / Psyatica - The Rosetta
29th September – Deft Leppard – The Empire
6th October – Grey Daturas / Bad Boat – Katy Daly’s
12th October – Spitknot / Libidoswitch / Devil Makes 3 / Master’s Memorial / Lesshelp – Nerve Centre, Derry
13th October – Raging Speedhorn / Residual Effect – Spring & Airbrake
25th October – Ratt – Spring & Airbrake
27th October – No Fake ID Required gig – line-up TBC – Oh Yeah, Belfast
30th October – Tyketto – The Rosetta
9th November – Wishbone Ash – Spring & Airbrake
18th November – Machine ‘Fucking’ Head – Ambassador, Dublin
30th November – Jeff Scott Soto – The Rosetta
15th December – Apocalyptica – Ambassador, Dublin
16th December – Thin Lizzy – Waterfront Hall
8th February (08) – Nazareth – Spring & Airbrake
2nd April (08) – Nightwish – Mandella Hall

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

November Zep?

An announcement is imminent on the much-hyped Led Zeppelin reunion, with November 13th and 16th touted as dates for a London gig (coincidentally Zep's latest 'Greatest Hits' package CD is due out on 12th November...)

Whether they make it to any part of this island is, of course, doubtful (but hey, as Stairway to Heaven was debuted at the Ulster Hall I'm bidding to promote a Led Zeppelin gig at the Rosetta, gizza call Jimmy!).

Zep, together with Sabbath, set the tone for everything that followed in hard rock and heavy metal. And, the mainstream media always forgets that Zep outsold the Stones and Beatles on many, many occassions.

On the official Zep website the date 13th November is being displayed...pity is that touts and ebay sluts will snp up tickets before the genuine fans can get their mitts on them...Only scary thought is that Page will 'hit' the stage as one of the few metal stars older the Dio...Page is 63.

Monday, September 10, 2007


Tommy Lee and Kid Rock have been involved in a fracas at some MTV bash where Miss Tits, sorry Pamela Anderson was presenting some award...guys, is she worth it!
Lee was thrown out, Rock was nabbed by the police...the BBC put together a report which says witnesses disagree (read it here) and no doubt the Youtube clip is already available...which all goes to show that when your career is about to take the turn towards the 'Pension Tour' any publicity is good publicity.
But Pamela, if you need someone to comfort you after this undignified incident...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Jeff Scot Soto for Rosie

Vocal stints for Yngwie Malmsteen, Journey and Talisman have brought plaudits aplenty for Jeff Scott Soto - with a stint in The Empire last year adding to his local fans.

Now the voice is coming back to Belfast for a November 30th date at the Rosetta.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Cello Metal

Those Finnish Eurovision botherers Apocalyptica are set to bring their unique brand of hard rockin' cello metal, replete with circle headbanging (how that is done while bowing a cello...) to Dublin's Ambassador on December 15th...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mickey vs Machine Head

Humourless chaps that they are, Disney have slapped a ban on Machine Head playing at the House of Blues in Anaheim, which is on the Disney Corporation's land (that's the Disney Corporation that is a multi-billion corporation).

Total Rock offers the explanation that Rob Flynn and his mighty Machine Head team are 'metal' but the decision seems strange given that when Belfastmetalheadsreunited noticed on a recent trip to Florida several damn heavy metal acts were listed for the Florida House of Blues - which is on the Downtown Disney plot.

Now what has Rob done to annoy Mickey Mouse and his millionaire board members...hope that nasty business about Minnie Mouse on the tour bus hasn't come light again!

...makes us stronger

WHEN a certain magazine reviewed Panic Cell’s new album ‘What Doesn’t Kill Us’ the reviewer declared that had Luke Bell and his cohorts been from the Good Ol’ USA they would be huge by now.

He missed the point. Panic Cell will be huge. Whether that is stadia huge or with a huge cult following remains to be seen, but on the evidence of their sheer hard work and good natured but professional attitude they deserve it.

Panic Cell have been loyal to Belfast – never ducking their slot on supporting Soil and Drowning Pool/Ill Nino sets when lesser English acts would have stayed at home.

That loyalty may even lead to a headlining slot in Belfast in the near future – the band are about to launch their first ever headlining tour across the UK in October and November. With Cork and Dublin gigs looking likely a Belfast date could also be on the cards.

When Belfastmetaheadsreunited caught up with Luke he was certainly in optimistic mood when it came to the touring and the new album.

“It’s been going brilliant,” he said. “The sound and production on What Doesn’t Kill Us is what we wanted on our first album but weren’t able to achieve.”

Help from high profile producers and engineers (Andy Sneap and Don Turner among other luminaries) has helped evolve the Panic Cell sound.

“It has been an evolution,” agreed Luke. “We were able to spend the time working with top people on how the sound should grow, cutting away the dead bits and taking good advice when we needed it.

“But then again it’s been two and a half years since the last album and we’d like to think we had the songs nailed by now – we’re glad we’ve had such a positive response – it’s been brilliant.”

Live Panic Cell have been always an exciting proposition (and have benefitted from being on the road for the guts of 30 months with few breaks). Now they have the album to back up that energy – get out there and buy it, and should Luke bring his Panic Cell colleagues to Belfast…well who could refuse toasting them with a shot or six of Jager?

Maiden Dublin

Odds are increasing that Iron Maiden will make a Dublin appearance this summer. Plans are afoot for a UK tour bringing their Somewhere in Time/Powerslave era faves back out into the blinking sunlight - all replete with the Powerslave stage set.

Exact dates are expected to be announced early in the new year, if not before.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Ratt, Tyketto, Machine Head, Nightwish, Raging Speedhorn and much more

Was going to list the forthcoming dates of hard rock and metal in Belfast and Ireland in the coming months but fer feck's sake there are so many! Machine Head, Tyketto, Ratt, Raging Speedhorn, Nazareth, Wishbone Ash, to name but a few (and that's not even mentioning top tribute acts like Deft Leppard, Limehouse Lizzy and Metallitia).

How to list them all? Suggestions?

It's the reformation...

Times must be bad amongst ageing rock stars as reformation fever has kicked in....First Van Halen put aside the fact that the original line-up hates each other to get back for a US tour...then the long-awaited Led Zeppelin reunion nears completion for this autumn (even the BBC have gotten in on the speculation act!)...and now it appears that Ozzy, Iommi, Butler and Ward will undertake a final Sabbath tour in 2008...
All these wrinkly rockers forgot to invest wisely and are now forced into pension plan tours...or at least that's what a cynical eye would see....

Where to start...

Hell! It’s been a while (ok just over a week!) since I sat down to try and analyse a wild night that showcased the best of hard rock and metal that masqueraded as MM2:Summer Slaughter. Good hearts lurk beneath the metal soul, hence all the money that was raised for Clic Sargent!

But rather than whine on about it, suffice to say that ALL the bands rose to the occasion, Stevie did his usual stage management magnificence, Laura presided over it all as only a metal queen should. Hop along to Metal Ireland to see the impression it made on bands and audience alike. Alternatively visit http://www.in.tv/news211.php to see why it all took place!

Suffice to say that between the ‘No Fake ID Required’ gig and MM2 there is ample proof that the NI hard rock and metal scene is healthier than ever.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

MM2: Summer Slaughter

MM2: Summer Slaughter at the Spring & Airbrak is but a few hours away from kick-off. However, some clarification is needed...Firstly, GO! It's worth it! Secondly, sorry guys but it's an over-18s gig only! Secondly, please read the line-up (below or at www.myspace.com/valentinemetalmassacre) and stop sending me emails asking who is playing! Lastly - tickets are priced £12, available at thedoor, and with that line-up you have NO excuse not to be there (unless you are under 18)
See you there...and if you are so minded I will accept either lager or Jager to ensure a mention in gig review...(though timing may be crucial as after about 6 I may not remember your name :)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

MM2: Summer Slaughter - be there

On Sunday MM2: Summer Slaughter takes place. Great rock/metal; raising money for charity; raising glasses for inebriation and raising hell at the Spring & Airbrake. Ten hours of metal mayhem. £12 on the day and a tenner if you rush to Katy Daly's and snag a ticket tomorrow! See ya there!

Check out the bands myspace sites below for a taster of the fun that lies in wait on Sunday!


PS - Sinnocence had been billed to play but other, unavoidable, commitments have forced them to withdraw.

Black Crusade in Dublin

Machine Head are bringing their Black Crusade mayhem to Dublin on November 18th...that's MH, with Trivium, Dragonforce, Arch Enemy and Shadow's Fall. It's at the Ambassador but it's one gig that deserves a bigger venue!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Come to the slaughter!

With Saturday's No Fake ID Required onslaught of metallic mayhem over bands and over-18 metalheads will be warming up for Sunday's MM2: Summer Slaughter on August 26th at the Spring and Airbrake.

It's a diverse metallic line-up...check out Darkest Era and Escape Fails to start with...

In the coming days we'll post further links to the bands that will be destroying the masses in aid of Clic Sargent, together with profiles and pix.

And if you want to know more (or but a ticket in advance and save £2) visit the official site.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Boxing Clever

THERE is perhaps no better sight in music than seeing young people really getting into the effort being put out on stage. It’s even more powerful to see it when they are getting off to music laid down by local bands.

At Belfast’s Black Box venue on Saturday almost 150 fans of hard rock and heavy metal gathered for the debut concert under the ‘No Fake ID Required’ banner.

Hosted by a not-for-profit organisation determined to provide opportunities for metal musicians and fans alike the No Fake ID Required gig was by any stretch of musician, critic or fan’s imagination a complete success.

Mosh pits, massed headbanging, autographed arms – even the obligatory dude in a Hawaiin shirt dancing in the middle of a pit – young and (not-so) old alike were into the music and the general good vibe emanating from the Hill Street venue.

Arcane kicked off proceedings (taking an early slot as one band member was heading for the more sedate surroundings of Slane Castle and the Strolling Bones. As usual Arcane can deliver tight sounds, and in recent months have developed a tighter attitude without losing the freedom of a good live performance.

Next up were teen sensations – help, I’ve just written a pop cliché! Well in this occasion Circadian are worth dipping into hyperbole. All under 15, and with a 12-year-old lead guitarist, these aspiring contenders have the potential to grow into something special.

With a drummer that sings the front three just need to impose themselves a little more to make sure that Circadian reach the heights that the potential of their tender years can surely reach.

Dark Light District changed the mood a little, mixing hard rock tendencies with classic rock aspirations they still managed to have heads a’banging…even straying into 80’s style metal when the crowd (and they!) least suspected it. Closing the set with a power ballad won over many in the hall.

Escape Fails are just back from a tour of the underground scene in Norway, and the legacy of that gigging was evident in a tight and controlled set. They have managed to bridge a style that combines out and out metal and melody that echoes 36 Crazyfists, Drowning Pool and Panic Cell…and they managed to get a ‘wall of death’ started.

Darkest Era brought 80s thrash to the fore with more than a dollop of Celtic styling. Obviously engaged with the crowd, the singer's desire to join in with the headbanging hordes proved a master stroke and sustained much merriment against the metallic background of noise assault.

The crowd had barely time to draw breath (or a quick ciggie outside…) before Sorrowfall took the stage.

With new album ‘Prayers for the Faithless’ already shifting significant units (What? You haven’t bought it? Shame on you!) Sorrowfall have garnered the sort of following from young and old alike that they deserve from their constant gigging.

Sleeve’s vocals are as always seering, matched by the conviction of a stage presence many had suspected was lurking there all along. One young punter, awed by his performance, said “Yer man’s built like Geddy Lee but he sings like he’s ragin' with everyone, fu**in’ great!”

Eddie’s bang on drumming, combined with Chris & Chris’s increasingly sublime guitar understanding (at times telepathy seemed to be in the musical air) and Sleeve’s bass pummelling had the crowd cowed.

Pits, synchronised banging and a mass reaching out at the stage had all agog.

As the crowd filed out into the Belfast evening air punters and bands alike asked when the next ‘No Fake ID Required’ gig would be.

Soon, soon…watch this space!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Expect requests for replacement livers and neck braces

If y'all recover from Saturday's 'No Fake ID Required' gig at the Black Box, then next weekend will be one hell of a three day party...expect desperate online pleas for liver transplants and neck braces to appear online....

On Friday 24th August Sorrowfall have their album launch party at the Rosetta - ably assisted by Residual Effect, Devil Makes Three and the one-off return of The Watch.

Then on Saturday night The Dwarves are at Spring and Airbrake.

And then on Sunday there's MM2:Summer Slaughter (same venue) with 12 bands in 10 hours in aid of Clic Sargent.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

No Fake ID Required – all ages metal concert

In response to requests from young people to access music that is otherwise played in over 18s venues a not-for-profit organisation is hosting the first in a series of All Ages gigs at Belfast’s Black Box on Saturday 18th August.
For the reasonable price of £4 you can check out six local metal acts, including headliners Sorrowfall who have just released their debut CD – Prayers for the Faithless. The line up is:
  • Arcane
  • Circadian
  • Dark Light District
  • Escape Fails
  • Darkest Era
  • Sorrowfall

    Doors open 2pm

Monday, August 13, 2007

Nazareth Belfast date

For those with long memories...or a fondness for classic rock, Nazareth are playing Belfast's Spring & Airbrake on 8th February 2008.

August....rockin' month!

Hey there...been away a while...catching the rays in the sunshine state of Florida with Belfastmetalheadsreunited's junior eds (a.k.a. my kids). Rest assured though that we'll be catching up with all things rock and metal in days to come.

In the meantime don't forget August 18th's No Fake ID Required gig at the Black Box headlined by Sorrowfall, (who have a launch party for their CD on August 24th). And on August 26th there's Summer Slaughter: MM2 - 12 bands in 12 hours in aid of Clic Sargent....metal on a mission for charity!

When my body clock adjusts back to UK time more details, more gossip and more rock and metal!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Metalworks gig launch - No Fake ID required: with Sorrowfall

Metalworks is a local music community based in Belfast. It consists of a team of dedicated members, whose prime objective is to provide musical education and performance opportunity. Its not-for-profit, but Metalworks is up for rock!

As well as developing musical education (from some of the best tutors in Northern Ireland), Metalworks wants to make sure more and more young people can hear live music from some of the island’s top rock and metal bands.

'No Fake ID Required' is a planned series of All Ages gigs. They kick off on August 18th at Belfast's Black Box when Sorrowfall kick headline, with support from Circadian, Dark Light District, Escape Fails, Arcane and Darkest Era.

All this rock and metal for just £4 is a demonstration that Metalworks wants to make sure access to quality musical affordable as well as open to all ages.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rammstein hoax

On Total Rock today an update on the Rammstein situation...."It would seem that stories about vocalist Till Lindeman leaving Rammstein are not true. This is a hoax, although exactly why it started remains unknown." Mmmmmm, strange days with the German mentalists!

Diamond Head still on!

There was some confusion about Diamond Head's gig on 25th July. A glitch on myspace meant an event cancellation bulletin was sent out in error. Thankfully the gig is still definitely on! See y'all at The Rosetta!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Gig listings

Updated gig listings....any more details of gigs you want listed here drop us an e-mail

  • Hunger’s Mother/Arcane/Stone Crow – July 20th Bush Tavern, Ballymoney (in aid of Action Cancer)
  • Soundstone (album launch) with Million$Reload – July 21st – Rosetta Bar
  • Diamond Head/Sinnocence/Nemesis/Revengance - 25th July – Rosetta Bar
  • Blitzkrieg , Fireland , Rabid Bitch Of The North – 27th July – Rosetta Bar
  • Spitknot – 28th July – Rosetta Bar
  • Cannibal Corpse - 28th July - TBMC Dublin
  • MSG/Rattlesnake Remedy - 10th August - Spring & Airbrake
  • ALLIANCE (EX ANNEX and NO HOT ASHES from the 80's) Million Dollar Reload and Resurrection – 10th August – The Rosetta Bar (in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Fund)
  • Tampora (Pantera tribute), LessHelp, Blizzard Of Ozzy, Residual Effect, Honey for Christ, Condemned, War Iron, Overoth 11th August – The Rosetta Bar (in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Fund)
  • Devil Makes 3, Dangerfields, BadBoat, Dawn, Sky Pilot, The Angry Host and one other TBC – August 12th – The Rosetta Bar (in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Fund)
  • Napalm Death / Condemned / Scald / Overoth – 20th August – The Limelight
  • Foo Fighters/Nine Inch Nails - 22nd August - Marley Park, Dublin
  • The Dwarves – 25th August – Spring & Airbrake
  • MMII – Summer Slaughter - 26th August, Spring & Airbrake (in aid of Clic Sargent)
  • Wishbone Ash - 9th November - Spring & Airbrake
  • Thin Lizzy - 16th December - Waterfront Hall

Honouring the memory at The Rosetta

Condolences to Andy Allen of the Rosetta Bar who a number of weeks ago lost his sister, who was also a founding member of the Rosetta. Andy wrote on Metal Ireland that she died peacefully thanks to the Marie Curie Cancer care.

Andy is laying on a weekend of rock and metal to raise funds for the Marie Curie Cancer Fund. Further details will appear soon, but the line-up and doors to date are:

August 10th ALLIANCE (EX ANNEX and NO HOT ASHES from the 80's) Million Dollar Reload and Resurrection Doors 9pm.
August 11th Tampora (Pantera tribute), LessHelp, Blizzard Of Ozzy, Residual Effect, Honey for Christ, Condemned, War Iron, Overoth. Doors 6pm.
August 12th (TBC) Devil Makes 3, Dangerfields, BadBoat, Dawn, Sky Pilot, The Angry Host and hopefully one other. Doors TBC (will end at Midnight as it's a Sunday)

Good luck Andy with this weekend of fundraising! Hope it raises loads.

Loss of a NWOBHM pioneer

New Wave of British Heavy Metal pioneer Kelly Johnson of Girlschool has died aged 49. Kelly had been battling cancer of the spine for six years.

For those of long memories Kelly almost stole the show when Girlschool supported Motorhead at Maysfield Leisure Centre in the mid-80s. Condolences to her family.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

"When did Motley Crue become classic rock?"

Perennial pop punk funsters Bowling for Soup asked “When did Motley Crue become classic rock” in their song ’1985’.

They had a point.

The term classic rock has expanded and evolved over the past five years to become an almost meaningless.

Flick through the pages of the (excellent) magazine of the same name and there is a diverse number of acts and genres lumped under the catch-all of ‘classic rock’. From the retro thrash of Trivium to the prog stylings of Porcupine Tree, the acts vary in ages from the ancient to the fresh. The magazine has even carried two cover-mount CDs of acts that one day aspire to be heirs to Guns ‘n’ Roses 80s sleaze rock throne.

But what classic rock is, for many, music played in the style of 70s and 80s hard rock, the style pioneered by proto-metallers Cream, elevated by Zeppelin and Free and evolved further by Lizzy, UFO, Whitesnake et al. Bluesy rock, with roots in the delta blues of Robert Johnson’s alleged crossroads deal with the devil. Latterly the likes of Thunder, Jet and Velvet Revolver kept the torch aflame when fad orientated music promotion kicked in during the latter years of the

In Northern Ireland there is a healthy crop of acts that can aspire to the title of classic rock, despite the connotations some may draw from that (free cardigan with every CD as was once wittily said by Scottish author Christopher Brookmyre).

Leading the pack in the classic rock vanguard is Downpatrick’s finest, The Answer. In fact they are blazing a trail few can keep up with.

The Answer has been on tour in perpetuity for the past 18 months. They have scored critical acclaim in that time, recorded healthy album sales, supported mega-acts Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones. Considerable achievements.

They have played Donington, collected awards and re-released their debut album, Rise, to record yet more sales (label support evident in Albert Records even taking ad slots on TotalRock!)

Put bluntly they are on the cusp of a real breakthrough to deserved monstrous mainstream success.

Yet, after I hooked up with James Heatley (drums) and Paul Mahon (guitar) prior to their award-winning gig at QUB Student’s Union, no magazines were interested in carrying the review and interview.

Was it that the band was being over-exposed? Was it that the label’s PR machine had been there already?

No, in fact there was a jaded feeling knocking about UK music editors that the band had been covered. Unless the label was paying for a hack’s flight to Japan then there was little interest in the review etc.

This is, in fact a sad testimony to the UK music press, and the wider journalistic view in the UK and Ireland. Build ‘em up, knock ‘em down. Fortunately for The Answer being knocked down usually is followed by being built back up again. That will happen to The Answer, not thanks to the cyclical nature of journalistic habits, but through the band’s obvious talent.

But, as the band look forward to recording the follow-up to Rise, they know that negative reviews, occasional sniping and even ennui from long-time fans, has set the bar higher than on their début platter.

“We hope to be in the studio in the autumn with a 2008 release,” said Paul, as he chugged at a bottle of water and looked only slightly suspiciously at a half-cut Belfastmetalheadsreunited editor.

And as such, how much weight can be put on their live performances? At The Mandella Hall they kicked up a storm. Occasionally a little too loose, the band still managed to hold the attention and awe of the crowd. Crowd awe aside, at times the band have been guilty of being too casual. Rhythm and lead have been noted to be wandering apart during some appearances…for lesser acts this would have been fatal. With Cormac’s professionalism and the band’s ability to right themselves it has been averted. As they grow in importance and exposure such looseness cannot be covered. But it is a tribute to the totality of the band’s dominance that such wanderings do not bother crowds.

Such adulation makes the band a little uncomfortable.

“Yeah, it’s nice,” said James, “But it was a bit mad in Japan.”

Kerrang!, spent two pages extolling the virtues and sales in Japan. Then gave a poor review for their Donington and Hyde Park appearances

Other mags showed their devotion by indifference.

Fickle press cannot be swayed by freebies (though I’m willing to try and be swayed by freebies!).

So what does the future hold? Blues-based groove is ‘in’ at the moment with a plethora of pseudo-rockers like The Killers bothering the charts.

Would The Answer sign their souls away for such fame?

Paul and James exchanged a nervous glance before answering that question…MTV fame and royalties versus longevity.

“The MTV royalties would be nice,” said James, “But we’re here for the long term.”

And that is the attitude that will make sure The Answer will slowly, but with inevitability, gain more fans, gain critical credibility and still be grounded in where their music comes from – classic rock with a Northern Ireland spin.

“We’re working on the songs for the next album,” said Paul.

Hard work is what The Answer do better than most. Great blues rocking is what they can and, all metal gods being willing, do best.

The next album will not have the benefit of, as James put it, “a dozen months of rehearsing on the road”.

What it will have is the benefit of goodwill the band has generated through the constant touring and swimming in the relatively strange seas of Japan and Korea.

The Answer will have a rocky ride over the next 12 months. “We’re ready for the challenge,” said Paul. But, the perseverance they have shown to date will need to be apparent in spades.

To return to Bowling for Soup…on their piss-take song ‘I’m Gay’ they declare a hate for bands that take their rock too seriously. The Answer know it is a serious game, they know that when they take to the stage it is a serious game, but other than that it isn’t life or death for the punters who put their pounds down for a few hours of fun and damn fine entertainment.

The Answer, even when not at their best , deliver pure hard rocking fun. Try to interrogate them about this and, well, there are no ulterior motives lurking in the background.

In short The Answer will lead the way towards a hallowed ground where they may not dominate, but will permeate and seal longevity.

For Northern Ireland it will be further proof that, in the wake of Van Morrison, Gary Moore, SLF, the Undertones, Therapy?, and Ash, there is a further wave of talent bursting through. Better still The Answer are inspiring and showing others that it can be done.

Rise up, the vanguard of true classic rock has led the way…let me follow!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Gigging, ligging and reviewing

Got a gig coming up? Let us know and we'll put a listing up...(include link etc to myspace or other sites). Want to help us lig about.....ok, that was a blatant attempt to blag...but if you want review of album, ep or demo, same addy...

Raise your axes for charity!

Heavy metal ‘Summer Slaughter’ charity gig

SOME of the heaviest bands in Ireland will take to the stage on August 26th in an aural assault to raise money for children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Belfast’s Spring and Airbrake will host ‘MM2- Summer Slaughter’ - the second time heavy metal and hard rock bands have rallied round a good cause in an epic gig.

Last time out 12 bands played in 10 hours – and the winning formula will be repeated again.

Event organiser, Laura Kennedy said the hard rock and heavy metal community had proved they could have a good time and help others.

“When we hosted the Valentine Metal Massacre hundreds had a great time and raised £1,100 for Fibromyagia Northern Ireland,” she said. “This time out we hope to repeat the experience and raise money for a great cause.”

Stephen Wright of White Wolf Promotions said fans of heavy music are in for a treat come August 26th.

“There’s another great line-up of bands ready to rock Belfast,” he said. “I know that these bands will let rip for the audience and all are fired up to be playing for such a good cause.”

A full list of bands playing will be available soon on www.myspace.com/valentinemetalmassacre with details of how you can help raise funds for CLIC Sargent through MM2: Summer Slaughter.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Rosetta pix!

The pictures from Friday night's Rockin' the Rosetta with Heeltap/Stillroom/Million$Reload. View the pix here
In the meantime...some samples!

Sunday, July 08, 2007

So what is this metal lark anyway....

Back when rivers ran deep, eagles soared and Maggie Thatcher reigned like a scabbed snake...there was a music wave called New Wave of British Heavy Metal. Lumped in this genre were the likes of Saxon, Maiden, Priest, Tygers of Pan Tang...and even uber-cheesey rockers Def Leppard (but we all love the Lepps anyway!)

As the 80s rolled on the over-arching label of heavy metal was such that in the late 80s it wasn't unusual for Belfast's denim clad legions to watch Metallica, Bon Jovi, WASP, Marillion, Anthrax, Kiss and Alice Cooper all within a few months.

Then somewhere in the 90s music journos had to put labels on it all. Thrash Metal, Glam Metal, Speed Metal, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Prog Rock, Adult Rock, Black Metal, Stadium Rock, Death Metal etc. All different. All with some common core of fans who will go to the gigs, all only bothering the charts occasionally, but all having longevity beyond all reason.

Which, by a very (VERY) tortuous route, brings me to Friday....

Was nattering with Kie and Phil of Million$Reload in the Rosetta's salubrious beer garden (best in Belfast!) before they headlined with Heeltap and Stillroom.

I choose, blithely, to paraphrase the converstion here...Phil mentioned that he read this blog, but wondered if and why Million$Reload would appear on a 'metal' blog as they were more 'classic rock'. Mmmm thought I, but then I recalled days when I saw Lepps and Blackfoot and Slayer and Metallica and Kiss and Anthrax...all while during my brief tenure at uni...So I said that 'back in the day' even Lepps were considered metal... Kie laughed "We're not as metal as Def Leppard?Are we?"

But come 10pm at the Rosetta labels were of no concern to anyone. Not that they should be!

Heeltap were on stage and laying down fine licks and tunes that belied their relatively tender years. They have a definite ability to eke out good songs that in less able hands could turn into cliché.

Stillroom were making their first venture into Northern Ireland. Even after winning through to Emergenza and the prospect of playing in front of 30,000 people they were still both nervous and stoked to be playing to a hundred at the Rosie.

They needn't have worried. Like pros they provided a show worthy of a stadium rather than a sparsely populated Rosetta. The band produces a great vibe, have obvious chemistry and have developed a repertoire of songs that span hard rockers, mellower moods and out raunch.

If this is how they perform nervey and on their Belfast début then it will not be long before they return!

Million$Reload, backing their album Anthems of Degeneration, concluded the evening's hard rock fun with a run through of most of the tracks on the platter.

Accomplished musos they are (after all the individual members have been gigging for a while to a consistently high level!) and they have songs that have been honed to a keen edge. The album tracks are now benefitting from more and more live exposure.

But are they metal (or even heavier than Lepps to answer Kie's question)? In this genre obsessed world they probably wouldn't qualify...nor, I'm sure would they want to.

Still I counted 20 people there who would normally be seen headbanging to heavier brethren, nodding their nappers to all three bands.

In the words of Stevie (he was the man responsible for getting the gear on stage, on time, plus another 100+ essentials) it was "damn fine entertainment for a fiver". Never mind what you call it, it was a great night.

And a few honourable mentions now follow (ya don't get this crap in Kerrang or Classic Rock!):
  • Alli - my co-conspirator;
  • Stevie (see above);
  • Andy from the Rosetta (and all the staff);
  • Sid....for being Sid;
  • Nichola and Stephen (for suggesting new nickname for Grets)
  • The Mysterious Barry...;
  • Bar staff;
  • Taxi firms (for not throwing out my lost phone); and,
  • All three bands....Carslberg don't do gigs, but if they did they'd book these three
And finally....a month before this I watched Chimira, Killswitch Engage and Machine Head...three metal bands. On Friday night I watched the hard rock of Heeltap, Stillroom and Million$Reload. And you know what...both were great gigs, albeit in different ways. As Rainbow once sang...Long Live Rock 'n' Roll. Now if only cut-off denims with painted back panels were to come back into fashion....

Friday, July 06, 2007

"Friday night's here..."

Belfast rock/punk gods SLF once sang of Belfast's entertainment scene Friday night's here/what's the scene/nothing to do/ya know what I mean' in their blistering invective of Here We Are Nowhere....how times have changed now rock, hard rock and metal have asserted themselves in....a post-conflict Belfast....

And on Friday night you can mainline that scene when Heeltap, Stillroom and Million$Reload hit the stage at the Rosetta!

Get yer asses along...doors 9pm...entry fee £5!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Don't dither!

Still want to go to the Rosetta on 6th July, but dithering a l'il bit? Well, asides from the fact it is only £5, once you check out the music you'll have no hesitation...

Classic rock in the best sense of the word!

BTW - know of any gigs you want listed....email me! See here for listings


For fans of NI band Sorrowfall....look out their debut CD is on its way soon...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wishbone Ash

Wishbone Ash will be playing at the Spring & Airbake on 9th November...twin barrels rockin'!

Monday, June 25, 2007

9-5 with Ben

Orange Goblin are an enduring fixture of the metal scene on these isles- but for those fortunate to see The Gob playing The Limelight on Saturday it may come as a surprise that Ben Ward and his motley crew still hold down 9-5 jobs as well as delivering classic metal.

How do they do it? For on Saturday, fresh from Download, the band delivered a pure metal set! Ben is huge in stature and huge in stage presence and new tunes revealed ever more depth.

Quick word for Triggerman - improving all the time, and with Bap's in-song raps and remonstrations improving all-the-time they have discovered a new genre - Preacher Metal.

All hail to Distortion Project for another great Saturday evening (and a name check from Ben in the Irish News!)


A brief update on forthcoming dates...

  • Condemned/Cerebral Bore/The Black Chain/Ground Of Ruin/Throat Locust/Broken Limit – 30th June – Rosetta Bar
  • Ozzy Osbourne w/ Black Label Society - 3rd July - Point Theatre, Dublin
  • Million$Reload/Stillroom/Heeltap – 6th July @ the Rosetta Bar (£5 only!)
  • Day of Darkness Festival (incl Sabbat/Entombed/Candlemass) - 6th & 7th July Co Laois
  • The Bloodhound Gang - 17th July -The Empire Music Hall
  • Diamond Head/Sinnocence/Nemesis/Revengance - 25th July – Rosetta Bar
  • Blitzkrieg , Fireland , Rabid Bitch Of The North – 27th July – Rosetta Bar
  • Cannibal Corpse - 28th July - TBMC Dublin
  • MSG/Rattlesnake Remedy - 10th August - Spring & Airbrake
  • Napalm Death / Condemned / Scald / Overoth – 20th August – The Limelight
  • Foo Fighters/Nine Inch Nails - 22nd August - Marley Park, Dublin
  • MMII – Summer Slaughter - 26th August, Spring & Airbrake
  • Wishbone Ash - 9th November - Spring & Airbrake

    And don't forget that Thunder, Wishbone Ash, Nazareth, and a Quireboys/Hanoi Rocks double bill are gigs that we hope to see confirmed very soon!


Whisper softly, but 'tis true....Thunder, Wishbone Ash, Nazareth, Quireboys/Hanoi Rocks are all set for Spring & Airbrake in next 7-8 months! Classic rock keeps on rocking!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Answer this!

The Answer - live at Belfast's Virgin Megastore...some crap pix, some good ones... click the pic of Cormac to go to the album!

Answer - 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Rock calendar

Jly 6th...put it in your diaries....hard rockin at the Rosetta...here's the press release:

Rockin’ the Rosetta

A trio of Ireland’s top hard rock acts will be rocking the Rosetta on Friday, July 6th when Bangor’s Heeltap, Dublin’s Stillroom and the mighty Million Dollar Reload hit the stage.

The bands make-up a classic rock threesome for everyone who has a heart steeped in Guns ‘n’ Roses, Aerosmith, Thin Lizzy, AC/DC – and there will not be a cover version in sight!

Million Dollar Reload – with album Anthems of Degeneration still selling well – are fresh from supporting the likes of Alice Cooper and Danny Vaughn.

Dublin’s Stillroom recently won the Emergenza band competition in Dublin and are to play the Taubertal Rock Fest in Germany in August – in front of 30,000 Teutonic rockers.

Heeltap - winners of Ossia Rock School’s ’06 Battle of the Bands are on the road promoting a self-titled 4-track EP.

Steve Wright of WhiteWolf Promotions said the bands represented some of the best of the current crop of hard rock talent on the island.

“The acts taking to the stage of the Rosetta on July 6th show that hard rock is alive, kicking and brimming with talent,” he said.

Jonathan Traynor of co-promoters AJ Promotions said: “This is set to be night of pure, classic hard rock excellence – three original acts, three collections of talented musicians and three tight sets of music brimming with top tunes and terrific musicianship – be there!”

Doors open at 8.00pm on the 6th July. Admittance priced at the hugely reasonable fee of £5.


For further information contact Jonathan Traynor

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sincerest apologies

Sincerest apologies for delay in updating the site - been too much going on (you can stop emailing now - you know who you are!) Coming soon, interview with The Answer, gig gossip (Thunder, Nazareth, Wishbone Ash....)

Feral glorious fury

Famed science fiction writer William S Burroughs wrote about rock shows that the essential ingredients were the exchange of energy between the artists and the audience.

While Borroughs may have been writing about a Led Zeppelin show in the 70s the realisation of his analysis was in the feral nature of a triple bill played in a cow shed in Belfast…

Billed with Machine Head as headliners with Killswitch Engage and Chimira as support acts the exigencies of ferry travel to Download forced Machine Head to be the middle act of the trio.

And, of course, for all three acts this was only meant to be a warm-up for Download….

Not that the crowd thought so….when there is crowd surfing and mosh pits in the queue you know it’s going to be something more than a warm-up.

For Chimira it was a daunting enough task…Opening with a truncated set (in line with Download set listing and timing) they ripped through the tunes with a smattering of tunes from new album Resurrection as well as old faves such that ‘Hate Song’

With Blackening receiving rave reviews Machine Head had one real task….live up to the hype.

There has been so much press about Rob Flynn coming back from the dead, re-signing to the label that dumped the band, coming back to rave reviews for the past two releases…could they match up to the recorded promise in the live setting.

Ermm….clear the room there’s pits a plenty.

If there are two phrases to sum up Machine Head they are: literate and intense.

Literate in the lyrical guitar work and thought-provoking lyrics (introducing Descend…as an 8-minute meditation on death); intense as in a stage presence that almost commands attention.

Halo and Imperium stood out for different reasons – Imperium for its viciously delivered lyrical content, Halo for the multi-facetted guitar work.

Machine Head are simply doing what they do best…playing heavy metal in a fine, honest way…as delivered with pummelling power during the awesome diatribe against the fundamentalists who slagged off Dimebagafter he died…Machine Head’s Aesthetics of Hate redressed the balance.

The Dimebag connection continued as Machine Head left for their ferry. With Adam Dutkiewicz recovering from surgery, former Damageplan vocalist Pat Lachman was filling in on guitar and backing vocal duties.

For Killswitch it was a challenge…Machine Head had ripped such a hole in the Balmoral Hall.

They opened well (apart from Howard Jones admonitions for the crowd to respond to having three top line acts…and his clichéd left vs right singalongs) but sagged in the middle. Much as I like Killswitch, at times their material can be one-dimensional.

But having offered that note, they grew as the set progressed, using the larger stage better, with Pat and bassist Mike D’Antonio egged on by the crowd, combined with Jones’ call for crowd surfing…Belfast engaged with Killswitch.

Of course there were things that could have been better, overall, with the gig…not least the patchy sound.

It was a testament to the audience and the artists that a cow shed was transformed into an altar to worship metal…may Chimira, Killswitch and Machine Head return soon!

Hello to the Farm Lodge mosh crew (busted noses and all…) junior metalheadsreunited editor Nadia, Avril, Kyle, Mikey from Residual, the l’il moshing dudes (respect!) and a big fuck off to the too-drunk dicks trying to feel girl’s asses

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Get yer motor running for Enduro India fundraiser

Guitarists 2,200km bike trek for charity

GUITARISTS from Belfast-based band Strictly No Ballroom are gearing up for a 2008 motorbike trek round India with a fundraising gig at The Empire on Sunday May 27th.

Paul Kane and Brendan Loughran will be taking part in the Enduro India 2008 2,200km ride round southern India – and if that is not enough they will be straddling Enfield motorbikes, still built on the sub-continent to a 1930s design.

“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” said Paul, “even if other members of the band thought we’d lost the plot! Now we want to make sure we raise as much money as possible for the charities that will benefit from the challenge.”

Strictly No Ballroom will take to The Empire’s prestigious Botanic Avenue stage, supported by In the Name Of to help boost the coffers for the Enduro India good causes, which include the Children’s Rainbow Trust, World Wildlife Fund, Wildlife Conservation and Adventure Ashram.

Brendan said: “27th at The Empire promises to be a great night of music with plenty of fun to boot as well, including a prize draw. It makes a change not to be singing or playing for our supper, but playing to help others.

“We’re really looking forward to the gig and eager for 2008 to roll round to take part in what is sure to be an adventure, albeit a bone shaking one!”

Tickets for the charity concert are priced £5, and doors at The Empire open at 8pm on the 27th May.

The Answer...coming soon

Coming soon, the review of The Answer and words of wisdom from Paul and James....as soon as I decipher the bad shorthand notes :)

Satan visits Spring & Airbrake...

London's own Death Metal Gentlemen Akercocke (http://www.myspace.com/akercocke ) will be making a welcome return to Belfast on Friday May 18th, in The Spring and Airbrake.

Three years after their last visit, and with a new album almost in the can, this is a show not to be missed by anyone, especially if you caught their devastating performance last time round.

Support comes from twisted grindcore freaks Cephalic Carnage (http://www.myspace.com/cephaliccarnage ) and up-and-coming Deathsters Ted Maul (http://www.myspace.com/tedmaul666 ), Together with Burning Skies (http://www.myspace.com/burningskies)

Tickets, priced £13 are on sale now from Katy Dalys, Ormeau Avenue, Belfast.

Friday, May 11, 2007

If you can't find some rock action this weekend...

If you can't find some rock action this weekend then give up! There's more rock and metal than you can shake a studded belt at! Tonight it's homecoming time for The Answer when the play their biggest Belfast gig to date at the Mandella Hall, QUB Student's Union. Support comes from Winnebago Deal

Also tonight Bad Boat play as part of a suicide awareness and fundraising gig at the Front Page.

If that wasn't enough, Libido Switch, Arcane, (inside), Rigger and Sage are at the Pavillion Bar.

Still not got enough rock and metal for one night? Danny Vaughn (ex-Tyketto & Waysted singer) brings his solo set to the Rosetta this evening, with support from Stormzone...

Seriously...what you doing sitting in cradling a lukewarm can of lager and watching shite TV?

Oh, and don't forget Rattlesnake Remedy are playing The Empire on Saturday night

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Short clip

A short clip of 'Be What You Want' from the acoustic gig reviewed below is available at http://www.youtube.com/v/qiwVTXCmblo from the forum poster Adamwiththehair...

Acoustically charming...

Unlikely as it seems The Answer appeared today in the unlikely surroundings of Benedicts in Belfast for an impromptu gig to launch the Big Buzz entertainment awards...

For those of you not familiar with Belfast, Benedicts is more likely to be filled with saddos and people dragged along with workmates assuring them it is 'great craic'. Not the usual place for damn fine hard rockin' music.

Indeed despair was setting in at Benedicts as some no-name z-list celeb from Hollyoaks took to the cramped stage to bleat his way through a sad and tired version of George 'Me, crash a car while high?' Michael's Faith. It was bad...and sad that some there seemed to like this sort of drivel...thankfully it was a brief appearance!

The Answer were without drummer James who was nursing a cold, or if you chose to believe Cormac, practising...

Paul, Michael and Cormac were left to impress and usual they managed to lay down a solid, if brief set. Under The Sky, Be What You Want, Preacher and Into the Gutter were layed down. While all impressive acoustic versions, the tracks did not veer far from their beefier electric versions. The tracks, and the bands performance, were such that the songs were melded into a suitably passionate performance.

Cormac may have, at times seemed a little non-plussed by the venue, but put passion into the tracks, while Paul's playing, especially when using slide, was afforded a different tone by playing acoustically. Michael seemed to have added an occassional flourish to his bass playing, but then again he may have just been bored....

Given their adept acoustic performance, they may, in the future consider adding an acoustic element to their normal live set...it worked for Rory Gallagher who used to lay down two acoustic tracks as a change of pace in the middle of each show.

It was, perhaps, as well they were playing the acoustic versions today though - some of the sad gits who dared talk through the songs would have had their eyes melted by the real thing.

This, when all was said and done was a simple gig for The Answer to get through; a warm-up for Thursday's Dublin gig, and Friday's appointment at the Mandella Hall. Not that the guys need to hone already sharp skills much more!
Thanks to the guys for listening to Belfast Metalheads Reunited's pleas for tickets to this gig on the forum...
Pix courtesy of Alli!

Sabbath slip to No. 10

Black Sabbath have slipped to number 10...in the all time worst lyrics listing. Nice to know that such luminaries as the much vaunted Bono are 'better' at bad lyrics than Geezer and Ozzy...

For those of an indy/pop punk bent...

For those of an indy/pop punk bent Ash are playing the Spring & Airbrake on June 6th...tickets available from Wonderland and usual outlets...they're not exactly metal, but they can rock a bit...and Tim Wheeler burns up the odd flying-V...can't see him doing that on the 6th though!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Big up to Bad Boat

Rock and metal has always proved that it is socially aware and ready to lend a hand when needed; from the fundraising excellence of the Valentine Metal Massacre in February through to the countless donations of time and energy both locally and further afield the evidence is clear, even if unlike other people it isn't always trumpeted.

On Friday night local metal heads Bad Boat take to the stage at the Front Page as part of a line up which aims to raise awareness of suicide, and to raise funds for the Suicide Awareness Support Group. Also on the line-up are The V-Necks, Underline, The Angry Host and Throat Locust.

So if you're not going to The Answer, Danny Vaughn or the Brutal Fucking Gig on Friday, make a point to head to The Front Page. £5 to get in, tickets from Phoenix Records, Haymarket Arcade, the Culturlann or at the door.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Acoustic Answer...

If trying to blag yer way into The Answer's acoustic set on 8th May at Benedicts doesn't sound like fun, give the boys a reason to get you in at the door. This is from the band's forum on www.theanswer.ie

Hey, So the band, well three of them Cormac Paul + Micky, will be playing three or four acoustic songs as part of the Big Buzz Awards launch event in belfast on Tuesday 8th May. It is a press launch for the main awards ceremony in June. The guys will be playing from about 3pm, the event starts at 2 pm. It is at Benedicts wine bar on bradbury place. I have got 5 pairs of tickets for this intimate event. So if you want to go and check it out and share a beer with the boys reply to this post and give a good reason and we will pick the best five and email you with details of how you get in. Reasons do not have to be too serious! I will decide at 6pm monday and email the lucky five so get your post in before then.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Insider tip...acoustic answer

The Answer are to play an acoustic set at an undisclosed location in Belfast on May 14th...we'll keep you posted...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Rise up (again)

The Answer are to re-issue their debut album 'Rise' through Albert Productions on June 18.

The new version will hit shelves complete with a bonus CD, featuring live tracks, a cover of Aerosmith's 'Sweet Emotion', acoustic versions and singles B-sides.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Updated gig list...

36 Crazyfists – 28th April – Spring & Airbrake
Desecration - 29th April - Aunt Annies
Zebrahead - 3oth April - The Limelight
Alexisonfire - 1st May - The Limelight
Rise Against/The Bronx - 1st May - TBMC, Dublin
Juliette Lewis & The Licks -2nd May - Spring & Airbrake
The Melvins - 4th May - The Black Box
Bryan Adams – 5th May – Odyssey Arena
The Wildhearts - 9th May - Spring & Airbrake
The Answer - 11th May - Mandella Hall
Danny Vaughn/Stormzone/Million $ Reload - 11th May - Rosetta Bar
Libido Switch/Arcane/(Inside)/Rigger/Sage - 11th May - The Pavilion
Rattlesnake Remedy - 12th May - The Empire
Roger Waters – 14th May – The Point
CKY - 21st May - The Ambassador, Dublin
Saxon - 23rd May - Spring & Airbrake
Funeral for a Friend - May 28th - Mandella Hall
Meatloaf - 31st May – Odyssey Arena
Machine Head/Killswitch Engage/Chimaira - 8th June - Balmoral Hall
Megadeth - 10th June - The Ambassador - Dublin
Orange Goblin/Triggerman/Bad Boat - 23rd June - The Limelight
Orange Goblin/Triggerman/Bad Boat - 24th June - Mason's, Derry
Slayer - 26th June - Live at the Marquee, Cork
Aerosmith - 26th June - Marley Park, Dublin
Velvet Revolver- 29th June - Marley Park, Dublin
Ozzy Osbourne w/ Black Label Society - 3rd July - Point Theatre, Dublin
Day of Darkness Festival (incl Sabbat/Entombed/Candlemass) - 6th & 7th July Co Laois
Diamond Head - 25th July - Rosetta
Cannibal Corpse - 28th July - TBMC Dublin
Foo Fighters - 22nd August - Marley Park, Dublin
BTW - keep 26th August free....it's in a good cause....

Too old?

Was recently challenged about being too old for the metal/rock scene. The youngling, having failed their Jedi training, will be getting out of hospital soon....

It did, however, cause me to cast my jaundiced (and ageing) eye back to March 23rd of this year. That night UFO hit the Belfast stage for the first time since 1979...

When they hit, or rather stumbled, on to the Spring & Airbrake stage Phil Mogg appeared as if he was having trouble standing at times. Pete Way needed the stage's infamous pillar to stay at least partially upright, Vinnie Moore grinning like a demantia patient in waiting etc...

And despite their age and, sorry guys, infirmity, they laid down a set that, quite rocked the venue to it's foundations. And the age range of the crowd was 18-60...

So, if UFO can battle ther collective ages, Blackie Lawless can be a dick but still sing like he's in his prime, and DIO can deliver and collect his bus pass, don't write off Norn Iron's older metal and rock fraternity - it can still hold it's own, ask Baal!

Oh, and BTW - Zakk Wylde is 4 months older than Belfast Metalheads Reunited's editor...a fact he reserves the right to regale you about until boredom dost force thee to flee!

This island rocks!

Ok, being a blog based in Northern Ireland we're a wee bit biased! But of late it has come to our attention that this island is rockin' like a bastard!

Elsewhere on here you can read about the plethora of metal talent emerging (Residual Effect, Sorrowfall, Waylander, Honey for Christ, Bad Boat, Triggerman, Psyatica...to name but a few), but there is also a hard/classic rock rump reaching out to convert the masses!

On May 11th The Answer are back to rock Belfast (Mandella Hall) and they have led the New Wave of Irish Hard Rock...and check back soon for an interview here and insight into the inner workings of the juggernaut!

While The Answer have been leading the charge, there is a host coming in their wake that deserves to shake the rock music scene on this island to it's core, while at the same time awakening the world to what this small blighted and beknighted isle can achieve!

Gaining tour dates with Thunder will, no doubt, expand Glyder's experience, reputation and confidence yet further when they enter the studio to lay down their 2nd CD.

Of those bubbling under now, here's a few names to throw out....

Blind Friday...they're still getting a feel for their ultimate direction, but on the strength of their exisiting CD and set-list the right management and promotion will get them there. Commitment will take 'there' even further.

Hunger's Mother have been quietly building up their craft, but now comes the decision as to how far they are prepared to go to sate that hunger.

And, south of the border is emerging Stillroom.

Their self-titled and self-financed debut shows off a band that is both steeped in local heritage and paying homage to global rock gods. The right management and marketing will get Stillroom and others mentioned above to the right level, in front of the right audience, at the right time (now!)

Ireland - north and south is rockin' like as bastard, time we got behind the bands and the labels come with their cheque books!

Fine fettle for the Metal!

There is a conventional technique for reviewing gigs…usually near the bar, preferably seated, and having blagged a copy of the set list earlier in order that listening to the band(s) does not interfere with looking good and nattering with all the cool dudes.

Never had much truck with that attitude, though I have done it once or twice.

Best place to review a gig is at the front, or damn close. Better still, in the pit!

Ok, ok, objectivity is usually tossed out the window, but you do get a sense of the band’s engagement with the crowd, how much the crowd is ‘up for it’. The downside is that it is hard to look the band straight in the eye after being in the middle, yelling along to the songs, moshing, crowd surfing etc.

When the latest Bulletproof Promotions/TKO monster line-up touched down in the Spring and Airbrake recently objectivity was out the window. Down the front, yelling along, head-a-banging etc.

A line-up of Civilian, Panic Cell, Ill Nino and Drowning Pool was always guaranteed to bring out the thrasher in Belfast Metalheads Reunited’s ancient bones, and it lived up to form.

In particular Panic Cell deserve note. As well as Luke being one of the nicest guys in the business he also leads a band that has matured on the stage. PC have always a potency in their songs, but their work ethic is honing the band to a keen edge in producing a real edge on stage.

New single Fallen marks a (slight) departure for the band, but fans need not fret for the attitude. “There’s a lot of even heavier than usual tracks on out new album,” Luke assured Belfast MetalHeads Reunited before the gig.

Ill Nino are a bit of an enigma. Clearly they are a band with real talent. On CD/download they are good, but it is only on stage that they take off. They deserve to be playing to larger audiences. Moreover, the modest success does not take account of what they consistently deliver.

And, if the experience of their gig colleagues Drowning Pool is anything to go by, it will be a roller coaster ride before they get anything like the attention from larger audiences they deserve.

Drowning Pool’s history is littered with triumphs and tragedies, but with 16-odd weeks of 2007 already past, the Texans are emerging older, wiser and damn ready to rip apart the doubters.

“Yeah, it’s been tough for the guys,” singer Ryan McCombs, formerly of Soil told Belfast Metalheads Reunited.

Aside from the tragedy that has been raked over too often online, McCombs - who has been in the band over a year now - gave an insight to other problems dogging the band.

“Management, labels weren’t always helping, but now we’ve got good management and a label that’s behind us. Too often in the past you'd find yourself going to meetings and while you’re struggling to pay the mortgage the business guys are arriving in Mercedes. That's not what's happening now.”

From their onstage form in Belfast DP are proving that the Mercedes men that fucked them over in the past got it wrong. Like Ill Nino DP hit the Belfast stage determined to prove a point.

Of course, ‘Bodies’ was the song that got the pit really going, but the depth and range of songs and their arrangements showed they are building towards real potency.

“The new album’s sounding good,” said McCombs. ”We’re putting mixes and checking it out while we’re on this tour, logging on and sending things back and forth online.”

We might all live in this virtual, wi-fi world, but it is live that rock fans live for and DP, Nino and PC excel onstage. Roll on the next time in Belfast!


PS – Didn’t blag the set lists, because in an unprofessional way…I forgot to...
PPS – apologies to Civilian, I’m a little hazy on the set, but headbanging along to y’all sobered me up enough to recall the rest of the line-up; truly a service fulfilled…next time!
PPS - Thanks to Luke Bell and Ryan McCombs, top blokes

Saturday, April 21, 2007

more gigs...

More gigs! Zebrahead at The Limelight on 30th April and The Wildhearts on 9th May at Spring & Airbrake...more beer tokens required!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Cathedral Arts goes a-rockin

Most arts festivals are so up their own arse they forget about musical genres other than poncey jazz twiddling or neo-classic string quartets, it is refreshing to hear that the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is taking a different approach...

Amidst the usual cast of pretentious grant-aided waffle the festival is also putting on a show by THE MELVINS!! This influential (and barmy) crew will plat at the Black Box on May 4th and punters will pay the princely sum of £10 for the privelege....read more here

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thin Lizzy Christmas date!

...Thin Lizzy have lined up a Christmas date on December 16th, 2007 at Belfast's Waterfront Hall...Nine Inch Nails support Foo Fighters over the summer....


An online petition has been staretd, in an effort to get Iron Maiden's Steve Harris acknowledged in the next UK Honours List.
If you wanna sign, go to http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SteveHarris/

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Avoiding the Long Dark Tea-times of the Soul

Sci-fi writer Douglas Adams once bemoaned Sunday evenings as "The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul". Now Heavy Metal has the solution!
Yep - head down early to Ormeau Avenu for a few sherberts ahead of Sunday night's (15th) metal mayhem.
Yep - don't forget Civilian/Panic Cell :)/Drowning Pool/Il Nino at the Spring & Airbrake on Sunday night...oh and don't forget to pre-order your Monday morning neck brace!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Time to get Tangoed

Yep - it's time to get tangoed again....Orange Goblin once more bring their citrus metal....ok, I'll stop there before the wordplay descends into tangerines, mandarins and ripe fruit....

June 23rd - The Limelight - Orange Goblin, Triggerman, Bad Fruit...brought to us by the fine gentlemen of The Distortion Project for the less than princely sum of £12.50

There are also dates in Derry and Dublin...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In case we forgot to mention..

In case we forgot to mention it...Zakk Wylde will be playing in Dublin, July 3rd with BLS and grandaddy Osbourne....see here for earlier post and details from Ticketmaster here

Gig listings...too many gigs too few beer tokens

Trivium/Annihilator/Gojira/Sanctity – 8/9 April – The Ambassador (Dub)
RSJ/I Remain/Residual Effect/Hand of Death - 12th April - The Bunker, Lavery's
Honey for Christ/War Iron/November Dead List - 12th April - Rosetta Bar
RSJ/I Remain/Residual Effect/Hand of Death - 13th April - Mason's, Derry
Il Nino/Drowning Pool/Panic Cell - 15th April - Spring & Airbrake
Incubus - 15th April - Olympia, Dublin
Hatebreed 16th April - The Ambassador, Dublin
Breed 77 - 19th April - Spring & Airbrake
36 Crazyfists – 28th April – Spring & Airbrake
Desecration - 29th April - Aunt Annies
Alexisonfire - 1st May - The Limelight
Rise Against/The Bronx - 1st May - TBMC, Dublin
Juliette Lewis & The Licks -2nd May - Spring & Airbrake
Bryan Adams – 5th May – Odyssey Arena
The Answer - 11th May - Mandella Hall
Danny Vaughn/Stormzone/Million $ Reload - 11th May - Rosetta Bar
Rattlesnake Remedy - 12th May - The Empire
Roger Waters – 14th May – The Point
CKY - 21st May - The Ambassador, Dublin
Saxon - 23rd May - Spring & Airbrake
Funeral for a Friend - May 28th - Mandella Hall
Meatloaf - 31st May – Odyssey Arena
Machine Head/Killswitch Engage/Chimaira - 8th June - Balmoral Hall
Megadeth - 10th June - The Ambassador - Dublin
Orange Goblin/Triggerman/Bad Boat - 23rd June - The Limelight
Orange Goblin/Triggerman/Bad Boat - 24th June - Mason's, Derry
Slayer - 26th June - Live at the Marquee, Cork
Aerosmith - 26th June - Marley Park, Dublin
Ozzy Osbourne w/ Black Label Society - 3rd July - Point Theatre, Dublin
Day of Darkness Festival (incl Sabbat/Entombed/Candlemass) - 6th & 7th July Co Laois
Diamond Head - 25th July - Rosetta
Cannibal Corpse - 28th July - TBMC Dublin
Velvet Revolver- 29th June - Marley Park, Dublin
Foo Fighters - 22nd August - Marley Park, Dublin
BTW - keep 26th August free....it's in a good cause....

Lock up yer beers it's BLS time!

Hell yeah! Lock up yer beers, order the neck brace and head for Dublin, cuz the awesome Black Label Society are playing the P(o)int Theatre, Dublin on July 3rd!! Zakk Wylde gracing us again on this tiny isle! See ya at the front...oh, btw he's supporting young Mr Osbourne...I believe he goes by the name Ozzy these days...
Big hanx to Baal for the early tip...
Oh and in case I forgot to mention it...Hell Yeah!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Valentine Metal Massacre Pix

Pix from February's Valentine Metal Massacre in aid of Fibromyalgia Support NI have now been posted at http://picasaweb.google.com/BelfastMetal/ - the first two albums of pix online and one more set to come - all pix courtest of Rokpix's Colin Patterson - drop an email here to find out more about Rokpix's massive range of rock and metal pix, and how to order prints.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Strolling Bones for Slane

In case the rumour is still going about that DC are to play Slane this year it has been confirmed that the Strolling Bones (sorry Rolling Stones) are to play Slane on August 18th...but then regular readers will know that Belfastmetalheadsreunited told ya so on February 27th! Now let's see what other rumours we were 'told' by informed sources come to fruition :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Machine Head and Killswitch Engage play Belfast

Machine Head are not only releasing an astonishing new album on Monday, they're also playing Belfast! Yep Rob Flynn's mighty crew have announced they will play the Balmoral Hall on 8th June with Killswitch Engage as special guests!!! See ya there!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Dio confusion

A few sites seem to be reporting a forthcoming DIO gig in Dublin on May 10th at Temple Bar Music Centre, prompting calls and emails to me (as if I'd know!!!!!).

Whether this is a tribute to the diminutive rock god, or a confusion over dates I spoke today to the promoters of the Heaven & Hell tour (Iommi, Butler, Dio & Appice) who were confused as Heaven and Hell will be playing Philadelphia on that night. As they said it was theoreically possible for Ronnie to play Dublin in the afternoon and still fly out for the Philly gig they thought it unlikely.
Now would anyone like to enlighten me as to how this confusion grew up, as my inbox is getting choked with enquiries I cannot answer except as given above!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Busy rock and metal calendar!

Bored as spring rolls in...fear not there's something for everyone in the coming weeks and months....

UFO - 23rd March - Spring & Airbrake
Overoth + Exisiting Threat - 23rd March - Lavery's Bunker
The Australian Pink Floyd – 23rd March – The Odyssey Arena
Stormzone - 24th March - Rosetta
Full Metal Racket - Waylander + Celtic Legacy + Old Season + Mass Extinction + Sinocence + Honey For Christ + For Ruin + Sorrowfall + Chokehold + Nemesis + Order Of Shadow - 25th March - The Bunker, Lavery's
Blind Friday - 28th March - NDAI (Bangor Tech)
My Chemical Romance – 1st April – RDS Simmonscourt
Trivium/Annihilator/Gojira/Sanctity – 8/9 April – The Ambassador (Dub)
Il Nino/Drowning Pool/Panic Cell - 15th April - Spring & Airbrake
Incubus - 15th April - Olympia, Dublin
Hatebreed 16th April - The Ambassador, Dublin
Breed 77 - 19th April - Spring & Airbrake
36 Crazyfists – 28th April – Spring & Airbrake
Desecration - 29th April - Aunt Annies
Alexisonfire - 1st May - The Limelight
Rise Against/The Bronx - 1st May - TBMC, Dublin
Juliette Lewis & The Licks -2nd May - Spring & Airbrake
Bryan Adams – 5th May – Odyssey Arena
The Answer - 11th May - Mandella Hall
Rattlesnake Remedy - 12th May - The Empire
Roger Waters – 14th May – The Point
CKY - 21st May - The Ambassador, Dublin
Saxon - 23rd May - Spring & Airbrake
Funeral for a Friend - May 28th - Mandella Hall
Meatloaf - 31st May – Odyssey Arena
Machine Head/Killswitch Engage - 8th June - Balmoral Hall
Slayer - 26th June - Live at the Marquee, Cork
Aerosmith - 26th June - Marley Park, Dublin
Diamond Head - 25th July - Rosetta
Cannibal Corpse - 28th July - TBMC Dublin
Velvet Revolver- 29th June - Marley Park, Dublin
Foo Fighters - 22nd August - Marley Park, Dublin

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Foo Foo ....

Just had my face re-arranged by doctors...okay it was only the nose that was re-arranged in a surgery called a septoplasty...if you really want to know what went on look it up in Wikipedia! And trust me it was a lot more painful than mentioned there...anyhows, that deviates from the nature of this blog....suffice to say that sleepless as I am owing to pain and lack of beer did notice that tickets for the Foo Fighters 22nd August gig at Marley Park in Dublin go on sale on Friday 16th March...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Green Lavery's..

Veteran Boston hardcore crew Gang Green play Lavery's Bunker on St Patrick's Night.


Rumours come this way now and again...some credible, others not.

Latest are...AC/DC not to play Slane(Strollin' Bones may take slot), but a Dublin date in August or the Oz-ancient rockers elsewhere on this island...Heaven & Hell (that's Dio, Iommi, Butler and Appice playing tunes from classic Sabs platters) to confirm an Irish summer date soon...and whisper it (very softly so as not to scud it!) a certain line-up that's playing Wembly on June 19th may have a free-date to fill at Belfast's Odyssey...

Confirmed though are Il Nino on April 15th at the Spring & Airbrake and Funeral for a Friend on May 28th at the Mandella Hall...Muse and My Chemical Romance play amongst the pop and indie crap at Oxygen...

Van off

Just as we here at Metalheadsreunited were getting excited at the prospect of a Van Halen tour with Eddie and Dave Lee back in the saddle togther again, the huffy Californians have pulled the plug. Obviously they don't need the cash that badly!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Date clash crisis

Just as the Saxon/Mastodon date clash was resolved owing to Biff's illness another crisis emerged - Aerosmith and Slayer both play on June 26th...Now they have very differing styles, one, definitely attracting a metal-only audience, one not, but dammit I like them both. There! confession made, it might be a metal site, but hard rock deserves its place too. Now how the hell can I resolve the dilemma...

Saxon re-schedule

As yoy may know by now Saxon have postponed their March 2nd engagement with an ageing metal crowd at the Spring & Airbrake owing to singer Biff Byford suffering a throat infection and a bad bout of the flu...

New date is may 23rd, existing tickets still valid...hope he's packed his Lemsip!

Still that keeps the evening clear to revel in Mastodon at the Mandella Hall on the 2nd!

Penguins, metal and a thousand plus pounds

WHEN it comes down to it, Sunday 18th February, 2007 was a landmark day for metal and hard rock in Belfast’s music annals.

From prowling penguins to lashings of damn good locally played and written music; from hilarious antics both on and off the stage; to moments of sublime musicianship there will be many more claiming to be there than actually quaffed an ale or six at the bar of the Spring & Airbrake.

In fact, already at least two people this reviewer knows, who were not within several miles of Ormeau Avenue that day, are claiming to have enjoyed the sets laid down by the 12 bands….

Seeing as the day was in aid of the locally based Fibromyalgia support charity, they should make an anonymous donation, given that they claim to have been there!

When the doors opened on the day the eager early birds piled into a bar area with a smattering of the dedicated wandering around amidst band members. Well, it was a Sunday and the average rock and metal fan around Belfast takes a wee while to find that slippery edge of consciousness!

With crowd numbers surely but steadily rising Vile Intent kicked the proceedings off with a snarl; launching into a ragged but energetic version of So What. If you only know the Metallica version check out the Anti-Nowhere League’s original to appreciate that energy can triumph over precision. Thankfully Vile Intent managed to retain the snarl right up until the crowd-pleasing cover of For Whom the Bell Tolls ended.

The pace changed when Drekk hit the stage, with a combination of tight classic rock melodies, excellent, if under-stated, musicianship; melded with prog rock sensibilities. Genuine wit shone through from opener Galloping Horse, through – amongst others – Horse that Fool and Long Way Home.

By now seating and space at the bar was reaching a premium, even if the front was mysteriously missing headbangers (see previous comment….it was a feckin’ Sunday!). Tribulation’s brash power-tinged thrash sensibilities arrived. Stand-out tracks Doom and Devastated showcased the intricacies that could have been hidden in the wall of noise in less capable hands.

Catch 23 could have expected a tougher time with their more melodic rock coming between Tribulation and Psyiatica, but they managed to lay down a competent set. Occasionally their sound struggled to hitch the melodies together, but as their set progressed they found a rhythm that suited both the arrangements and the building crowd.

It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll sang AC/DC, and it’s sure as hell a long way from Limerick to Belfast on yer average Sunday! But Psyiatica made it seem like they were playing to a home-town crowd when they blitzed the mid-afternoon, bursting with metal force, tight tunes and the first confirmed reports of circle headbanging of the day…

There was a furious self-belief as they rattled through Rot & Revel, Greed, Cradle, Tight and Cut-up in what seemed a very short period of minutes. Several people were noted as having either shit-eating grins or gaping in astonishment. As the trio boarded their van to head back to the wilds of Limerick they could have confidently muttered “result!” except they seem to humble to do so….

Last Orders, faced a challenge following the Limerick crew, but they rose to that challenge with their energetic metal tempered with a dash of old-school metal blues sounds. However, it has to be said the Scorpions/Accept-style co-ordinated ‘guitar goes up, guitar goes down’ moves raised a titter – though that’s not always a bad thing – especially when the twin-guitars were bouncing off each other so well!

Arcane Suppression’s trad-British metal followed quickly on, with tight rhythms anchoring the sound down. Given the trad influences and the thrashier vibes, Arcane managed the tricky balancing act.

By this stage the attention of the Jagermeister promotional team and the generosity of Michael (cheers!) put paid to jotting down set-lists – ‘twas as well the day’s running order had been noted down earlier…

Honey for Christ and Bad Boat followed, more definitive proof that the local metal scene is alive, kicking and ready to keep heads a’ banging and pits a moshing when required. Both have very different styles, and on February 18th both proved that when needed, they can produce an epic feel to their music.

Those who only ever get their tracks on an iPod or a Myspace download had before them proof that only in a live setting can you really appreciate what the local scene is producing.

With the crowd still reeling from HFC and BB, Blind Friday roared into their set. They have a recorded sound that verges on the mainstream rock at times, but there was no doubt they came to the Spring & Airbrake to lay it down. Tight tunes and tighter playing were served up as heads nodded and toes tapped…awful image for a rock gig, but you get what was happening to the ever-increasing crowd. Although why name a song LoveBug remains a mystery…

Sorrowfall have worked hard to develop their power metal sound, which made it all the more difficult when bassist and vocalist Steve Reynolds was forced to abandon his lead vocal duties – but never fear cried the crowd, as guest vocalists lined up to do justice to the ‘Fall’s growing reputation. Cult followers crowded round the stage to yell encouragement.

By now Jager and lager had had the desired effect - notebook was abandoned and a beeline was made for the front where heads were lowered for some serious metal, from Residual Effect. I know that some of the band were disappointed with their performance, but suffice to say that even on an off night RE can lay waste. It is a tribute that they can lay down as good a set and get even my ancient head banging when a little off their normally precise brutality.

But the day was more than the metal (never thought I would pen those words!). It was all in aid of Fibromyalgia Support Northern Ireland. More than £1,000 was raised for the charity. Credit, plaudits and genuine respect goes to all involved in getting the gig off the ground and delivering the fundraising promise as well as a fantastic music.

To those that donated raffle prizes (see list below for all those that displayed generosity above and beyond…), to Davey and all at the Spring & Airbrake for facilitating the day, to the bands for giving of their time and energy, to the volunteers of all descriptions, to the efforts of Steve in supporting all the bands and making sure the event ran to schedule, to many many more, and to the penguin…

But most of all to Laura Kennedy. Her tirelessness and devotion kept the dream of a one-day metal fest for a good cause alive when many others would have crumbled! Well done!

Excellent pix from the event, courtesy of Rokpix’s Colin Patterson, coming to this site soon!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Weekend of mayhem

Ok, hold on to your hats, your loved ones and your liver, cuz a hard rockin' weekend lies ahead.

The fun kicks off on Friday night in Dublin with Deft Leppard's debut Dublin show at the Voodoo Lounge - rest assured the Belfast crowd will be kicking up a storm...then back to Belfast for Deft's gig at The Empire -be assured of a warm reception for the guys...

And then Sunday's Valentine Metal Massacre in aid of fibromyalgia - 12 bands, 10 hours, all in a good cause...