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!