Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, October 24, 2008

Attention all rockers and metalheads – the Ulster Hall needs you!

Belfast’s most historic venue is currently undergoing a massive £7.43 million refurbishment, and is re-opening at the beginning of March 2009.

When it does so, it will house an interpretative exhibition telling the Hall’s story through words, pictures and sound.

Organisers are now asking anyone who has a special memory of an Ulster Hall experience to contribute by sharing their unique stories or personal memorabilia.

As Tim Husbands, Managing Director of Belfast Waterfront and the Ulster Hall, explains:

“The Ulster Hall stands out as one of Northern Ireland’s most impressive cultural icons with a history of staging live events that is unrivalled by any other Belfast venue. We want to explore and reveal people’s own special experiences and recollections of the Ulster Hall for everyone to share.

“We all have our own stories and there are really no limits to the kinds of information and memorabilia we are looking for. It could be a special memory of a concert or sporting event, seeing an idol on stage, people you used to meet at the Ulster Hall or even something special that happened while you were there.”

“It could even be a ticket or a programme that you still have. We are keen to see any memorabilia that you may have tucked away. It’s up to you! The Ulster Hall holds special memories for so many of us. Don’t keep them to yourself!”

So, metalheads, do you have a special memory of your favourite gig? Were you there when Led Zeppelin played ‘Stairway…’ for the first time? Or the night Cliff Burton ripped the roof of the joint so shortly before his tragic passing? Do you have that precious Motorhead backstage pass tucked away in a drawer somewhere? Or that Megadeth T-shirt you can’t quite squeeze into anymore?

Don’t worry if any of your memorabilia has sentimental venue – it will all be safely returned.

If you would like your Ulster Hall story to be heard, or would like to pass on any memorabilia (don’t send any at this stage), get in touch by emailing ulsterhall@belfastcity.gov.uk, with ‘Ulster Hall Memories’, in the subject line.

Article by Monk from our associate
The Pied Piper Agency

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Wasn't going to mention this, but some of you apparently like some of these bands...
Kerrang Relentless Tour Tuesday 13th Jan Mandela Hall Mindless Self Indulgence Bring Me The Horizon Black Tide In Case Of Fire £20

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Metallica UK tour dates

Metallica are to play Nottingham Arena February 25, Manchester MEN Arena 26, Sheffield Arena 28, London 02 Arena March 2, Newcastle Arena 3, Birmingham LG Arena 25, Glasgow SECC 26, London 02 Arena 28. Tickets go on sale at 9am on October 24. Machine Head and The Sword will support. No confirmation of an Irish or Northern Irish date...yet.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Lamb of God official notice

We've been touting this for a wee while - and CDC have now made official the Lamb of God February gig. Details below and extracts from official band interviews

LAMB OF GOD have confirmed a show in Belfast’s Mandela Hall in 2009.

The Virgina band play Mandela Hall on Sunday 8th February.

Tickets are priced £17.00 subject to booking fee are available at all usual outlets.

Venue: Mandela Hall Date: Sunday 8th February 2009, doors 7:00pm. Support: TBC

The roots of Lamb of God were planted in 1990 when Chris Adler, Mark Morton and John Campbell were floor mates at a Virginia Commonwealth University dormitory.

Four years later (1994) the trio met up at Chris's rental house in Church Hill, Richmond to make some noise. "There was no heat at the house," recalls Campbell. "Kerosene fumes and Black Label beer were definitely what fueled our early days."

"I couldn't afford to heat the house. We could see each other's breath when we played" recalls Adler. "It was rough, but in retrospect this was the perfect setting to prove our dedication to the aggressive music we wrote."

After graduation, Morton moved to Chicago to pursue a master's degree, but the band continued.

A new guitarist, Abe Spear, quickly replaced Morton. Soon after the band retired its instrumental sound and added Randy Blythe on vocals.

The quartet, known then as Burn the Priest, became a fixture in the tightly-knit Richmond music scene. To compete with the high-level of musicianship displayed by their contemporaries, the band adopted a rigid practice schedule.

"To this day, we practice five days a week," says Campbell. "Many of the bands in Richmond can flat outplay you and if you don't practice, they will blow you off the stage. They inspired us to raise the bar musically and taught us the work ethic we needed to be a success.

"The band worked incessantly, rehearsing and booking small shows across the country for the next three years.

"John and I would screen print shirts at my apartment in hopes of selling them at shows for gas money to the next show," recalls Adler.

The band got in early and made good use of the internet. Even without a record label or a full-length release, the band became the most downloaded metal act at the popular music-sharing site MP3.com. In 1997, Morton moved back from Chicago and soon after re-joined the group.

Burn the Priest released a self-titled full-length album on Legion Records in 1998. Two years of DIY touring followed. The band played hundreds of shows during this time including several shows at the legendary CBGB's in Manhattan as well as multiple appearances at the well-known Milwaukee Metal Festival.

In early 2000, Abe amicably left the band to pursue a new career. This opened a spot for guitarist. Chris's younger brother Willie had recently moved back to Virginia from a stint in Seattle, WA.

Knowing his talent and ability first hand, Chris called him to Richmond to audition. There were no additional auditions.With the change in blood, a new energy and potential, Burn the Priest changed its name to Lamb of God.The newly monikered band's debut, New American Gospel, was released in 2000.

"This album was all about creating a rhythmic and pummeling musical landscape," explains Morton. Drummer Adler notes: "This is a classic record. We had all the elements come together to make one of the heaviest, yet contagious records of our career. It was difficult to contain us - we didn't even understand at the time what we had created.

"Another two years of extensive touring in support of the album raised Lamb of God's profile before the band buckled down to write and release the critically acclaimed, As The Palaces Burn (2003). As The Palaces Burn won record of the year honors in such notable magazines as Revolver and Metal Hammer while garnering positive mainstream press in Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly.

As The Palaces Burn earned them a new level of respect and admiration, but it was 2004's virulent major label debut (Epic Records) Ashes of the Wake that turned the band into true contenders for the metal throne.

Revolver magazine voted it the album of the year, a Guitar World readers poll deemed it best metal album and awarded the band "most valuable players," "best shredders" and "best riffs."

The video for "Now You've Got Something to Die For" earned "best video" from both MTV and Revolver. A DVD chronicling the tour and life on the road with the band, Killadelphia, now certified Platinum by the RIAA, was released in 2005 creating a feeding frenzy for the bands live show.

Lamb of God supported Ashes of the Wake with relentless touring, now playing mostly arenas and festivals, starting with a headlining run on Second Stage at Ozzfest 2004, and ending by headlining the North American Sounds of The Underground Festival in 2005.

The political angst that fueled the lyrics on As The Palaces Burn continues unabated on Ashes of the Wake. However, Blythe admits that his plans to write songs about personal responsibility quickly changed.

"At the start of this album we agreed that we wanted to concentrate on internal instead of external politics," he explains. "But as we got into it, considering the condition of the world today, we felt obligated as responsible artists to give accurate social commentary, and that meant writing a few indictments against the powers that be."Mixing a call to arms with a sneering disdain balances Ashes of the Wake.

"In the end, I think the album is stronger because we show the relation between internal and external politics instead of just focusing on one or the other," Blythe says. "These songs are a reality check for everyone because they rail against a wrong-headed government and against the apathetic people that ignore the government and allow it to exist."After Ashes of the Wake, they had been praised as one of the leaders of the new American metal movement, and while they were flattered to be considered part of something so influential, this time they wanted to stand alone.

"I believe it's important for us to create a legacy for this band, and I don't want that legacy to be in association with anyone else," drummer Chris Adler commented.

Towards the end of 2005, the band stopped all touring and came home to Richmond, VA, to begin writing the next chapter. An intense 8-month writing process followed. "We pretty much killed ourselves working on it five to six days a week for six to eight hours a day," says Adler.

"It was important to push ourselves into uncomfortable territory as players. A lot of times one of us would say, 'I'm not sure if I can play that.' The typical response was, 'Well, you've got a few months to figure it out.' We pushed ourselves to step it up and threw out a lot of decent material because we were insisting on only the best.

"One reason Lamb of God pushed so hard is because they wanted to create something that couldn't be classified, categorized or marginalized.

August 22, 2006 brought Sacrament, a stunning example of how diverse, articulate and pummeling metal can be. It's a record that emphasizes just how far the band members have come as players, writers and people and stands as a true testament of triumph over adversity.

With Sacrament, Lamb of God has stoked the flames even higher than their previous works had blazed. The songs are bleak and dark, yet key ingredients of a ride that's as breathless, exhilarating and terrifying as an overdose.Guitarist and co-lyricist Mark Morton notes the band chose the name Sacrament based on a specific lyrical reference as well as a more general symbolic perspective.

"It employs the idea of the traditional religious Sacrament, which is something you do as ritual to get to a different level of your faith," he says. "It was also symbolic in terms of us putting out another record and getting to the next stage of our musical development."

"This is definitely a personal record and it's the darkest thing we've ever done," adds Blythe. "It stems from a lot of depression and a bleak worldview. In the last couple years I've been going through a lot of intense personal issues.

"The biggest difference between Sacrament and Ashes of the Wake is the lyrical content. In the past, Lamb of God has lyrically been motivated by the hypocrisy, greed and turmoil of politics and politicians. This time the band turned within to reveal an even greater source of despair and frustration.

Songs like 'Pathetic' and 'Descending' for instance are about the whirlpool of addiction and alcoholism, 'Walk With Me In Hell' addresses the destruction of codependency and 'Blacken the Cursed Sun' confronts suicidal depression.

"The lyrics were so intense for me, when I was recording, it was like breathing pain instead of air," Blythe says.

"Once it was done, I couldn't listen to the record for another two months. It took so much out of me to get all this out, I didn't want to touch it right away."In addition to being undeniably heavy in many ways, Sacrament is a sincere expression of the turmoil that has tumbled through the last few years of the band's existence.

In an era of stagnant, contrived metal, Lamb of God is a harrowing rush of honesty, a declaration that no matter what anyone else is playing, Lamb of God will always follow their own hearts.The record went on to become the top selling metal record of the next 2 years and, as As The Palaces Burn was in 2003, Sacrament was voted the #1 Metal Album of the Year in Revolver Magazine. The reviews both from the media and from fans were overwhelmingly positive.

"We hit a nerve," commented Adler. "This music and the lyrics within Sacrament speak and cut deeply. This is an intense record and comes at an important time in our lives and the world we live in."

By the end of 2006 the band had shattered every goal most metal bands can expect to attain. Despite this, the music industry had in large part ignored them. This was about to change. The band and the overwhelming grass roots following would no longer go unnoticed. Sacrament and Lamb of God were nominated for a Grammy in best category of best Metal Performance.

Can't wait til February!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

They've got The Answer

Review by Allison Sutherland

There’s no denying that ‘The Answer’ are one of the best bands to come out of Northern Ireland in the last 10 years. I looked forward to seeing them again and listening to some new material. It has to be said that I wasn’t in agreement with their record label releasing ‘Rise’ again (plus 'new' material) last year. Okay, I know that the band have been on the road and that time was short to get back in the studio, however, did we fans feel justified by a re-hash?
Was it fair on us to ask us go back out and buy what we already had?

Saying that, Rise II's extra tracks were good; not mind bowingly so, but good none the less.

The gig at the Spring and Airbrake on 16th October was a nice way for the lads to experiment with what they’ll showcase to the States and the massive audiences they’ll get supporting AC/DC. It was tight and it was professional, I think that they did us proud in their offering.

I will state at this juncture that there was nothing different and nothing that broke the mould in what we were given. It was pure un-adulterated ‘Answer.’ Let’s face it, if you’ve come so far with one album, why change your style?

The boys opened with ‘Come Follow me’ it was as good as it always is and then followed with 10 other tracks. Only ‘Never Too Late, Under the Sky and Preachin’ were ones that the audience had heard before.

The rendition of a new offering ‘Demon Eyes’ started ok, but BOY, did it pick up. Excuse me, but I was left speechless!

‘Tonight’ had Micky doing a good lot of backing vocals and it worked real well. It rocked like a child with no real parentage confirmed. There’s a track called ‘On Tow’ and it’s Blue Grass influenced, with Cormac on harmonica and Paul giving it some welly with his guitar behind his head. Flash bastard … luckily, he’s good enough to get away with it!

Comfort Zone is cool, but again very influenced by deep south American Blues/Blue Grass in total honesty it reminded me of Steve Earle’s ‘Copper Head Road’ don’t knock it ‘till you tried it people! What this song does do is allow us to hear Cormac’s incredibly powerful vibrato, can that guy sing or what?

I LOVE these guys and adore the first album, but in all honesty I hope that after their crack at America , with the support slot for AC/DC, they get a chance to re-group and have some time out to find a grown up sound that allows them to develop. There’s a ‘comfort zone’ going on (not trying to be ironic at all) but I’d love to see them push themselves further.

The thing with The Answer is that they’re not up their own arses, they like to meet the fans, saying that, they’re so terribly humble you feel like you’re intruding. How can that be, when they have such a HUGE fan base? Let it remain the same and they will continue to grow and grow … just like Topsy!

No denying it though, that the good old US of A is in for one Hell of a treat when our boys from Downpatrick hit them full on and will not be taking any prisoners, I for one wish them the best, but in total honesty ...they don't need it!! These home grown boys will find their level and after chatting with David Coverdale a couple of weeks ago .... he's 'watchin' their space!'

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lamb of God Belfast date

Roadrunner Records have officially listed a Lamb of God date at the Mandella Hall on 8th February.

It's not yet clear whether they will be accompanied by Dimmu Borgir and Five Finger Death Punch, or if this is to be part of the official Kerrang! tour package, but it seems likely. But hell! Lamb of God in Belfast! Excellent!

More details as soon as we get them!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Quick, there's a bandwagon rolling by

Quick, catch that bandwagon - The Answer are flavour of the month again with the local rags entertainment sections - even making it to the news pages of the Irish News.

Amazing what snagging the AC/DC US support slot can do.

But then again, The Answer deserve it - hell we should demand that the local papers and magazines devote more time to them and the many local bands who are consistently delivering fine hard rock. So, come on the local press and get there.

Good luck to all the guys in The Answer in the US, and especially good luck tonight at the Spring and Airbrake.

Breaking Boundaries

Funeral for a Friend’s return to the tour circuit saw a genre defying line-up, but they kept their Welsh roots to the fore in the line-up with fellow countrymen Attack Attack opening to a sold-out Spring and Airbrake.

Their Jimmy-Eat-World tinged emo brought a few cheers although the crackly guitars and singalong choruses ultimately were too samey, both on the night and in terms of too many bands that sound the same.

Portadown’s In Case Of Fire were always guaranteed rousing local support, but the band’s sub-Muse panderings took too long to get going, and it was crowd favourite Parallels that finally saw them warm up and begin to really engage with the packed front rows.

Their experience of touring with the likes of Biffy Clyro and Ash is beginning to pay off for the trio, but the use of samples between songs only breaks the flow of the set.

Toronto’s Cancer Bats have no problem with engaging the crowd – from the unpretentious tuning of their own gear on stage through to the manic arrival of singer Liam Cormier they knew which part of the crowd they were playing. And that was the part swirling in the mosh pit as they kicked off with Let It Pour.

Cormier’s commitment to the cause ran to literally joining the crowd, held aloft crowd surfing, and from the middle of the crush at the front. Highlights were mainly from their most recent new album, with Lucifer’s Rocking Chair prompting old style headbanging. Set closer and album title track Hail Destroyer kicked off a manic pit and mass chanting. What the younger fans made off it was beyond saying as they tried to make it to the front amid flailing bodies.

Funeral for a Friend are accomplished performers; and they have been open about the sometimes dark journey that dogged periods of their career

Tonight the darkness was dispelled in what was a performance that owed as much to re-connecting with fans as to airing tracks off new album, Memory and Humanity.

From which there were a precious few – highlight being Maybe I Am.

This though, was as much about giving fans a tour through the back catalogue – reminding them why they became fans and why the band enjoy hitting the stage even in the darkest of times.

Matt Davies clearly was enjoying himself on stage in a well paced that ranged from the impassioned Juneau through the plaintive Your Revolution Is A Joke to hitting the audience with full-on version’s of She Drove Me To Daytime Television, and Novella.

They have shrugged off the emo/scremo tag, shrugged off the lighter moments off their last album to morph into a simply damn fine hard rock band; and a band that may be able to retain its fanbase when many contemporaries have fallen by the wayside.

As they left the stage with a powerful version of Escape Artists Never Die, Funeral for A Friend left contented and left the Belfast crowd eager for the Welsh band’s return.

First tentative news on Metallica

The first tentative confirmation has emerged of the what, where and when of Metallica's indoor European dates - of which Belfast is touted to be one!

Shows are being scheduled between May and July and support will be in some two or three from Lamb of God, Machine Head, Mastodon and The Sword; the exact mix of bands to be decided in each country/region.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Turisas vs Dragonforce

A review I did of Saturdays Dargonforce/Turisas double bill has been picked up by a few Scandanavian/Finnish fanzine, which should be published next month, but the comments I have been hearing from local fans are split.

Many are saying that Dargonforce were blown off the stage by Turisas, while others were saying to me that Dragonforce were, unlike their last tired Mandella Hall appearance, seemed re-invogorated by playing new songs.

Taking off the dispassionate reviewer's hat I'll put my cards down and say I 'totally' enjoyed both bands, but will leave the final word to the Belfastmetalheads junior editor (a.k.a my son). His considered, thoughtful comment..."HOLY SHIT!"

I think he liked it.

Wednesday night in Belfast

They've been dubbed screamo, emo and even post-hardcore pop (seriously!) but as they move into a mature phase in their writing and performing Funeral for a Friend are proving that they are simply a damn good hard rock band.

Tonight they play at the Spring and Airbrake. Support comes from another genre-defying act, Cancer Bats, who have already played Belfast recently. Cancer Bats are one of the most underrated acts on the circuit at the moment, and their Hail Destroyer album could be the breakthrough platter they deserve.

Also on the line-up are Portadown's In Case of Fire and Attack Attack!

DC for Dublin

After much speculation the Aussie maestros, AC/DC have confirmed an Irish date. They are set to play the O2 (formerly known as The Point) on April 18th, 2009.

No word yet on whether The Answer will continue their US support slot into the European tour.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Busy week of hard rock and metal ahead!

As if Saturday's awesome double bill of metal, when Dragonforce and Turisas laid waste to the crowd at the Mandella Hall, wasn't enough there's a helluva busy week of hard rock and metal ahead!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) Raging Speedhorn, backed by local noisenicks Residual Effect and Stand-Up Guy, blast the Bunkers.

On Wednesday, Funeral for a Friend (new darker, harder album out today), Cancer Bats, In Case of Fire, and Attack Attack are at the Spring and Airbrake.

And on Thursday The Answer play the same venue before heading off to support AC/DC on their Black Ice US tour!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

NOFX for Belfast....

Seems those punk poets of political disillusion, NOFX, are set for a Belfast date on April 26th...nothing too official yet, but as soon as it is official...well you know the drill!

The Answer to support AC/DC on US tour

THE Answer's intimte gig at the Spring and Airbrake this coming Thursday could be our last chance to see the rocking County Down quartet tred such boards. Just announced today they are to support AC/DC on their Black Ice US tour.

The tour runs between the 28th October to the 31st of January, with highlights including dates at New York's Madison Square Garden on November 12th and 13th, and two shows at The Forum in Los Angeles on December the 6th and 8th. Prior to the AC/DC shows The Answer will be performing their New York debut at a CMJ show at The Crash Mansion on October 25th.

"It is an honour and a privilege for The Answer to be offered the opportunity to support probably the greatest rock 'n' roll act on the planet. We are incredibly humbled," said The Answer's front man Corma Neeson

Tickets for Thursday's show are selling fast (and at £6 is it any wonder!). From the Spring and Airbrake to Madison Square Gardens and the LA Forum!!!! Well done to all the guys in The Answer, it's well deserved and the US won't know what has hit it with Angus and The Answer.

Support on Thursday comes from Inch High.

What a Saturday!

Saturday, October 11th...If you're a fan of hard rock and heavy metal it's a helluva day!

Kicking matters off at Katy Daly's is the RockD gig with Thunderchild and Rabid Bitch of the North. Doors open at 3.30pm and the gig is priced at a very reasonable £2.50.

Then Mandella Hall will be strewn with Battle and Power Metal warriors Turisas and Dragonforce. A few tickets remain - a very, very few!

Also tomorrow night, Whitesnake UK - a tribute to Mr Coverdale's troubadours - are at the Empire Music Hall.

So tomorrow's itinerary for those that dare...Wake up...head to Katy Daly's, leave Katy Daly's at 8.00pm, with ears ringing... grab plastic sword and storm the Mandella Hall...come 11.00 race to the Empire for a chill out to Whitesnake classic rock vibes...collapse in a bloodied heap with neck aching and ears ringing, knowing that the damage to your liver, wallet and pancreas may not be permanent yet, but all three are imminent danger but it was all worth it!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Forceful night aheads

Tomorrow night sees the Dragonforce Turisas roadshow hit town. The power metal/battle metal duo has already been ripping up dates across the UK - even this week's Kerrang! gives an emphtatic thumbs up. On Turisas, reviewer Steve Beebee at the Rock City they say: "From start to finish, the war paint daubed, fur-wearing warriorss hold this packed house in thrall..." On Dragonforce they say: "Who else combines these big rock finishes with iridescent soloing and so much sheer, unrepentant shred."

Wise words indeed. After all Dragonforce are a band that number Zakk Wylde and Kirk Hammet as fans...and they know a thing or two about guitars...Hammet describes them their guitar work as "Yngwie Malmsteen on steroids!"

This will be a return visit to the Mandella Hall for Dragonforce, and when they last played they really rocked a house that had a diverse range of ages and fans. Dragonforce's over-the-top may not be to everyone's taste, but they lay down metal party power songs to die for. That combined with Turisas's folk battle metal ethos is sure to bring the house down. Altogether for Turisas's cover of Rasputin!

A last few tickets (£19.50) are available from Katy Daly's and Ticketmaster today, but very, very few are left...get moving!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

An intimate night with...THE ANSWER

One Belfast show before we go...so say The Answer. As the band prepare to head off to America for a couple of months, they have decided to play a last minute intimate show before they go.

They will take to the stage NEXT Thursday 16th October in Belfast’s Spring & Airbrake. Tickets are available now from all usual outlets...and get this - for £6! A band that understands the term credit crunch; and who understand that it pays to say thanks!

They released the following statement as the gig was announced:

"We are heading off to America for a few months so we wanted to put on a last minute gig for all the good people that have been with The Answer from the beginning. Belfast is where we cut our teeth as a rock band so we will keep coming back to play there any chance we get.

"We will be playing material off our new record and some of the old songs so it's gonna be a great night so don't miss it!"

Methinks the Spring & Airbrake may be a little packed next Thursday!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An Almighty Return

Following his successful show in Katy Dalys earlier this year, The former Almighty vocalist/Guitarist Ricky Warwick is set to make another solo appearance in Belfast.

He will play Auntie Annie's, on Thursday, October 16th. Support will once again come from Michael Mormecha.

He'll once again be playing songs from his forthcoming album, Belfast Confetti as well as solo back catalogue material and songs from The Almighty.

For younger readers...The Almighty were a Glasgow band, fronted by Warwick, who had lived a fair proportion of his formative years in Belfast before his family upped sticks to move across the water. There, with The Almighty Warwick established a trademark hard rock/metal sound, which even briefly bothered the charts. Doomed by bad timing The Almighty's flamed burned bright briefly until the time, in the early 90s record labels weren't willing to touch metal acts with a barge pole and underground labels and the 'net were not on hand to make sure those of the true faith could have access to acts of this calibre.

Since then Warwick has pursued singer songwriter material ranging from soulful acoustic to his rock and metal roots. Recently he has made several appearances here, all earning appropriately excellent reviews.

Doors on the 16th will be at 8pm, and admission will be £5.50.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Savage homecoming

Sweet Savage hold a special place in metal history. They may not have been the biggest band in the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that burgeoned in the late 70s and early 80s. They may not have been the most influential. But they sure as hell earned their place in the pantheon of power through hard rock, craft and a welter of tunes that rocked...and they attracted the attention, patronage and friendship of one of the biggest bands in the planet.

When the Savage eagle landed at the Spring & Airbrake there was always a hint that after festival appearances an sharing a stage with Metallica there could be an anticlimax.

But from the first chords through until the house lights rose, Savage were an assured and confident presence; pounding out the sort of heavy melody that was the trademark of that era.

But this was not a heritage night, nor was it a night to revel in past glories.

From opener Ground Zero through to closing classic Killing Time and Eye of the Storm Sweet Savage retained an energy and presence many of the newer metal contenders would do well to try and emulate.

The well paced set captured the range the band has, and their obvious pleasure at simply performing.

From covering Budgie's classic Bread Fan (another 'Tallica fave!) through to playing with the riff of Purple's Women in Tokyo to introduce Dirty Money the entire band rarely took the foot off the pedal, with Speedo revelling in fretboard olympics, through to Raymie's facial contortions as he wrenched all available emotion out of the lyrics.

Though, perhaps most telling was when Trev, Raymie and Speedo lined up to Riff with Jules pounding out behind them. Smiling faces, whispered comments between themselves...this was a band clearly enjoying themselves as much as the audience.

Sweet Savage are back...and on Friday night they were home at last.

News of Raymie breaking the 'Metallica playing Belfast in 2009' story to come soon...

Special mention for World's End (who some of us, err, older metalheads may remember as Annex) who warmed up for Savage with a nicely balanced set.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Six support for Extreme

Voodoo Six have been confirmed as support for Extreme's Spring & Airbrake gig on 9th November.

Voodoo Six's new single, Feed My Soul, has just been released on White Knuckle Records.

Savage night ahead

Don't forget tomorrow night's homecoming gig, as Sweet Savage touch down in the Spring & Airbrake. Tickets (£10) available at the door. Interview with Speedo here.

Blaze dates re-scheduled

Following the understandable postponement of Blaze Bayley's October Irish tour owing to the recent death of his wife and tour manager Debbie, new dates have been put in place.

Blaze will now be appearing at the Rosetta on 9th April.

Fair play to Blaze and his team for re-organising this at what must be a very difficult time for them. Condolences again to Blaze, the band and Debbie's family and friends.


Judas Priest are making a return to Belfast's Odyssey Arena in February, touching down with their Priestfest, that will see them joined by Megadeth and Testament.

Tickets for the 11th February gig go on sale on Monday.