IN every reviewers life there comes a time to put aside the notepad and the carefully hewn phrase from the bedrock of lingual sources and just enjoy the fecking gig.
Amongst the amateur crowd there is a temptation to assume that the wide world of the 'tinterweb gives them carte blanche to type their views, without ever realising that a little used 19th century law 'technically' means they must have permission to review. In the modern era the '+1' is that tacit permission, or a specific referral by the record label or publicist.
That is why it is important to distinguish - and we always do - between reviews and reflections.
So these are reflections on three recent gigs - Danny Vaughn at the Diamond, Anthrax in Limelight (1) and SLF at the Ulster Hall.
The précis of the reflections? Well all three performances can be summed up in two wordsw: "FUCKING AWESOME!"
Classic adult-orinetated rock, thrash metal and Belfast punk - all FUCKING AWESOME in their own sweet indistinguishable way.
All three acts had several things in common - a considerable back catalogue to draw upon; more recent and in some cases brand new tracks; and a professional, yet engaging ability to connect with their audience.
Danny Vaughn's acoustic solo set was an example of what intimate gigs should be, up close and personal, able to chat with individual members of the audience and draw from right back to Waysted days to up to date Tyketoo songs.
Anthrax went right back to Deathrider and up to date with new tracks, of which Fight 'Em Til You Can't Fight No More is outstanding.
SLF drew from Inflammable Material through to two new tracks Trail of Tears and My Dark Time. And hats off and considerable kudos to Jake Burns. It taskes a real man to share his pain live and onstage.
The son of Belfast 14 stood in front of a packed Ulster Hall to say that the new album had been delayed because he had been suffering from depression, but it work was now well underway - My Dark Time explained it more in song.
So, we applaud and bow down to Jake for his honesty and candour and we hope he knows all our thoughts are with him: and equally if any of you out there are feeling similarly, please speak to someone, call a helpline, just get help and surround yourself with people who care.
There - reflections not a review. Danny Vaughn, who could be a journeyman but who has the voice to amaze and stun; Anthrax, possibly more fierce and more fun than ever; and SLF, sons of Ulster with the flame of youth burning brighter than when they were young.
We'd like to leave you with this thought, taken from an SLF t-shirt "Assume Nothing: Question Everything!"
And, remember, if you feel stressed or depressed, get help because you are valuable to you and all those that care about you!
AOR, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal....FUCKING AWESOME and more honest and challenging than any numptie on wank-factor...