WELL when it comes down to bats, they're a protected species in Northern Ireland - which we suspect is why Cancer Bats keep coming back here for their share of good old fashioned rock 'n' feckin' roll.
May in Belfast seems to have a bit of bat theme going - what with the Cancer Bats appearing in the Stiff Kitten on May 31st, and that old vaudevillian rock icon, Meat Loaf drawing his battiness to a close with his May 14th show in the Odyssey as part of his Last At Bat tour (more of which later).
Cancer Bats are currently touring in support of their monstrously grooveladen, feel good in a nasty way album 'Dead Set on Living' and their Black Sabbath tribute ep 'Bat Sabbath - Bastards of Reality'.
One thing can be assured of a Cancer Bats show is intensity. This is high octane performance, with a DIY punk ethos, hardcore style and a metal heart, even if they don't always want to let you see that beating you down.
Cancer Bats have produced some memorable shows in Belfast, but one moment sticks in our mind - when supporting Funeral for a Friend in the old Spring and Airbrake, vocalist Liam Cromier arrived on stage at the opening of the set and stagedived off the old boards, straight into a crowd of scenesters who didn't know what to do when this Canuck pile of punk angst landed squarely on top of them.
That moment summed up the Cancer Bats ethos - here we are, and if you don't like us deal with it because we are gonna beat you down until you love every bit of our vibe.
With four albums behind them, and a splatter of eps and bootlegs, this is perhaps the perfect time to see Cancer Bats. Tickets for the Stiff Kitten gig on May 31st are £12 (Ex booking fee) and available from Ticketmaster, shine.net etc etc.
On to weightier matters... We're not sure why we linked Meat Loaf with the Cancer Bats; it just seemed right and wrong at the same time. They are at opposite ends of the rock and metal spectrum, with Meat Loaf but there's a bat theme here...
We've seen several Cancer Bats shows and our principal editor admits to have seen Meat Loaf one night and a death metal set the next - well we do have diverse tastes here at our metal mansions!
Having said that Mr Loaf always delivers a show as well as the music. Memorably at Knebworth, when on the bill with Deep Purple and a host of others Meat maintained dignity and humour when initially pelted with a storm of plastic bottles - by the end of the set he had the entire crowd behind him despite fans ranging from ageing hippies, through to metalheads and southern boogie devotees (Blackfoot were on the bill too).
Meat Loaf plays the Odyssey Arena on May 14th in a 'Concert in Two Acts', the first being a selection of hits, the second being performing the entire 45 millions selling Bat Out of Hell album in full.
Tickets available from the Odyssey booking office and Ticketmaster.