Pick Your Rock and Metal

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The 80s...they haven't gone away you know....

IN Northern Ireland when a 'politician' was asked about a paramilitary grouping he answered: "They haven't gone away." But what all politicians and paramilitaries would do well to remember is that in the 1980s rock and metal took the baton from late 70s punk as a cross-community expression of togetherness in rejection of sectarianism and bigotry.

When you were hot, sweaty and headbanging in the Rosetta or the Ulster Hall you literally did not care if the person next to you was a Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew or Jedi - you were there for the music.

Equally you could be cheering in Def Leppard one week and Metallica the next, MSG later and WASP shortly after that. There was an attitude that despite the shit out on the streets: the bombings and the shootings, the killings and the kneecappings, we escaped it all because we had the rock.

In this, the 21st Century, there has been a gradual resurgence of hard rock and metal in Northern Ireland - many deserving credit for this, not least James at The Distortion Project. There now are venues willing to give a new generation of rockers and metalheads able to access the music that stirs the heart, gets heads banging and fists in the air.

And on Saturday at the Limelight2 we had a complete rewind back to those halcyon days of the 80s...when  Aquatramp, the Screaming Eagles and Maverick drew the tribe of old ones, young ones and strange ones to Ormeau Avenue.

While we missed most of Aquatramp what we did see was a band with potential who need to take their solid sound and add a strong dash of stagecraft: it's not just music guys, it's a performance.

And that is a fact that the Screaming Eagles understand and deliver in bucket loads. With verve and panache the Screaming Eagles pound a tight, focussed set as if we were watching Free on steroids, AC/DC on amphetamines and Cream on crack cocaine.

Continually getting tighter, with complementary stage personas, Screaming Eagles deserve to find that it is not a long way to the top if you want to rock 'n' roll after all.

As for Maverick? Long hair? Check! Cut off denim with patches? Check! Striped Destroyer-style guitar? Check! Big riffs and soaring choruses? Check!

The ghosts of the glory days of Twister Sister, WASP and Motley Crue were in the house and there was a party to be had.

In your face with a smile and a headbutt, in your ears with a glorious ridiculousness that shouldn't be allowed, and all reflected as you raise your hands high.

Redundant drum solo - yeah we had that too and it turned out to be good. Three axes posing and raised in unison -yeah we had that too.

Davy Shields from Stormzone even joined Maverick for a triple guitar assault on Bark At the Moon and we applauded and grinned.

This was pure, unadulterated fun, delivered with a straight face.

It seems that Maverick don't really give a shit about the fashion and forms that scenesters and genre-tightened arseholes hold dear. This is about rocking hard and laughing with the crowd and at yourself.

Who cares what anyone else thinks.

As we live in this era of austerity, face public sector cuts and lengthening dole queues, and deal with an increasingly fractured society (much like most of the 80s...) we need the likes of the Screaming Eagles and Maverick to remind us that rock and metal, perhaps, can be salve on the wounds of the world.

The 80s - They haven't gone away you know!

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