WE have made a wee bit of a point in the past about our views on Snow Patrol - and in rather disparaging terms too. Thus when Nathan Connolly of the band launched his side project Little Matador we weren't that hopeful.
But snagging the support slot with Nine Inch Nails gave us an opportunity to see whether this would be another snooze patrol or was there genuine hard rock lurking in the guitarist.
It was a pleasant surprise then when the three guitar alt-rock hit the stage with a noise that was definitely in the heavier side; groove rhythms, riffs and concentrated rock that verged on the metallic at times.
All of which begged the question: for Connolly, which came first the rock or the middle of the road safety...Before tomorrow night's support slot with the mighty Queen's of the Stone Age at Belfast's Odyssey Arena we asked the chicken or egg question about which came first the rock or the melody.
"To play loud for sure," he said, "but melody has always been equally important to me. I don't see why you can't do or have both or want to express yourself in different ways, make different kinds of music.
"I listen to different kinds of music and they all inspire, but I wanted and needed to make this album for a while."
With last year seeing Snow Patrol taking a hiatus Connolly began to take Little Matador from a side project into a touring and recording reality, but is this a permanent thing?
"It's very much a permanent project," he told us. "We've just started, we've made a great album so we are serious about getting out there. I have commitments but I'll still be working and writing for Little Matador
"I feel even at this stage I want to make another record."
But is Connolly is 'happy' playing to a heavier soundscape with his band.
"I was never worried about feeling comfortable with that," he said. "I started off playing this way."
So, the thousands who turn out to see Snow Patrol at the likes of Tennents Vital should know that there is a hard rocker on stage...and now with an impressive cast of musos who are on the same page with Little Matador.
"It's brilliant! The band chemistry came together very quickly" Connolly explained. "We built on that and started writing.
"We've known each other for a long time but that doesn't guarantee that things will click, so it's great!"
All of which bodes well for those coming along tomorrow night and seeing the Little Matador machine rolling on.
With a number of impressive support slots already under their belt, being on the bill with Queends of the Stone Age at the Odyssey (amongst other dates) has honed the sound, one which may surprise audiences that have no idea of Connolly's dark (not so secret) alter ego in Snow Patrol - well think it's a dark 'secret' that we'll not whisper any more about, but what reaction have rock fans had when they have shared stages with the likes of Nine Inch Nails.
"It's been great to get those slots," he said. "As to reaction I have no idea, really. Some people may be surprised, some will know and have been, others will have no idea.
"I want to be judged on what they hear and see with Little Matador regardless of what other band or projects I'm in or involved with."
And that's the attitude that should see hard rock fans take the band seriously - any musician worth their salt should be judged on what they do.
Little Matador open for Queens of the Stone Age tomorrow night at the Odyssey Arena, some tickets are still available. Get there early and judge Little Matador on what they do, not what they have done before.