Pick Your Rock and Metal

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

LIVE REVIEW: Andrew O'Neill beats the technical problems and delivers a lecture on metal

THE History of Heavy Metal...it's a big fucking topic, spanning generations of bands, a growing multiplicity of genres and sub genres and a cult following somewhat obsessed with the music that inspires copious alcohol intake, insane high acts of stage diving and entering mosh pits.

Is this a suitable topic for comedy? Probably not yet when Andrew O'Neill played Belfast's Black Box on October 3rd as part of the Belfast Belly Laughs comedy festival he managed to have most of his audience laughing, sometimes giggling and even some guffaws.

Of course, O'Neill knows a thing about metal. In his other shows he has always played on his identity as a heterosexual transvestite, vegan, amateur occultist, comedian and metalhead. He plays in a steampunk band and has been in death metal acts previously.

Unfortunately for O'Neill he had to first apologise for a laptop that was refusing to co-operate in loading, thereby denying the audience the slide show illustrating his show.

But, as a stand-up comedian he has his emergency jokes and routines, which he delivered with real panache before an interval to see what could be done with the laptop.

For some of the uninitiated in attendance a comedy routine about metal was well, well away from their comfort zone. Some must have cringed when O'Neill emerged with a white flying V and a loud system to get the riffs going.

While the metalheads in attendance could enjoy the in-jokes about the genre, he was still able to grab the attention of those lurking at the bar in fear of the noise.

At times it did come across as a lecture more than a comedy show (a future career for O'Neill as a favourite lecturer at a really cool university music course...) but his self-deprecating attitude, quick retorts to hecklers and the alcohol challenged made the act fly by.

References to many bands, many genres, how to tell death metal from black metal were legion: we don't want to spoil it for those still to see the show, but if you are even a remote fan of metal then this is a show worth going to.

On a personal piece of advice, make sure to have a few pints, wear your favourite band shirt and be ready to have fun poked at you, as well as ears blasted with some familiar riffs.

In short O'Neill has combined stand-up with metal. Fans of metal have always enjoyed a joke at their own expense - Spinal Tap, Bad Touch...even Steel Panther are enjoyed by metalheads who all realize that it seem ridiculous to the outside world, but in the sweaty confines of a concert venue we have a release few other musical genres can equal.

When O'Neill lists his favourite love song as Hammer Smashed Face by Cannibal Corpse you know where the comedy is...

Review by Jonny
You can follow Andrew O'Neill on Facebook here.
The Facebook link for his Steampunk band The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing is here.

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