Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, February 12, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: All-star celebration for Diamond Rock Club's 10th Birthday Party

IF there is a more out of the way rock club in Western Europe it hasn't been yet found: The Diamond Rock Club is situated above a small bar, in a small County Antrim village, well away from the capital of Northern Ireland.

Despite this, for 10 years it has kept going, attracting faithful fans, with a family atmosphere and attracting national and international acts to its intimate surroundings.

As part of the birthday celebrations five of Northern Ireland's outstanding musicians came together for a party, a party that was greeted by the usual Diamond Rock Club raucousness, beer toasts and banter.

Cormac Neeson (The Answer), Pat McManus, Keith Weir (The Quireboys), Davey Bates (Stormzone)and Seamy Donnelly (A Little Bitter) plus a guest appearance for Steve 'Rock' (Lo Mejor)made for one talented group of individuals.

But, could they gel together given the limited time they had to rehearse for the gig. Of course they could - this was a masterclass in how to produce a set of fan favourites, there are no egos they just play damn fine hard rocking fun.

From opener 'Nutbush City Limits' to closer 'Highway to Hell' this was more than a celebration of the Diamond Rock Club's 10th Birthday, this was a celebration of the sheer joy that rock 'n' roll can bring; a type of ecstasy that requires no drugs (okay maybe some beers do help).

Amidst all the smiles there was probably none more than 'Basher' Bates - grins aplenty as he tortured his kit into submission.

All the musicians were enjoying themselves throughout, almost as much as the crowd. Whether it was Thin Lizzy'a 'Rosalie' and 'Jailbreak; Free's 'All Right Now' and 'My Brother Jake'; or Hendrix's 'Purple Haze' this was entertainment at its peak.

Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home Alabama' was turned into 'Sweet Home Ballymena' and the encore included the oft-called for 'Freebird'.

Sure, to some this might have represented the clich├ęd underbelly or hard rock, but that misses the point. These are the songs that were the foundations of all our journeys into rock and metal; these are sounds that formed our youth, and have endured to this day.

And, what is more Derwin and co at the Diamond Rock Club have enabled us to experience these songs, new acts, older acts and much, much more over the past 10 years.

We doff our cap and quaff our beers in your honour.

Review and pictures by Jonny

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