COME festival season bands want to fill up as many dates as they can around their shows. Already this week Airbourne and Devilskin played Belfast ahead of their Download slots, and next week Clutch and The Devin Townsend Project will follow their slots with shows.
With that in mind Wednesday 13 appeared on stage at Limelight2 the day before (9th June) appearing on the Dogtooth Stage at Download. And, despite the excellence on display it was very much tailored in length for a festival slot not a headline show. All too brief...
Belfast's own schlock horror act So Long Until The Séance (SLUTS) were on stage not long after doors, fresh from opening for Wednesday 13 the night before in Dublin.
That show and their run in the Metal2TheMasses showdowns has honed an already fine act into a solid, improving band. Unlike the fate of many a support across the world they were afforded excellent sound separation, and managed to perform in the cramped space in front of W13's shrouded drum kit.
Songs such as 'Bride of Frankenstein' and 'Burn the Witch' are already becoming favourites with elements of the Belfast audience. While there are superficial similarities with Wednesday 13 (make-up, and themes) they have their own take on the genre -although a few more Belfast references might darken the tone... Mike was in great form at the front, and despite sounding a little strained halfway through he recovered well and finished, like the whole band on a high.
Wednesday 13's reputation is firmly established. Joseph Poole has many guises and more side-projects and previous incarnations than most people could manage in three lives. He also has as many costume changes than Cher in the show.
But that does not diminish the quality he delivers - it is appropriate window dressing for the lyrical themes, a little like a Hammer Horror film writ large via metal.
Make, no mistake, while many reference works like 'I Walked With A Zombie' and Morgue Than Words' this was a metal show. Such almost pop punk were discarded.
Instead this was a more muscular outing with guitars buzzing, drums and bass pounding.
Despite the confines of the Limelight2 stage the band use it well, with risers put to good effect to project themselves out there. While such an obvious use works in a festival setting in a more confined environment it serves to make the show, and the band member, larger than life.
This tour for Wednesday 13 is on the back of the release a few short days ago of 'Condolences', the title track of which was one of the highlights of the show, Wednesday appearing, bible in hand, like a zombie preacher, top hat and dark glasses as he intoned "Sorry for your loss".
The macabre lyrics, pleas to "Kill Me" were matched by every iteration of the main man's stage attire. From butcher's smock to a face on the back of the head, through to devil's horns it proved that sometimes the effort more than adds to the music.
Amongst the many highlights 'Keep Watching The Skies' and 'Scream Baby Scream' stood out.
When they disappeared off stage briefly shortly after 9:10 there was an expectation that they would appear for a number of other encore tracks....
With single fingers in the air for 'I Love to say Fuck' there was a clear sense of disappointment amongst many. It was clear that was that. While Wednesday 13 did not, in any way, disappoint and was 'value-for-money' one or two added tracks would have sated a fan base that has waited for more than a decade for his return.
That aside - he is, with his band, providers of schlock horror excellence.
Review by Jonathan Traynor
Pictures by Darren McVeigh