.@Planetmosh reviews @Screagle83, @MaverickBelfast and @balefulcreed at @LimelightNI.
You know you’ve had a good day/night (delete as applicable) when you wake up the next morning with a hangover to match the hole in your wallet – and you know the rock year has officially started when the return of The Distortion Project’s Saturday afternoon RocKD sessions is responsible for the damage to both your physical and financial wellbeing.
This evening was supposed to be a re-enactment of the onslaught which four of Northern Ireland’s finest had delivered in last November’s ‘Highway To Hell’ battle of the bands thingy over the shuck in Glasgie, but Sinocence had to pull out that morning due to drummer Davy Cassa severely damaging tendons in his hand: but, such setbacks are always overcome by those determined to bring the best possible rock ‘n’ roll shows to the masses, as the three remaining bands effortlessly extended their scheduled sets to fill the gaping gap (sic).
Openers Baleful Creed kick off proceedings with an intent which is almost criminal in its intensity, with their normally dark and dirty sound even grittier than normal, especially in relation to Fin’s vocals and their bottom-ended guitar sound. ‘Double F.S.’ adds a catchy southern groove to their trademark classic doom, while the numbing bass intro to ‘Thorazine’ typifies a set which is hypnotic in its aggression and showcases a band hungry to get back into live action.
Just six days beforehand, Maverick had announced that they had parted company with founding guitarist Chris Engelen, leaving many people both confused and intrigued by what to expect from this show: taking to the stage with their ambitious intro, the band immediately answered all doubters with the blooding of new guitarist Richie Cardwell, who belied his relative lack of experience by joining in a performance that was tight, seemingly well-rehearsed and quickly captured the hearts of everyone in the hugely impressive crowd, as they ran through an energetic combination of tracks from last year’s debut EP and their soon-to-be-recorded album for Massacre Records.
Unlike the two bands before them, this was not Screaming Eagles’ first gig of the year (they had supported The Answer at a low-key but sold-out club show the previous weekend) but both they and their faithful fans – of which they won many more this evening – were definitely ‘Hungry For More’, as their crowd-pleasing bloozy rawkousness stonked and stomped its way off the stage, strutted around the venue, stopped off for a beer or three and then came back to start the party all over again. With Adrian grinding and pumping out the riffs stage left, and Ryan thumping the living daylights out of his bass, Buckfast-swigging frontman Chris proved, once again, that he has a couple of letters missing from his name, with his charismatic and enervating performance.
If that wasn’t enough rock ‘n’ roll for one evening, virtually the entire Limelight audience – and the bands – decamped a mile up the road to The Pavilion, where Million Dollar Reload celebrated the launch of their recent ‘As Real As It Gets’ live album with another blistering performance: if you could bottle this band’s energy, it would be more intoxicating than a double Black Bush and the huge support for both bills showed that, to paraphrase a well-known line from a certain movie, “if you play it, the fans will fucking love it”! And we do.
Check out our gallery of photographs at https://planetmosh.com/the-highway-to-hell-reunion-photo-gallery-belfast-01022014/
Baleful Creed support Trucker Diablo at the Enler Delta Blues Club, Comber, on Saturday March 1, and then join Maverick to play the PlanetMosh-backed ‘Blazefest IV’ at the Empire Music Hall, Belfast, on Saturday March 8: https://www.facebook.com/events/155127854671996/
Screaming Eagles play ‘Giants Of Rock’ at Butlin’s, Minehead, on February 7 – 10, with Blue Oyster Cult, Uriah Heep, Molly Hatchet, Wilko Johnson, Hawkwind and many more: www.bigweekends.com/giantsofrock
Million Dollar Reload support Blackberry Smoke on their forthcoming ‘Fire In The Hole’ tour, which kicks off in Glasgow on February 28.