It’s a strange Wednesday night in Dublin, with the entire Internet in seeming meltdown over events that are taking place in the USA, that Finnish rock legends Lordi are here to prove to us that the only monsters we need care about are in town and ready to rock The Button Factory’s very foundations. When I arrive at the venue there is already a sizeable queue snaking down the street and quite a buzz of excitement among all gathered as to what to expect from tonight’s show.
We are barely in the doors of the venue when Silver Dust, hailing from Switzerland, take to the stage to open tonight’s proceedings. Upon first impression I would have to say that they have a rather fine taste in stage attire, with vocalist/guitarist Lord Campbell cutting quite the dashing figure clad entirely in black and sporting a top hat to complete a look reminiscent of Nightwish’s Tuomas Holopainen. Unfortunately, despite their best endeavours, there is just something lacking in the performance. On paper, everything is there for an excellent show but the songs don’t quite rise to the level that the band’s image aspires. Two tracks in particular stand out for me tonight ‘Heaven Knows’ and ‘My Heart Is My Saviour’. Both songs make me feel that this is a band with a lot to offer but a drum solo in an opening acts set feels indulgent and unnecessary. (2/5)
After a short break we are treated to Shiraz Lane and their take on late 80’s/early ’90’s good time rock ‘n’ roll. They are initially plagued by technical difficulties including loss of all vocals but they take it in their stride and continue their set with an incredible confidence which really endears them to the ever growing crowd in the venue. Hannes Kett proves to be quite an adept frontman and no stranger to encouraging an audience to raise the decibel level ever higher and certainly likes to move about the stage as much as possible. None of this would matter if they didn’t have the songs to back it all up it and thankfully they have more than enough to prove their worth tonight. The stage may be dimly lit but it doesn’t stop the band shining through when playing ‘Momma’s Boy’ or ‘Begging For Mercy’ both of which have plenty of swagger not unlike Bach era Skid Row. They are equally capable of bringing it down a little and encouraging the audience to sing ‘Same Ol’ Blues’ with them. Very noticeable throughout tonight’s set are some really nice lead guitar breaks from Jani Laine, none of which ever overshadow the song but add yet more colour to them. Tonight’s highlight for me is ‘Story To Tell’ which takes you back to a time when power ballads were a highlight in a bands set and this is certainly no exception. Shiraz Lane may not work for everybody but they have definitely made some new friends in Dublin tonight. (3/5)
You can feel the anticipation building in the venue now as the stage is being prepared for tonight’s headliners and a quick look back shows that a sizeable crowd has made it’s way to what is fast promising to become a night to remember.
When the P.A. blasts out KISS’s ‘God Of Thunder’ you know it’s showtime and Lordi certainly know all about putting on a show. They immediately thunder into ‘Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man’ which has the crowd pushing forward towards the stage, arms aloft, devil horns springing up, and singing like their lives depend on it. This is followed hard and fast by ‘Babez For Breakfast’ which has the effect of ratcheting the crowd noise level even further.
Mr. Lordi then decides it’s time to address the faithful and let us all know that despite it being a midweek gig, he has personally called everyone’s boss and that work has been cancelled and we should all party. It’s an excuse I’m perfectly willing to go along with, as it seems, is everyone else.
Then it’s straight into ‘The Riff’ which Amen in particular seems to be thoroughly enjoying playing. By now it’s incredibly hot at the barrier so I can’t even guess how the band are managing to put on a high energy show whilst wearing such lavish and garish outfits. Before we know it we are all catapulted into the maelstrom of ‘Hellbender Turbulence’, Ox’s bass solo and ‘Bite It Like A Bulldog’ before the band play ‘Icon Of Dominance’ which really seems to push the audience over the top completely.
I have to confess the next song pretty much breaks me for the night, ‘Hug You Hardcore’ hits really hard and has every vestige of good bad taste that you have come to expect from Lordi packed into five glorious minutes. From this point on, it feels like the songs are coming thick and fast, and it’s so very hard to stop smiling and singing along to each and every one of them. All around me are people who earlier in the night were perfectly rational, functioning human beings and now appear utterly transformed into something more akin to the various band members, faces contorted through singing and shouting, heads banging in time to the music, all the while with fists raised high in the air.
Amen’s guitar solo slows things down for a brief respite and a chance to draw breath before ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ and the delightful ‘Sincerely With Love’ have the entire venue right back at fever pitch again. It’s such an incredibly energetic and fun show that I really don’t want it to end at all tonight but ,unfortunately, end it must. However there are few bands that have the ability to pull out not one but two brilliant songs to close the show with. Just when I think everyone present has peaked Lordi break into ‘Who’s Your Daddy’ and the utterly fantastic ‘Would You Love A Monsterman’ and the venue goes absolutely crazy all over again. An absolutely incredible performance that really has to be witnessed to be believed (5/5)
Photos by Down The Barrel Photography[flickrapi user=”planet mosh” get=”photoset” id=”72157672730995983″ size=”z” count=”100″]
Let’s Go Slaughter He-Man (I Wanna Be Beast-Man In Masters Of The Universe)
Babez For Breakfast
Bite It Like A Bulldog
Icon Of Dominance
Hug You Hardcore
It Snows In Hell/The Children Of The Night
Down With The Devil
Blood Red Sandman
Hard Rock Hallelujah
Sincerely With Love
Who’s Your Daddy?
Would You Love A Monsterman?