Oregon quartet Red Fang have been undertaking quite a gruelling European trek, with something like 40 dates, made up of a mixture of festival slots and intimate headlining shows, and including visits to a number of places where they have never played before, such as Belfast (one of only two UK standalone shows outside their Download appearance).
Openers Astralnaut pay homage to the visitors, with bassist Jon Joe Harrison taking to the stage in a suit of armour made from beer cases (a reference to the Fang’s ‘Prehistoric Dog’ video, for those who need the reference explaining). It’s a light-hearted moment from a band who have been building a reputation for delivering some of the heaviest, densest NOLA-infused doom in this part of the world. They go from strength to strength with each show and, as has been mentioned in a previous review, the recent recruitment of Harrison has brought an extra depth to their sound. Tonight, they are tight and solid, but also enjoying themselves, and this helps them deliver the best gig they have played to date.
Triggerman are a band who prove that ‘The Riff Holds Sway’, and always put 110 per cent into their live shows – despite what could be regarded as a somewhat stoical on stage manner from everyone except frontman Bap, who always succeeds in gaining more than a few new converts to the band’s cause every time he preaches his particular brand of metalology from his chosen pulpit. The highlight of this evening’s set – apart from the band’s rather nifty line in matching red jumpers – is the heady powerhouse ‘Thon Strange Brew’, with a bass line that punches its way through your chest cavity.
Now, I’ll be honest and say that, prior to this gig being announced, I didn’t really know that much about Red Fang or their music, apart from a few videos I had checked out on YouTube. But, sometimes that can be the best way to approach a show – not really knowing what to expect. Of course, I was also familiar (mostly via chat on the gig’s Facebook page) with the four piece’s reputation for fiercesome live shows – and, certainly on the evidence of this evening’s showing, they did not disappoint in this regard.
Initially, the audience appears hypnotized, almost transfixed by RF’s brand of stoner-infused classic rock as, with a very few exceptions, the vast majority spend the first half of the set just standing and staring at the band, as if absorbing what is being played with every pore of their collective corpus. It isn’t until the set enters its latter stages – and after Astralnaut’s towering bassist has returned, replete in his ‘armour’ and wielding a table lamp ‘hammer’ (which, ironically, subsequently results in him being ejected from the venue by the over-zealous security) – that the pit eventually starts to move. In another ironic twist, as the crowd gets livelier, the music plunges down into deep and gloomy doom metal territory, in a manner which is even more hypnotically transcendent than what has gone before, as the band conclude their spellbinding set having won over at least one new fan.
‘Murder The Mountains’ is out on Relapse Records: http://www.relapse.com/label/artist/red-fang.html
Check out our interview with Aaron Beam: https://planetmosh.com/red-fang-interview-with-aaron-beam/
Photographs by Paul Verner: www.livei.co.uk
Check out more photos in our gallery: https://planetmosh.com/red-fang-triggerman-astralnaut-speakeasy-belfast-170613-photo-gallery/