There are a number of incorruptible facts about St Patrick’s Day, not just in Belfast but almost anywhere else in the world. The main one being that it is absolutely nothing to do with a certain bloke in a long white beard and pointy hat who allegedly drove the snakes out of the island of Ireland (for a start, not even the knackered old VW Beetle parked down the street is that old!). It’s more to do students getting shite-faced and annoying their neighbours as much as possible for as long as possible, putting silly green dye into otherwise perfectly good pints of Guinness and cute Spanish girls running round wearing skin-tight T-shirts inviting you to “Fuck Me, I’m Irish!” – no you’re not you stupid fucking bimbo…
With this year’s Paddy’s Day falling on a Saturday, however, it did come with one much more acceptable factor – a good ol’ fashioned afternoon / evening of heavy metal down the trusty Slimer – and not a feckin’ shamrock, green beely-bopper or leprechaun in site!
Young titans WarCrux stepped into the breach at the last minute to open this extended show and proved once again that they are maturing with every show, their particular brand of sleaze-infused thrash growing and developing, especially on songs such as ‘Ties That Bind’ – featured on a new globally-released EP showcasing five up-and-coming Belfast acts – and ‘Leave Me To Crawl’. 7 Days Dead, made up of former members of hardcore crew Interrogate, were making their debut, and impressed with their brand of Gojira-meets-Godsmack-meets-White Zombie melodic brutality.
Rebels By Nature always give 110 per cent, and this evening was no exception, as their Guinness- and Bushmills-soaked blues rawk ripped through the venue with the ferocity of an Irish wolfhound in heat. As always, the rhythm section of Hayley and Andy were tighter than a priest in a choirboy’s arsehole, while the twin guitar attack of Wilson and Tom swapped riffs and solos quicker than cards in a game of Jack-Change-It: up front, vocalist Phill delivered the kind of performance than undoubtedly has the late Ronnie Van Zandt smiling down on him with contentment.
By Any Means dedicated their set to young Dee Corr, a bastion of the local skater scene who tragically had turned his last trick just a few days earlier, and then proceeded to deliver another blistering set of hardcore very much ‘Built On Respect’ for the heritage of both the genre and their city.
The unknown quantity on the bill were Black Sheriff, a Cologne based quartet of punk ‘n’ roll outlaws playing the last night of a three-date homecoming mini-tour for locally born frontman Glen Ravioli. Their infectious party attitude, along with bassist CHR’s broad grin and guitarist Doc B Danger’s snappy riffs, quickly wins the crowd over and soon everyone is singing along to ‘I Want You’:
the fiery ‘Vietnam’ sees Glen go walkies behind the bar to pour himself a drink and the band quit the stage having made many new friends.
Headliners Sinocence most definitely are among old friends (including the PM contingent) and therefore use the opportunity to showcase new material from their current ‘No Gods, No Masters’ recording sessions: this proves to be slower and more progressive in its approach than that we have previously known from the Sins, and they do suffer from a slightly wonky mix, but nevertheless they deliver a highly enjoyable set which once again proves why they are perhaps the leading pure metal band on the Irish scene at the moment.
Which left only one thing to do – head out into the night air for another annual St Patrick’s Day ritual… laughing at all the students and spides throwing up outside clubs and wondering why the bouncers won’t let them anywhere near the door: we may be slightly the worse for wear ourselves (hic!) – but at least we know to handle ourselves with a modicum of decorum… at least, that’s how I remember it!