Swanee River + Ajenda + Voodoo Dogg @ The Limelight, Belfast – Saturday October 8th

This evening’s weekly dose of Saturday metal gave two out of the four local bands attending next month’s Highway To Hell III a chance to run through their paces, albeit in front of a much more partisan crowd than they undoubtedly will face in Glasgow…

Opening proceedings for the duo were Voodoo Dogg: now, I’m going to be totally honest here – the last time I saw this four piece, they were absolutely dire… totally awful would have been about the best compliment that could have been paid to their chaotic and shambolic performance (ironically, on this very same stage)… Since then, however, they have changed drummer (fired) and a guitarist (who walked out on the afternoon of a prestigious support slot – clever move), and the result is a somewhat more co-ordinated performance, sounding more like a band than a jazz ensemble. But, they nevertheless remain pedestrian and unimaginative, and they still have a helluva lot of work to do…


HTH finalists Ajenda are a totally different proposition – for a start, they are tight and professional: the rhythm section of Peter and Janny are particular efficient, while Gavin’s guitar work is understated and proficient. The inevitable focal point, however, is leather-clad frontwoman Jen, who never stops moving and interacts constantly with the crowd. As for the songs, following the Bon Jovi-esque ‘Drinking Games’, the sent moves seamlessly between classic rock, funk and pop, bringing in elements of Pink and, more notably, No Doubt, but with added fire and passion.


Headliners Swanee River are one of the best live bands on the Northern Ireland scene, and know only one way to play – and that is by delivering good time rock’n’boogie, mixing the balls of AC/DC with the soul of the Stones. There’s a old story about a bloke called Samson losing his strength after being drugged and having his hair cut off: Swanee frontman Steve may be newly shorn, but this certainly hasn’t lost any of his vocal power, while the rest of band are as tight and proficient as ever as they deliver their 45 minutes of strut ‘n’ stroll boogie groove.


Ajenda and Swanee River both play Highway To Hell III at the Classic Grand in Glasgow on October 19th and 20th. The other two Northern Ireland acts competing are ‘Tric and WarCrux.  See http://www.facebook.com/events/229727587101521/ for more information.

About Mark Ashby

no longer planetmosh staff