When Solid Choice Industries and Hornets announced this show amongst the Irish tour dates in support of their new album, the incredible ‘Witch Hunt’, you could already imagine with a bill like this what chaos would ensue. I’m sure the lads at Voodoo Belfast were on the phones getting a bigger insurance policy ready for their arrival. A proper listen to the album in preparations for the show got me incredibly excited for their headliner and the supporting bill made it a gig that couldn’t be missed! The venue was jam-packed with punters getting ready to have their faces torn off and photographers were discussing ways to capture the frantic movements of their wirey and swift-moving vocalist.
Elder Druid with their unique blend of stoner and doom genres took to the stage as they meant to go on. The last few months have saw the profile of this band rise significantly and the sound towards more gritty vibes. Druid were hellbent and unleashed with heavy octaving riffs, nasty bass vibes and snarling vocals of Gregg McDowell cutting through the PA. Songs such as ‘Rogue Mystic’ and ‘The Warlock’ were highlights of their supporting set this evening.
I’ve heard the name 7.5 Tonnes of Beard slip off many a tongue on the local music scene. I knew they were heavy, I knew they were composed of members of various bands including And So I Watch You From Afar, but I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I enquired with punters in the crowd to find out what they’re like in their zone onstage. People were speechless, more shocked at the fact this was my first encounter. As I write this review, all I can say that 7.5 Tonnes of Beard literally crushed the venue and damaged everyone’s hearing significantly in their onslaught. They were an unforgiving entity of noise and low-and-slow grooves, a tenacious behemoth. If you haven’t seen this band, get down and take the chance.
Following this atom-bomb of Orange amps and aggressiveness came Slomatics who continued the trend of mid-tempo carnivorous guitar lines and stomping drums with rattling hi-hats. What really caught me about Slomatics is the incredibly intensity of the sound produced by the 3 guys and no bassist present. Their powerful vocals echoed through the venue to the sold-out audience shattering glassware effectively and produced a mirage of fuzz-galore tunes.
The crowd packed up to the front of the stage as Hornets got ready. Guitars feedbacked and cymbals shook. The band exploded into ‘The Long Pig’ with its Converge-esque dissonant guitar sound and thrashing drums complimented by frantic and manic movements conquered the venue effortlessly. Hornets performed their landmark debut album in its entirety this evening and one thing was for certain – once their tour-de-force initiated there was no time for breaks. The band hammered through their set, drenched in sweat, injuring themselves amidst the furious trance and getting in the faces of the crowd who reciprocated the energy of the aggressive hardcore sounds of the band that pushed the PA to its limits. Incredible, just incredible…
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY STEVEN DONNELLY