Words: Brendan O’Mahony
Tonight, in the Button Factory, brings the chance to see two of the best bands to emerge from the 90’s/2000’s nu-metal and rock scene on the one stage. The final night of this run has a bill that consists of headliners Payable On Death, or as they are better known P.O.D, alongside Alien Ant Farm and the rock duo ’68. This highly anticipated show has been sold out for a number of weeks and is packed to capacity, so much so my colleague Olga Kuzmenko could not get in to take photographs. In place of pictures, we’ve therefore resorted to YouTube for some colour and sound in the article.
The evenings antics kick off with ’68, a noise punk duo, from Atlanta, Georgia. The two finely dressed gentlemen, Josh Scogin, formerly of the band The Chariot, and drummer Nikko Yamada, who has replaced original drummer Michael McClellan, give the appearance that they are about to start a classical recital before unleashing a wall of punk and hardcore noise. With two albums under their belt, 2014’s ‘In Humour and Sadness’ and 2018’s ‘Two Parts Viper’, ’68 have a lot to choose from for a relatively short 30-minute set. Opener ‘Whether Terrified or Unafraid’ and ‘This Life is Old, New, Borrowed and Blue’ from their most recent effort and ‘Track 8 o’ from their debut are the standout songs in a well-received set which culminates with the singer leaving his guitar playing on a loop pedal while he dismantles Yamada’s drum kit, piece by piece, to finish the song.
Alien Ant Farm
A quick changeover and soundcheck brings us to the next act, Alien Ant Farm. This is their third trip over in as many years evidenced by the fact that many in the audience are wearing recent tour t-shirts. ‘Bad Morning’ and ‘What I Feel Is Mine’ open the set before ‘Movies’ elicits the first eruption from the crowd. Moving between the albums ‘ANThology’, ‘truANT’ and ‘Up In The Attic’ the band are on top form, even with the distraction of a camera on a selfie stick from a member of the crowd having to be swatted away every few minutes. The cover of ‘Gene Machine/Don’t Bother Me’ from Bad Brains brings Sonny Sandoval to the stage but mic issues give signal for what is to come. AAF close out the set with their biggest hit, the cover of ‘Smooth Criminal’ from Michael Jackson, bringing memories of the video full of wrestling rings, swimming pools and exploding car windows flooding back.
The quick turnaround expected between AAF and tonight’s headliners doesn’t materialise due to a myriad of technical issues but spirits are kept high as Linkin Park’s ‘In The End’ has the room in full voice, following on from AAF having dedicating ‘Goodbye’ to Chester Bennington. Finally getting the chance to emerge from the shadows, 30 minutes later than scheduled, P.O.D promise to play until they get kicked off stage. ‘Boom’ immediately opens a release valve, with Sonny Sandoval prowling the stage, and it gets a pit going straight from the get go.
It is followed by ‘Rock The Party’ and brand new track ‘Panic Attack’ both of which keep those front and centre bouncing. All the new tracks from their latest album ‘Circles’, including ‘Soundboy Killa’ and ‘Always Southern California’, are sung back as loudly as the set staples, much to the welcome surprise of the band. Those aforementioned staples are of course ‘Youth Of The Nation’, ‘Satellite’ (another dedication to Chester) and ‘Alive’ from their multi-platinum album ‘Satellite’, all of which are a joy to see in a live setting. Approaching their thirtieth anniversary as a band, P.O.D still have amazing energy on stage and even with the technical difficulties this was a great set. I’ve no doubt the next tour will see a bigger venue for their return.