Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
The current music scene in this small country of N.Ireland is at an all time high. A huge variety of quality bands currently making large inroads into the UK and global markets. Established promoters delivering a regular dose of live rock from both internationally established bands, and a touch of the new also with some exciting local “emerging stars”.
This was a debut gig from a new promoter Black Cat Pr, at the Pavilion in Belfast.Fusing a strong and varied lineup topped by Classic Rock Award best band winners Voodoo Vegas from Bournemouth England. A last minute withdrawal of one of the supporting cast may have been a major cause of concern. However they say that out of adversity comes opportunity, and thus it proved to be the case. In a cooperative effort the unifying power of the local rock community shone through and triumphed. Belfast blues rock three piece Voodoo stepped up to the plate at the last minute to deliver their debut live performance.
Boasting a wealth of experience with three seasoned veterans of the local music scene Voodoo set about destroying the venue. Tight as a nut, with a rigid and powerful rhythm section they delivered in spades. Choosing to utilize a strong set of renowned blues and rock covers, they did a sterling job of heating up the audience before the headliners. Charismatic front man Stephen resplendent with hat and cane came across as the bastard fusion of Jagger and Tyler. Powerful and strong vocal delivery, carried by the mind-blowing guitar virtuosity of Dave Mcclean. Any band that chooses to cover both Hendrix and Clapton songs in their set has got to be strong. Following the bands set I chatted to the bands bassist Brian who told me that despite their short existence, their was an instant gelling of the band members musical experience. Chemistry was apparent and they received a great response from an appreciative audience.
Black As Heaven started off in early 2012 as the brainchild of Chris Fitzimmons and Andrew Munn after they had both spent a brief period in Sweet Taste. With the addition of David Shields on guitar, they auditioned numerous singers before recruiting former Skarrd frontman, Mark Gracey. Following David’s departure to local rock legends Stormzone and an exhaustive search the band brought on board ex-Souls of Distortion guitarist Gareth Beattie. With formation complete, the group set about writing. In March 2013, the planets aligned and the four picked up where they left off, eager to create a loud and impressive sound on the Northern Ireland Rock scene, bringing the influences of Black Sabbath, Dio, Ozzy, Motley Crue, Heaven & Hell and Metallica with them. I chatted to the guys before their set, nerves apparent as this also was debut show for the band. As the band had only been up and running for a short period their set was mostly covers based. They quickly allayed those goose bumps,and delivered a strong and quality set.Selection of songs was wide and varied,with many instantly registering as instantly recognizable to the audience through tunes by bands such as Motley Crue and Ozzy amongst others. Individually the bands musical talent shone through with quality musicianship.Vocalist Mark Gracey with a wide and extremely impressive range certainly had his work cut out to rekindle both the spirit of the covers but also deliver his own personal stamp on them.Tight and effective rhythm section carrying the set and the incredible guitar playing of Gareth Beattie.Two self-penned tunes in Black As Heavens set provided a sign of the future of whats to come from the band.Have to say I was very impressed with both songs even more than the rest of the set-which has got to bode well for their future development.
At this stage I think that I should pay compliments to the venue, great acoustically for all the acts and kudos to the venues sound man for his sterling work on the night. For a debut gig Black Cat Pr must also take credit,all the hard work paid off, and the personal touch of taking time to chat to all the audience members over the course of the evening was unique and greatly appreciated.
Headlining the show tonight where exciting UK rockers Voodoo Vegas voted best live band recently with established publication Classic Rock. Since forming in 2006 in Bournemouth, the band have gigged tirelessly on both home turf and the continent, honing their craft during regular rounds of the French, Belgian, Italian and German live circuits, and raising the musical bar still higher in support slots to standard bearers such as Glenn Hughes, Uriah Heep, The Wildhearts and Fozzy. Indeed they had previously played Belfast in a support capacity three years previously. Audience numbers continued to rise as stage time rapidly approached. The audience attracted was a nice mixture of familiar rock gig goers and people that I hadn’t previously seen. Traversing a spectrum of ages it was also particularly good to see a healthy audience make up of the fairer sex. Focusing primarily on their debut album the set consisted of tunes that I have been living with for quite some time, to the extent that I was even able to tunelessly sing along at various points. While having an attractive female guitarist may have proved a diversion from the rest of the band, that wasn’t an issue in this case. Whirlwind,enthusiastic and passionate front man Lawrence Case quite literally took the music to the audience, regularly leaving the stage to deliver a true in your face experience.
The songs definitely took on a fresh and new sound when delivered in a live setting. From powerful hard hitting anthems to my personal favorite the more tranquil and mellow “Lost in Confusion”Audience engagement and interaction were definitely strong qualities displayed by the band. Definitely a band on the rise,and with upcoming festivals and another Fozzy support tour coming up, I predict only great things for them.Their debut N.Ireland headlining show was all about building up their band name and getting it out there with the rock punters over here. I chatted both to the band and audience following the show, and the verdict was universally positive. A foothold has been established and by word of mouth I’m sure that audience numbers will certainly be increased when the band return to play these shores again.
In conclusion a great nights entertainment put on by a new promoter. Fresh sounding local bands both playing their debut shows, and a rapidly rising UK act. I’ve visited a live venue which I had never previously stepped into,and made some new friends. Evening delivered on every level,and I am eagerly anticipating the second gig by Black Cat Pr.
Voodoo Vegas Line Up:
Lawrence Case – Vox/Harmonica
Nick Brown – Guitar/Acoustic Guitar
Merylina Hamilton – Guitar
Ash Moulton – Bass
Matt Jolly – Drums
The Rise Of Jimmy Silver out now on Cargo Records.