© Trish Semple
Photos by Trish Semple
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
In these financially austere times promoters and bands themselves are starting to put together more attractive tour packages to bring in punters. Usually featuring 2 ticket-drawing acts with either a tour support or local band-thus it was the case with this show. Quality long standing bands Buckcherry and Hardcore Superstar were joined by new band Venrez. Having never previously seen either of the headlining acts who were both playing full sets it was an interesting prospect . The ticket sales proved sufficiently healthy for a venue upgrade to the larger capacity venue next door.
Having chatted to all three bands prior to doors opening, the natural enthusiasm of both playing Belfast and the tour billing was clear to see.
Opening act Venrez had previously secured some major tour supports including several dates with Slash. Having listened to their debut album a few weeks before I was intrigued as to how their myriad of musical styles and genres would come across to an audience in a live setting. True the early doors timing of their set did the band no favours and certainly proved a challenge. Singer Ven,s “eclectic”stage mannerisms came across as confused and slightly erratic. However it was unclear as to the apparent source of such behaviour. From a difficult start though the band managed to rally and finish the second half of their set in strong style. Just about succeeding in rallying the isolated punters around into generating a response to their musical efforts. Songs that had sound stylistically different on their album stood up well for me personally when played live. Their set did how ever seem to ebb and flow, but with a longer set list I feel any weak flaws would and could be easily addressed and ironed out.
Having been a huge fan since their 2000 release”Bad Sneakers and a Pina Colada”(gotta love that title!!) I was keenly anticipating seeing Hardcore Superstar for the first time. Our paths had previously come close at a few festivals over the years but they always seemed to clash with another band that I wanted to see more. Despite singer Jocke promising to play all that album for me when I interviewed him pre show it sadly wasn’t too be. However what his band deliver was a fantastic and high quality energetic rock show. With 3 original members combining together with a younger element of youth, passion and enthusiasm shone through. Generating a huge and positive crowd response for the many punters who had by now swelled the venue to almost capacity. Audience members seemed to be generally in awe and amazement, with not many being too familiar with the material being played on the stage for their enjoyment. However this could have resulted in a staid and muted response, but Hardcore Superstar dragged that crowd by the throat, kicking and screaming and left them both begging and baying for more. In conclusion a totally satisfying live performance which would set a high standard for Buckcherry to live and play up to.
Buckcherry are a name very familiar to me even notwithstanding their 2/3 commercial hit singles. Have several albums in my own personal collection and their current release”Confessions”was a very solid and strong quality release. Several of my friends who I had attended the show with were massive fans and had seen them several times before. However I found their set although containing all the songs that I had wished to hear, seeming to flag and drag in parts. Band enthusiasm just didn’t seem to be at the same levels as that shown by Hardcore Superstar. On its own Buckcherry’s set would have proved satisfying and tasty. However compared to what had just finished I think the band just fell short. Sounded great and all the band members certainly proved solid and competent but just couldn’t put my finger on that missing element….
In conclusion though I had a great time, with 2 bands playing headliner status sets comparisons will obviously be made. As a package a great nights entertainment for Belfast rock punters, verdict still out on Buckcherry until I cross paths with them on the road again. Interesting to note that for their next show on the tour in Dublin there were some slight changes in tweaking their set list-and they delivered a better performance.