No Matter with support from Subordinate, The Left Backs and VX
Saturday 16th February 2013 – The Warzone Centre, Belfast
After an eight year hiatus, the legendary Warzone Centre reopened in 2011 giving the scene in Belfast a much needed boot up the hole. A place for the alternative run by the alternative, it was also a breeding ground for local bands like Slomatics and Runnin Riot as well as telling people not to accept their lot in life, to book their own f**king lives. Tonight sees a gig from four local bands, due to The Astronauts (anarcho punk/semi industrial English band who toured with the likes of Zounds and The Mob) pulling out because of ‘sickness.’
VX are the openers. Plenty of post hardcore in their own offerings. while covers of The Ramones, Black Flag and The Hives makes for a somewhat schizophrenic listening. Their own songs offer strong evidence that there is plenty of potential here, and playing with bands who are around their own ages has lifted them out of their comfort zone. The synchronised moves, however, are a tad embarrassing. More Status Quo than Nirvana. They also suggest an “eager to please” mentality, when VX should be telling people to f**k off. Isn’t that half the fun of being in a band?
Including Arctic Monkeys and Fratellis covers in your set marks you out as a throw back to the dark days of 2006, and The Left Backs regurgitate all the clichés from that period: “clever” lyrics, jangly chord progressions and awkward stage presence. Although a well rehearsed band, they do not rise above the mundane and need to develop their album collection beyond “Now That’s What I Call Indie” comps (start with early PiL and Alternative TV, lads. You can’t go wrong with those).
With the use of a single strobe light, Subordinate CRUSH. With a crust punk sound built around bands like Tragedy and Antisect with elements of The Body, it throws up no surprises but that doesn’t matter in this case. Their ‘To See Their Demise’ EP suffers from poor mixing, and it’s only live that you feel the power and intensity the way it should have been. The metal element of their sound certainly beefs the songs up live. Astonishing.
No Matter close tonight’s proceedings. Their first Belfast gig in nearly a year (and second gig overall with new guitarist Markus Black), their pop punk onslaught is a contrast to the other bands which makes them all the more enjoyable. Live airings of ‘Lie, Cheat, Repeat’, ‘Dirty Little Lies’ and two new numbers demonstrate that the band need to get into the studio to start recording again. And it’s always a joy when they end their set with ‘Cheapshot.’
A mixed bag overall, but that’s what you want isn’t it?