Friday 22nd June 2012 – Auntie Annies
Kicking off as support to celebrate Steering fails E.P launch is a little known Northern Irish duo named Kasper Rosa. The boys Ryan and Steve begin by telling the small crowd that has gathered that they ‘have spent the entire day changing some of their harder songs into slightly nicer songs.’ As they begin to play, the punters watch and listen as if being drawn in by the hypnotising guitar riffs and softly sung vocals. Sounding heavily influenced by grunge bands such as Pearl Jam, Nirvana and even a little System of a down thrown in there, Ryan and Steve seem to have squeezed out as much as they could from two acoustic guitars and managed to put together an enjoyable performance.
Taking to the stage next is a three-piece energetic grunge/punk band, originally from Dublin with influences such as Nirvana, Sound garden and The Hole, mixing it all up into a cocktail of their very own sound is 24 broken amps. Joining lead singer/guitarist Billy tonight are two new members, Bassist Leon who surprisingly just joined the band on Wednesday and drummer Ryan Burrows whose first practice with band was on Thursday. The band seem to gel extremely well together, there is absolutely no indication this band have only been together a few days! As drummer Ryan jokes, lead singer Billy is ‘next to leave’. They explode onto the stage with groovy adrenaline filled guitar riffs and an intense drumbeat combined with Billy’s raspy vocals, almost giving the feel of early White Stripes material. The band opens with ‘Money matters’ which sees the punters quickly forming a mosh pit in front of the stage. This seems to get the band in the mood as Billy begins to mosh around the stage energetically as if his body’s been taken over by the music. They have definitely got the crowd warmed up and ready to rock.
Next up on the support line up is Jackalfeud; a four-piece heavy metal band fronted by South African lead vocalist/guitarist Rowan. They open their set with ‘No reason, Just fire’ and It looks as though the band have a big fan base here tonight as the already impressive mosh pit continues to grow. Jackalfeud seem to be drawing the punters closer with their gripping hooks and epic drumbeats as lead singer Rowan growls down the mic. As soon as Rowan announces that the next song is ‘Vitality’ the crowd go insane. More and more punters push to the front joining the beer and sweat filled mosh pit. The stage presence of the bands bass player is particularly impressive, with his continuous head banging throughout the entire performance. Risking being heckled by the now strong crowd (many of who are guys wearing dresses as they would only have to pay half the price to get into the gig); lead singer Rowan starts to banter the punters who surprisingly take it very well as cheers and whistles fill the tiny Belfast venue. ‘Revival,’ gets an extraordinary reception. As the bands set draws to a close, first with an epic instrumental showing off their skills perfectly, and then a song called ‘If you believe us, you’ll believe anything’ – I get the feeling that these guys could well be Northern Ireland’s answer to Rammstein.
Following Jackalfeud is Chocolate Love Factory, a three-piece grungy punk band based in Belfast that formed in 2009. Front man Rory Dee has joined in on the cross dressing fun tonight by taking to the stage wearing a dress, blonde bob wig and red lippy. As the band begin to play, it’s clear to see this band also have their fair share of fans here tonight. The crowd continues to mosh along to the energetic guitar riffs, hard bass lines and powerful vocals to songs such as ‘Ratbag’ and ‘Coral Lady.’ A few horns are raised in honour of rock as punters show the band their appreciation to drumbeats reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age with an essence of Nirvana thrown in to give the band their very own eccentric sound. This band is certainly one to watch out for, and it is safe to say Chocolate Love Factory gained a few new fans here tonight.
Finally – the band this crowd have rounded up to support explode onto the stage, as hyper as a toddler having consumed too many E numbers. Steering Fail open with a cover of ‘War Pigs,’ from the rock legends Black Sabbath, but we are treated to a unique Steering Fail twist. The band gives the song the justice it deserves and perhaps even the Prince of Darkness himself would have appreciated it. As lead vocalist/guitarist Guy Taylor growls into the microphone, a herd of punters push forward, and they are immediately joined by bass player Chris Lecky. Guy soon follows suit as the punters continue to go wild. Soon, even equipment such as speakers and amps are being used for the guys to stand and perform on. Sounding like they have huge influences from Rage against the Machine, Biffy Clyro and more than a hint of Slipknot; the noise is well and truly exhilarating for just three people. Drummer Wilson Davidson continued to steal the stage by beating the Christ out of the drums throughout the performance. Steering Fail certainly bring a different performing vibe than the rest of the bands here tonight. Although they continue to impress punters with new material such as ‘Riot Dogs’ and ‘We Live in Public’; the song appreciated most by the group of strong fans, is the bands encore, first single ‘Goodluck/Badluck.’ The band summon the punters onto the stage, and instantly there are a herd of people on the small stage helping to pop balloons, open party-poppers and throw the ‘horns’. Tonight was testament to the fact that Northern Ireland has a lot to offer rock n’ roll lovers all around the world.