Not Threatin, Red House, Periapt
Sunday 11th November 2018 – Empire Music Hall, Belfast
It’s one of the strangest music stories of the year. An LA metal band by the name of Threatin, who had amassed a massive amount of fans online, went on a tour of the UK. The promoters had informed the venues that they had sold hundreds of tickets for each show, and support acts had been booked for each venue.
The problem? It turns out that the “band” (which only seems to comprise of one individual) faked his Facebook and YouTube likes & streams, and lied about the amount of tickets sold, with most of his shows being attended by crowds you could count on one hand. The bands that had agreed to support him had been screwed over and left out of pocket once they discovered they weren’t due to play to the massive throngs of people that they were expecting, so a lot of people were quite peeved, to say the least.
And to bring things a little bit closer to home, the next gig that Threatin was due to play following the exposure of his delusions of grandeur was in at the Empire Music Hall in Belfast. Although at first it appeared that the gig would go ahead as planned, early on Sunday morning a story broke that Threatin’s live musicians had quit the band in a row over payment, and by mid-afternoon the Empire put out a statement confirming that the gig would be cancelled.
However, that was not the end of the story. Periapt & Red House, who had originally been announced as the support acts for Threatin, announced that they would still be playing that evening, and that the gig would now be free in – (Threatin had paid for the venue in advance). Given that it has been the supporting acts that had been consistently screwed over by Threatin over the course of his tour (one of the bands due to play Belfast told us that they weren’t offered any money by him for their support slot), it seemed right to go down to support the two bands that had been due to play.
The turnout for the gig was comfortably into double figures, with the crowd peaking at around 30, with people flittering in and out to see what was happening – not a massive crowd, but not bad for a Sunday night in Belfast, and still solidly more that Threatin got for the rest of his tour put together. And even though the dreadlocked elephant in the room never showed up, he was very much in people’s minds from the get-go. Belfast band Red House started their set by offering up a round of applause in his “honour”, before beginning their set, which was a mix of covers of acts like Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys & Thin Lizzy, alongside some original songs of an indie-rock nature. A recent finalist in Volume Control’s Clash of The New Breeds, they’re a fairly young band with a lot of promise – their covers were incredibly tight, and there’s quite a bit to like in their original material – one of their own songs, ‘Spaceman’, has got a lot going for it, and will likely get them a bit of traction when they release it as a single. They also came out with one of the oddest statements of the evening, when they mentioned that they had read about the Threatin story on the NME the day before the gig, and it took them several hours to realise that it was the person that they were due to be supporting.
The second band of the evening, Periapt, also referred to the Threatin situation, imagining a scenario where halfway through their set, he would walk right through the doors at the back of the Empire, surrounded by white light and doves, like a scene from a John Woo film. Their music was more in keeping with what Threatin’s fans (both of them) would expect of his supporting artists, with a heavy melodic metal vibe to their set, mixing songs from their most recent EP and songs from their to-be-released album, as well as a cover of Audioslave thrown in for good measure. They also gave us what was one of the more illuminating quotes of the evening, when they explained their reasons for taking the slot in the first place – “when you are in a band in Belfast, you’ll take any gig you f****** can.”
And thus was one of the more surreal gigs that I’ve experienced in Belfast for some time, where the person who was the star of the show didn’t even make an appearance, where two locals bands found themselves the centre of attention from an online audience that have been captivated by the whole Threatin story, and enjoying every minute of it. After all, if there’s anything that all musicians want, it’s an audience. And that’s something that Mr Threatn missed by bailing on us in Belfast.