Ugly Kid Joe, Duff McKagan’s Loaded & Heaven’s Basement
Friday 2nd November 2012 – Limelight, Belfast
I had recently begun to wonder if the rock scene in Belfast was dead following some half filled gigs. So I was eager to be shown otherwise and jumped at the chance to see Ugly Kid Joe (having previously seen them 17 years ago), Duff McKagan’s Loaded and Heaven’s Basement. Signs were good from the start with the venue being upgraded to Limelight 1, the newly refurbished Spring & Airbrake.
The crowd wasn’t exactly large when I arrived but that didn’t stop Heaven’s Basement from rocking out. Aaron Buchanan makes an impressive front man owning the stage and moving about like a young Jagger. This man can sing, and he quickly won over the crowd. The four piece are currently preparing for the release of their 1st album Filthy Empire in January; and you can download the impressive single fire fire on their face book page at
A quick set change and the volume of the crowd increased as we waited for Duff McKagan and his band. It’s Loaded’s 4th visit to Belfast, their previous shows being in the Spring & Airbrake. Duff commented on how impressed he was with the new set-up. I am quite bias when it comes to Duff having seen GnR in my youth. I was not disappointed as they ran through their set list including ‘Sick’, ‘Executions’, & ‘So Fine’. But for me it wasn’t until Duff picked up the bass that the gig came alive, this is Duff McKagan, and when they played the GnR’s ‘It’s so Easy’ the gig came alive. It sent the crowd into a mosh fest and to be honest it was what was needed to make the gig more memorable. Guitarist Mike Squires even had time to give Duff a run for his money and as the set finished the crowd showed their appreciation.
A quick set change and I was eager to see what Whitfield Crane would have in store as the last time I saw them he sang with his pants down (a little part of me was hoping for a repeat performance). The music started and the stage filled with middle aged man rocking out in shorts. Their set list covered songs spanning two decades and as they sang ‘VIP’ I looked at Whit and I tell you he could still be mistaken for the cheeky chappy he was back then. When they played ‘Neighbour’ the crowd erupted and I saw something rare; Whitfield Crane completely owned the crowd tonight. He was like a kid at Christmas and seemed genuinely touched at the reception they received after being away for so long. Continuing on through the set list we had ‘Devil’s Paradise’ and ‘Cat’s in the Cradle’ which is well known in NI after being used in a hard hitting commercial for many years. Crane sang very little here merely conducting the crowd. Blasting through the tracks we came to the song Ugly Kid Joe are famous for and let me tell you, ‘Everything About You’ has lost none of the venom it had originally. Whitfield teased us leaving the stage then but soon returned with a surprise, introducing Mike Squires (Loaded) and Duff McKagan on stage. Their cover of AC/DC’s classic ‘Dirty Deeds’ (done dirt cheap) was immense and I didn’t dare hope there would be more when they launched into the Motorhead classic ‘The Ace of Spades’. It was for me the perfect end to a ‘fun’ night and the promise that Rock indeed is not dead.