More Than Conquerors with support from Fatherson and Craig McConkey
Monday 23rd September 2013 – Limelight 2, Belfast
One might question why the mostly acoustic based Craig McConkey is opening the show when the headliners have their feet firmly in the rock category. But tonight his sound is boosted with a backing band and he does well to win over a fairly busy venue. ‘Rule the Land’ and ‘Denny Man’ are the two clear standouts from what is a charming and upbeat set.
Murmurs before tonight have highlighted MTC’s decision to bring Glaswegian band Fatherson and how they are unmissable. Best described as a cross between fellow Scots, Frightened Rabbit and Seattle’s Band of Horses, with some nice rugged beards thrown in for good measure. Front man Ross Leighton directs proceedings with his distinctive vocal style and the band clearly relish the opportunity to play Belfast . ‘First Born’ feels like a poppy Twin Atlantic song and that should be taken as a compliment. However the real treat of their set is ‘Mine For Me’ where Leighton’s vocals really shine and there is a bit more of an edge to the guitar riffs.
It is just after 11 and the Limelight 2 is jam packed, the local lads have done good and only gone and sold out the show. The debut album from More Than Conquerors has been highly anticipated particularly since their last EP was released back in 2011. It’s a fairly standard album launch as they simply run through the track listing of the album but for many it’s the first (of many we suspect) listens. ‘All That We Can’ is the opener and it roars their set to life with a huge riff and some urgent drums, a wave of disbelief crosses Kris Platt’s face at the appreciative reaction. The follow up, ‘Pits of Old’ takes it a step further with some shouty lyrics and a distinctive riff present throughout. The band have managed to nab some of the lighting equipment from the main Limelight and it helps their production values immensely.
‘Jaw’ chugs the middle of the set into life and will surely be a future single. Despite Kris’ cries that “Everyone seems so scared of heading to an early grave” the opposite is true. There is a growing mosh pit and claps aplenty, quite simply everyone is up for it. ‘When the Well Runs Dry’ has been floating about since September 2012 and Kris just needs to sing the verses as the crowd easily drown out him during the chorus, a true highlight. The set (and indeed album) aren’t all so gung-ho, ‘Bring Me To The Bloodbank’ is a chillingly stripped back song that thankfully this capacity crowd are silent for.
With the album suitably showcased it is time for some older material and closer ‘Bear Knuckle Fight’ demonstrates the energy and passion that have won More Than Conquerors so many admirers. A stalwart of their live shows and understandably the audience go completely mental. We had the first crowd surfer during ‘Try Antlers’ but as is tradition front-man Kris finds himself in amongst the mayhem in what has been an electric set. I have caught More Than Conquerors on many an occasion over the past few years but without a shadow of a doubt this was a coming of age performance.