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Axis Of, More Than Conquerors - Ballymena

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ATL | 15:53 UK time, Monday, 26 September 2011

Axis Of, More Than Conquerors, Bee Mick See, Event Horses, The Black Dunes

Ma Kelly’s, Ballymoney
24th September 2011

Axis of

 

It’s always a good sign when you walk into a venue and the mosh-pit is already going. And so it was as The Black Dunes are already going in this evening’s multi-band extravaganza. They’re not big on audience interaction, instead focusing on their instrumental rock. It’s in the vein of Sunn O))), drifting towards sludge, heavy and heady stoner rock vibes. Unfortunately the lack of conversation or chatter means we can’t ascertain anything about them other than their name on the posters.

In contrast, Event Horses do their best to blow the mics, operating on the principle that if in doubt, speed it up and scream it up. They’ve recently acquired a new bassist, but it seems like business as usual for their sneering rock. For a local comparison, think LaFaro or Rupture Dogs – pretty heavy with a catchy riff and a screaming vocal. ‘Dance With The Devil’ proves that Old Nick has still got the best tunes, while ‘Desperate Times’ is reminiscent of Gallows, bringing militaristic drums and rumbling bass, with the constant of being capable of inducing head-banging.

Bee Mick See takes to the stage, or rather, the floor into audience for his first set of the evening. Accompanied by two other MCs, his beats have an electro edge to them in the Daft Punk/Ed Banger electro-disco-funk vein accompanied by examinations of social prejudice (‘Won’t Let Me Be’) and self-deprecation (‘Bee Mick See Can’t Rap’), but it’s all to the happy bemusement of the audience.

Bee vacates the floor for More Than Conquerors who take the more traditional approach of being onstage (although it’s also floor level), and in the spirit of the evening, proceed to get down and dirty, with a scuzzier and less polished set than they’ve done before. The bass is high in the mix giving a Stranglers style punk-funk vibe, and they seem like a band who have had the edges knocked off and are bit hardier than before. Even the poppier material seems to have more solidity to it, while in place of indie pose there is rock sweat, and ‘Don’t Make Me Say It Again’ prompts our front-man to take to floor while the rest of the band go into a Rapture-style punk-funk breakdown.

Bee Mick See returns for a few more songs, with the same set up as before, and again the electro-banger beats and locally tinged rhymes gets a bit grimey.

The mosh-pit from earlier makes a return, but bigger and crazier than before (as an aside in general the further you get from the cities, the crazier things get), and is there from the start of the Axis Of set. ‘We Dine On Seeds’ is all screamed vocals over Adebisi Shank style frenetic effects and bouncing rhythm. Mentioning bouncing, at this point the chandelier above the crowd starts getting battered, and somehow survives.

They promise a song for thrashing and deliver on their word, before relative calm is restored. But only  temporarily calm, as they take advantage of practically being at home and recruiting a guest vocalist for an oldie. This familiarity extends to the crowd hurling requests at the band, delaying proceedings as the guys are clearly enjoying themselves. ‘Edge Of The Cage’ is heavy, nasty, vicious riffs and gang vocals, before closing with ‘Brobdinagian’, or at least that was the plan as they’re not let off-stage until ‘Port Na Spaniagh’ makes an appearance. Now hurry up with the album you say is on the way lads.

William Johston

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