Firebird, Skypilot and Baleful Creed at the Limelight
The Limelight, Belfast
Sat 1st October 2011
The Distortion Project is a beloved haven for Belfast metal-heads, saving us from the horrors of dance, pop or – woe betide! - indie music.
So what better way to spend your Saturday than in the confines of your local bar with a pint in one hand, a leather jacket slung over the back of your bar stool, and some sweaty guy shouting at you from a stage? This weekend is no exception as the congregation gathers for the weekly church of noise, but it’s a concoction of blues, more than metal, which bashes our eardrums this evening.
Baleful Creed are tonight’s opener. As self confessed fanboys of Firebird it’s a big deal for them, and it’s clear they’ve brought their A-game tonight. They play a solid set, with a highlight being closing track ‘Suffer in Silence’. However, it’s not hard to hear the influence tonight’s headliners have had on their sound, and we’d like to hear something a little more original from a group who clearly have a lot talent onstage.
Skypilot are veterans of the local rock scene, having graced the bills of many a rock gig since they first formed in 2002, bringong a certain amount of stoner friendly stompy riffage to tonight’s proceedings. Definitely for fans of Tool and Kyuss, their sound is more bass heavy, in fact heavier in general than the other bands on tonight’s lineup, and it’s a perfect filling for the blues sandwich the other 2 acts serve up.
Despite the price of a pint being a lot more and the only smoking in bars being done by a dry-ice machine, we’re transported back to the flared jean-wearing rock hey days of the 70s when Firebird come on stage. The newest line up sees Alan French make a long awaited and much welcome return to the drums, and you can tell he’s missed playing with the band. The trio, completed by Greyum May on bass and Bill Steer on vocals, work so perfectly you’d think it had always been that way. Fresh material from most recent album Double Diamond features a heavier rock sound than the earlier, more blues infused material, and the tunes are even better live than they are recorded.
It’s not just tracks from the new album which sound amazing tonight - their back catalogue is chunkier than a chunky kit-kat - and who can resist the harmonica solo during ‘Slow Blues’? In fact, after Firebird’s example, we firmly believe more songs should have a harmonica solo.
by Carrie Davenport