St Patricks Day Massacre - Limelight, Belfast
St Patricks Day Massacre with Warcrux, 7 Days Dead, Rebels by Nature, By Any Means, Black Sheriff and Sinocence
17th March 2012
Sunshine and the "black stuff" weren’t the only things flowing this St Patricks Day as the Distortion Project upped the ante on it’s weekly showcase of local rock talent with the St Patrick’s Day Massacre in Belfast’s Limelight.
Warcrux are the opening act this afternoon. As a few punters make their way to the front, and the guitars get warmed up, the vibrations send shivers up our spine. Warcrux provide enough to get the crowd interested with a sound reminiscent of eighties-era Metallica and they set the pace for the rest of the day, with their song 'Ties That Bind' being the highlight of the set. Raising a glass to St Patrick, the audience respond in kind and give well-earned applause for what was a very tight set.
Playing their debut show, 7 Days Dead are next on the bill, bringing a grungier sleazier rock sound to this afternoon. Perhaps not as tight to begin with, and with vocals in need of a serious lift in volume, they still have a big stage presence with lead singer Ryan McManus. Bass heavy hooks lead into a headbanging ensemble by the band which the crowd are more than happy to join in on. It isn’t long before they pick up the pace and find themselves with a few new fans. Finishing on their debut single 'Haunted', these guys are definitely ones to watch.
Rock and roll doesn’t get better than this as Rebels By Nature are next in line to strut their stuff on stage. A high octane five piece with a sound similar to the likes of Buckcherry and Monster Magnet, nothing stops the band getting stuck into some straight up rock n roll. A band with a real southern rock flavour, lead singer Phill Hendry asks the crowd if they love rock and roll. It takes a few attempts to get the response they deserve, but once they do, the crowd well and truly have their attention fixed upon the stage. The final track in the set, 'Blood and Whiskey' sees the lead singer jump into the crowd and get up close and personal with the punters, eventually getting them to sing along with the chorus. Probably the highlight of the day in terms of stage presence, it's just a shame the crowd weren’t completely willing to back them up.
As afternoon fades into dusk, it’s time to crank it up a notch as hardcore locals By Any Means take to the stage. Dedicating their set to local skater Dee Corr who unfortunately passed away the day before, this is one band with an incredibly loyal fanbase and immediately they have heads banging front and centre. Their second song 'Built On Respect 'goes down a storm as lead singer David Lyness throws himself into the thick of it at crowd level and paces up and down like a proud lion as he growls out a chorus. Relying on fans to sing along, the band even round up a few of the locals to join them on stage and share in the hardcore banter. One thing is for certain, By Any Means demand nothing but our respect.
The penultimate act, Black Sheriff are a German based band with their roots in Northern Ireland. Sporting his trademark cowboy hat, lead singer Glen Ravioli comments on his return to Belfast by inviting the crowd to show his German bandmates how we rock over here. In fact, the highlight of the set is definitely the un-PC tongue-in-cheek banter coming from the stage, even during a few technical hitches. Black Sheriff sound like their influences AC/DC but while they are hugely entertaining between songs, it takes a while for the audience to warm to their style of music. Thankfully, Glen uses the old back and forth signing trick with the song 'I Want You', which has the audience responding with the phrase ‘I Need You’ during the chorus. Dedicating their last song to rock legends Deep Purple, it isn’t long before Glen takes himself off stage and plunges into the depths of the Limelight, guitar in hand in order to entice the audience into getting up off their seats and joining the small group of headbangers at the front. He may not have wholly succeeded but it’s enough to give the Northern Irish rockers a taste of what Black Sheriff are all about, and maybe next time they play here, Belfast will be ready for them.
Sinocence are the final act of the evening, bringing to the Limelight their wall-to-wall thrash metal. For fans of Anthrax or Megadeth, the band clearly have quite the following as most of the audience drift away from the bar in order to get involved in front of the stage. Playing songs from their back catalogue, Sinocence’s talent as musicians is matched by the appreciation shown by the head-banging, hair-twirling audience. Despite little crowd interaction, the promise of new material towards the end of the set is enough to keep the audience entertained. However, the vocals are seriously drowned out by the guitars and drums and while this wasn’t a problem with the established tracks, the new lyrics are impossible to translate. Thankfully, in a way that brings the whole event full circle, Sinocence invite Warcrux singer James Boyd on stage to provide some well-needed extra vocals for the last song.