Lostprophets - Ulster Hall, Belfast
Ulster Hall, Belfast
16th April 2012
It’s a wet, windy Monday evening and Lostprophets are in Belfast for the second date of their tour. Rumour has it they were pumping iron in the local gym before taking to the stage – it’s only apt that they were preparing to treat us to a ‘gun show’ for their fifth studio release, Weapons.
The stage set up is impressive; there’s a massive Lostprophets backdrop and when they blast off with opener, 'Bring ‘Em Down', we’re blinded by strobes of white light interspersed with blue spotlights. It’s mightily impressive even if it’s a little difficult to look at the stage for too long at a time.
The opening segment of the set is largely made up of new songs and it’s safe to say it’s a slow start for Watkins and co. After initially seeming more interested in ensuring his asymmetrical haircut swooped to his left, he eventually loosens up a little and lets it hang to the right. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what rock’n’roll is all about. The crowd are a little subdued and Watkins is visibly frustrated – he attempts to engage the crowd, asking them to sing-a-long but the response is muted. He says he feels like he’s at a wake and asks, “Would you rather be watching Emmerdale farm?”. It’s a little awkward.
Things warm up when they play 'A Town Called Hypocrisy' and it’s not long before Watkins whips out his lightsaber. Don’t worry, it’s good clean fun.. it’s a huge laser which shines right up to the roof of the Ulster Hall as he swooshes it around like Luke Skywalker. It’s pretty cool.
The second half of the set feels a lot more like a greatest hits selection and Lostprophets really do have an amazing back catalogue of radio-friendly rock songs jam-packed with huge sing-a-long choruses – the highlight of the set is the trio of 'Last Summer','Rooftops' and 'Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja', one after the other.
The funniest moment of the evening comes when they jokingly sing a little Backstreet Boys, “Everybody..”, which elicits the biggest response from the crowd of the night, “Yeah….”, much to the bemusement of Watkins who has been trying without luck to get them to sing along all evening.
There’s an extended intro to' Last Train Home', before the last hurrah of' Burn, Burn' has the entire Ulster Hall bouncing and singing along. Finally. They briefly exit before coming back on for a slightly muted encore of 'Everyday Combat' and 'Sway'.
It was a little bit of a damp ending, a little bit of a damp opening and a little bit of a damp journey to the venue but for an hour in the middle, Lostprophets were lethal.