Volbeat at the Spring and Airbrake
Spring and Airbrake, Belfast
October 23rd ,2011
It’s a rare occasion to hear classical music playing in the Spring and Airbrake but the epic “Dance of the Knights” from Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet blasts across the sold out Spring and Airbrake before Volbeat come on stage. “You wanna hear the good stuff?” shouts frontman Michael Poulsen, “We don’t sound like Motley Crue and we don’t need to look like old prostitutes to play music,” he jokes, then loudly announces that Volbeat bring the Rock ‘n’ Roll.
And they most certainly do.
He says he’s very exicited to be here as it’s their first time in Belfast which gets a massive cheer from the crowd who are packed in like rock ‘n’ roll sardines. Seems everyone including the band (but not this reviewer) has forgotten they played 2 dates with Metallica here last year. Clearly we didn’t make a great impression first time.
Volbeat are the musical equivalent of a harvey wallbanger. Lots of different ingredients blended together to give you something with a hell of a kick behind it. They sound like so many different bands - a bit of Metallica here, a Danzig riff there and throw in a little Slayer for good measure. They pay tribute to this fact with a medley of songs in the middle of the set, but despite the metal loving crowd their slice of Queen’s I Want to Break Free seems to get the best reaction.
Their setlist reflects this too and the gig is almost split in two halves, They start of with the energetic, rockabilly tunes and ‘Guitars.Gangsters and Cadillac Blood’ is a brilliant opener which gets the crowd bouncing instantly. The first half starts slowing down to it’s end with the likes of ‘Maryanne’s place’. Soulsweeper has the room swaying like we’re at a high school prom in the fifties, and it’s this more retro sound which Volbeat seem to do best, even with Michael’s death-metal roots (he started out in death metal band Dominus afterall).
Then after a short break they’re back on stage and the second half is much heavier. Anders weilds his bass like it’s an offering to the gods of rock, constantly looking ready to start a fight and never missing a note during ‘River Queen’, however the vocals get a bit shaky on the higher parts of the song. The heavier tuness are dispersed with softer moments during ‘The Garden’s Tale’ and the soppy singer even dedicates their cover of ‘I only wanna be with you’ to his wife, proof they may look tough but they’re big softees really. Not short on the flattery either, telling us we’ve been excellent, heavy metal, angels, devils and rebels! So with all that praise hopefully they’ll remember having played here next time! We’ll forgive them though, but only because they did indeed bring the rock n roll!