SO:NI - Millionaire Dollar Reload, Bandwagon, Sky on Fire, Cavehill
It is Cavehill who open the show to a reasonably packed Pavilion with a solid but largely timid performance. As can be expected in the early stages of many gigs, backsides were firmly attached to seats and the occasional glance was afforded to the three-piece who did themselves no harm on the night. 'Open Eyes' and 'All Fall Down' were highlights of this short set that was met with little more than polite applause. The set ended without fuss as the crowd suddenly realised the band were leaving the stage and applause was necessary. Did somebody not say 'It's a long way to the top...'
Sky on Fire certainly benefited from the extra guitar and, compared to Cavehill, achieved a much fuller sound. More heads were turned as the band gathered momentum in the early stages of the set. This was to be short lived as, amid the breaking of guitar strings and the subsequent delay, the attention of many returned to the bar. 'Sky on Fire' resumed with a bang, and highlight of the set 'Make it Real.' The Killinchy four-piece offered little beyond the standard hard rock sound but showed promises of strong song writing and a growing confidence that lead to a well-received set.
In keeping with the tradition of recent SO:NI nights, Bandwagon were included on the bill. And why not? Front man Phil Edgar has been described as a virtuoso and compared with the likes of Rory Gallagher. His presence on stage and obvious talent leaves little to be desired and an appreciative crowd lapped up his confidence.
Songs from previous gigs that may have sounded as if they were actually written by Lynott or Gallagher, notably 'Sailin Through It' have (rightly) been replaced with more unique and impressive numbers - including the excellent 'Barbara.' However this, evidently, is an ongoing process as Bandwagon employ covers of 'Gimme All Your Lovin' and 'Shadow Play' where many on the night might have preferred to hear more of the originals the band had to offer.
Fresh from gigs in the US, UK and festival touring, Million Dollar Reload landed with more of an explosion than a bang. Drawing heavily on influences such as Guns n' Roses, AC/DC and Aerosmith, our Axle Johnson Tyler for the night got an immovable crowd on their feet. The set began with crowd favourites 'Livin in the City' and 'Fire Your Guns' and continued at a blistering pace towards a ballad Aerosmith would be proud of and an impromptu happy birthday sing along to a fan.
They did themselves no favours however with a cover of Guns n' Roses 'It's So Easy,' which did little but illustrate just how similar Million Dollar Reload sound to their influences. There is little overly new or innovative on offer from the band that could well be the next Answer. That however begs the question "who asked in the first place?"