Tonight saw the last heat in Northern Ireland of the Bloodstock M2TM, as four more bands As Cities Kneel, Surf Green, Munro, and False Solution battled it out at The Limelight Belfast for the final two slots in the semi finals.
First up As Cities Kneel, one of the most hated men in the Northern Irish Metal scene Liam Kielt, was accosted by their front man Gary McCourt who had a bit of banter about a recent TWKOM podcast and promised that they would be up for the challenge tonight. In fairness they did come out of the blocks ok, great rocking guitar riffs, thrashing away and a thumping close to their opening track meant the boys were up for it tonight.
A strange choice mid way through their set where the boys decided to play a more radio friendly Pop-Punk style number was a major deviation from their normal song writing, possibly a poor decision on a platform such as this considering the prize on offer. Their sound wasn’t great on the night, drums were too overpowering, the lead guitarist couldn’t be heard especially during solo’s so there may have well been a French mime up there. The lads seemed to be enjoying themselves and giving it their all but was it enough to progress?
Next up Surf Green. This Punk Rock trio took the stage in full St Patricks day celebration. Clearly bat shit crazy, with a bass player who has serious mental issues and a guitarist-vocalist living on the edge, this was going to interesting if nothing else. The opening few bars of their first song led us into a false sense of security, the rest of the song was a banging number that went by at a 100mph with boy front men screaming into the mic like men possessed. These guys had a blast on stage, grinning from ear to ear but more importantly musically tight; amidst the chaos that unfolded in front of us there was real intent and ambition on the night. Their performance certainly created discussion between the judges on the night.
Munro were by far heads and shoulders above the competition this evening on technical ability, from the off they demanded you attention with a very talented 3 piece, but alas it just didn’t transfer well to the live stage on this evening. Sound was poor and front man Jake Munro was up front and centre demanding your attention with blistering solo work but poor sound meant you couldn’t hear the intricate guitar work against the thumping drums, the guys clearly have massive potential but it was lost in translation this evening, vocals were awful on the night detracting from an otherwise intriguing performance. I would advise the search for a killer vocalist to complete a line up that could propel Munro to another level, clearly serious potential within this trio but just missing the final piece in the jigsaw to separate them from their peers. A band that also started early and ran over their allotted slot time also went down like a fart in a space suit with the judges.
Last up were False Solution with their old school Rock, the guys hot the stage with a bang and appeared to have the biggest following in the crowd this evening. Four young lads from Belfast with a point to prove they rattled their way through their set engaging with the crowd and clearly enjoying the night, their set was a little all over the place as far as musical style, a bit more focus on which direction they want to go would better serve them as their Bluesy Rock numbers stood out heads and shoulder in front of their attempt at Thrash.
For me throwing in a cover version mid competition set was a major no-no but it didn’t seem to detract from the crowd’s enjoyment and was probably one of their better song performances on the night.
It was a tough one to call, quite the mix this evening with four very different bands on show it was going to an interesting result for sure. Vote were counted and James Loveday took to the stage, False Solution came in first with Surf Green just taking second place by a whisker.
Congratulations to both Surf Green and False Solution who now progress to the semi’s starting next week, time to do it all over again.
Review – Mark McGrogan
Photography – Liam Kielt : https://www.facebook.com/LiamKieltPhotography/