2016 last saw RavenEye hit these shores, but tonight they return at the tail end of their UK & Ireland headlining tour before an additional stint in Europe. We are at the Belfast Empire Music Hall for a trio of entertainment with UK Rockers SKAM and local band Mosmo Strange filling out the bill.
Three contrasting bands but one epic line up, first up were local lads Mosmo Strange. I recently caught the tail end of a set from this quartet when they were on the support bill for CKY and Raging Speedhorn, so I was looking forward to getting a better taster for this quirky band of brothers. From the off it was obvious Mosmo were there to make an impact and not just make up the numbers. A high energy set and catchy tunes lit up the Empire and their contagious energy endeared themselves to the Belfast crowd. The guys were clearly having fun on stage, guitarist Nolan Donnelly was like a man possessed, head banging away to the riffs it all made for a crazy and beautiful start to the evening.
SKAM were up next, this trio of hard-hitting rockers took to the stage like a duck to water. No holes barred these guys hit the ground running and didn’t let up throughout. Front-man and guitarist Steve Hill was in fine form along with slappa-dat-bass-man Matt Gilmore who lead from the front with their crazy antics out front, Neal Hill completes the line up with a rock steady performance on the drums that drove home the quality of this well established band. SKAM had their own fans in the crowd to night and deservedly so, these guys are one seriously tight unit and know how to Rock!
Where Mosmo left off, SKAM picked up. A blistering set that had everything, slick guitar solos, kick ass riffs and sing along songs had the Belfast crowd on their feet and begging for more. These guys are just off the back of the launch of their latest album The Amazing Memoirs of Geoffrey Goddard – a concept album about the adventures of a time travelling spitfire pilot. Sounds nuttier than squirrel shit! but whereas many bands can talk the talk, SKAM let their music walk the walk. These guys are the real deal and deserve your hard earned support. So keep your eyes peeled for them coming your way.
Tonight though was about one thing, the return of RavenEye. Belfast had not hosted the boys since 2015 when the guys first landed here off the back of The Blues Pills Tour. They have been back chipping away at the Northern Irish crowd a few times, each time building on the reputation of their last show playing the likes of The Diamond Rock. Tonight would leave an impression on this hungry crowd that will have them talking about one of the grittiest shows the Empire has seen in a long time.
RavenEye have upped their game massively since that 2015 Irish debut, Breaking Out, an EP that announced their arrival was followed by Nova, a gargantuan sounding full-length album that was flawless from start to finish. It showcased their strength within, powerhouse song-writing and technical ability well beyond their years delivered a beautifully produced album that well-established bands would have killed for.
Fast-forward to 2018 and this trio have rocked the globe supporting some of the biggest names in the business, headlined tours across the UK, Europe and the US and all that accumulated experience was brutally unleashed in a behemoth set on a faithful Friday night to a select crowd in Belfast. The guys lashed their way through the hardest hitting numbers from both Breaking Out and Nova whilst bring new life to these established beasts.
The trio leave nothing to the imagination, all guts and glory they give 110% song after song. The crowd loves every second and want more! The ladies and dancing away while the guys are rocking out, air guitars at the ready. Oli rips through slick guitar solo after solo in between slamming riffs. Aaron unleashing all might hell on the bass with booming lines that resonate across the room, while Adam fuses it all together with animalistic force that completes this killer set.
These guys bring years of experience in a youthful package; professionalism and raw talent that ignite in a live show that you simply have to see for yourself. One of the finest touring bands around, 2018 will see them take a step back to work on their new album. They will no doubt hit the road later in the year once again with new material but till then, Europe is up next before they hang up their boots short-term to record.
Oli, A-A-Ron, Adam, I salute you.
Till next time.
Review & Photography : Mark McGrogan : http://markmcgrogan.com