Volbeat kicked off their run of Irish and UK dates at The Telegraph Building in Belfast as they head towards Download Festival June 8th. There are so many bands on the move at the moment with festival season just around the corner, many of whom are taking advantage of warm up opportunities such as these and tonight Volbeat are here to make their mark on a city under siege to the BBC’s Big Weekender and more.
Irish Garage-Rock band Fangclub are tonight’s support and with immediate effect their banging riffs and big hooks resonate with the Belfast crowd. Melodic and punchy they have the excitable gathering clapping along by the second song. There is a familiarity about Fangclub, with their front man echoing Kurt Cobain and their sound a la Nirvana and Weezer, it was no surprise when they threw in ‘Heart Shaped Box’ towards the end of their set. The guys wrapped up proceedings with a banging instrumental number to lift the crowd once more.
Volbeat hit the stage with a vengeance! Thrashing riffs accompany the glorious light show on display, throwing their fans into a frenzy as they consume Volbeat in all their glory and their opening track ‘Devils Bleeding Crown.’ That sets the tone for what has to be one of the craziest nights Belfast has seen in a while, there was a party atmosphere in The Telegraph Building and Volbeat were the hosts.
The crowd were going bat-shit crazy by the second song, vocalist Michael Poulsen makes use of the huge stage by working his way across all three mic’s left, right and centre. The guys interchange their positions and interacting with the crowd as they do, which will no doubt appease the large number of hardcore Danish fans visible at the gates who are poised in the front row. Talking with a colleague and as A Volbeat virgin I cant help express this was not what I was expecting at all, I get “ Its like Danzig playing Roy Orbison songs’ and he ain’t wrong.
The stage is lit up like a Christmas tree, people all around me warbling along to the lyrics and dancing their wee hearts out as they do. Poulson once again engages the crowd and ask’s “Who is at their first Volbeat gig? Well you’re all family now and you can’t escape!” “ Lets dance, who can dance” It was like someone flicked a switch and Belfast just went nuts! This is a unique experience for a Volbeat newbie like myself. Front and centre Poulson has an acoustic guitar and says “This is a song inspired by Johnny Cash” and like a lot of tonight I am once again having an out of body experience that can only be described as Twillight Zone meets Happy Days. Yet, it is awesome!.
How do you follow that? With a song that sounds like a Metallica number of course! With old school Cock-Rock synchronised guitar gestures ‘n’ all! Yet again full circle we have a Pop-Punk infused number that has a highly melodic hook and everyone clapping along, with a thrashing guitar riff and a key change towards the end that Westlife would have been proud of. Like four seasons in one day, Volbeat throw the kitchen sink and more at you in a one hour forty-five minute set of magic.
The boys throw in a few new numbers to mix things up, a Slayer-esque number that has tonight’s ever-increasing mosh-pit in a frenzy. As requested another new track ‘Parasite’ in which Poulson joked about earlier get’s it’s debut and as he explain’s “ It took hours to write” and in thirty seconds it was over, clearly he was taking the piss. As a treat ‘Barney’ from Napalm Death joins the guys on stage for a number that just adds to the list of crazy ass shit I’ve seen tonight and all is well in Belfast once again.
The boys delivered one of the most enjoyable and varied sets I have witnessed in a while, if you like myself (before tonight) are a Volbeat virgin, pop that mother-fuckin cherry and catch them on their whirlwind tour across the UK in the forthcoming weeks en-route to Download, you will not be disappointed. Sound musicianship from all the boys with blistering guitar work from Rob Caggiano, a sterling performance all round, Volbeat are a quality act through and through. Highly recommended.
Check out the upcoming dates below:
Sat 26th May – BELFAST The Telegraph Building
Sun 27th May – DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
Tue 29th May – MANCHESTER O2 Ritz
Wed 30th May – LONDON House Of Vans (free show)
Wed 6th Jun – GLASGOW O2 ABC
Fri 8th Jun – DOWNLOAD FESTIVAL
Review – Mark McGrogan
Photography – Liam Kielt : https://www.facebook.com/LiamKieltPhotography/