kick off their UK & European tour this evening at the iconic Ulster Hall in Belfast. The US riff-masters hit local shores and bring along with them two fine bands in Norways, Kvelertak and American trio Mutoid Man to rock the Ulster Hall to its core.
kick off proceedings to a modest crowd, happy to have the few in front of them they launch into one of the most brutal and visceral performances Norn Iron has witnessed in a very long time. By the end of the 1st song the few were many and the many were in awe! This trio laid down and gargantuan sounding soundtrack that shook you from the ground up, possibly the loudest gig in the Ulster Hall since the hayday’s of Motorhead, these guys played like they were headlining banging out killer riff after killer riff and winning over the Belfast crowd with each and every single track. Their first three tracks were over in a flash, a gnarly and savage sound pummels the crowd below whilst Mutoid Man throw out a performance as if it were from the depths of hell. Both guitarist and bassist are adorned in Flying V’s wailing away as they give each other the finger, an epic start to a hefty and riff-tastic evenings entertainment.
The sound of deep bass fills the room as the lights go down, it resonates through the floor and walls and you cant help wonder what is coming, a solo guitar kicks in with a rhythmic lick that demands your attention. The band take to the stage as each member joins in building the intro up into a crescendo. By this stage I clock three guitarists, (maybe there was a deal on somewhere?) and each on is slamming away on their instruments, the bassist rocking away as the vocals kick in. Where Mutiod Man brought brutality, Kvelertak are a tamer affair, but not out of place. The Norwegian six piece lay down a hefty soundtrack to engage the Belfast crowd, with three guitarists is a intertwine well, sharing riffs and lead work alike, there is riffage in abundance and it’s good, dirty and good. Catchy well-written songs with slamming riffs in abundance grip the room and have the crowd eating out of their hands. A tight and passionate performance leaves the Belfast crowd in no doubt Norwegian Rock rules!
9:20 pm the lights go down and Georgia, Atlanta natives Mastodon take to the stage. A booming EDM like bass melody rings out across the hall, a cheer goes up from the crowd and the lads hit the first notes on tonight’s show. Seven tall digital screens light up from behind as the lads are bathed in red light, they slam right into some hefty and technical brilliance without skipping a beat. Prog influenced, Stoner filled, groove laden music that resonates front to back. As the third track ends and the pap’s leave the pit the stage lights up like a Christmas tree, and it is a beautiful sight to behold from the back of the room as the towering digital screens play a plethora of psychedelic imagery pulsating to the riffs down below. Tight as a tiger Mastodon rip their way across a heavy yet technically proficient set that showcases their years of experience, this Grammy Award winning band pull out all the stops with a powerful and mesmerising performance to knock it out of the park. Seventeen years on this four piece have lost none of the hunger, with a wealth of experience and class in their very bones, they put on a show to take the breath away.
Photography : Steven Donnelly / SJD Photography