Bloodstock Metal 2 The Masses (M2TM) // Heat One / Northern Ireland
It doesn’t feel like it’s been a year since I was last standing in Voodoo Belfast saying to myself, “it doesn’t feel like a year since I was last standing in voodoo Belfast for M2TM” but strangely here we are once again.
Somehow I survived the shit show that was 2022 or 2021 v2.0 as I called it with my sanity intact, Bloodstock 2022 now seems like a distant memory, the packed-out New Blood & Sophie Lancaster tents, Sleep Token on the Sophie Lancaster Stage, Malevolence ripping it up and of course The Night Flight Orchestra sending us off into the distance with a shed load of memories, I believe a few bands played the main stage also? but here we are back at it once again, starting this crazy journey at Voodoo Belfast, the sacred home to M2TM for the last few years, and tonight is a busy affair.
Four bands on the bill and I’m gonna say only one that I know I have seen before, the highly entertaining SLUTS themselves ( So Long Until The Seance). The competition this year is dappled with new blood, bands that I have yet to experience so that’s always a great thing. Normally you’d have a selection of older competition-veterans, highly experienced metal heads who have had a crack at the prize over the last few years but this year there are some noticeable absences, so that means it’s anyone’s game. Could we be in for a surprise winner this year? A dark horse taking home the biggest prize in the N.Ireland Metal Calendar. We shall soon find out.
Opening this year’s competition are TERAS, a self-confessed Grunge/Hard Rock four-piece, new faces to M2TM and with a hard rocking front woman on bass sharing lead vocals with the guitarist, it’s a fresh twist on what we have generally seen through the competition in the past with only a few bands with ladies representing in the past so that’s great to see.
They are a passionate bunch, angst-ridden tracks with interchanging vocals that turn the head. They seem to have a strong following in the room, which is an important lesson for all who participate, make sure you have people who show up for you and cast those votes as it can make all the difference on the night. It doesn’t matter how good you are, if you don’t bring your fanbase with you it could be an early bath with the other band members and nobody needs that! Ones to watch for sure.
Up next to the infamous SLUTS, Gothic 80’ rockers, these guys have graced the M2TM stage before and made their mark. A highly talented band, blistering guitar work and wailing vocals all make for an entertaining set every time they play, in years gone by they would have been mismatched in various heats against heavier and possibly better-supported bands on the night, but tonight seems like it should fit like a glove with a collection of bands all on an even keel trying to make their mark on the first heat, SLUTS have certainly done that with a polished performance. A confident bunch, so confident in fact the bass player and guitarist went walkies through the Voodoo crowd without getting mugged! That’s another level of confidence right there.
So newcomers Snake Neighbourhood is up next and is a totally new band to me, as I approach the stage I’m a little taken back by what I see, 3 dudes dressed like women and 1 woman I think dressed like a dude! Then the lead vocalist arrives on stage courtesy of a scooter …. I’m not sure if I’ve forgotten to take my meds or maybe they haven’t … we soon shall find out! They then kick in with what is the gnarliest riff of the night! And for the first few songs really challenge the senses with a barrage of tight riffage against this crazy visual that really messes with your melon, but I kinda dig it! This right here is the beauty of M2TM a surprise package that turns a few heads and makes people sit up and take notice. Well played you crazy fuckers! Well played.
Red Mountain Radio wrap up tonight’s heat and with a gargantuan instrumental introduction they set the tone for their set, groove laden Stoner / Desert Rock,, ambient, hefty and in your face. It makes this evenings proceedings a hard one to call – and unexpected quality end to Heat 1 from another band new to me, their vibe driven home by a right back line that nails home those hefty grooves. I don’t think I was expecting to like this, I am not a fan personally of Stoner/Desert rock but these guys have a quality that shines through and sometimes you just can’t ignore that. So that throws a cat amongst the pigeons as it could screw up a few peoples evening who were bouncing earlier in the night with joy in front of their favourite bands.
A BIG congratulations has to go out to both TERAS & RED MOUNTAIN RADIO who qualified out of HEAT ONE – I Couldn’t have called it myself but well done to both bands – we shall see you again soon!
Once again a big thank you to James Loveday of The Distortion Project for another great night and Voodoo Belfast for hosting.
Photography: Mark McGrogan
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Competing in Heat Two we have.
“Silver Tonge Devil” audio: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yk5epxJT7O8
“Negative of a Man” video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eT-97nRVELw
“Politics of Fear” lyric video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8zQF5scy0I
“Long Way Down” Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5miUpRz-j7k
Friday 17th February 2023
Admission: £7.00 (includes 1 voting slip – tickets and pay on the door – cash and card accepted)
Stage times will be:
Band 1: 8.45 – 9.15
Band 2: 9.30 – 10.00
Band 3: 10.15 – 10.45
Band 4: 11.00 – 11.30
Running order will be drawn at random on the day of the show.
Voting will close at 11.45 and the results will be announced between 12.15 and 12.30..