Riverside // Klone // Live Review // The Limelight 1 // Belfast

Legends of Polish progressive rock, Riverside played their first-ever Belfast concert on Wednesday night on the intimate Limelight 1 stage. Preceding a close-to-sold-out Dublin Academy concert, an eager Belfast audience witnessed a masterclass in musicianship and was taken on a journey through epic soundscapes, textures and thrilling rock riffing.

Opening the show with a truly unique presentation of their sound was the French group Klone who put on an acoustic interpretation of their introspective, atmospheric repertoire.

Their explorations were moody and well-timed. The simplified arrangement all the same left room for pounding, anthemic drumming with vocal crescendos occasionally breaching into pained screams.

The soundscape created between the interplay of guitarists registered like an orchestra during their powerful choruses, all the while evoking a sense of 90’s grunge song structuring and guitar layering.

It then came as very little surprise when the group began a dark but brilliantly executed cover of Soundgarden’s ‘Black Hole Sun’, in perfectly fitting form.

Klone Online




Headliners Riverside upped the ante with a furious and mesmerising trio of opening songs ‘#Addicted’, ‘02 Panic Room’ and ‘Landmine Blast’, holding little back to show off each member’s musical chops, none more so than the impressive vocal ability of frontman Mariusz Duda. Indeed such vocals took centre stage throughout the performance, accompanied carefully by the structured textural sound created by keyboardist Michał Łapaj.

Scorching guitar solos in conjunction with some utterly euphoric bridge transitions in songs like ‘Big Tech Brother’ and ‘Lost’ built a sense of being a concert far larger than its intimate size in the Limelight, with simply top-tier musicianship on display throughout.

Keyboardist Łapaj appeared thrilled by every note that rung out from his instruments, providing a rich, dense textural complexity to the music, which did not go unnoticed by players Duda and guitarist Maciej Meller who high-fived at the end of ‘Lost’, closing out a fantastic voyage.

Duda’s heartfelt speech about the latest record ‘ID.Entity’ revealed the music to them was like a study on the group’s identity following original guitar player Piotr Grudziński’s death in 2016. Mentioning it having been a chance to reconsider who they are, and occasionally their audience’s difficulty knowing who the band were following that traumatic event.

Regardless, this marked a point when the band indulged in a complex medley of their music spanning the last 25 years.

Having forgone a striking visual element to the production on this tour, the rhythmic drive of Riverside’s sound was in full focus now, albeit in fitting with the current identity of the band, live interpretations were exactly that, slight variations on studio recorded tracks, building to an enthralling performance of tracks ranging from ‘Post-Truth’ to the relentlessly heavy ‘Egoist Hedonist’.

Closing the main set with a tune from 2023’s ‘ID.Entity’ album, ‘Friend or Foe’ was a strong nod to 80’s era Rush, being an infectiously funky fusion of synth and soft vocals, themselves coming across much like Pet Shop Boys gone heavy.

This encapsulated Riverside’s chameleon quality, able to effortlessly pull off multiple genres simultaneously, here hinting towards the technological innovation of 80’s rock and pop but ultimately of an indeterminable genre. The huge sound filled the room with luscious synth padding, allowing the rocking encore ‘Self Aware’ to shine as an energetic, bombastic return to form for Riverside to the island.




Review & Photography: Mike Lockheart

@ First3Only