Archive for Review

Review: Motörhead – Bad Magic

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , on September 20, 2015 by Tickets There

MotorheadBadMagicMotörhead have been in the press a lot recently and rightly so. The release of their twenty second studio album is a major accomplishment and cause for celebration. Few bands management such a feat and fewer still can still put out a record of this calibre but the unyielding force that is Motörhead have prevailed. Recently, some have dared to suggest that the God-King Lemmy may not actually be as unstoppable as we all thought! Of course, that is all nonsense and this album proves it.

Bad Magic is a blistering forty three minute display of Motörhead’s powerful song writing abilities and ability to hammer out great rock ‘n’ roll. There are moments on this record that’ll make you question if this is actually the finest collection of songs they’ve ever produced. ‘Victory or Death’ and ‘Thunder & Lightening’ set a bar so high few bands could level up for Lemmy and co just keep knocking them out on this album. While there’s little variety in style, there’s more than enough bad ass, whiskey sippin’ saloon rock ‘n’ roll for everyone.

This is an album to really bask in. Songs like ‘The Devil’, ‘Chocking on Your Screams’, Fire Storm Hotel’ and ‘Tell Me Who To Kill’ put it up there as one of the strongest hard rock albums you’re likely to hear for some time. Other moments on the album give a different perspective to the band. ‘Till the End’ is Lemmy at his most honest. The flawed, sometimes tragic hero bares his soul but assures us from the go, he’s not changing. Another nice surprised is the band’s cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Lemmy reckons it’s better than the original recording and he might just be right. After all,

Simply put, Bad Magic is a terrific album. Exactly what you want from the hard rock legends and more. This is a firm statement from the band that they’re not going anywhere and there’s still a hell of a lot to offer. Well done guys!

Review: W.A.S.P. – Live @ The Academy (Sept. 16th, 2015)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , on September 19, 2015 by Tickets There
Photo by: Eva Gunnarsson

Photo by: Eva Gunnarsson

12019764_10153663554323200_1636175679424654029_nW.A.S.P. are a band that has never abandoned Ireland. Since their very first album, Blackie Lawless and co. have always made sure to include Ireland on their European tours and this is something Irish people are very grateful for. Of course they’re not the only band to include us, but while many of their Contemporaries have vanished from our shores over the past five years, W.A.S.P. have remained consistent in their tours. Of course, it’s not just their appearances here that have been consistent. Each performance is a display of their un-compromising professionalism and talent. Songs from over three decades are still performed with passion and energy while Blackie’s voice only seems to grow in strength. Tonight they’re back in the Academy to play us a few of those old favourites and hopefully a sample from their forthcoming album, Golgotha and Wild Childs of all ages have come to welcome back our old pals.

(Sorry about that Wild Childs line. I truly am. – Ed.)

The Treatment open tonight’s show and manage to get a good buzz going. While they’ve drifted more towards a magazine cover friendly looking since their first album and changed a few members around, the band still sound tight and the tunes are only getting better. Despite a few sound and performance ‘malfunctions’, the group have the craic and so do the fans. Also, ‘Shake the Mountain‘ is a savage song and anyone who finishes their set with it gets our vote.

12027689_10153663554478200_11137618468878649_nBy the time the houselights drop for W.A.S.P.’s opener, the Academy crowd has swelled and the pit area has been conquered by dozens of battle vest clad kids ready to do damage. With the intro over, the band make their entrances and Blackie moves in to take centre stage. His tall build and ferocious voice are imposing as he snarls his way through ‘On Your Knees’ and ‘Inside the Electric Circus’ before a blistering performance of ‘The Real Me’. W.A.S.P. have officially arrived and they are on fire. Blackie surveys the crowd and band alike, watching the musician’s performances like a hack and appearing more than pleased with each of their displays, proudly bringing life to the songs he has created and curated for so many years.

12036869_10153663554428200_6747728262245098416_nIn another display that you’re not just dealing with a band going through the motions, Blackie (for the second show in a row) entertains the crowd with a story from one of their Irish shows in the 90’s about an exploding code piece. Despite a few flinches from the men in the crowd, all ends well and the band play the first single from Golgotha, ‘Last Runaway’. The crowd laps it up and give their seal of approval for the new material which carries over to ‘Crazy‘ from 2009’s Babylon album. But even that is trumpeted by Douglas Blair’s incendiary guitar solo on another Golgotha song, ‘Miss You’.

11041548_10153663554208200_5340849801710778393_n‘Hellion’, ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ and ‘Arena of Pleasure’ carry the set on as Golgotha’s title track brings the main portion of this night to a close. Although it’s well known that Blackie is a born again Christian, few in the crowd were prepared for Golgotha’s “Jesus I need you now” chorus and it obviously impacts everyone in attendance. Despite a bit of head scratching, there’s no denying the song is a powerful ballad from the same family as ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’. With that, Blackie bids good night and the band depart.

As chants for “fuck like a beast” and “Blackie” fill the room, the sound of chainsaws rev from the PA and the pit kicks off before we even see a band member back on stage. W.A.S.P. return fired up and bring the house down with ‘Chainsaw Charlie’ before again bidding us goodnight and vanishing. No W.A.S.P. show is complete without ‘LO.V.E. Machine’  so the crowd stays firm and again the band return. Teasing us with the opening notes of ‘Wild Child’, Blackie beams a cheeky smile before the band arrive back to accompany through their classic hit before ending the night on the one, the only L.O.V.E. Machine. Normally this song is performed with a crowd providing backing vocals, but this crowd are so worked up the Academy floor descends into pit chaos the likes of which you’d expect more at one of Nirvana’s early shows.

12042672_10153663554333200_6288302906635125771_nW.A.S.P. returned, they championed and they put on yet another show that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Blackie may have a few more years on him since he sang “I’ll never get old” but you wouldn’t know it to hear him or see him move and Irish fans are ready to welcome him and guys back each and every time they can come over.

Review: Iron Maiden – Book of Souls

Posted in Album Review, Music, News with tags , , , on August 31, 2015 by Tickets There

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Book_of_Souls_Iron_MaidenIt’s been a long wait, but Iron Maiden are finally ready to unleash their Sixteenth studio album on the world. Book of Souls is the first Maiden record since 2010’s The Final Frontier and fans are chomping at the bit to get a taste of this double disc behemoth. Like Judas Priest with Redeemer of Souls, it’s expected that this album is Maiden back on form and ready to enthral fans with a resurging comeback. We know Maiden have the 747 jumbo jet ready for a tour that’ll visit 35 countries – but does the music stand up to all the fanfare and hype?

Yes, yes it does. Opening with ‘Eternity Should Fall’, there’s a real sense Maiden have gone back to their golden age to pull out their core sound and lather it up with some modernisations. It’s a safe opening and it only gets better from here. ‘Speed of Light’ and ‘The Great Unknown’ follow and both increase the nostalgia, as well as faith in this new record. Fast, fun and full of catchy guitar hooks. ‘The Red and Black’ is a culmination of the best parts from the openers as it delivers the full frontal Maiden sing along we’ve (me) been waiting for. This track is solely written by Steve Harris and it’s a bit of a marathon at thirteen minutes, but who am I to question it? No-one, that’s who! Good work Steve, we’ll share a Trooper.

55DC97AE-iron-maiden-and-the-book-of-souls-go-jumbo-on-massive-2016-world-tour-bruce-dickinson-to-captain-pilot-boeing-747-400-to-play-in-six-of-seven-continents-around-the-glob‘When the River Runs’ continues the up-tempo feel and even ups the guitars and pace. This will be a little beauty played live, with it’s pure head banging built riffs and crashing drums. Maiden at their finest. The record’s title track starts with a more sombre tone before a punishing riff breaks through, casting you back to the Powerslave era for a healthy mix of intimidation and awe. In the song’s first half, the extended chorus seems to dominate a little bit too much and does not provide a catalyst for fans to really rally behind, but half way through the anty is upped and Maiden plough through with ferocity as the second half becomes dominated with power riffs, electrifying solos and all round epicness[ . Well done sirs – fills the 10 minutes nicely.

Ballad time? Not on your life as ‘Death or Glory’ opens with everything you could ever want, expect or ask from a Maiden tune. It’s almost like every song sees them get stronger and stronger on Book of Souls and the excitement of Speed of Light’s classic era sound becomes slightly faded as better and better tunes are propelled forward, Death or Glory has everything for everyone. Love it – no more reviewing, time to re-listen. “Like a monkey climbing out of hell”? Ok, Maiden \,,/.

iron-maidenShadows of the Valley’, and I apologise for doing this tune by tune – but how often do you get a new Maiden album to praise? Every five years or so? Yeah, exactly – keep reading.  Shadows is probably the first dip in quality, but that’s due to the repetitive style and it lacks the bite of the previous few tunes. I wonder if Maiden thought the same because the next song, ‘Tears of a Clown’ changes things completely and offers more of a nineties-era rock anthem. Thoughtful, hooky, fun and a re-affirmance that Book of Souls is probably the most exciting Maiden album in a very long time.

It all culminates  with the reflective ‘The Man of Sorrows’ and the much talked about, eighteen minute ‘Empire of the Clouds’. Both display a mesh of classic Maiden styles and deliveries, but continuing the unique themes that have steadily built up over this record. Maiden are taking stock. Lyrically, they’re looking around them at what’s come before and what the future could hold and musically is no different. Songs about everything from the dawn of creation to historical incidents are baked by a collage of previous Maiden styles all collected under an umbrella that makes Book of Souls distinctive and full.

This is an Iron Maiden album in every way, not merely a carrier for a few treats. Double albums are not easy to pull off and even when they’re done well, they can struggle to keep the listener engaged right to the end. That is fortunately not the case on Book of Souls. While some songs, like this review, could have benefited from some trimming – everything works and as the final notes of Empire of the Clouds come to a close, you sit back and truly recognize the colossal achievement this record is. This is an album Iron Maiden fans and band alike can forever be proud of.

Review: Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2015 by Tickets There

Pale-EmperorYou can call him Self-righteous, egotistical, a genius or just absolutely terrifying. Whatever your view, Marilyn Manson has captured several generations’ attention since he sneered his way into popular culture almost twenty years ago. While music has always had its fair share of villains over the years, few have ever inspired such fear and hate in parents, bible bashers and politicians as the self-proclaimed “God of Fuck”. It wasn’t just Manson’s make-up clad, cross-dressing, bible tearing performances that caused so much outrage – although that made for an easy target for society’s great heard to mock at. Instead it was Manson’s disturbing insights, commentary and criticism of the hypocritical ‘norms’ in society that made him public enemy number 1 for many years. From his first album, Manson had sunk his teeth into those around us who preach one way of life and live another and he has never let go.

antichrist_eraAfter Portrait of American Family, Manson offered an almost biographical commentary on his follow up albums. Building on the early success of Portrait and an ever growing following, Manson went straight for society’s jugular – religion. Antichrist Superstar was a chance for Manson to express his blind rage at religious zealots, jock/beautiful culture and showcase the seedy underbelly and false prophesying and smiles of the world. This was quickly followed with a similarly unsettling insight into the lonely isolation , highs and lows lifestyle associated with fame on Mechanical Animals. The album was a perfect mix of style, pop and bleak emptiness – not in terms of content, but in its message. It’s singles further launched Manson and made him a household name. Its release also brought Manson up to his highest level of infamy – so much so that less than a year after its release, he became the focal point of blame for the Columbine High School massacre.

maxresdefaultFor many months Manson suffered the full wrath of America’s guardians of the peace and all things ‘normal’. His career was stalled and his fans attacked simply for the way they dressed and music they liked. It wasn’t until Manson appeared in Michael Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine in 2002 and spoke with such sense and undeniable truth about that massacre that society finally accepted defeat and moved on from trying to sacrifice Manson to the lord. His simple comment that the people of Columbine had failed the kids and had failed to hear their problems was a summary of everything Manson had spoken about through his music for the preceding years.

EatMeDrinkeMeAfter Columbine, Manson was both famous and infamous. His next album, Holy Wood capitalized on his reputation and brought him more fame and fans than ever before with anthems such as ‘The Fight Song’ and ‘The Nobodies’ reaching brand new audiences. Unfortunately, some of the raw anger started to disappear and it wasn’t until 2007, when Manson and his wife, Dita von Teese, broke up that we once again heard something that seemed truly from the heart.

Eat Me, Drink Me is not technically a release by the band, but more of a solo album Manson wrote/recorded and produced with Tim Sköld which saw the singer return from semi-retirement. For the first time in several years we got to hear a god’s honest album from Manson’s heart. There was no attempted ‘Beautiful People’ / ‘Rock is Dead’ style anthems. Just straight forward honesty with Manson’s usual unique take on life. Since then, Manson has released two further albums and while both held some promise, they delivered little more than the singer’s own effort in gaining ground with the emo fans who had come of age to the less frightening, style over substance groups like… well, I won’t badmouth any bands here. Onwards!

2015 will now be entered as one of those massively important chapters in Manson’s career. After years of reported drink and drug problems, almost scandal-less obscurity, line-up changes and presented with a very different, far less aggressive world than his sound had originally found a home in – Manson has changed styles, modernized and heralded his return with an absolute classic of an album..

JJjvJtb3_400x400The Pale Emperor is without a doubt the most exciting record MM has released as a group since Mechanical Animals. They have recaptured everything that made their music great on those early records, while still managing to overhaul their style and delivery. It’s still undeniably them, but they have modernized successfully, giving their songs a more relevant and fresh platform from which they can dispense the much loved cynical truths fans have wanted to hear again. Like Eat Me, Drink Me – there are no attempts and peddling out major anthems or angry for the sale of it former glory re-hashes. Instead, you have an extremely melodic, atmospheric and enjoyable collection of songs that will fulfil every hope fans could have for a new album – and more.

Marilyn Manson may never again relive the infamy of his earlier years, but his despise for ‘society’ is unabated. While many of his fans will love this record, the ones who really need to hear and understand his message will hardly blink an eyelid and carry on with their torches and pitchforks to demonize the next person who tries to act improper. Let’s just hope Manson continues to keep them in check.

Review: AC/DC – Live @ Aviva Stadium (Jul 1st, 2015)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , on July 3, 2015 by Tickets There
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Credit: Pierre Petitpas

IMG_3250Kanye West thinks he is, The Who suggest they are and the Rolling Stones act like they are – but when it comes down to it there’s probably no bigger rock band in the world than AC/DC. For four decades the Aussies (don’t get picky about nationality) have been churning out some of hard rock’s finest arena anthems and giving folks from all musical backgrounds a single banner to rally behind, drink to and of course – rock the f**k out with. There’s hardly a wedding, nightclub, biker bar, brothel or nursery in the country that doesn’t have a bit of the DC in stock and their on-going popularity is proven with each sell out tour they announce. Despite the sad loss of Malcom Young from the band last year and the more amusing / starling departure of drummer Phil Rudd a few months later, the DC keep on rolling and tonight they’re in Dublin to play, what MCD are calling – “the biggest gig of 2015“. Can they pull off a show as big as the hype around it?…….. of course, it’s AC/DC!

Ballsbridge is rammed with thousands of fans from every corner of the country and the mood is electric. Inside the area, the massive custom stage falls perfectly in line with the design of Aviva as the East and West stands collapse into the devil horned dome. With a lovely warm evening, well stocked bars and such a great atmosphere all in full swing – it’s finally time to enjoy some iconic rock ‘n’ roll.

IMG_3258AC/DC explode, rather than arrive on stage – shredding into their new album’s title track, ‘Rock or Bust’. From the go they sound incredible and look like a band in their element. They rocket through fan favourites such as ‘Shoot to Thrill’, ‘Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be’ and the iconic ‘Back in Black’ with the polished yet raunchy blues swagger that made them famous in the first place. Brian Johnson chats to the crowd, thanking everyone for their applause and expressing delight to be back in Ireland while Angus silently stalks the audience in his trademark uniform – flashing devil horns and his incredible guitar skill at every opportunity.

IMG_3254Newer songs like ‘Play Ball’, ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Train’ and ‘Baptism by Fire’ blend seamlessly into a set chocked with classics and receive far more than polite applause, but of course the real excitement comes out on more familiar numbers. ‘Dirty Deeds..’, ‘Thunderstruck’, ‘Hells Bell’s and ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ are crowning glories in the band’s set as they, incredibly enough, still build towards their biggest hits.

Screenshot (81)Dedicating ‘Have A Drink on Me’ to Ireland, Brian leads the band through ‘T.N.T’., ‘Whole Lotta Rose’, accompanied by a massive inflatable – all singing, all dancing Rosie behind the band before wrapping up their set with a mammoth performance of ‘Let There Be Rock’ – complete with an almost 15 minute long solo from the wholly worshiped guitar God; Angus Young. With that, the band regroup momentarily to say goodbye and depart to a standing ovation and rapturous applause.

IMG_3252After a few minutes wait, the stage lights up with pyros as Angus’ guitar fills the PA before the band arrive on to begin their encore with ‘Highway to Hell’, one of rock’s most beloved badass anthems. Angus and fans don the trademark devil horns and the area lights up with thousands of little red lights before the night finishes with raised cannons and explosions as the epic ‘For Those About to Rock’ thunders through the cheers.

No dirty deeds – just high voltage rock ‘n’ roll. Tonight AC/DC put on one of the best shows you could ever hope to see and if they return for a bigger gig next year, there’ll be no shortage of us to welcome them back.

Review: Behemoth – Live @ The Academy (Dec 11th, 2014)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2014 by Tickets There

IMG_0781A cancelled gig is always a bummer which can leave a bad taste in the mouth for years to come. That’s why Behemoth fans in Ireland must tip their hats to all the folks at DME and Behemoth themselves for saving the latter’s long awaited return to Irish shores this week. Awful weather conditions meant ferry cancelations this morning which left Decapitated, Grand Magus and Winterfylleth unable to reach Dublin for tonight’s show. Fortunately, with the help of a little luck and fiscal support – DME were able to get Behemoth to Dublin and fill in the support bill with locals Malthusian and Aeternum Vale. A Christmas miracle, you might say? (smug laugh).

IMG_0768The reduction in support didn’t seem to stop anyone coming tonight. The Academy is rammed from wall to wall and right from the start Behemoth ensure no-one, no matter who they originally came to see, is walking out of this venue tonight disappointed. Right from the start they have our bones trembling from their unrelenting force and stripped back, but no less imposing theatrics. There are bands out there who understand the nature of what live shows should be and go above and beyond to put on the most impressive performance and tonight that’s exactly what the Academy is treated to.

Of course, Behemoth don’t just rely on theatrics to get us going as they deliver an incredible set built from their latest album, The Satanist, as well as classics from their extensive back catalogue. ‘Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel’ opens the show and even spurs the crowd to sing it back, a rare feat for a band playing a song from a new album after twenty years on the road. ‘Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer’ swiftly follows and speeds up the pace as they hammer out incredible songs including ‘Conquer All’, ‘The Satanist’, ‘Christians to the Lions’ and many more before ‘Chant for Eschaton 2000′ closes their main set.

IMG_0774After an exhaustive set, Behemoth dim the lights and return in full black metal attire to deliver one final brooding song – the colossal closing number from The Satanist, ‘O Father O Satan O Sun’. An epic performance and easily one of our highlights of 2014. Hopefully it won’t be another ten years before we see them back in the emerald isle.

Review: SLAYER – Live @ The Academy, Dublin (July 1st, 2014)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2014 by Tickets There

If you’re an Irish metal fan, you can be forgiven for thinking SLAYER are the only metal band in the entire world these days. After all, the group has performed here six times in the last year and there’s still tonight’s sold out Academy show to go. While other major metal bands appear to have shrugged off Ireland on their outings over the past few years – SLAYER have been coming back again and again to assault the holy hell out of us and up mid-week drink sales by 12.7% for the entire year. That’s impressive when you consider we live in Ireland.

IMG_9505Tonight’s crowd know the deal. People hang back around Fibbers, Gypsy Rose and the bars around Abbey Street. There’s no rush – no support so nothing to do but relax and avoid the possible elevator pong music that was forced upon us last year. By ten to nine however – the bars have deserted, the Academy is rammed and the familiar opening hiss of ‘Hell Awaits’ from Decade.. comes sneering over the PA.

IMG_9557No sooner or Slayer on that it seems they’re half way into their set. ‘The Antichrist’, ‘Necrophiliac’ and ‘Mandatory Suicide’ just explode out at furious (my favourite Slayer word) speed and power. Tom gleams at the audience, nodding his approval and waits for the roars to calm down before thanking us for showing up and kicking off ‘War Ensemble’ followed by ‘Disciple‘, ‘Post-mortem’ and ‘Hate Worldwide’.

The set is incredible – almost like it’s been handpicked by fans and Slayer sound as fast, filthy and furious as ever before. ‘At Dawn They Sleep’, ‘Die By the Sword’ and ‘Spirit in Black’ pave the way for new tune, ‘Implode‘, to fight it’s corner for a regular space on Slayer’s set. As the end starts to creep nearer, Slayer start whipping out fan favourites and Tom leaves the choruses to the crowd as we begin to drown out the PA. ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ and ‘Dead Skin Mask’ follow before the band finish their main set with ‘Raining Blood’ and  ‘Black Magic’.

As with last year, the giant Hanneman banner drops and Slayer return to finish the night with ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Angel of Death’. Slayer may have lost Jeff, the legend behind many of their most loved songs. They may also have fallen out with Dave – their founding member, drumming legend! But Gary Holt and Paul Bostaph fill those spots nicely tonight, as with last year and Tom and Kerry are still bad ass motherfuckers. Slayer are proving with every show that nothing can stop them and hopefully we’ll hear some more music from the current line-up in the near future. Failing that, we’ll probably see them again next year in the Academy – hopefully!

Review: Hellfest 2014 June 20th – 22nd (Clisson, France)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 26, 2014 by Tickets There

Bq-gbMUIUAEU5NlHellfest 2014 may be over, but the ninth instalment of Europe’s fastest growing heavy metal festival won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Over the course of the weekend, more than 150,000 fans descended on the small town of Clisson in France to witness what can only be described as the greatest line-up any festival has ever managed to gather in a single year. From headliners to openers – every orifice of the metal world resonated with excitementand and there was no shortage of crowds for any band throughout the weekend.

IMG_9433On top of the incredible line-up, Hellfest organizers really enhanced the festival grounds for this year’s event. The market moved from the arena to the metal corner and developed into an actual miniature town in the form of Hellcity – with paved streets, actual footpaths, street lights and a massive number of new stalls and space. As well as that, greater seating areas were added allowing those of us with ‘walking difficulties’ more chances to relax when needed. The arena itself also got upgraded with a massive Ferris wheel added, paved paths, far more variety for food and more bars than you could shake a stick at. All in all an incredible set-up for just four days of festivities and a good sign of how quickly Hellfest is growing.

It wasn’t all glamorous however as Irish fans struggled in the extreme sun, dust and high temperatures to keep cool in black t-shirts, battlevests and corpse paint. But we survived and now it’s time to look back at just some of the highlights on and off the stage from Hellfest 2014.

Compact site means little walking between stages,

Compact site means little walking between stages,

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Hellfest 2014 Begins

DAY 01 – FRIDAY: There had been rumours that the scorching sun experienced on Thursday was due to continue for the entire weekend. On Friday morning festival goers found out that not only was the sun still here, it was actually hotter. Baking heat scorches the festival site with little opportunity to hide. Tents turn into saunas while main stages become roasting pits with thousands of black-clad metal maniacs enduring the punishing conditions to catch glimpses of the earlier bands.. and endure it they do.

Friday boasts one of the most popular line-ups of the whole weekend with Rob Zombie, Sepultura, Slayer, Death, Electric Wizard and Iron Maiden all on the bill. Powerman 5000 kick things in off epic style with a child chorus sing along that gets the crowd in a jolly mood before they crash in with their punishing electro-metal style. Irish rockers Therapy? provide a sharp contrast with catchy upbeat tunes that get the crowd hopping. All the major singles are included for a pretty decent set (except ‘Diane’).

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Rob Zombie @ Hellfest 2014

Rob Zombie is one of the major draws for the day and he doesn’t disappoint. Although he plays without his full stage show, Rob and co. deliver an incredibly strong set packed with classics such as ‘Dracula’, ‘Superbeast’, ‘House of 1,000 Corpses’ and ‘Living Dead Girl’ before also throwing in some White Zombie classics and a cover of Diamond Head’s ‘Am I Evil’. He finishes up with White Zombie’s ‘Thunder Kiss ’65’ and blows the crowd away. An epic start and only a few bands in!

Terrible blurry photo taken b y myself. Sorry......

Iron Maiden @ Hellfest 2014 – Terrible blurry photo taken by myself. Sorry……

Sepultura keep things going as the heat starts to die off with a solid set of classics, but the real excitement was reserved for the legendary Iron Maiden who’s stage set-up captivates some fans’ attentions during the Brazilian’s set. By nine o’clock, the entire crowd has gathered in the arena for one of metal’s most beloved bands and they punish the hell out of us. Brining their ‘Made In England’ tour to France, Maiden deliver two solid hours of incredibleness. Wall to wall classic songs, a mouth watering stage show and their sound is just jaw dropping, Maiden may be getting older, but they can deliver a live show above almost all others.

‘Moonchild’, ‘Can I Play With Maddness’, ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’, ‘The Trooper’, ‘Phantom of the Opera’, ‘Seventh Son..’ – it’s like a dream watching them. I should be clever and wordy here – but I can’t. Maiden are everything I’d ever hoped for and it only took twenty years, four shows and France to get it. Job done – happy in life now. Leaving the stage after an encore filled with ‘Aces High’, ‘The Evil That Men Do’ and ‘Sanctuary‘ – it’s almost hard to believe there was more to come.

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Slayer @ Hellfest 2014

Maiden, Therapy?, Death Angel, Powerman 5000, Rob Zombie and Sepultura. Not too shabby for one day – but add the next act onto that and you have heaven….or hell.

SLAYER are not a band to fuck around with and when they hit Mainstage 2 for their late night slot the crowd is there on time. Opening with ‘Hell Awaits’, Slayer perform a compact, but juicy set that both fulfils and delights attendees and leaves us gasping for more. ‘Antichrist’, ‘Mandatory Suicide’, ‘War Ensemble’, ‘Disciple’ – on and on they come and each one delivered with bone crushing force. Even their new tune, ‘Implode‘ sounds as strong as their older material. An excellent end to the day and time to relax with Sabaton and look forward to two more days.

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Hellcity at night – just part of Hellfest’s Metal Corner

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The Temple Stage after Gorgoroth

DAY 02 – SATURDAY: More heat, more music, more diversity. After a fairly solid lashing of proper heavy metal on Friday, Saturday is a mix of intensely heavy music and older classic rock. Well, any day you see Carcass, Deep Purple, Tsjuder and Aerosmith in the one place is always going to be a little strange. Add a previous night of drinking, no sleep and hotter than hell temperatures – you’ve got yourself the perfect cocktail of highly diverse chaos and incredible music.

Skid Row, Buckcherry and the excellent Lez Zeppelin are all fantastic bands to kick off the day – each one draws massive crowds (a shocking factor for me given the temptatures, but then again non-Irish people seem to cope quite well). Extreme followed with a lovely relaxing set of classics that filled the whole arena and set a nice, calming mood for the day. Gorguts and Tsjuder really changed the vibes with the latter crushing the Temple stage with fierce, violent black metal. God I missed Hellfest these last twelve months.

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Entrance to The Kingdom of Museadet

Over at the Valley stage, Clutch are delivering their brand of stoner funk metal with a packed crowd and savage sound. Clutch wouldn’t be my own cup of tea, but there’s no denying they have an incredible live sound and know how to handle their crowd. With Neil Fallon’s announcement that the band are heading back to the studio to record a new album soon, fans go insane and lap up a little taste of their new material before they finish with ‘Electric Worry’, ‘One Eye Dollar’ and ‘The Wolf Man Kindly Requests..’.

Over at MS1, Soulfy brace the heat to crush Sepultura’s performance from the previous day. Max Cavalera’s outfit may not be the most exciting metal band in history, but they’re solid and a couple of Sepultura covers help keep the momentum going. A quick visit to Brutal Truth ups the ante as they crush the altar but for this writer, the time had finally come to see one of heavy metal’s founding stones – the legendary Deep Purple.

Having never seen Deep Purple before, it was hard to know what to expect. They’re getting on in age terms but judging by their show they still have it. Seeing this kind of musicianship concentrated in one space is scarce and the obvious enjoyment from the band and the older crowd brings a sense of order and relaxation to Hellfest as the light starts to fade and night takes over the site. ‘Into The Fire’, ‘Strange Kind of Woman’, ‘Lazy’ and ‘Space Trukin’ are all delivered with restrained perfection. Of course the major cheers came for their biggest hit, ‘Smoke on the Water’ which woke the crowd up and left a great energy for the remainder of their set. As they finish, this writer bites his lower lip for missing Monster Magnet in the Valley, but Purple did not disappoint.

Aerosmith lighting up MS1 - My headliner pic curse continues.

Aerosmith lighting up MS1 – My headliner pic curse continues.

Then it was time for Saturday’s major draw – the mighty Aerosmith and their jaw dropping balls out two hour hard rock spectacle. Starting with a massive video introduction, the famous smith logo shot to the screen before Stephen Tyler grabs the crowds attention with a whistle as the band kick into ‘Back Into The Saddle’. They sound great, they look great and they blow Hellfest wide open with hit after hit after hit. There’s no holding back as they reach back and pull out all the stops from their career. ‘Eat The Rich’ (personal favourite), ‘Love in an Elevator’, ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘Livin’ on the Edge’ all fall out like it’s nothing and you could be forgiven for thinking their entire set is one long encore – designed to beat fans into submission. The set finishes with further dazzling displays of the bands tightness and incredibly strong back catalogue of singles before Stephen returns to the stage solo to play ‘Dream On’ in the middle of the crowd before the final track – ‘Sweet Emotion’ brings the show to a triumphant end. Incredible, absolutely incredible and there’s still more to go.

Carcass @ Hellfest 2014

In between the feel good rock ‘n’ roll of Aerosmith, a helping of Gorgoroth is needed. Only knowing them by reputation as an incredible live band means they have the task of convincing a potential new fan on an Aerosmith buzz to like them… and they do. They have a packed crowd and play a brilliant few tunes. It means missing a few Smith classics, but worth every minute. With both shows over, it’s time to devote myself to Carcass who own the Temple stage and force a lot of fans to wake up and ignore the fact that we were now going almost 36 hours without sleep. “Are you awake? Are you drunk? I’m fucking drunk” announces Jeff Walker to the crowd before offering us the chance to see Avenge Sevenfold instead. Err, no thanks man – grand here. Carcass play one of the most intense sets of the festival and ensured there will be no sleeping tonight either – back to the camp site for more Carcass and beers!

The arena at night - filled with light and fire

The arena at night – filled with light and fire

VIP

The entertainment in VIP was not dissapointing

DAY 03 – SUNDAY: The final day comes and with it some rain in the early, early morning for those who …forgot to sleep. When the sun returns temperatures soar, meaning it’s time to put serious faces on and get in early because Crowbar except nothing but your uninterrupted attention.

Kirk Windstein has made headlines recently after kicking a fan in the face for attempting to stage dive at one of their shows. Whether you agree with bands allowing stage diving or not, it’s hard to hold it against the man as they plough through twenty five years of sludge metal. Ten albums later and Crowbar are savagely strong – even in this blazing sun. ‘Planets Collide’ is of course reserved for last but what a way to spend an hour on a sunny Sunday morning.

Fire displays at night. Well what did you expect? Taking pictures of hot people is weird with an iPhone and I don't condone it

Fire displays at night. Well what did you expect? Taking pictures of hot people is weird with a phone and I don’t condone it

Before going too much into the bands on Sunday, it has to be acknowledged at this point that Hellfest has to be home to some of earth’s most beautiful people. Add baking heat and those people get up close and personal with naked and that is a difficult thing to deal with when your girlfriend is hundreds of miles away. The heat, the tiredness, the lack of ….sustenance – the stakes rise.

Powerwolf have to be enjoyed from the comfort and shade of Museadet’s Kingdom. They sound great, but the shade won this round. Things manage to get back on track for the amazing Annihilator who up the temperature with their set – annihilating (pun intended) the crowds with a bruising set in the fiery heats of hell…fest. Having never seen them before – Annihilator quickly become one of the festival’s major highlights.

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Behemoth @ Hellfest 2014

Next up is another band I’ll be familiarizing myself with more and more over the coming months before their headline show in Dublin this December. Poland’s Behemoth are certainly full-f**king-on! With a show that rivals any band of the whole festival, they make mince meat of the crowd that gathers for their main stage 2 performance. Fire, full costumes and more fire hold up the theatrics end of an amazing hour of black metal. Thus far Behemoth have conquered all other black metal performances of the weekend and it’s comforting to know they’re just warming up the stage for Emperor who’ll be out in an hour.

After Behemoth’s performance, Soundgarden take the main stage and I don’t know whether it’s the fact that they’re not black metal or that the Misfits are on in the Warzone – but they seem very flat and dull. Chris Cornell’s voice is still incredibly strong but the music just seems extremely uninteresting and lifeless. Rather than hang around, it must instead be time to see a little punk this weekend.

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Jerry Only and Dez Cadena with The Misfits @ Hellfest 2014

The Misfits are now a Tickets There regular at Hellfest. Last year we were treated to a special Misfits set from DANZIG featuring Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein and this year Jerry Only’s version of the band pops up. Amusing, fun and sing along brilliance. A massive array of songs all culminating in the classic ‘Die, Die, Die My Darling’. Absolutely epic performance and far more than you might expect.

Unfortunately Hellfest offered so much I should take the time to list the bands that couldn’t be seen without missing full sets from any bands this weekend. Apologies to Death DTA, Enslaved, Electric Wizard, Phil Anselmo, Nile, Monster Magnet, Dark Angel, Soilwork, Flogging Molly and Paradise Lost – I would have loved to see you but choices must be made and it’s important to stick by those choices.

As the night draws to a close, it’s time to settle in with the reason a lot of this year’s hard-core fans came to Hellfest 2014 – the much revered EMPEROR.

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Emperor @ Hellfest 2014

Emperor are at Hellfest celebrating the twentieth anniversary of their debut album, In the Nightside Eclipse and they’re playing it in full. Kicking off with ‘Into the Infinity of Thoughts’, the band play every song meticulously – right through to ‘Inno a Satana‘ with Ihsahn stopping to speak with the crowd between each song. A little cooling down from fire hoses doesn’t hurt the mood either – thank God!

For a band that hasn’t worked together much over the past few years – they appear unstoppable tonight. Also their stage show provides a subtle backdrop to the intensely dark and frightening sound. No corpse paint or satanic / pagan props needed – job done. They finish up with the classics ‘Ancient Queen’ and ‘Wrath of Tyrant’ and scare the living sh*t out of the older fans gathered for Black Sabbath’s headlining performance on the neighbouring stage next.

Black Sabbath – I can hardly believe they’re written down as the next band on the list. This weekend has produced some of the greatest live experiences from some of heavy metal’s greatest names and BLACK F**KING SABBATH are coming on now. It’s 11pm – way past their bed time these days but as the opening notes of ‘War Pigs’ ring out it’s very obvious that Sabbath mean business.

Black Sabbath @ Hellfest 2014 - wouldn't be a headliner without a terrible photo

Black Sabbath @ Hellfest 2014 – wouldn’t be a headliner without a terrible photo

Sabbath play a short set but ram it with classics and stand out tracks from last year’s 13 album. ‘Into The Void’, ‘Snowblind’, ‘Age of Reason’, ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘N.I.B’. all bombard their way through the nigh time air as they rival Maiden for the sher mass of people in attendance to see them. Ozzy interacts with the crowd, joking and getting us off our “arses” for ‘Fairies Wear Boots’, ‘Rat Salad’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘God Is Dead?‘ before Heavy Metal’s godfathers finish their main set with ‘Children of the Grave’. They’re only off the stage a minute before Ozzy’s voice booms over the PA, encouraging fans to chant for more. Ozzy, we don’t need your help. We want lots more!

The size of the crowd gathered as far back as the main entrance to catch a glimpse of Sabbath

The size of the crowd gathered as far back as the main entrance to catch a glimpse of Sabbath

Sabbath return and tease the crowd with the intro of ‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’ before launching into ‘Paranoid‘. Both would have been acceptable – but what a finish and what a band. Sabbath are a live force to be reckoned with.

Taking a break during Sabbath was never a goal I wanted to accomplish in life, but there was no missing 1349 a second time. Legging it to The Temple, the Norwegian black metal heavyweights could be found with an incredibly sizeable crowd (given who was playing two stages over).

1349 @ Hellfest 2014

1349 @ Hellfest 2014

After so many great black metal performances over the weekend, it’s hard to pick a winner – but 1349 are high up there and they manage all this after midnight on the fourth day of Hellfest (well, third with gigs) while Sabbath are playing a little down the way. Excellent show from an increasingly promising band. They’re also studio bound soon so expect to hear more over the coming months.

Sabbath and 1349 lead the way for the night’s final acts – Opeth and Tubonegro both manage to pack their stages despite the hour and the exhaustion felt by all. For this writer, Turbonegro have to be mostly enjoyed on the slow walk back to the campsite – much to my regret as they sounded incredible.

Another Hellfest comes to an end. An incredible weekend of music, fun, theatrics, surprises, beautiful people (excluding yours truly – I was sweaty), sun, food, drinking, partying, laughs and some of the greatest heavy metal names known to man. Hellfest assaulted the senses and left little of us to bring home. It’ll take some doing to recover but all eyes are already on 2015 and Hellfest’s tenth anniversary. Could they make it bigger? All will be revealed in time. Till then – thank you to all the staff, crew, bands and crowd for the craic. Yis were all fecking mighty!

TIME FOR TROLLY WARS!

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Review: Coldwar – Pantheist

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , on May 16, 2014 by Tickets There

untitledColdwar are a scary fucking band. Pantheist has been screaming over my headset the last couple of weeks and I am no so shit scared I can’t leave my house for fear of bumping into then, being verbally beaten to a pulp and then properly killed in a beautiful violent display of gore, terror, new age beliefs and thoughtful insights into human philosophy, anthropology and theology. Basically the three ology’s I actually understand, please add more at your pleasure.

The album is a brutal piece of work. Nine songs of unrelenting ferocity that you imagine were written to scare velociraptors away from farms and captured terrorists into submission. What am I talking about? Who knows when Trevor LcLave (singers always get called out on this site because we don’t believe in other musicians) is screaming down the house and trampling your brain into the crevasses of your skull.

I’m not going through it track by track. Pantheist is so incredibly intensely dense that calling out subtle differences, the heavier tracks and trying in anyway to breakdown this is beyond the powers of yours truly. It’s just one of those albums that means serious business. The Serious business of Coldwar and Pantheist. I’m going back to listen, I advise you to do the same.

Coldwar

Tickets There pretends to be reviewers from time to time. Discernible readers will notice what a crock of shit this is. You should note that you are not our core market focus. We aim for the slow folks and not so well read….

 

 

Review: Twisted Autocracy – Reinstate the Hate (EP)

Posted in EP Review, Music with tags , , on May 1, 2014 by Tickets There

a2654034394_2We’ve been looking to this for about half a year and finally the time has come for Twisted Autocracy. Tickets There has an almost Axl Rose choreographed history with TA as we’ve managed to turn up late for all but one of the fourteen thousand times they’ve played nights we attended. However that one show, much like Snowblind last week, was enough. Not being major, major hardcore fans – there was a little awkwardness at first – but you can’t deny music of this quality and intensity.

Reinstate the Hate is the band’s debut EP and it’s five slices of savagely fast, obnoxious metal that pulls no punches. Could that have sounded any more cliché? Yes – the answer is yes it could. Seriously though – from the moment ‘A Worthless Place’ booms on the headphones it’s hard not to just listen to this EP over and over again. The E.P.’s title track, ‘Pretty Fucked Pretty Quick‘ and the excellent ‘Corporation Defecation’ are all presented with the same, fist pumping energy and give the listener the perfect introduction to their sound and the potential for future releases.

A great listen and highly recommended for all metal fans. Have a listen on the band’s official bandcamp page now.

Review: Def Leppard – Slang

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2014 by Tickets There

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album-coverI was initially going to avoid reviewing this and just enjoy it, but after several spins of the Slang re-issue this week and it being Valentines days and all, I figured my first love in music deserved my attention. Sending the actual members of Def Leppard a card is considered ‘psychotic’ by those around me so I hope a review will suffice.

Slang came our four years after I had first heard Def Leppard. Up till the point their previous albums, On Through The Night, High ‘N’ Dry, Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalize had all pushed their sound further and further towards a standardized, polished pop direction with layer upon layer of vocals, guitar fiddly bits, synths and all things eighties. Unfortunately for Def Leppard and many, many other colossal bands of that era, the sher volume of hack amateurs in the genre and grunge movement shifted people’s attention towards a more solemn, displaced sound. Plaid shirts, problems and anger replaced the mullets, spandex and sing along fun that came before it. Where to go?

slang01Leppard served out the early wave of Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden hysteria (no pun intended… well maybe just a little) by touring the Adrenalize album to packed arenas and keeping fans interested with the Retro Active B-sides albums which sparked the massively successful ‘Two Steps Behind You’. It would be three years before Leppard would remerge and like Metallica, they were barely recognizable when they did.

Slang was a kick in the ass to Leppard. The way they recorded, the sound, the style were all massively different to their tried and tested formula. No more years of recording and time apart. Leppard hit the studio and wrote/recorded like never before. The layers of production that had grown and grown over the previous three albums was replaced by a more raw sound that exposed Leppard to their audience in a way that hadn’t been heard since On Through The Night. The giant guitar riffs, duelling solos and plunges were replaced by melodic leads that allowed the matured lyrics and themes to hit the surface.

Def_Leppard-Slang-Interior_TraseraSongs like ‘Work It Out’, ‘Breath A Sigh’, ‘All I Want is Everything’ and ‘Where Does Love Go When It Dies’ brought a level of seriousness and reflection that was rarely heard before. No attempt was made to turn each song into a pop single, instead the band weren’t afraid to make a stamp with these tracks and open themselves up to a new direction. Turn To Dust, Truth, Slang and Gift of Flesh brought some of the rock back into the picture and but again showed Leppard were not rehashing their glory days by peddling out copies of ‘Animal’, ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’. The songs were darker, more blunt and perfect.

Musically the grouped changed as well. Eastern and meditranian includeces can be heard all over the record. Styles similar to R&B, alternative rock and even some grunge can be heard throughput giving additional depth and diversity.

Slang initially divided fans. While critics worldwide applauded Def Leppard, their followers missed the larger than life anthems. However the years have been kind to Slang, even from some of the most ardent corners of the Lepp base. It’s endearing credibility, it’s ecliptic mix of styles and warm collection of songs make it an interesting journey to bask in. After Slang, the band reverted temporarily to their older sound for the Euphoria album and the Slang sound was never explored further. Who knows where it could have gone, whether it would have improved or lost its meaning; but for one point in the middle of the nineties, Def Leppard shook things up in a way that would have terrified most established bands. They braved a committed, but traditional fan base, a hostile world of peers and a new youthful energy that’s primary aim was to destroy everything Leppard had championed in the previous decade and they came out swinging. Slang has stood the time and every fan should take the time to remind themselves of that.

Review: METALLICA – ‘Through The Never’

Posted in Film Review, Music, News with tags , , , , , , on October 8, 2013 by Tickets There

metallicathroughtheneverlargeposterMetallica’sThrough The Never’  hit cinemas late last week and doesn’t appear to have been pulling in the punters in any great numbers. Suprising when you consider the size of the crowds James, Lars, Kirk and Rob can draw when they grace the shores of any country in the world. Despite this being a movie rather than live show, the experience is everything you’d expect from something with Metallica’s name stamped across it. Big, bad, bold and brilliant.

Through The Never is a mash of Metallica playing an incredible career spanning live show that brings back beloved stage props, tour incidents and classic songs. From Kill ‘Em All to Death Magnetic – the boys bruise through sixteen of their crunchiest, heaviest, fastest songs while their young roadie/gofer treks through a war-torn city in search of materials badly needed by the band. The whole experience is presented in 3D, bringing the sweat from Lars back  right onto your lap. The band sound incredible and each one casts an imposing figure on the screen – tearing through their set with extreme power. Add in a little humour and some incredible scenes featuring full on violence, death and anarchy – you’ve got Through The Never.

If you haven’t been to an IMAX screening before then I can assure you it lives up to every expectation you could possibly have. The IMAX screen in Cineworld, Parnell St. is beyond impressive, imposing and makes adults feel like kids in the cinema again and if you haven’t seen Metallica on IMAX, then you need to sort that quick! It . Book tickets now!

Cineworld – Booking Page

Movie Review – VIVA! Hysteria

Posted in Film Review, Music, News with tags , , , , , on September 20, 2013 by Tickets There

559365_10151843921107435_815128562_nThe criteria for storylines and starlets has apparently lowered in Hollywood. Nowhere is this more obvious than in VIVA! Hysteria which bounds to cinema screens across the world this week. Offering nothing to any discerning viewer and relying heavily on its Def Leppard laced soundtrack and a live performance by the band themselves. Almost every hint of the movie’s intricate plot and diverse and interesting characters is diluted to the point of near non-existence thanks to the director’s obvious David Lynch influence and Darren Aronofsky delivery.

1175649_10151844875777435_27551726_nFor 90 minutes the viewer is required to carefully study thousands of faces, waiting to pick up on the disappointingly weak storyline that brazenly focuses on ‘two ladies’ quest to hog monitor time before being eclipsed by the man only known as ‘I keep my arm on the ramp dude’. The quality of the actors is on par with any academy award winning nominee from the past thirteen years, made more surprising by the fact that all the stars are all new comers; however the intrusion of the background artists and camera work levels their role in the film to mere ‘attendees’.

On the plus side, you are treated to a full performance of Hysteria, the major catalyst in the story by one of the world’s most beloved and distinguished bands, Def Leppard. Joe, Rick, Viv, Phil and Richard all play a blinder and despite this being a complex communist spy / art-house / independent / drug culture / hammer horror homage to Charlie Chaplin in story, the music ends up stealing every minute. Def Leppard well done – but unknown director, you have wronged the movie industry. Next time try some character dialogue. Fortunately Joe Elliott used his opportunities to keep a few laughs coming.

9/10

Review: Animator – Blacklisted

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2013 by Tickets There

922328_463819373702599_683130385_oIn typical Tickets There fashion, we found an album we loved. We listed to the hell out of it and never bothered for one second to put a word down on paper. For years we’ve struggled to express the excitement about albums we love, but that stops now because Animator’s Blacklisted deserves the attention of every metal fan in Ireland.

In Blacklisted, the Wexford lads have accomplished a truly memorable album, perfectly mixing writing quality, tight musicianship; all densely ground together to create something very special. Their diverse musical backgrounds fully complement each other as their sound screams through and you’re confronted with a thrash / hardcore assault of riffs, political angst and speed. First up to get the hearts racing, ‘State of Emergency’. Sirens, a brooding build-up; composed of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 ANPA address, breaking new stores snippets and James’s scream, “The shit has hit the fan this time, our nations on the brink” sets the tone for this entire record. ‘Death From Above’ strikes hard and fast, but its allure begins to pale when listed before the epic ‘In God We Trust’. A magnificent masterpiece of thrash metal. In God We Trust is reason enough to own this album, but it’s just one of several prime cuts.

960004_10151835604628200_548538767_nUltra 53’ 🙂 begins to express more personal anguish through a mix of swooping riffs, spiralling leads and surprise turns before ‘Dreadweb’ knuckles it’s way in to deliver some of the most balls out riffs and screaming solos of the whole album. ‘Taking the Liberty’ and ‘Electric Armageddon’ continues the punishing and lands yet another quality tune from this record. ‘Western Shadow’ adds little unfortunately for this review, the breakdown into scratchy bridges leads us astray, but the closing anthem of anthems (since In God We Trust), ‘When Duty Calls’ is the closing crown jewel on this incredible debut.

After months of listening, it’s hard to pretend there’s no prior judgements here. But six months ago I knew Animator as a name only. However, one or two listens of this album will turn any fans of thrash metal into Animatoriacs. This is a band with the talent, power and hunger to go far and all you need to do is press play. Well done lads!

Review: Reckless Love – Spirit

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2013 by Tickets There

img_54601No matter how much metal you’re into, you still need something anthematic for those Friday and Saturday nights. Vader and Deicide are great and all, but they won’t have your singling along with fists raised on the dance floor when the thirteenth Jägerbomb. No, in times like that you need to turn to something else and Reckless Love are increasingly becoming that band for yours truly.

Their third album, Spirit, hits shelves in the UK today and if you had any expectations about what the band was aiming for this time – you’re probably right on the nose. Spirit is chock full of anthems, hair-metal riffs, solos and great fun. Opening with the first single, ‘Night On Fire’, the album is set up for quality sing along fun, which wanes just a little bit on ‘Bad Lovin’. Not an awful song, but as Pierre said – probably should have stayed in Finnish. ‘I Love Heavy Metal’ pays homage to the classic Def Leppard Hysteria sound and tips its hat at just about every major band from the genre. Great tune and you know what? I love heavy metal too lads!

1277220_10150322447189960_1989641591_oFavourite Flavour’ is fast, chorus filled and fun before ‘Edge of Our Dreams’ goes further down that old pop rock ballad road. Not something that would light my fire, maybe it’ll light yours. Everything gets firmly back on track for the classic ‘Sex, Drugs and Reckless Love’. Great 80’s KISS guitar up front, smashing chorus; a wonderful little number from the boys.  ‘Dying to Live’ hints back at Mighty Leppard and ballad territory but avoids the overly poppy feel of ‘Edge of Our Dreams’. On repeat spins, the appeal only grows and you find yourself a cracking new RL tune to enjoy.

Here at TT we’re trying to move away from these song by song reviews so let’s cut through the red tape and say one thing – the second half of Spirit kicks ass! ‘Metal Ass’ is just brilliant for reasons that will become apparent when you hear it (damn heavy for RL), ‘Runaway Love’ is another attempt at pop ballad world and delivers another success for the band. Not a standout track, but enjoyable. The licked up ‘So Happy I Could Die’ is another winner before ‘Hot Rain’ stands up to become numero uno ballad of the album. For the first real time on Spirit the band deliver a soulful, passionate ballad and round Spirit off on a high.

Call them pop, call them wuss rock or a guilty pleasure, Reckless Love know how to write fun filled catchy tunes. If you’re too uptight, too serious or generally can’t acknowledge good fun music – then you need these guys more than anyone else. As for fans, Spirit is a winner. It’ll put a smile on your face, a beat in your heart and give you another reason to treat Reckless Love with some well earned respect.

Review: The Unleashed Festival DAY 01 – Live @ Fibber MaGees (16th August, 2013)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2013 by Tickets There

1175712_10151835602288200_447479861_nWhat is Ireland seriously lacking? That’s right, a proper metal festival – and some other stuff Tickets There doesn’t deal with. Unlike continental Europe and the U.K., Ireland lacks a serious metal festival despite obvious popularity for the genre. Perhaps M*D and @iken (I disguised their names ;)) are too flooded with Hip Hop/Hipster D4 elitists who lack the skills to see that almost every single metal show they host sells out, unlike many of their other ill-advised follies. So it falls to metal fans themselves to start things up and tonight, EHT have made a massive step in the right direction.

The Unleashed Festival is the first of what will hopefully become a much bigger annual festival. Three days boasting some of the best home-grown talent on offer. One day of the purest thrash from the meanest streets, one day of extreme metal and one day for the under-agers who need metal too. In essence, three days of metal that caters for everyone’s taste. Unfortunately this old fogey only managed the first night, but what a night.

960004_10151835604628200_548538767_nAnimator are first up for me tonight. It’s a special show for these guys as they officially launch their debut album, Blacklisted (review coming this week). Anyone that’s heard the record knows it’s bursting with instant classics and on stage, Animator have the chops to belt them out in perfect form. ‘In God We Trust’ steals their short set and sets the perfect tone for the night.

993996_10151835604098200_773772792_nExzeltic are up next and it’s special show for them tonight as well. Long-time guitarist, Connor Eustace has sadly parted ways with the band and has been replaced by Jamie Power. Despite this being the first major show for the new line-up, they pull it off with flying colours. Jamie steps up to the plate and delivers both new and older material with amazing technique.  ‘Breaker of Nations’ and ‘Agents of Chaos‘ truly stand out and with new material now appearing, you can expect to see more of Exzeltic over the next year. Connor’s presence will be missed, but the lads prove tonight they’re not going anywhere but forward.

1095107_10151519528321396_1610632817_nThe cavalcade of who’s who in the world of Irish trash metal continues with Edenfire.  The lads from Edenfire have been building steadily over the last couple of years, landing prominent support slots (including an opening slot with Exodus earlier this week) and raising their profile with every show. Live, they’re tight, focused and each one of them knows what they’re doing, a quality that is essential for thrash metal to work. Tonight is no different as they plough through a mix of tracks from their debut EP as well as other favourites. Edenfire are in the process of writing their debut album these days and it’s one well worth looking out for.

As the night rolls on, the large crowd swells, the pints turn to shorts and the terrifying, yet exciting sign of Buckfast begins. That perfect cocktail of merriness and early stages of ridiculous drunkenness serves as the warm welcome for the next band, Psykosis.

539698_10151835603683200_92292527_nTaking the stage to a packed house, Psykosis produce a hail of riffs, aggression and fun for the gasping, sweaty crowd. Along with Exzeltic, Psykosis are also playing tonight with a slightly adjusted line-up as Rats from Dichotomy fills in for Tony Corcoran on guitar. Fans fear not – it’s just temporary, but man; Rats can certainly  play. It’s incredible just how good these guys are. They blend everything that’s great about thrash metal and deliver it with youthful passion and fun. No sooner are the band on than the pit begins. Slowly at first before encapsulating the entire standing area. I’d love to give you the set they played but amongst the haze of Jameson and active pit participation, all I remember is bashing, ‘Toxic Fugitive’ and the best craic of the night. What a band and what a night. There’s only one thing left to do, enjoy tonight’s headliners GAMA BOMB.

gAMAbOMBGama Bomb have long reigned supreme as the heroes of the Irish thrash scene. They have international acclaim, a massive arsenal of material from their four albums including this year’s incredible output, The Terror Tapes. On stage the band are on fire. They tear through their set with unrelenting power to a packed house. Build-up of quality throughout the night has been jaw dropping, but Gama Bomb display those additional years of experience and bring the night home in awe-inspiring glory. Moshing, stagediving, celling climbing and madness are this writers final memories before the madness spills into Club Carnage downstairs. A long awaited, but very welcome return to Dublin for Gama Bomb and hopefully they’ll return before the ringing notes of ‘Terror Tapes’ and ‘Hammer Slammer’ fade out from my ear drums.

Well done EHT Promotions, what a triumph of a night! All the bands outdid themselves and showed the how strong the Irish metal scene is. With debut albums pending for most of tonight’s line-up, you can expect a very exciting few years on the horizon!

Report: Hellfest 2013 June 21st – 23rd (Clisson, France)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 27, 2013 by Tickets There

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20130619-194215.jpgWell, the hangovers have worn off, the body has stopped aching and the cure has been had. Hellfest 2013 is over and despite it only being two days since Tickets There’s triumphant return, it seems like a hell of a lot longer since I (yes I, too late for the split personality bullsh*t) was passed out on the street outside the terminal building in Nantes. Four nights and three days of heavy metal (and drink) fuelled mayhem in Clisson and already 2014 beckons. Before that though, we need to look back on some of this year’s highlights as witnessed between boozing sessions in the metal corner.

Friday was a packed day with Saxon, Testament, Twisted Sister,  Hellyeah, Helloween, Six Feet Under, Whitesnake and headliners Def Leppard all putting on excellent shows. Despite my thrill at seeing Saxon for the first time, my surprise at how amazing Helloween are and my sheer love for David Coverdale and co, the night was ruled by two bands – Twisted Sister and Def Leppard.

993592_10151728838263200_1860147127_nDee Snider and co put on a show that can only be described as perfect entertainment. In between jokes about the multiple DS wigs floating amongst the attendees and mass sing-alongs – the band rocked out hit after hit of cock rock excellence. The only thing that topped them was the highly anticipated performance from main stage closers an’ Sheffield’s finest, Def Leppard.

Leppard’s slot at the festival was special for two reasons. Number 1, Leppard were performing their Hysteria album in full for the first time ever in Europe. Second, guitarist Vivian Campbell was making his debut after announcing earlier this month that he has been receiving treatment for Cancer. In an unprecedented move, Leppard took the stage playing the tail end of The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’, before lashing into their own set. Hellfesters from all genres were there to greet them and see one of the biggest bands in Rock. They kicked off with fan favourites, hits and rarely played cuts from their earlier albums including ‘Wasted’, ‘Good Morning Freedom’, ‘Foolin’, ‘Bringing On The Heartbreak’ without the usual acoustic intro, ‘Action’, ‘Lets Get Rocked’ and the iconic duelling guitar solo ‘Switch 625’. The band were on fire and the opening tunes served as the perfect intro for the most perfectly overly produced album of all time.

1011921_10151728838128200_81723133_nLittle can be said about Hysteria that hasn’t been written it before, but after 21 years of being a devoted Leppard fan I can honestly say the live show was one of the greatest moments of my gig going life. ‘Armageddon it’, ‘Gods of War’, ‘Don’t Shoot Shot Gun’, ‘Excitable’, ‘Love and Affection’ were all outstanding, but the king of their set was the incredible ‘Run Riot’, a song I have never heard live and one that has been a long standing champion on my favourite DL songs of all time list. After a brief interlude, the band returned and finished the night with the awesome ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Photograph‘. A phenomenal set from a band that just cannot be held back. Review? Nah – this is a fan’s tale.

By Saturday, things were starting to get a little hairy. Less acts were seen, more booze was had and the general festivities were getting bigger and bigger. ZZ Top, My Dying Bride, Red Fang, Down and KoRn were all witnessed and all (yes, Korn included) put on top performances. ZZ Top especially stood out with their southern blues rock n roll charm. Only one band could dethrone them, along with most bands playing this festival; the almighty KISS.

994165_10151728838718200_2021883397_nKISS are no strangers to Hellfest and previously headlined in 2010. As the familiar ‘Alright Clisson’ intro blared out over the PA, screams, arms and pints shot up and the band launched their Monster tour with ‘Psycho Circus’, the lead single from their 1998 comeback album of the same name. Greeting the crowd, Paul Stanley mocked that the band wouldn’t be growling – hellfest or no hellfest, because that’s ‘just not [their] style’. Knowing this was the final night of the band’s European summer tour, all the stops were expected to be pulled out and KISS didn’t disappoint. They delivered a hard paced set packed with their hits, tricks and sher awesomeness. ‘Shout It Out Loud’ had the crowd united in singing while ‘I Love It Loud’ bellowed through the audience with unmistakable force.

New single, ‘Hell or Hallelujah’, was enjoyed by all; including those who didn’t’ know it before ‘War Machine’ from 2009’s Sonic Boom and the classic ‘Deuce‘ bombarded their way in. After this it was time for Tommy and Eric to shine as Tommy took over the mic for the classic ‘Shock Me’ with Eric following with ‘Outta This World’. Gene took over again on ‘God of Thunder’ (not sang from the top of the lighting rig for sone reason) before ‘Lick It Up’, ‘Love Gun’ and ‘Rock and Roll All Night’ finished things off in classic over the top, fireworks fashion. As with any KISS show, there was so much happening it became hard to keep track off but with every song came the flying over the crowd, lifts, risers, smoke, explosions, fire breathing, confetti..etc, etc. it never gets old, it just gets better.

1010240_10151728837963200_636363376_nThe band returned for an encore consisting of ‘Detroit Rock City’ and ‘Black Diamond’, much to the crowds approval. KISS came, KISS saw, KISS destroyed Hellfest. Like Def Leppard on Friday, no matter what type of metal you were there to see – KISS blew you away. If they didn’t, you’re a sad sap who needs to leave your bedroom more often. Day 02 over – another resounding success.

Finally Day 3 came along and it felt just right. The sun was shining, the ‘Metal Corner’ was quiet – a good day for whiskey and rock ‘n’ roll; and what better way to start things off than Down playing a special set instead of the previously announced Clutch?. After that the likes of Lordi, Ghost (who suck live just as much as they did on their last album), Hypocrisy and Cradle of Filth, Danzig and Napalm Death fill out an evening of heavy, light and strange metal…well, light is a little misleading.

BNoiF2uCYAAlJ9PSunday was a day of surprises for TT. First of all, Danzig wasn’t just playing Danzig. On closer inspection of the t-shirt it turned out they were playing a surprise Misfits set with Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein joining them. Realizing this moments before they were due to take the stage was better than most birthday/Christmas presents can ever be. Danzig, Doyle and the guys sounded great and the pogo/mosh filled rendition of ‘Die, Die, Die My Darling’ was one of the true gems of Hellfest 2013.

Cradle of Filth provided the second surprise. Having not seen them since they played the Temple bar Music Centre way back in 2001, I wasn’t expecting the group to have seasoned too well. I was wrong as Dani Filth’s voice shredded through the Temple PA as crisp and powerful as ever. Indeed the entire band sounded amazing and even with the oddly out of place ‘Anywho’ comment from Dani, the band put on one of the best shows I managed to catch. The pentagram lighting rig above the stage only added to the atmosphere.

1013077_10151728838653200_334766648_nFinally, Napalm Death – a band I have read about, heard about and known for nearly 15 years, but strangely one I have never, ever tried to listen to expect for forced spins of ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’. What a show and what have I been doing all these years? They were incredible! One of the strongest, most bare fisted brutal acts of the entire weekend. I managed to get up good and close (my first and only attempt over the whole festival) and they were beyond reproach. Definitely the band I will be checking out more in the coming weeks and one I will never forgive myself for ignoring. Napalm Death – thank you!

I’m avoiding calling this a review because I just didn’t make the effort to see enough, record enough or stay sober enough for my opinion to carry any weight. However, that’s just how I wanted it. Hellfest blew me away and made me a life time attendee all in the one weekend. With it getting bigger and badder than ever every year – you can count me in as Johnny come lately but I ain’t never leaving. Bring on 2014, long live Hellfest and thank you to everyone who made it the best heavy metal experience of my life.

REPORT: Slayer – Live @ The Academy, Dublin (June 11th, 2013)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , on June 13, 2013 by Tickets There

IMG_5078Going to see Slayer two nights in a row – one of the best decisions this writer has ever made. For the second night in a row, SLAYER raised the roof off Dublin’s Academy with what seemed like even more power and ferocity than Monday’s show (quite a feat considering the incredible performance they put on last night). There was even more banter from Tom Araya with him even (tongue in cheek) asking the crowd if there were ‘any requests?’, before he politely listened and remembered ‘we don’t do that’.

IMG_5072The set-list also saw a few changes with ‘Hallowed Point, At Dawn They Sleep, Stain of Mind, The Antichrist, Payback’ and ‘Hell Awaits’ all being dropped and replaced by ’Spirit In Blood, Die By The Sword, Postmortem, Altar of Sacrifice, Jesus Saves’ and ‘Ghosts of War’ which gave the night a fresh feeling, rather than just rehashing the same show as the night before.

Rather than go through a detailed review (again), heres what ye all want. Photos, set lists and videos – enjoy J.

Monday June 10th Videos

Tuesday June 11th Videos

SLAYER
Live @ Dublin’s Academy Set-lists
Monday, June 10th 2013 Tuesday, June 11th 2013
World Painted   Blood World Painted Blood
Hallowed Point Spirit in Black
War Ensemble War Ensemble
Hate Worldwide Hate Worldwide
At Dawn They   Sleep Die by the Sword
Stain of Mind Bloodline
Disciple Disciple
Bloodline Postmortem
Mandatory   Suicide Altar of Sacrifice
Chemical   Warfare Jesus Saves
Seasons in the   Abyss Mandatory Suicide
Dead Skin Mask Chemical Warfare
The Antichrist Ghosts of War
Payback Seasons in the Abyss
Hell Awaits Dead Skin Mask
Raining Blood Raining Blood
Encore: Encore:
South of   Heaven South of Heaven
Angel of Death Angel of Death

Review: SLAYER – Live @ The Academy, Dublin (June 10th, 2013)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 11, 2013 by Tickets There

IMG_5016It’s amazing how much has changed in the Slayer camp  since this show was announced. Back in March, we were all happy and safe knowing Tom Araya, Kerry King, Jeff Hanneman and Dave Lombardo were all happy and.., well happy as in Jeff was in his second year of absenteeism from the band and Dave had just sat out an Australian tour due to a financial dispute with Tom and Kerry. But, when you read Wikipedia, all four members were listed as ‘Current Line-up’. Since March, it all seemed to go a little pear-shaped.

First we had the news that Jeff Hanneman, the legend behind some of Slayer’s best known and beloved songs, had passed away unexpectedly. Jeff’s death sent shockwaves around the metal world with fans and musicians alike expressing their shock and sadness. To make things worse, the Westboro Bastard Church wasted no time sending out their hate literature. Fred Phelps (future favourite dildo in the Devil’s collection) and his hatemongers even made the laughable suggestion that they would picket his memorial. A massacre that was thankfully (er…thankfully?) avoided when they failed to show for the late May service at the Hollywood Palladium. Then things got a little more depressing.

Dave Lombardo (founding member and drumming machine) was unceremoniously kicked out, with the announcement that former Slayer sticks man, Paul Bostaph, would re-joining the band permanently. Things didn’t look the healthiest in the Slayer camp. Death, disagreements and half the line-up – not exactly a recipe for success….unless you’re SLAYER!

IMG_5039For tonight’s long awaited return to Dublin, Slayer have not arranged support (or even a decent few tunes for the PA while we wait – unless you like awful f**king elevator reggae or whatever the hell that is), but then again – SLAYER need no support. With the band running more than 30 minutes late, you’d expect things to start getting a little tense but everyone tonight is happy to wait. With the air thick with chants of SLAYER, SLAYER – the lights go off and the band are on. Gary, Tom, Paul and Kerry take position and launch into ‘World Painted Blood’. Tom’s smile beams across the room as he takes in the packed venue, even taking the time to remark on the intimacy of the show as the band stampede (I love using that word) through an incredible set packed with favourites, new and old. ‘Hallowed Point’, ‘WAR ENSEMBLE’ and ‘Hate Worldwide’ carry on the thrashing, fuelling a pit that threatens to encompass the whole standing area.

IMG_5028The band look and sound great with Gary and Paul doing their parts to perfection. Tom speaks to the crowd on a few occasions but nothing is really said about Jeff’s passing. Instead, the band are here to show SLAYER is alive and well and they are tearing the Academy a new one tonight. ‘Stain of Mind’, ‘Disciple’, ‘Mandatory Suicide’, and ‘Chemical Warfare’ – one after another the songs just keep pounding out, hitting the crowd like bricks. Although the sound could be described as quiet for a Slayer gig, the bands ferocious presence still dominates the stage …and the beating continues. ‘Seasons in The Abyss’, ‘Dead Skin Mask’, ‘ANTICHRIST’ are all on show – delivered with more intensity and presence than the band’s last trek to Dublin in 2006. ‘Hell Awaits’ and ‘Raining Blood’ bring a tremendous set to its close, the massive pit to its peak and the crowd’s fears for Slayer’s future – to bed!

IMG_5062As the band break, the giant Slayer banner which was displayed all night disappears and a giant HANNEMAN banner in Heineken style lettering appears. In tribute to Jeff, the band return for an encore of ‘South of Heaven’ and ‘Angel of Death’, two of Hanneman’s best known pieces before calling it a night. With a smile, Tom thanks the crowd and says he’ll see us tomorrow. Damn right Tom, see you then and thank you sir!

Review: Whitesnake – Live @ The Odyssey Arena, Belfast (May 16th, 2013)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by Tickets There

whitesnakeMaiden, Metallica, Sabbath and now Whitesnake – for some reason Dublin is missing out on a lot of high quality metal and rock shows these last couple of years; with the bands choosing to play up north instead. In some ways it sucks, but if you’re from the north it’s probably a long overdue welcome. In fairness, a few minutes walking around Belfast or nearly any other northern city/town and you see streets chock-full of Maiden, Motorhead, and Scorpions t-shirts; far more than you tend to see this side of the border. With that comes a high expectation of a good rock crowd for gigs though and tonight, that expectation isn’t met. It’s not Belfast’s fault, I’ve had great fun there before. It certainly isn’t Whitesnake or Thunder’s fault.…hmmmmm.

20130520-174249.jpgThunder bang on first; a hearty thirty minutes after the doors open. Despite the earliness of the show (and the strict no smoking rule in the Odyssey), there’s a throng of seated and standing fans in to witness the return of Thunder to the live arena. After several on / off years – the band are now on their first major tour in years with appearances at Download and Wacken also on the bill. They show their age slightly in the unadvised leaps in the air, beer bellies slipping out, and occasional sloppiness, but they go down well and have a laugh. Danny Bowes even manages to pull a few reluctant sing alongs out while those first pints ease us into relaxation.

Whitesnake, on the other hand, have rarely left the colossal amphitheatres they helped create. David Coverdale is a huge presence on stage and he wins his crowd through a perfect mixture of charisma, talent, charm and, of course, complete tongue in cheek cheesiness and comically refined expletives. David is rock’s greatest love poet and after 35 years at the helm of this band, still has the chops to back it all up. Yes, Tickets There is a fan.

20130520-174542.jpgWhitesnake emerge in great spirits with no pretention, bluster or pandering. Smiles beam from their faces as they cross the stage and see the packed room explode with delight. ‘Give Me All Your Love’ roars out sounding as sharp as it did in 1987. Although the crowd seem to out sing Whitesnake’s PA, there’s a distinct lack of atmosphere from some pockets and their merchandise, beige and stripped ‘recreational’ shirts and corduroy give the game away. They’re here for one thing – ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. That’s right, there’s a Journey show happening after Whitesnake and these guys have gotten in early. Most watch the show with the same enthusiasm they’d review the stocks on CNN. While Whitesnake shred through ‘Ready an’ Willing’, ‘Can You Hear The Wind Blow’ and the epic, ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart Again’, the older Journey fans stare blankly, sipping glasses of wine. The younger ones spend the time shouting at each other about the cheap brand WKD on sale and how they love ‘Thunderstruck’. Not the best mix for a rocking atmosphere.

20130520-174332.jpgOn stage, the snake continue to bash out a set nicely mixed between classic favourites like ‘Is This Love’ and ‘Gambler’ (lovingly dedicated to the memory of former WS guitarist, Mel Galley), to newer material ‘Love Will Set You Free, ‘Steal Your Heart Away’ and ‘Forevermore’. The roaring guitar duel between Doug Aldrich and Reb Beach shreds through the crowd before the battle continues with a taste of ‘Best Years’ and a final kicking of Whitesnake standards, ‘Bad Boys’, ‘Fool For Your Loving’, ‘Here I Go Again’ and the number one – ‘Still of the Night’. Whitesnake gracefully bow and thank the crowd before departing into the warm Belfast night. This blogger takes a page from their book and scarpers. Journey fans are approaching the arena and f**k knows what could happen……something very exciting we’re sure….coughs.

(My sincerest apologies for the terrible photos. I hung on towards the back and yes, I regret that now…. and I may have been drinking)