|Planet of Zeus / Triggerman / Skypilot – Belfast, Voodoo – 23 November 2016|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Saturday, 26 November 2016 03:30|
I first came across Greek psychedelic stoner crew Planet of Zeus when they opened for Clutch almost exactly a year ago to this very evening. Now, with a new album – the wonderful ‘Loyal To The Pack’ – under their belts, the Athenians returned, a mere 367 days later, to headline in their own right.
Openers Skypilot – a band who carefully pick and choose their live appearances – deliver thick riffs with more crust on them than a steak and ale pie from the nearby Tesco. Their dense, thrumming rhythms are built on rock solid beats, over which twist melodies that come back and around themselves. The sparse vocals are all the more effective for their brief interjections, while the superb sound mix picks out every subtle nuance of every note. Another rock solid performance for a band renowned for same.
If Skypilot are the crust on this evening’s pie, then Derry-Londonderry bruisers Triggerman are the meat – huge fucking chunks of it! Making a very welcome, and long overdue, return to Belfast, they deliver riffs with more beef on them than a pedigree Angus on its way to the slaughterhouse, but with enough gristle on their bones to give you plenty to chew on and ensure you properly digest each tasty morsel.
Dixie’s bass sound is massive, his playing deceptively complex in terms of the apparent overall simplicity of the band’s sound, which concentrates on delivering the tsunami-inducing riffs with maximum impact. Niall’s lead guitar work displays an unerring ear for melody and harmony which is just as deceptive as his bandmate on the other side of the stage, while Bap’s acerbic vocal delivery is acerbic and of the sort that makes you instantly pay attention. My only complaint is that this is a support slot, and so is over just a tad too quick… but it certainly wins them some new fans, especially in the form of a couple who have travelled over from Leeds for tonight’s show…
Triggerman return to Belfast on Friday 16 December, when they play The Pavilion, with support from Baleful Creed, Rosco’s Riot and NASA Assassin. Tickets will be £5 on the door.
I’ve complained before about the level of support – or rather lack of it – for school night gigs in Belfast: of course, there are myriad factors at play in such situations, not least the vagaries of the city’s public transport system – or again lack thereof – which seems to shut down at 9pm or shortly after, thus making it nigh on impossible for fans without their own transport to make it home from later shows…
Having said that, there is a very healthy crowd assembled here this evening to welcome back POZ – and, despite the plummeting temperature outside, what a warm reception they get, with the floor turning into a seething pit of flailing heads, limbs and bodies almost as soon as they strike the first chord of the title track from their above-mentioned album. It’s actually quite weird to see them evoking a reaction more akin to that reserved for a thrash band, but who’s to account for what gets an audience’s adrenalin flowing?
PoZ’s dense psyche/stoner vibe is imbued with a sense of essential harmony, especially in the guitar and vocal conjugations, which in turn are underpinned by effectively snappy percussion and lightly touched bas riffs, resulting in tautly wound rhythms. It’s a huge, dense sound which evokes the steep valleys of the Greek landscape yet has a massively danceable rock ‘n’ rolling vibe and groove which is virtually irresistible in its charm yet retains an underlying darkness that sees the quartet remain true to the doomier roots of their underlying sound while displaying that pop-edged sensibility that stoner groups such as QOTSA managed to encapsulate with the deepest, darkest recesses of the genre’s sound.
The overall result is a captivating and enervating aural and visual experience which ultimately makes the dreaded thought of “oh fuck, I gotta be in work early” disappear to the back of your sub-conscience in the realization that there are some things more important in life…
PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Liam Kielt.