It’s a typical summer evening in Belfast – grey skies, howling winds and the rain lashing down: however, no matter what is happening outside, a few dozen hardcore fans have gathered inside this cramped venue in the heart of the city’s main entertainment district.
Relative new boys Splinters open proceedings with a high energy, high octane, high jumping start, with vocalist Paul Docs leaping about like a man possessed by a banshee and guitarist Matt creating a one-man mosh pit in the middle of the floor.
Dead ‘Til Friday keep the energy levels at maximum, with their rap/metal emo-core crossover. Frontman Adam McKee has an impressive set of lungs, while the rest of the band are tighter than a nun’s crack. The highlight of their taut set was ‘Water’, the title track to their recently released EP, which combined some rough-edged melodies and harmonies with fist-punching anthemics.
Main support Fragments are an entirely different kettle of fish, with a sound that definitely stands apart from many other bands on the local scene. Mixing brutal hardcore with progressive interludes which could be seen as disjointed in the hands of a lesser band, their stunning musicianship wins through, and especially the technical excellence of bassist S and twin guitarists C and R (they don’t seem to like publishing their full names), who create intricate soundscapes above, below and around the driving hardcore centre, epitomised by charismatic frontman S.
But, tonight is all about headliners Gacys Threads, a band who, over the past four years, have build a solid reputation as one of Belfast’s live acts, with their no nonsense hardcore. And, they don’t disappoint, quickly hitting their stride and playing the only way they know how – straight for the jugular!
The GT sound is all about the controlled aggression of frontman Aaron Vance combined with the power and melody of Blane Doherty’s guitarwork, as evinced on the likes of ‘Hope Bleeds Into Despair’, ‘Nothing Personal’ and ‘Wolf Brigade’, backed up by the powerhouse rhythm section of drummer Stephen Currie and bassist Ryan McGonagle. With a set heavily drawn from their formidable back catalogue – well, they are promoting a retrospective DVD/CD package – one of the highlights nevertheless is the only new track showcased, ‘Through Teeth And Bone’, taken from their forthcoming new EP “The Ignorance Of Purity” (for which this gig was set up to raise funds for recording), which showed an evolving sound and bodes well for the future.