PETROL may have powered the vehicles that drove along to the King’s Head on the Lisburn Road, their owners unaware that a new force was raging inside the venue on Thursday (12th February) as the Gasoline Outlaws débuted in Belfast.
Promoted by SO:NI the evening’s proceedings featured three acts before the headliners took the stage.
The ears of those in early were softened up before the storm as Stef Murray took up his acoustic and serenaded, cajoled and crafted a set that had heads-a-nodding in appreciation. The new arrangement of ‘Silver and Gold’ enhanced the song, even if we didn’t need to know about Murray’s pre-gig sex life…
Concluding with a medley of 80s rock standards it was a crowd-pleasing opening to the show.
But if Murray’s acoustic was the foil to what was to come later, St Hellfire blazed into their own rock ‘n’ roll, hard-hitting diabolically fun with barely a pause for breath as Mark bestrode the stage like the colossus he is. With Decky and Micky anchoring it all down Dean was able to weave lead solos around Mark’s rhythm and vocals.
While songs like ‘Rock Star, Porn Star’ St Hellfire are always a potent live force, with an almost ‘punk’ feel to their hard rock. Having said that Mark maybe has to work on his between song jokes a little bit…
With the high octane fuel poured on the incendiary evening by St Hellfire Baleful Creed brought bounteous tales from the shadows as the flames of rock created the deep, dark places were many fear to tread.
With Fin and John joined by Davy (bass) and Dave (drums) Baleful have been given a shot in the arm, and sound meatier in their journeys to the parts of the world lesser mortals tread. By now a standard in their dark arsenal, ‘Autumn Leaves’ has evolved into a dark evocation, with its southern groove metal rolling menacingly along.
At times the volume of the bass was a little too dominant to hear the intricacies of the work of John and Fin, but that’s a minor quibble.
With headliners revving, the beer-fuelled audience ready Gasoline Outlaws took the brakes off and rolled their heavy rock onto the stage, roaring through ‘Nothing On Me’, ‘Lie’ and ‘Come On’ with barely a pause.
Tight, well rehearsed, it was hard to believe that this was only the second show for Matt and his merry rockin’ troubadours.
Stretching his voice to beyond what was previously shown, reaching for each note, Matt has developed a lot; and now with Adam P (guitar), Chris (bass) and Adam C (drums) this is a potent band. The heady petroleum of their name, translated into a set that was sublime at times.
It is no small tribute to the song writing that many of the tracks were welcomed as old friends, and the choruses already familiar to everyone who has seen the band’s first show.
If we were forced at knife point to pick a stand-out track amidst the superb songs on show then it would have to be ‘Heart and Soul’, an ode to the hard rock that we all embrace.
Despite having no other songs to play the audience demanded an encore, and Gasoline Outlaws duly obliged.
Overall the evening showcased four great acts, and from Steff through to St Hellfire and Baleful Creed, each pushed each other to strive harder; an energy that gave Gasoline Outlaws a platform to produce an accomplished set. If the band keep this level up, and produce recorded material soon, then they will quickly ascend to heady heights.
Review by Jonny