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Gig Review: MICHALE GRAVES Dig Up The Hits At Voodoo Belfast

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On the second edition of Shizznigh’s Misfits takeover at Voodoo, following a visit from Doyle in July 2018, Belfast welcomed the esteemed former frontman and horror-buff Michale Graves to Voodoo Belfast. Who’s next on his hit-list, I’m sure we’ll soon find out.    

Mr Graves entered the infamous fiend club in 1995, performing with the legendary outfit for over 6 years. During this time, Graves is credited with writing a number of their synonymous hard-hitting anthems (and fan-favourites) including ‘Dig Up Her Bones’, ‘Scream!’ and ‘American Psycho’. During this time, he also collaborated with horror director, and “the father of the zombie film”, the iconic George A. Romero. Beyond these staples in his long career, Michale has prolifically produced a plethora of studio albums, further produced and directed films, and tours relentlessly for the most part of any year. Before pillaging Voodoo, the outfit already fulfilled 20 dates, and this current leg of his world tour still has another 7 dates to go. Sir, I commend your energy and work-ethic!

Cadaver Club

Tonight, a resurrection was witnessed. County Fermanagh’s very own ghoulish quartet Cadaver Club opened proceedings, performing again in Belfast in over a bloody era! I last saw the band a  long time ago (2014, I think?), and I remembered slashing rhythms, frantic bass runs, snarling lyrics and American-hardcore stylings throughout. That same hysterical energy and attitude were unleashed again to the growing crowd entering Voodoo.

Faces caked in white paint, fast-paced and punchy, Cadaver Club kept their set solid and to the point, with bangers from the crypt, whilst funeral director Mr Crowe strutted around the stage in his stud-cladded funeral attire. If the band are reading this, don’t take too long bringing the funeral march back to the city, we missed ya!

So Long Until The Seance

Did someone mention SLUTS? Belfast’s cherished zombie-tinged metallers brought forth an abundance of riffs and, ahem, Tommy’s florescent tiger stripped trousers. Previous tour companions of Michale Graves, Doyle and Wednesday 13 – So Long Until The Séance were on point. It was the best and most enthusiastic set I’ve seen the band perform to date. Between Mike’s extended vocal range, punchy rhythms and low-end from Gary and Tom, and extremely tight harmonizing and frantic soloing from Tommy and Nick – the boys were guns-a-blazing to impress from the very first note, pulling shapes in their trashy attire.

The set consisted of old and new tunes, including favourites‘ Stake Through My Heart’, the infectiously-catchy ‘Dead Pretty’ and the latest single ‘Spider to the Fly’ which evokes the band’s personal love of HIM more transparently. It was also a surprise to see the cobwebs blown off Little Miss Stake’s anthem ‘Mina’ in the mix. Nicely done lads!

Always great to see our local talent giving it their all at these events. 

Noise Pollution

Tour support on this leg comes in the form of Noise Pollution, all the way from Bologna, Italy. I was completely unfamiliar with the band prior to this show, but through a little research, soon discovered they have shared stages with some big names in rock and metal including Black Stone Cherry, The Darkness and Deathstars.

The 5-piece, fronted by Amedeo ‘Ame’ Mongiorgi, brought the hard n’ heavy to the Belfast crowd, reminding me of bands like Shinedown and Black Label Society through their crunchy riffs and song-stylings. The Italian crew put on a great set, keep things loud and provided an interesting contrast towards the atmosphere created. I look forward to their return to the Emerald Isle in the future.

Michale Graves

Embracing the Skele-crow to the unexpected sounds of Imagine Dragon’s ‘Radioactive’ over the PA – Graves stood stationary bathed in red-light for almost five minutes whilst his gang of rouges (which included Argyle Goolsby, founder of the infamous horror punk outfit Blitzkid) finished setting up. The crows came to the killing field from the bar down the back, awaiting their feed…

Suddenly, Michale became animated and the sold-out crowd thrusted forward to the sounds of the distortion overloaded rock n’ roll monster ‘Bedlam’. Michale Graves came to destroy, to push the energy levels to their limit, and that he most certainly did. With a set perfectly balanced between his work with the Misfits and his own solo efforts, particularly of his 2016 album ‘When Worlds Collide’ – The frontman and his gang put all their energy into the uncompromising and vigorous 90-minute set presenting fans with an aural bombardment to sate their zombie-like appetites justly! Michale’s vocal performance was commanding and strong throughout, with his band tightly laying down the law in their toll.

Highlights of the set for me included Grave’s own solo material ‘Night of the Living Dead’ and ‘When World’s Collide’, with visceral Misfits’ anthems ‘American Psycho’, ‘Scarecrow Man’, and ‘Pumpkin Head’. In lieu of the usual encore exit-entrance, Michale chose to address his audience, speak from the heart, and present a more honest commentary of life in general. With a further selection of tracks to blast through, rounding off the night in style, Michale and the gang ended on renowned tracks and singles including ‘Dig Up Her Bones’ and ‘Helena’. This show is easily up there in the top 3 gigs I’ve seen in Voodoo over the years (or as it’s better known in my household, my ‘second home’). Might I add, that he and his crew are absolute gentlemen, and after that relentless 90-minute set, Michale stood for over an hour down at the merch table taking photos, talking to attendees and signing goods. 

Thanks for keeping the spirit(s) happy, Michale! Looks like we already have a trophy-holder for best gig of the year, and it’s only the end of January! 

Review by Steven Donnelly

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