I’ll be completely honest and say that prior to this show I only knew psych rockers Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats solely by name. Sonically, I had my assumptions by associations. I recall their previous visit to the SSE Arena (formerly the Odyssey) in Belfast with the late doom legends Black Sabbath on their final march towards the great beyond, most likely towards a welcoming Satan waiting with a complimentary cup of tea in hand and vinyl to get signed. An honour any gang of musical rogues would wear on their sleeve with pride. The same goes for touring support Blood Ceremony of whom have a history stretching back to 2006!
Doom and its subdivisions (for the pedantic musical nerd, excuse me otherwise) has never been a scene that’s drew me in like punk music has done, but it’s something that I have an ever-growing taste for. I find myself more and more attracted to such events happening around the city, and also within my record collection. Funny how change happens, eh?
From the opening of the doors to the Limelight 2 in the early evening, the venue was already filling with punters at a rapid rate. By the end of the night, where you stood is where you were staying until the event concluded. Good luck at that bar! Riff and pint enthusiasts compressed themselves like tetris blocks into the venue in their hordes, cladded in black and leather galore.
As 7:20pm approached, Canada’s very own Blood Ceremony took to the stage. Fast-paced and gritty, Blood Ceremony opened proceedings in occult hard-rock style. Hypnotic grooves ensued from the PA with dirty guitars, heavy rhythms, and Alia’s melodic vocals, with tinges of a shining silver flute and keys to widen the sonic palette into the deeper realms of psychedelia. The band’s immersive sound reminded me of the likes of Electric Wizard and a grittier Janis Joplin, mixed with synonymous names in prog such as Focus. Highly enjoyable, and I look forward to delving into their back catalogue much further. For those catching Uncle Acid and Blood Ceremony on the remaining dates of the tour at Birmingham, Cardiff and Brixton Academy in London – make sure you’re down early for the aural treats in store.
To the sounds of tuner-twisting radio play samples whilst under cloak of darkness, Kevin Starrs with the mighty Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats kicked acid (sic) with the dirty stomper ‘I See Through You’ which rocked powerfully like the metaphorical steamroller, except driven manically by Tony Iommi, Geezer and Bill during a late night joy ride about the block.
The band relentlessly bludgeoned the eardrums of the sold-out crowd, energetically creating a heavy encapsulating atmosphere matched with the erratic visuals featured on the screen behind [a note for photographers, you’re going to have a challenge here]. I felt compelled to bang the head with the congregation. With a rhythm section that was tight beyond belief, punters were drowned in fuzz, noisy solos and bends cut through the PA as the band continued their freak-outs, tied together with Kevin’s high reserved vocals and respective harmonies – my fellow attendees told me that the band treated the Irish to a well-balanced mix of old and new tunes [namely from the recent Wasteland, for which the tour is supporting].
Highlights of the set for fresh meat to the sacrificial grounds like myself included ‘Waiting for Blood’, the syncopated chopper ‘Shockwave City’, ’13 Candles’ and ‘Pusher Man’ which kept heads banging and people swaying as they were brought into another dimension.
Uncle Acid in the flesh was a mesmerizing experience from end to end, and one of my finer decision to cover a band unknowingly what was in store on the night. Those are the best surprises. My fellow readers, I compel you to catch this band whilst you have the chance. You’ll thank me later!
Review and photos by Steven Donnelly