A long time in coming, the announcement of Metallica’s return to Irish shores was met with delight and anticipation. What felt like a lifetime ago has come around and today is the day The Masses descend of the hallowed ground that is Slane Castle. The biggest gigs in Ireland have taken place here and only the worthy few headline such a prestigious venue. The majestic setting that is Slane today is filled as far as the eye can see with young & old, metal heads and lovers of fine music gathered together to celebrate a stellar line-up.
Fang Club – Irish bangers Fangclub have the pleasure of opening up today’s proceedings at Slane Castle. A hefty crowd is already inside the walls to greet the Irish quartet, slamming guitars riffs and grungy vibes are in the air as they ravage their way across a banging set, treating the crowd to a plethora or new songs from their forthcoming album ‘Vulture Culture’ due out July 5th.
The Irish band pull no punches as they lash out their riffage and monstrous hooks song after song, their new tracks go down well with the Irish faithful and a great start to whet the appetite for what’s to come.
Norwegian Stoner / Punk rockers Bokassa make their Slane debut to the soundtrack of The Dukes Of Hazard blaring from the mighty sound system. They hit the ground running with a banger of a track and a shot across the bow that they’re not just here to make up the numbers. The trio have a hefty sound, thunderous baselines’, and killer drum work make for a powerful performance. Each song pummelling you from start to finish, midway through Bokassa’s set the havens opened and the Irish weather cane to the fore. No problem for these Norwegian mo fo’s carry on regardless whilst the ponchos came out in force and. The diehards stayed true to their cause. These guys absolutely rock! Banging riffs, huge hooks had the Irish crowd bouncing regardless of the weather, leaving the stage to the sound of Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart and Sting – Singing all for one Bokassa are and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2019 and beyond!
SLF: Northern Ireland’s favourite sons Stiff Little Fingers take to the stage following a beast of a performance from the fresh faced Danish maestro’s, but where one band leaves the stage with bravado, showcasing their big cahona’s, SLF have nothing to prove to anyone. Decades into their illustrious career SLF have found somewhat of a resurgence of late, call it nostalgia, call it early onset dementia, but as their sell-out shows in Belfast at Custom House Sq go to show, these crazy kids are going nowhere.
Some may have questioned their inclusion in such a diverse line up today, but not forgetting Metallica’s love for all things Punk in their earliest days, SLF are
actually right at home here beside some old friends whom they feel are more then worthy adversaries. Classic SLF, it does what it says on the tin and closing with ‘Alternative Ulster’ there were more than a few nostalgic looks on the faces in the Irish crowd to suggest that there’s still mileage in the band yet.
Shizzle just got real, the stage is set alight with the arrival of Ghost and his entourage, 7 in all, as they provide an imposing proposition, right away with the glorious sound emanating across the grounds of Slane you know things have moved up more than a notch! 3 guitarists throwing out a bombardments riffage and fused together with Ghosts melodic hooks and you have one hell of a show! Harmonising guitars and stage presence in abundance it’s hard not to warm to Ghosts soundtrack. Where else would u get a full saxophone solo at a metal gig, a powerhouse performance from these sublime musicians – a beautiful display all round. As Ghost exits the stage a rare glimpse of light falls across the gorgeous landscape that is Slane Castle and it’s a fitting for such a mercurial display.
8:50 pm and cometh the hour, cometh the band. That band are Metallica, a lifetime of graft and honed musicianship leads to a moment for few bands like this one, the biggest crowd at a gig in Ireland is reserved for the special one, and these guys have a very special relationship with their Irish family. 5 gargantuan screens are the backdrops to the band as images of both crowd and band are simultaneously displayed against a frantic soundtrack. Lars bass drum reverberating through your very bones whilst Kirks screaming solos pierce the air.
The gargantuan Irish crowd are treated to old and new Metallica and either way it’s gong down a treat with a devoted fan base, the wall of light behind the band is awash with blues and reds as ‘Sad But True’ echoes across the night air, a sea of bodies arms in the air greet every thrash of the guitar, every slam of those drum skins with adoration.
As the night sky drops you get the benefit of this beautiful stage setup / fireworks popping off for the opening of ‘One’ – lasers shooting off into the night sky illuminate the crowd as far as the eye can see. The sound crystal clear carried across the length and breadth of the impressive estate. The video screens depicting WW1 scenes against the powerful soundtrack it’s hard not to be drawn into its magnificent storytelling.
A lifetime of making groundbreaking Metal, Metallica have a catalogue that many bands would kill for, regardless of new music its the classics that many yearn for, engrained in their youth, the soundtrack to their lives, albums bought with the blood sweat and tears of part time jobs, hand me downs from older brothers and sisters, or stolen behind their backs. These same people gathered tonight in an
estate in Ireland, all grown up but no less hungry for that same savage rush that comes from a Metallica riff. Take a bow one and all this is for you. A stellar line up, a perfect location, typical Irish weather (Four Seasons in one day) and one large family of give or take 75,000 people are screaming for more. https://www.facebook.com/Metallica/
Review by Editor – Rock ‘N’ Load Mag http://rocknloadmag.com
Photography by Arthur Carron