The weather may be bitter outside, but spirits are warm and anticipatory inside the Limelight as openers Vega perform to a humbly sized crowd. Initially struggling to elicit much audience response for the first couple of songs, eventually frontman Nick Workman’s demands of “Beers up!” are dutifully met.
From this point onwards the English rockers enjoy the attention of a gradually increasing throng, with numbers like ‘Worth Dying For’, ‘White Flag’ and particularly ‘Every Little Monster’ benefiting from anthem-sized choruses that resonate well.
The nonchalant prowess of guitarist Marcus Thurston adds a great deal to the band’s live appeal, a precursor to the startling technicality that will be displayed later this evening. With promises of new material on the horizon, it seems likely Vega will enjoy a welcome return to Belfast in the not so distant future.
Last In Line’s suitably titled sophomore release ‘II’ garnered favourable reactions from their contingent fanbase when it was released earlier this year; as they take the stage opening with ‘Landslide’ from that album, it’s clear that the new material has caught on in the intervening months.
What’s also clear is that their followers are not merely out for a karaoke night of Dio’s greatest hits – original cuts ‘Year Of The Gun’, ‘Starmaker’ and ‘Black Out The Sun’ go down just as enthusiastically as the majority of the rest of the setlist. That said, when Last In Line do dip into the past it’s unsurprisingly the monoliths of ‘Holy Diver’, ‘Stand Up And Shout’, ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ and the monstrous closer ‘We Rock’ that entice singalongs of such volume that will dismay your friendly neighbourhood oncologist.
Unlike bands of a similar ilk, Last In Line have never come across as a cynical endeavour. The memory of Ronnie James is honoured rather than milked by the performance of his material, helped by the fact that frontman Andrew Freeman brings his own energy, and manages to avoid simply imitating the heavy metal legend.
A fitting tribute is also offered to late former bassist Jim Bain, conducted by current player Phil Soussan. However the main focal point is in the figure of home-grown hero, Vivian Campbell – offering a conveyor belt of dextrous licks and electrifying riffage, without the slightest semblance of effort.
There may not have been many surprises to tonight’s show, but Last In Line delivered exactly what the crowd came to see in sterling fashion.
Review by Jonni D
Photography by Metal Planet Music