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Hands Off Gretel bring the Punk Grunge to Voodoo Belfast

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February 14th. Valentine’s Day. A day for couples and lovers to have a romantic evening together. Maybe going to the cinema and catching a movie, followed by a romantic meal for two. Declaring your undying love for one another. Na, stuff that. Let’s go to Voodoo in Belfast’s city centre instead for an evening of some ass kicking hard rock in the form of Hands Off Gretel. Yip. Sounds good to me.

I arrived early-ish for the gig and the place was already filling up quite nicely. Sometimes it can be a bit hit or miss at the start of the evening as their are times when people really don’t care much for seeing the support and mainly just come for the headlining band. Then their are times when people come early because the opening band are well known, or are causing some rumblings on the scene and people want to come and see what the fuss is about. On this occasion it is the latter.

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Scathed are a rock band from Dublin. Formed almost three years ago and already making waves for themselves. In their short existence they have played numerous venues across Ireland and have also played to a sold out Academy Dublin in support of rock giants Halestorm.

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Also, last year saw the band reach the semi-final of the Irish leg of Bloodstock’s Metal 2 The Masses.

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After seeing them tonight in a thirty or so minute set, I can see why they are making a name for themselves in such a short space of time. Vocalist Ainsley Kavanagh has a great voice and stage presence and is supported by a band that are tight and have the necessary tools to go places.

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A great voice, crunching riffs and a solid rhythm section, with the right direction I can definitely see this band going places.

Up next are headliners Hands Off Gretel. If you’ve never heard of them, then you have been living under a rock. Think 90’s Grunge meets Punk swagger.

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In the bands handful of years that they have been around, they have accomplished so much, with three albums under their belt, one of which (I Want The World) placing 15th in 2019 in Classic Rock Magazine’s rock albums of the year. On top of that they have performed at major festivals including Rebellion and The Isle Of Wight.

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Hands Off Gretel have made a reputation for themselves of gigging almost relentlessly and putting on high energy shows that are hard rocking, grungy, punky and kick ass, with a little bit of bubblegum thrown in for good measure and tonight the band certainly didn’t disappoint.

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Playing a set of around ninety minutes long that included a list of almost twenty songs. They rocked hard, entertained and certainly didn’t send anyone home disappointed.

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Review & Photography by David Stewart for MPM

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