Review by Ivor Whitten for MPM
Belfast’s Limelight played host to an evening of superb fun and an opportunity to let loose on even on a Monday.
The crowds stated milling into the space of the Limelight too in anticipation, chilling out and enjoying the atmosphere. That was because tonight’s headliners were none other than the funk rockers Ugly Kid Joe.
The background music went down and on came the support band. The three-piece group Strangers with Guns hailing from down the road in Dublin and went into a great energetic set that was a mix of grunge. skater metal with a real punk feel.
The songs came quick and fast, hitting home with the crowd in such a punchy way. The growing crowd responded and really started getting into the full-on style on show with songs like “Cants” and “Too tired to sleep … but I’m ok to drive” and “When”. They really filled the stage with their presence and the rhythms they pounded out was perfect for a mosh or two. If you can’t get to see these wise cracking enthusiastic guys check them out on Spotify. Or even better get along to see them live.
Once they left the stage there was a quick turnaround and looking round it was easy to see that the place was packed out. The excitement had risen to palpably incredible levels. On came the band to a rocking instrumental intro to a rousing bellow of approval from the audience and once Mr William Whitfield Crane IV , lead singer extraordinaire, came on stage the bellow became a roar.
And with that they jumped straight into “Neighbour” and immediately the crowd joined in, ably encouraged by Whitfield. Then into “Madman”, “Jesus rode a Harley” and then “C.U.S.T.” and with every song the crowd exploded in a fun driven energy that was just contagious. Whitfield got everyone clapping in time and even tried to persuade the security to join in (spoiler: He didn’t until a little bit later). The jumping and bouncing of the crowd continued through “Panhandlin”, “Come Tomorrow” and “Would You Like”.
“No One Survives” and “Devils Paradise” kept the energy going as the whole band just owned the stage with an entertaining and enjoyable superlative momentum that never faltered. Whitfield introduced “So Damn Cool” as it turned into yet another audience participation filled tune that helped to raise the roof. Even if you are not fully familiar with the Ugly Kid Joe repertoire the intoxicating power of the singalong will have you screaming your lungs out.
Then Whitfield chatted to the audience after going onto the ‘interweb’ and found he had received from a guy called Adrian (who was in the audience and wearing an Iron Maiden T-Shirt) to which the crowd all said hello to him. Adrian had apparently sent a lovely message and asked them to play “Bad Seed” which they dutifully did a short piece off, just for him.
Now that is audience respect and interaction. Once finished Whitfield said he expected Adrian to now buy 5 T-Shirts and that that song was for Adrian, but the next one was for everyone. The refrains of “Cats in the Cradle” began. Once again Whitfield just had to sing the verse and went to quiet for the chorus – he never needed to prompt, as everyone ion the place belted out the chorus word perfect.
Then came “I’m Alright” and “Milkman’s Son” still with the same energy and enthusiasm as the first song keeping the momentum flowing and everyone just kept moving in time.
Next was “Busy Bee” and this particular reviewer found himself staring at the inimitable Whitfield as he had been ‘caught’ sorting a few photos. A quick air kiss both ways and all was good. What a wonderful performer with grace and humanity. A couple of the photos were so worth it though. Firing on into “It’s a Lie” and massive crowd favourite “God Damn Devil” that got the hands in the air again as well as really taxing the vocal chords (again totally worth the sore throat that is coming). They finished the main set with “VIP” and “Funky Fresh”.
Whitfield then gave everyone a choice, that Ugly Kid Joe walk off the stage and come back on in a minute or two and get one encore song or they stay on and the crowd gets two encore songs. The crowds answer was loud and obvious. They stayed on and gave incredible performances of “Everything about You” and Motorhead’s “Ace of Spades”. And with that they were gone.
What an incredible evening of an excellent support band and a flawless fun filled performance from Ugly Kid Joe that left the audience genuinely disappointed it had to come to an end. The evening was heart warming, genuine and utterly buzzing. What a night. Simply fantastic and unmissable.
Ugly Kid Joe continue their European tour until July and you can get you’re your tickets from http://www.uglykidjoe.net/shows/. They are also touring with Thunder for a few dates in England and Wales.
If you are feeling a bit down or lethargic the best medicine you can get to perk you up is an Ugly Kid Joe gig. They are totally worth every single penny and you will regret not seeing them live.
Photography by MPM