Review by Damien Doherty for MPM
Getting a crowd to a metal gig in the Northwest can be a difficult undertaking at any time, never mind on a Sunday night, but upon ascending the stairs of Sandino’s it’s clear that tonight everyone has made the effort. And why wouldn’t they, as for our delectation we have Ventura, California band Night Demon supported by local lads Bakken.
It’s a bittersweet night for Bakken, their last gig with drummer Niall and guitarist Shaun. The tape intro leads into This Means War, with its King Diamondesque falsetto, blast beats and mighty riffs kicking the night off.
We are treated to an immense eight-song set, The Cursed, Cold Blooded Murder and final song Darkest Day as stand out tracks. Not to mention an impressive swan song drum solo from Niall near the end. A superb performance warming everyone up nicely for the main event.
The bass riff of Prelude opens proceedings before Night Demon burst into Outsider like a heavy metal explosion. The set is nonstop energy from start to finish, Jarvis and Armand sporting matching white Flying V’s and launching into the assembled crowd at every opportunity getting into everyone’s faces and demanding our full attention. Despite performing in front of a mainly seated audience their enthusiasm never wains throughout a 16 song set filled with highlights and covering their entire back catalogue.
Hallowed Ground from 2017s Darkness Remains is a colossal tune with time changes and Brian’s double bass drumming keeping everything interesting. A cover of Thin Lizzy number The Sun Goes Down initially plods off at the original tempo before kicking up a gear and includes a blistering guitar solo and some clever outro interplay from the axemen. The Black Sabbathesque Beyond the Grave and The Wrath are heavy, intense and doomy, both tracks slowly building in intensity before dropping off to a brooding ending.
The Chalice summons a goblet wielding seven-foot tall demon to the congregation, no prizes for guessing who the masked ghoul is however as big Eamonn is strangely absent from his seat at this moment. Darkness Remains closes the set with howling feedback from both Jarvis and Armand as the stage fades to black.
And that is that; for several minutes at least, until an assiduous off duty Sandino’s staff member runs backstage to see if the band will do a final tune. An overly polite crowd, combined with the band not having announced their last song meant that no one is calling for “one more tune” and the band seems to think no one wants one, lol.
Nothing is further from the truth though, and our hero having provided mediation, the guys return to the stage and close out a fantastic night with Night Demon. An intense energetic night from start to finish, fair play to both bands who gave their everything and to Kieran from Music Capital for hosting the gig. Night Demon are currently touring the country stopping off in Belfast, Dublin and Limerick over the week. If you don’t have your ticket yet don’t miss out, satisfaction guaranteed.
Photography by David Stewart – Taken at Voodoo Belfast