Belsonic Festival 2013 @ Custom House Square, Belfast

Bullet for My Valentine, Bring Me The Horizon, Gojira,
@ Custom House Square, Belfast
August 26th 2013
Review by by Jonathan Traynor
Photography by Paul Verner

BELFAST’S Belsonic Festival drew to a close on the Bank Holiday with a bang from Bullet For My Valentine and Gojira, and a whimper of whining from Bring Me The Horizon.

Bullet have grown in stature of recent, and they are appropriate headliners, but it was a relatively thin crowd – compared to last week’s sell-out show Belsonic by Nine Inch Nails. I always feel that it is ambitious to seek to attract 6,000+ to a metal gig in an outdoor arena, especially after a run of expensive festival and gig dates in the summer.

However, the just over 2,000 who managed to drag themselves away from whatever Bank Holiday chores and delights that had occupied their day found the sunshine cheeriness drowned out by the earth tremor that is Gojira.

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As a plethora of teenage girls and gormless teenage boys clattering through security and presenting all sorts of ‘id’ to gain a hallowed pint as they tried to top-up their pre-gig drinks
Amongst this young crowd there were definitely a few new fans gained by Gojira.

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For a band of their musical stature it is a crying shame that these French eco-metallers were restricted to a 35 minute set. Their trance-like rhythms and complex time signatures lent an almost ambient feel to the crushing riffs as Joe Duplantier led the devoted hundreds at the front on a merry dance of metal.

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Christian Andreu and Jean-Michel Labadie roamed from side to side of the large stage, just as they intertwine their sounds, while Mario Duplantier lay a stomp down that worried seismograph watchers across Europe.

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Indeed it is the rhythm section that allows Joe and Christian to weave the tapestries earned respect from those who were hearing them for the first time.

By t-shirt count alone Bring Me The Horizon have a devoted fanbase for their metalcore soundscape.

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What may be able to fill a concert hall with the many elements of their instruments seemed crowded in on top of each other in the open air.
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When second song Chelsea Smile was played it was apparent that there was a frantic passion for the band from many of the teenagers there: but that waned as the sound wavered and Oliver Sykes was going over the top: I, and many others, found his call for the crowd to “kill yourselves” worrying, even if he just meant to get in the pit.

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As to getting the crowd to sit down and jump back up – it is safe to say that Slipknot do it better.

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Overall a set that despite its noise and fury seemed to lack passion…

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Except for the power that drummer Matt Nicholls provided; perhaps the final legs of the summer touring season are taking their toll.
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The flip side is that Bullet for My Valentine know how to make a grand entrance, with Queens’s seminal We Will Rock You kicking off proceedings.
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Matt Tuck seems almost undressed without his trademark flying V for the first couple of songs as an unidentified guitarist lurked in the background filling in his lines.

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When Your Betrayal ended and his aviator shades were cast aside – a little too like M Shadows those shades – Waking The Demon saw the Welshman looking more relaxed taking back guitar duties.

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I’ve always found Bullet difficult to classify, with their varying styles, but there is no doubt of their ability to pen fine tunes.
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Older tracks 4Words to Choke Upon and set closer Tears Don’t Fall sit easily with Temper Temper in the set, and the bar queues dwindled away to almost nothing during their set; always a sure sign of a crowd engaged by the band.

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Matt Tuck and Padge are obviously comfortable together while Jason seems just delighted to be playing and Moose follows it all like a general inspecting his troops from on high.

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Justifiably Bullet are becoming a proper stadium band in their poise and precision; but now they need to make sure they can fill those stadia consistently.

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Set List:
Breaking Point
Your Betrayal
Waking the Demon
4Words to Choke
Temper Temper
The Last
Her Voice
Guitar Solo
Scream Aim Fire
Pleasure and Pain
Tears Don’t Fall