Triggerman @ The Speakeasy, QUBSU, Belfast

With Slomatics & Tied To Machines
21st March 2013
Review by by Mark Ashby

While their bills are usually eclectic, the weekly RADAR nights, promoted by the inhouse promotions company of the same name at the local Students’ Union, very rarely stray into heavy metal territory. This evening was a pleasant exception to the rule and, as the venue is less than ten minutes’ walk away and entrance is always free, I could think of no better excuse to catch up with a couple of my favourite Norn Irish live acts.

Openers Tied To Machines take to the stage in front of one of the smallest crowds I’ve ever seen at these promotions, and play brattish, noisy, punky alt-rock with hummable choruses and close guitar/vocal harmonies, with some excellent drumming underpinning their sound. However, while energetic, they are nothing outstanding and distraction of pondering whether to revisit the bar for another of the cheapest pints of Magners in town is hard to resist.

Slomatics play songs so bonecrushingly heavy that you can feel the nerves in your buttocks vibrate and the hairs on your big toe curl. It may not be unusual for a band, and especially a trio, to have a drummer as their lead vocalist, but the fact that Marty stands up to deliver his lines certainly is – as is the fact that the band do not have a bassist, with David and Chris delivering their deep, psychedelic stoner blues through walls of downtuned, fuzzed out guitars played at the sort of volume guaranteed to have seismologists the world over re-calibrating their instruments.

A band incapable of playing a bad show no matter the circumstances – be it the paucity of the crowd or the concerns over the first flurries of the predicted snow threatening to make their trip home a more challenging one than usual – Londonderry’s Triggerman are THE band for whom the word riff was invented.

Frontman Bap is as benignly dominant as ever, his almost spoken, preacher-like delivery style converting the few misguided souls present not yet won over to the quartet’s cause as they tear through an extended set of crowd-pleasing, headbanging-inducing and horn-raising favourites such as ‘Thon Strange Brew’, ‘Hail To The River Gods’, ‘Lurgy’, ‘The Flower of Life’ and ‘Son Of Solomon’, which brings the curtain down on another powerhouse set from one of the best live bands in this part of the heavy metal universe.