English pop-rock band, Blitz Kids kicked off their UK and Ireland tour in Belfast’s own Oh Yeah Music Centre. Support comes in the form of two local bands, as is the commendable custom in the charitable organisation come venue.
Midnight Transmission take to the stage before a small crowd of barrier clingers. With Elliot Patterson channelling Slash (obligatory Les Paul in hand) and Adam Woods effortlessly combining bass playing with metal head banging, the outfit is one which transgresses rock sub-genres. Midnight Transmission fully embrace the lifestyle that comes with their sound by playing hard and fast before hitting the road and playing another venue the same night. So hard in fact that a stop off to a music shop may be necessary on the way to Lisburn as Stephen Curtis’s bass pedal cannot handle his double time speeds any longer and gives up just as they finish “Everything Burns”.
Next up are the poppy sounds of In an Instant. With synth beats and vocals reminiscent of Gary Lightbody the band seem destined for a festival stage. Whilst they might not be there yet, Mark Hegan flails his arms as if he were, egged on by Richard Crawford’s chest pounding in his down time. When Ryan Davison’s guitar cuts through the synth at the beginning of “All Binds Fall Undone” the rawness gives the song an edge. This is picked up upon by the young crowd as smart phones are ceremoniously raised. Hegan notes that Blitz Kids are pretty special, but as their set draws to a close it seems their fans may notice something special in this band too.
Blitz Kids have played in Belfast a handful of times before, supporting bands such as Twin Atlantic and Young Guns but singer Joey James points out that this is their first ever headline show in the city. As well as that momentous fact, tonight they are playing the first night of their tour in support of The Good Youth. Yet none of this proved enough of a draw for fans as the crowd hasn’t swollen much since doors. Nonetheless, Blitz Kids have energy to burn, and they are making sure to do so. As a frontman, James cannot be faulted. He gets the crowd going with clapping, sing alongs and hi-fives. His microphone stand is the only thing which moves around more than he does as it bobs back and forth from its customised “never-topple” stand.
The band are exceptionally tight. Whilst it may be Matt Freer’s birthday, he does not relax and take things easy, powering through the set. Despite the musical prowess though, James is perhaps ill-guided in his between song banter. Following the pop-rock hooks of “Keep Swinging” from their latest album, James invites the crowd to join the band as they take to the streets of Belfast to celebrate their drummer’s big day. While normally this type of comment would be greeted with cheers and enthusiasm in the Oh Yeah Centre tonight, few fans are over 18 and awkwardness fills the room. This is quickly rectified as the band launch into the opening verse of My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” and energy levels soon match those of the band again. It no longer matters that the venue isn’t packed, the frenzied sing-along sections of “Never Die” make it sound like it was. During the show closer a fifth member of the band is recruited in the form of a cardboard cut-out of the god of thunder. After his singing debut Thor swiftly stage dives and thus closes the sweaty show. Photos and review by Laura Shields, GiggingNI.com