REVIEW: Red Enemy – Bar Sub, Belfast
The dimly lit, underground venue of Bar Sub in the Queens’ Student Union was endowed with men and women, from the ages of 18 to possibly, late 40’s.
I did not initially expect such a wide age range due to the bands playing being relatively new on the music scene. Regardless, it was refreshing to see middle-aged ladies and gents chanting back word for word, the lyrics of all four bands.
Up first came Death of a Salesman, taking to the stage; or rather off it, as singer Aiden Thompson paraded along the front of the stage, mixing in with the crowd of around 15 people. The small procession near the stage showed that they maybe already knew of and were fans of the lesser known Belfast band or else they were big fans of hardcore music, unconcerned of who was playing. As it was the start of the evening, there were only around 25 people there. As the end of their set neared, around 40 people were in the venue, clearly showing that they did not care much for the support acts. As I previously mentioned, Death of a Salesman, appeared to be a hardcore band, rather than, as stated on their Facebook page; metal. Despite the small turnout at the beginning, the band gave it their all, eager to please the small crowd. However, even though the band have been together for four years, in regards to their set, there is not much to write home about. The vocals were drowned out by the drums, guitar and bass, but still the vocals were faltered, the singer often resorting to talking instead of screaming the lyrics. It seemed they bitten off more than they could chew. Nearing the end of the set, it made me think, are Death of a Salesman hardcore or hard to listen to?
Swiftly moving on to the second act – Hornets. Having never heard of any of the support acts, I took to Facebook to research who they were and what they did. This proved difficult when I reached the Hornets page. All I gathered was that their genre is heavy, which proved to be true and the record label they are signed to is “Guys With Beards” – which was also accurate. There was no breakdown of the band members, or even a glimmer of a background story. I have even less to write about this band, other than they were unappreciative of the crowd – they did not introduce themselves and when their set was finished, they did not thank the crowd for listening (which they really should have). Maybe they were shy or scared, but they still should have engaged with the small clan who were at the foot of the stage.
The final support act was Bitch Falcon, a female-fronted rock band from Dublin. It was invigorating to see two out of three members are women. Bitch Falcon were, by far the best of the three support acts (then again, that wouldn’t have been hard). Singer and guitarist, Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s voice is strongly like that of Lzzy Hale from huge rock sensation – Halestorm. They even have the same name! Lizzie had a resonant country style twang to her voice and matched with her soaring vocal range, it was clear she was a great singer. The only criticism, is that their songs were dragged out by slow, boring guitar solos. The crowd were now growing restless, obviously wanting to see the act they had come for.
From the get go, it was evident that metal band, Red Enemy were down to earth and at one with their fans. Their singer Kevin Letford or “Lefty” as his band mates affectionately call him, stood at the door of the venue, taking money for the show and stamping the hands of those who entered. Despite the band being from the humble city of Dublin, they had already made their mark in the UK, US and Australia, having been support acts for Architects, Letlive, Parkway Drive and many others. I first heard of Red Enemy when I went to see an Architects gig in Belfast. As it stood then, they were the best support act by far and now, through seeing their own gig, it was clear that this band has big things ahead of them.
The whole room emigrated to the stage, about 60 people at most. The tiny stage seemed ill-equipped to accommodate the five-piece band, however they moved along with each other with ease, like they had done it thousands of times before. The sound was notably better, the vocals and instruments could both be heard clearly – living up to the notorious idea of the sound tech tweaking a few things here and there to make the headliners sound better than their supports. The band were extremely energetic, much like how they were when they supported Architects, they gave it all they had despite only being welcomed by a small crowd. There was a one-man-mosh pit giving it stacks at the front of the stage, while the others bobbed their heads along to the songs. Thus showing that the mature crowd were more interested in appreciating the music rather than making spectacles of themselves, creating walls of death and the like. Kevin provided extremely strong and powerful vocals, while the rest of the band followed suit, expertly playing their chosen instruments. The drummer, Daniel Lang / “Lango” looks extremely like Peter Crouch, only with long, luscious hair and sans football. The other members, guitarists – Jordan O’Leary and Conor Dockery and bassist Jay Lango didn’t resemble anyone else I knew of, but in their own right, they were bearded beauties who could play the hell out of a show.
The small turnout was disappointing, solely for the fact that Red Enemy deserve a far bigger following in Belfast and Northern Ireland in general – it always takes ages for NI to catch on to anything good though! They have ample amount of talent, but not the backing here as of yet. Due to the support acts being of far lesser quality, the crowd greatly appreciated the sound, energy and humbleness of the headliners. Honestly, the show would have been far better and admittedly much shorter, if it had of just been Red Enemy on their own. Not only are support acts drafted in to get them noticed and on the music scene; they’re often rumoured to be there to make the headlining band look even better than they already are.
All in all, disappointing at first, but when the clock struck twelve and Red Enemy graced the stage, all changed and the show went from drab to fab (clichéd indeed).