WASP logo

REVIEW: W.A.S.P. – The Limelight, Belfast

With their remarkable career and capacity to create musical masterpieces W.A.S.P have always been one of the most instrumental and significant metal bands out there since the beginning of their career. Despite it being over six years since W.A.S.P. unleashed any new music, their 15th album ‘Golgotha’ was released in August to tremendous praise. Playing to a sold-out crowd in Belfast’s Limelight WASP brought their ‘Bloody Road to Golgotha’ to a thrilled audience.

Arriving on stage to the relentless chanting of lead singer Blackie’s name, W.A.S.P. emerge with furore, eager to begin what is to be a special night for enduring fans of the band. Despite the crowd being mostly of an older age group there are still many younger fans scattered throughout the venue showing that WASP are still just as relevant today. Opening their set with ‘On Your Knees’ the band has finally arrived with Blackie’s ferocious vocals showcasing his immense ability and talent after over thirty years. There are two screens placed at either side of the stage displaying emotional and eclectic collection of photos which went beautifully with songs such as ‘Miss You’. The screens poignantly show an older Blackie on stage alongside his younger self playing the band’s old videos and other idols including Jim Morrison and Michael Jackson.

Continuing their set with songs such as ‘Inside the Electric Circus’ and ‘The Real Me’ the audience are attentively hanging on to every word with its dynamic and catchy melodies. Having amassed more than enough material W.A.S.P. does not need to indulge their fans with cheap gimmicks and over-the-top production. It’s very rare to experience someone who has been playing the same songs for over thirty years to still have as much passion and enthusiasm as Blackie does in both his voice and his performance.

Gaining notoriety in the 80’s for their wild antics both on stage and off it came as a huge surprise to fans when singer Blackie became a devoted Christian, particularly from a man who brought us classics such as ‘Cry (Just Suck)’ and ‘Kill, Fuck, Die’. Refusing to now perform some of their most well-known songs including ‘(Animal) Fuck Like A Beast’ is a huge blow to loyal fans and I felt that few in the crowd were unprepared for the intensity of Golgotha’s lyrics ‘Jesus I Need You Now’.

Despite Blackie’s insistence that he will never get old there is moments throughout the set where you can see that he does not have the boundless energy of his youth any more. Having to take quite a few breaks in between songs you can tell he is tired, something that I found quite sad considering his voice remains so young and he is still considered one of metal’s most iconic men. There are quite a few members of the audience trying to replicate the glam rock look dressed in wigs and costumes a reminder of the era in which W.A.S.P. came from.

Propelling into ‘I Don’t Need No Doctor’ the delighted audience are frenziedly singing along with Mike Duda’s enchanting guitar playing and its driving force throughout the set. Leaving the stage fairly early after only fifty minutes, tension builds throughout the venue as Blackie and his other members take their time to re-emerge. With the chants building some of the audience members become rowdy; Blackie then re-appears to state “Hey man, don’t boo, I just work here” which lightened the mood before the band began the song everyone has been waiting for. Encoring to ‘Wild Child’ the night was complete for doubtlessly some of the most committed and ardent fans of a band I have ever witnessed. Aine Cronin-McCartney, GiggingNI.com