Rain and heat, sub-tropical weather for Belfast tonight. No spirits dampened as the crowd waits outside the Limelight, inside waiting are Dead Label and Devildriver to assault our ears, fresh from Bloodstock and here in Belfast. Dead Label hit the stage at 19:15 prompt, slapping the growing crowd with the first and new song “Deadweight”, Dan O’Grady on vocals and bass, Danny Hall on the guitar and Claire Percival on drums thrashing out the track at heart pumping pace, getting the audience fired up.
Following with another new track “Flux” this one hard and heavy on the beat, next up is a grinding “Salvation in Sacrifice”, by now the crowd is up and at them, moshing like crazy. New song “Forget the Names” causes a whirlwind in the place, huge sound and serious vocals. Ending their set with “Pure Chaos” and what a finisher, known by the fans and played to please, Dan incites a mini wall of death, which is received wholeheartedly. Leaving the audience sweaty and longing for more, the band leave the stage. What a way to start a night!
As Dez Fafara, Mike Spreitzer, Neal Tiemann, Diego Barra and Austin D’Amond enter the venue via the rear stage entrance, the crowd go wild, DevilDriver have arrived! Needing no introduction they take to the stage straight into “End of the Line”, “Hold Back the Day” and “Grinfucked” all to the delight of the fans, played with the band’s usual vigour and violence, Dez’s rasping vocals cutting through massive guitar and drum riffs like a hot axe into ice.
The floor is as full as I’ve ever seen it, a seething, moshing crowd of metal heads. “Cry For Me Sky” is next up, a huge, heavy slab of metal followed by “Not All Who Wander Are Lost” and “These Fighting Words” both tracks from the 2007 album Last Kind Words Ever. After a brief speech about ADD/ADHD, with which Dez suffers, we are given what has now become a staple in the DevilDriver touring camp, “Sail” originally by Awolnation, but this version is heavy as hell and ‘DevilDrivered’. Three absolute monster tracks come at us next on the form of “Before The Hangman’s Noose”, “I Could Care Less” and the inimitable “Clouds Over California, the crowd are now frenzied and swirling like mad things, Dez instigating more and more, encouraging the pit to almost breaking point.
Nearly one hour in and we are given our final song, no encores here, Dez mentions the band’s policy on that. “The Mountain” is a huge heavy track that delivers a punch like a heavyweight boxer. A bit short of a set, but what it was left a long lasting impression on all in that building, what was left of it. There are so many tracks in the DevilDriver arsenal that even if they’d played for a few more hours we’d still have been left wanting much, much more. Musically one of the best gigs I have had the pleasure of being at, Dez’s voice was a little strained at times but still delivered at his usual rasping glory. I left feeling elated that I’d just seen such a great band in such a small venue, grinning, oh yes, grinning all the way home.