Birthdays and anniversaries are important milestones, often forgotten at peril (which probably partly explains why my ex-wife is just that!), and so Belfast hardcore heroes By Any Means decided to mark five years together with a suitably celebratory bash at the city’s most famous rock venue.
Chosen to open proceedings are youngsters All The Kings Ashes (https://www.facebook.com/AllTheKingsAshesOfficial), who are earnest and enthusiastic and play standard hardcore with commitment and passion. However, they try just a little too hard, especially when vocalist Gavin Brown takes to the floor to share the mic with BAM frontman Chris Curlett, with the latter proceeding to give him a lesson in how to throwdown with attitude. Still, it’s an enjoyable set.
It has been more than six months since Cursed Sun (https://www.facebook.com/cursedsunmetal) have played live – but that’s not to say they haven’t been busy: they have recorded one video and this evening are recording live footage for a second (with both releases exclusively premiering right here on PM over the summer), and have been preparing material for a new EP – material which forms the centrepiece of their set, with four brand new songs unveiled.
Of these, ‘Psychopath’ – during which vocalist Jones shows the opening act how to do a venue walkabout, balancing precariously in ledges – is suitably psychotic: dark, brooding and melodic, it truly showcases the range of Jones’ screams and the tight technical interplay between guitarists Ciaran and Jonny, while ‘Ascension’ has a great grinding, uplifting groove built over a tumbling riff. The band interject the new songs with ‘The Vultures’ – with a riff guaranteed to strip the flesh from your bones – before choosing to end the set with their first ever cover version, a behemothic rendition of Lamb Of God’s ‘Redneck’, which is delivered (despite the false start by drummer Chris) with the fiery intensity which characterizes the band and everything they do.
By Any Means (https://www.facebook.com/byanymeanshc) begin with frontman Chris politely thanking everyone for coming – but what follows is far from polite, but proper old-school hardcore delivered straight from the heart and soul.
There are four words which summarize BAM and their approach to what they do – and they are the four words emblazoned across the backs of their new T shirts: ‘Family, Honour, Loyalty, Respect’. They are very much a family, honoured to be so, fiercely loyal to each other and their fans and totally respectful of how they have got to where they are today: there is no clearer demonstration of this than when they invite original vocalist Mickey Higgins to rejoin them for closer ‘Using Both Hands’ – with the set end with the entire pit also on stage with the band in one huge, glorious gang chant, which continues for several minutes after the band have finished playing in a clear demonstration, in turn, of the fans’ loyalty to and respect for the four guys.
CC may be the newest member of the band, but he is very much leading from the front these days, interacting well with the audience and encouraging them to join in by using the spare microphone at the front of the stage, and prowling both the stage and the pit with the hunger of a panther waiting on its prey. Here’s to another five – and many more – years. Respect.
If you want to find out more about By Any Means, you can follow the Facebook link above or stream (or buy) their album, ‘Built On Respect’ at http://byanymeanshc.bandcamp.com/
By Any Means return to the Limelight 2 as main support to Ikillya on Saturday May 3. The bill is completed by Altus and Defyed. More information at https://www.facebook.com/events/1407564639515083/