It may be seven years since Lordi firmly put their particular brand of comic book metal well and truly on the international map with their sensational, tongue-in-cheek win at the 2007 Eurovision Song Contest, but the fascination with the band nevertheless endures, with the memory of that night in Athens attracting an interesting spectrum of fans – including many who freely admit to not being heavy metal fans but are drawn to the show out of curiosity as much as anything – to this, the debut Belfast appearance.
The unenviable task of warming up for the Finnish monsters falls to Italian power metallers Kaledon (the Irish leg of the tour was reduced to one support band because of our inane curfews): having not been oeen overly impressed with the quintet’s recently released seventh album – http://planetmosh.com/album-review/kaledon-altor-the-kings-blacksmith/ – I honestly wasn’t expecting much… and, if truth be told, I wasn’t disappointed. While their traditional Euro metal is well played, and Alex Mele is undoubtedly an accomplished shredder, the weak link again is vocalist Marco Palazzi, whose biggest problem is the language barrier – especially when drummer Massmiliano Santori breaks his snare skin… with his bandmates quitting the stage while roadies scurry to find a replacement drum, Palazzi struggles to maintain any rapport he may have been building with the audience. Filling the gap with an instrumental interlude most likely would have helped and it’s an error from which the band are unable to recover as they complete their otherwise unremarkable set.
Kiss’ ‘God Of Thunder’ appropriately sets the scene as the house lights dim and the stage smoke arises and helps to build build the anticipation before, exactly on the stroke of the strictly un-Heavy Metal hour of 8pm, Lordi’s own intro takes over as the shapes in the dark signify the arrival of the band. With OX dominating one side of the stage and the zombified Amen twisting and writhing on the other, the gap in the middle is filled by the huge presence of Mr Lordi himself, whose arrival is welcomed with the sort of hysteria teenage pop fans would be more expected to produce as he proclaims that ‘We’re Not Bad For Your Kids (We’re Worse)’.
What follows is more than 90 of pure theatrical heavy metal mayhem – the tongue-in-cheek gimmickry of Alice Cooper (best epitomized by the fake beheading of keyboardist Hella during ‘Schizo Barbie’) combined with Rob Zombie’s sense of the absurd grotesque set to an updated 80s hair metal soundtrack. The songs are simple – that’s the whole point – but all the more effective, as they are merely the vehicle for Lordi’s message about the redemptive power of good old-fashioned no’frills rawk music combined with a suitably grandiose stage show (even if, on this occasion, the venue cannot contain some of its traditionally more OTT elements). There are references to some of Lordi’s musical heroes, such as the appearance of a fake Dee Snider during ‘This is Heavy Metal’, Mana’s spinning bass drum covers and the WASP-influenced blood-shooting chainsaw at the end of ‘Supermonsters’, combined with a real sense of humour – the fake beauty queen crowning of the beastly Mr Lordi, complete with flowers presented by fawning lackeys, during main set closer ‘I’m The Best’ is both hysterical and superbly done.
Despite the early curfew, the band manage an impressive four song encore, with Mr Lordi using his massive prosthetic fingernails to throw possibly the biggest set of devil’s horns during ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ before the tumultuous ‘Sincerely With Love’, with its huge singalong chorus of “Fuck You Asshole”, bringing the house down. ‘Would You Love A Monsterman’ asks their curfew-smashing finale: Belfast tonight most definitely did – and Lordi returned the favour in spades!
We’re Not Bad For Your Kids (We’re Worse) / Bringing Back The Balls To Rock / The Riff / Who’s Your Daddy? / Blood Red Sandman / Schizo Doll / Zombie Rawk Machine / This Is Heavy Metal / Something Wicked This Way Comes / It Snows In Hell / Supermonsters (The Anthem Of The Phantoms) / I’m The Best
Hulking Dynamo / Hard Rock Hallelujah / Sincerely With Love / Would You Love A Monsterman?
Monday May 6th – Warehouse 23, Wakefield
Wednesday May 8th – Ritz, Manchester
Thursday May 9th – The Picture House, Edinburgh
Friday May 10th – The Institute, Birmingham
Saturday May 11th – Rock City, Nottingham
Sunday May 12th – The Forum, London
Check out the official Lordi website at http://www.lordi.fi/
Follow the band on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LordiOfficial
Photographs by Marc Leach – http://www.marcleachphotography.com