Tucked away on a cobbled side street on the edge of the oldest part of Belfast, Oh Yeah is a former whiskey bonding warehouse converted into a bespoke music centre – its ground floor a museum by day and a venue by night, its upper floors filled with recording studios, rehearsal studios and offices. It is also one of only two venues in the city equipped to host ‘all ages’ shows.
Opening tonight’s double header, Dubliners Red Enemy get the several dozen youngsters who have turned up for this early doors show going right from the off – even if these kids’ definition of a ‘mosh pit’ seems to be somewhat different from the one I remember from my ‘yoof’, with fists and feet flying at dangerously high levels, with the result that the room resembles more the scene of the sort of street corner riot in which we specialize in this part of the world!
Nevertheless, the southern Irish five piece deliver an energetic set, with vocalist Kevin Letford proving a dynamic frontman and the rest of the band musically tight and efficient.
New Yorkers Stray From The Path are on the last night of a five-week European trek, but they are enthusiastic in throwing down their brand of boisterous hardcore street punk, delivered in a style which is very much in the style of Rage Against The Machine and The Refused, delivered against a wall of feedbacking guitars.
The crowd respond accordingly, and it’s less than 30 seconds before the first stage diver is hurling himself into the crowd – including Red Enemy’s Letford, who briefly duets with SFTP frontman Drew York before leaping into the seething mass stage front. The likes of ‘Bad Girl’ – which York cheekily dedicates to his girlfriend, knowing she can’t hear him – ‘Damien’, ‘Manipulator’ and the title track to current album. ‘Rising Sun’, evoke highly positive reactions, with a constant stream of willing punters clambering onto the tiny stage to jump right back off again… although the singer’s attempts to whip up circle pits do fall surprisingly flat (quite probably due to the minimal attendance). And, sportingly, the band remain on stage when their set has finished to talk to the many young fans who want to bend their willingly listening ears.
Photographs by Paul Verner: www.livei.co.uk