It can be a gamble to promote gigs post-Christmas, when everyone’s strapped for cash and awaiting that first pay packet of the year. However the promoter of this gig (Chris Shaw) did his homework and put together such a strong line-up for this early (6pm-9pm) show that he pretty much guaranteed himself a healthy mid-January rock crowd.
Ma’s Rock and Sport bar in Belfast is fast-becoming a mecca for up and coming NI rock talent in need of somewhere to showcase their wares. The fact its owners love the genre and appreciate the need to encourage young/new and established bands in equal measures helps of course.
Young singer/songwriter Maddie Mew was up first with an acoustic set, the growing crowd on hand enjoying her performance thoroughly. This is a girl who definitely improves and hones her act with each performance.
Next on stage were the tight as ever unit of Cross Eyed Mary, with frontman Kevin on fine form as always they showcased their laid back fusion of sleaze, metal and blues influenced rock with a blistering set. I for one can’t wait to get my hands on CEM’s eagerly anticipated CD.
Penultimate act Rebels By Nature are an exciting band to witness live. They hit the ground running with their dirty rock sound and the five-piece act strive to outdo everyone else on the bill. Singer Phill even took things off the stage and into the enthused crowd on a few occasions, head banging along with fans mid song. The entire band relished the opportunity to fire off a salvo of hard-hitting tunes including those from their well-received Blood & Whiskey EP.
Headliners Voodoo Dogg (featuring promoter Chris on drums) had a tough act to follow, but pulled it off with ease. Initially formed in early 2011 and gigging hard around Ireland since, Ma’s however is a venue close to this bands heart and one that they obviously enjoy playing in. With recent EP Strictly Business forming the core of their set Voodo Dogg put forth a nice classic rock style set with blues and heavy influences.
Voodoo Dogg plus guests was an energetic and enthusiastic evening of rock, the bands worked well together sound wise and having an acoustic act start proceedings made the build up all the sweeter too.
Voodoo Dogg http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100002476231730
Rebels By Nature http://www.facebook.com/#!/rebelsbynature
Cross Eyed Mary http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=10000199419778
Maddie Mew http://www.facebook.com/#!/PONCES.PANTSS
Ma Nelsons http://www.facebook.com/#!/masrockbar
Written by: Philip Allely