Volbeat | Review
The Telegraph Building, Belfast • Saturday 26 May 2018
By Kevin Magee • Photos: Marta Janiszewska
I know what you’re thinking, after what the Danes have done to us over the years, why should we be supporting them? I mean there was the World Cup qualifying defeat and the whole Vikings thing. There are, however, the nice Danes, including my wife and Volbeat. Joking aside, the big sound needs a big room, the Danes brought the noise and the Telegraph Building was the perfect venue, it was filled with rock fans of all descriptions as well as one or two Rockabilly fans.
With a little bit of ‘Born To Raise Hell’ by Motörhead as intro music the band went straight into it with ‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’ followed by the medley of ‘Heaven Nor Hell’ with ‘A Warrior’s Call’ and Dusty Springfield’s ‘I Only Want To Be With You’ from their debut album and from then on they cover their six-album back catalogue quite thoroughly with lead guitarist Rob Caggiano acknowledging as many members of the audience as he can throughout.
Just as I’m beginning to question the truth in their claims to be influenced by Rockabilly I begin to hear it, then it disappears and they remind the crowd that their last visit to Belfast was in support of Metallica, then they return to the Rockabilly swing of things with an improvised country jam which includes elements of ‘Ring Of Fire’, there’s also much praise of the late, great, Mr. Cash. Then they go back to the metal side and try to persuade any crowd surfers to show them some energy – someone does but it doesn’t go well – oh well.
Something hasn’t sat right with me though. They’re fantastic musicians and come together brilliantly as a band but they’re like a variety pack of cereals. There’s some that you love in amongst the bland Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies, the ones you kind of feel obliged to eat. They seem to have a billion influences that they’re trying to revere simultaneously over the course of six albums and then trying to whittle that reverence down to two hours and if anything lets them down it’s that.
They make up for it massively with their crowd interaction, each member makes it their business to make time for the crowd with lead singer/guitarist Mark Paulson moving from right to left and back using three different microphones to make sure that no audience member is left unnoticed – a magic touch, not quite as magic as offering a fan his whiskey, that he mistook for apple juice (I’d like to think the lucky punter got to enjoy it).
My wife (and whichever other Danes were there) were reached out for with shouts of Tusind Tak Skal I Have – thank you very much – before they go into ‘For Evigt’ with the Danish chorus they encourage us all to sing along with, then as if by magic, Mr. Barney appears. Mark Greenway from Napalm Death joins them for a live rendition of ‘Evelyn’ and the roof nearly comes off the old Tele Building before they close with ‘Goodbye Forever’ from their new album, there’s a really short break before they come back out and play ‘Black Rose’ after which Paulson encourages more crowd surfing – in spite of the previous abject failure and probably because of it, nobody does. Either that or they’re afraid they’ll break one of the millions of phones that have been documenting the whole event. After renditions of older songs ‘Hallelujah Goat’ and ‘Still Counting’ the band takes time to distribute plectrums, shake hands and thank the fans, all to the sound of Brad Fiedel’s Terminator theme music.
As we left the historic building I had two thoughts: The first was that Belfast is lucky to have that venue and the second was I’d definitely go see Volbeat again and I think you should too.