Trying to bring a crowd together on a Monday Night in Belfast can be an incredibly difficult feat, and with it being a scorching day in the city with multiple events taking place in the same building, you would be forgiven for not bringing in the numbers yet not one of those things seemed to dent the attendance figures of the final show of the Defy Tour with an incredibly healthy number in the audience.
With an early start time of 6.30pm (doors 6.00pm) to accommodate the 14+ audience, and the need to finish before curfew, Sylar, Wage War and Of Mice & Men had 3 ½ hours to ensure that not one fan was left disappointed within Mandela Hall, and I can assure you they weren’t with one of the best live performances I have seen in a long time.
Sylar were up first, having made it known that it was their first time in Ireland and I can safely they will be remembered for a long time to come, from the start of the set right until they said their goodbyes heads were banging and circles of death forming within the crowd, Jayson Panesso gave an intense performance throughout the set with his lyrical flow coming smooth and with nothing but pure energy bursting forth. Truly a band to add to your Spotify collection.
Wage War were up next and having watched live videos for weeks prior to the gig, and doing my homework on Spotify, they truly gave an awe-inspiring performance, it’s rare to find an artist that sounds exactly like they do on the album but everything was incredibly tight, from the concussive blasts of each drumbeat punching you in the chest to the vicious and razor sharp rhythms that had the audience screaming for more, for a band that prior to a few weeks ago I had never heard, I can safely say I like so many more in that hall will definitely not be forgetting them any time soon
With the headliners taking up the stage after a short intermission and with the atmosphere at fever pitch thanks to the support, Of Mice & Men came on stage to a crowd ranging from the ages of 14 to 40 who all had the same look of excitement and anticipation on their faces, again rare to see a band like this stretch across so many years.
With the opening number of ‘Defy’ the crowd went nuts, as I was attempting to get photos in the pit, no matter where I stood I could feel the energy behind me, the sheer passion of both young and old enjoying a band they had eagerly awaited a visit from for a long time, heads were banging hard and the mosh was in full session by the start of Warzone with no time to catch your breath, this was certainly a ‘balls to the wall‘ performance, with a lot more to come. Each track was a home run performance with not one thing that I could pick on or fault.
Having seen many bands on the final night of tour drained and trying to give a decent show for the audience, Of Mice & Men had no issues in showing that they were not afraid to push it to the limit and really bring home that last night, the energy of the performance was beyond measure and truly blew me away.
With Of Mice & Men returning to their home soil for their US tour, we bid them farewell, but from this writer, I cannot wait for them to return.
Get the full review of the Dublin Academy show from the previous night here.
Words / Photo – Conor Kinahan
© www.overdrive.ie 2018.