News of the previous nights debacle rinsed through the internet on Friday morning telling the story of Volbeat’s very sudden decision to pull the plug on the Belfast performance almost immediately as a result of either technical issues and/or singer Michael Poulsen feeling under the weather.
Either way, things look positive as we arrive at the venue and do our press with guitarist Rob Caggiano (going live on Overdrive.ie later this week) who is eager to take to the legendary stage and do what he loves doing best.
But first, we are treated to Canadian three-piece Danko Jones who jump straight into the party with a feel-good sack of bangers that single the beginning the weekend as they crank up the smiles shortly after the doors opened at 6.30pm.
We get treated to seven slices of hard-rock party-poppers which the half-filled venue soaked up with a somber muted-like enthusiasm.
Dipping into their catalogue with nuggets of catchy anthems such as ‘I Gotta Rock’, ‘Fists Up High‘, ‘First Date‘ and ‘Full of Regret‘, there really is no better way to crack open the weekend.
With very little banter from Danko, the Toranto three-some smash through the likes of ‘Burn in Hell‘, ‘Had Enough‘ and ‘My Little RnR‘, before a flurry of stage tech’s flood the stage and remove all trace of their presence in a matter of minutes. (3.5/5)
Next up is the formidable Baroness. Led by uber talented John Baizley the four-pice take to the stage with an abundance of positive energy and a truck-load of jaw-dropping tunes spanning their magnificent back-catalogue.
The latest opus ‘Gold & Grey‘ completes the chromatic cycle of albums and is somewhat of a celebration of their legacy.
New guitarist/songwriter Gina Gleeson brings a presence to the stage that is pulsing with positive energy and outstanding musicianship. In fact, each member of Baroness bring an inspiring and captivating presence to the Olympia as they lead us from opener ‘Morning Star‘, ‘March to the Sea‘, ‘Borderlines‘ and ‘Tourniquet‘ before the Volbeat throngs; who look perplexed at times but are slowly beginning to understand the complex and delicate song-structures that Baizley & Co. offer up in abundance.
“Chlorine & Wine” (Purple) followed by the anthemic ‘Shock Me‘ (Yellow and White), shows just how beautifully Baroness’s back catalogue translates in a live setting. Baizley covers the stage, gelling with supreme bassist/pianist Nick Jost, who holds the beating heart of Baroness together in tow with Sebastian Thomson (imagine a technically upgraded version of Jimmy Chamberlin [circa ’94] on beast-mode).
Finishing up with ‘Isak‘ (Red) and the brain-hacking ‘Take My Bones Away” Baroness have dominated a tough audience that, to be quite honest, are here for one band; and one band only.
Their own headline show on Irish soil would be greatly appreciated but until then, Baroness, came and they most definitely conquered. 4/5
Tune into www.overdrive.ie in the coming days for a huge feature with Baroness brain-child John Baizley.
So, to the main attraction. Last year’s visit to Ireland was met with the same level of fan intensity with legions of punters travelling from all over Europe to see their hero’s in a ‘smaller‘ venue, compared to the vast arenas they inhabit outside of Ireland.
An impressive, yet simple stage production is unveiled to the applauding masses who roar with approval as the bands enormous back-drop is suspended behind Jon Larsen’s horror-themed custom drum kit.
The sight of frontman Michael Poulsen’s polished new look (including highlights) gets the front row in a tizzy as the band break open the evening’s procession with ‘Pelvis on Fire‘ which is taken from their new opus ‘Rewind, Replay, Rebound‘, followed by 2013’s ‘Doc Holiday‘ and the almost deafening audience sing-along ‘For Evigt‘.
A nervous-looking crew side stage begin to relax as the memories of the previous night crumble away like cake in the rain and band, crew and audience thankfully move along with the show and embrace ‘Lola Montez‘ on this glorious Friday night.
Guitarist Rob Caggiano takes it all in with his usual calm presence, all the while bassist Kaspar Larsen and Jon Larsen, who has the birds-eye view from the drum-riser; keep the train on the tracks.
As the show unwinds, the anthems come thick and fast and it’s all business with Poulsen who keeps the stage-banter to minimum, with little interaction here and there, which included a quick reference to “not feeling 100% and still a bit sick” no doubt as a reference to the abrupt show cancellation in Belfast the night before.
A quarter way into the set, one Danko Jones re-appears on stage for ‘Black Rose‘ which is loaded with visceral that you just don’t get from the recorded version. Of course, the Olympia laps it up in abundance!
It’s the balance of Poulsen’s vocal melody and Caggiano’s solo’s that is one of the many secrets to Volbeat’s chemestry and it doesn’t come any more apparent than the selection they pull out of the bag for the encore which consists of ‘The Devils Bleeding Crown‘, ‘Leviathan‘, ‘Pool of Booze, Booze, Booza‘, and ‘Still Counting‘ which brings the estatic levels to peaking point in the venue.
With a touch of Slayer, a pinch of Metallica a dab of Thin Lizzy and coated in a glistening Johnny Cash and Elvis glaze, Volbeat have proved once again that they are heading in that highly coveted 45 degrees trajectory towards the big-time. Until the next time…. 4/5
Overdrive sat down with Volbeat’s Rob Caggiano for a chat about the current mood in the band, stories from the road, working with AC/DC’s Brian Johnson and much more. You can access this on www.overdrive.ie in the coming days.
Volbeat Dublin Olympia Setlist – October 4th 2019
Photos – Down The Barrel Photography © 2019 (Volbeat / Baroness) | Exposing Shadows Photography for www.overdrive.ie © 2o19 (Danko Jones)