Rabid Bitch Of The North/Bad Boat/Just Me And The Devil – Belfast, Limelight 2 – 19 August 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby   
Saturday, 26 August 2017 04:00

They took their frickin’ time, didn’t they?  Despite having been infecting the Irish metal scene with their brand of NWOBHM-infused riffage for nigh on a decade now, the three guys who collectively refer to themselves as Rabid Bitch Of The North have only now got around to releasing their first ever studio album.  Yes, there have been various demos, singles and EPs – all of which were pulled together into last year’s ‘From The Kennel To The Castle’ compilation – but it came as a welcome surprise to hear that Chris, Gerry and Joe had actually gone an recorded enough new material to put out a full-length offering with which to bother our welcoming ears… which is why we were down the front at this particularly hot and sweaty official launch gig, to welcome their creation into the world and ensure that we didn’t leave with ‘Nothing But A Bitter Taste’ (sic).

 

Just Me And The Devil 1

 

First up were a band I’ll admit I’d never heard of before flyers for this afternoon started appearing.  Actually, outside the headliners, I sincerely doubt if anyone present had heard the name Just Me And The Devil before:  in fact, there was a rumour that they were, in fact, a tribute act dedicated to local Satan worshippers Zlatanera!  Of course, I’m only joking… or am I?  Actually, it turned out to be one of those stories where fact is stranger than fiction… The band are a Dublin band who have their roots in Brazil and are massive RBOTN fans, with frontman D. George having been to most of their shows in the Irish capital: he introduced himself to his northern counterparts and told them Just Me… would love to both support them and play in Belfast – so, without having heard them play a note, the Bitch boys gave them a slot.. this one! “This could be shit,” Joe told me in the neighbouring bar before the doors opened…

 

It wasn’t quite as bad as the bearded frontman feared… not quite!  But, then it didn’t live up to his counter-prediction – “or they could be awesome” – either.  Rather, it was somewhere close to the middle… lodging itself somewhere between “mediocre” and “meh” in the Über Rock Dictionary of Rock ‘n’ Roll Terminology. Their sound actually complements that of the headliner quite well, as it is traditional, old school no frills heavy metal, with a thick meaty groove and taut, concise melodies and rhythms, played well:  you can’t fault their tightness as a unit, but the material is generic and lacking an edge to suggest that they are not much more than a lower-order support act who will take some time to rise up billings such as this… the sort of band that I wouldn’t leave the venue if they were playing, but I also wouldn’t necessarily make a deliberate point of turning up early if I saw their name on the bottom end of a gig poster.

 

www.facebook.com/jjjmmmddd/

 

Bad Boat 1

 

It’s been quite a while – maybe more than a year, by my reckoning – since I last boarded the Bad Boat and enjoyed their brand of dense, psychedelic, psychotic (and that’s just Clarkey) doom, which is thicker and sludgier than the nearby Rover Lagan – although it does also contain plenty of lighter harmonic touches, especially in John and Andy’s guitar work.

 

Unfortunately – and despite Tom’s extrapolation on how to use a tin of beans as a defensive weapon (“you can beat their shite in 57 different ways”) and his assurances that they are “halfway through” recording their new album (“but we’ve been saying that for four years”) – they lose momentum after just the first song, due to the need for a lengthy retune.  But, that’s always been part of Bad Boat’s charm: they appear disjointed, almost anarchic, ramshackle even, but when they mould together they are as capable a wrecking crew as anyone in their peer group, and so it proves as they race through the rest of their slightly foreshortened set. Now, about thon album lads…

 

www.facebook.com/badboatpage/

 

Rabid Bitch Of The North 1

 

Talking of albums… as mentioned at the top of this (slightly meandering, I’ll admit) piece, the purpose of this evening was to launch Rabid Bitch’s new album (do I need to repeat the title?).  Joe – he’s the tall bearded one with the Rickenbacker bass and high pitched vocal delivery – obviously had been watching his predecessor on the stage:  “we are gonna call it ‘About Fuckin’ Time’,” he jokes on the intro to the lead single, ‘The Missionary’.  It may well be, but it’s been worth the wait, as it’s a corker of an album, I can tell you for free (as opposed to the extremely reasonable tenner it’ll cost you to acquire the CD version of same).

 

Old favourite ‘Sisyphus’ had kicked off the set in suitably rambunctious style, with Joe’s low, thrumming bass perfectly countermanding his distinctive squeal, while Chris’ acerbic percussion neatly underpins Gerry’s sharply focussed riffing and laconic solo spots (Chris, btw, is the other, slightly stockier, Wildling while Gerry is the one who hasn’t been in ‘Game Of Thrones’ and has a penchant for brightly coloured guitars!).

 

“This song is about a bunch of cunts… mind you, most of our songs are about cunts!” explains Joe, as the guys from JMATD lead the choreographed headbanging and fist-pumping in front of him. ‘Defending Two Castles’ has my neck sorer than the entire three days of Bloodstock the weekend before, before that huge, Motörhead-esque bass rumble brings in the affectionately tongue-in-cheek ‘Help I’m Trapped In 1999’, complete with Gerry’s old school ‘80s style shredded solo.  And, of course, there’s only one way to end the set, and that’s with their self-described anthem ‘Us Against Them’ (yes, you’ve guessed it: another paean to the cunts of this world).

 

Rabid Bitch Of The North 2

 

All in all, it’s a suitably hot and sweaty launch, and it was great to see the band’s efforts rewarded with a very healthy turnout of supporters on an evening when there were quite a few quality gigs in town calling out for their share of everyone’s hard-earned dosh.  All that remains now is to encourage you to buy the album and turn it up LOUD… I guarantee you won’t be left with a bitter taste…

 

www.facebook.com/NWOBHMRBOTN/

 

‘Nothing But A Bitter Taste’ is out now (well, it would be, wouldn’t it?). You can get your copy HERE.

 

Rabid Bitch Of The North play the following dates:

 

Thursday 28 September – Cardiff, Fuel Rock Club (with Overoth, Mordrake, Isolation and Incursion)

Friday 29 September – Luton, Castle Live (with Overoth, Raze The Void, Corpsing and Cerberus Unchained)

Saturday 30 September – Dundee, Hordes Of Belial (with Virus, Dog Tired, Damaj, Overoth and more)

Friday 3 November – Pwllheli, Y Castell

Saturday 4 November – Dundee, McCleans

Friday 15 December – Camden, The Dev (with Seven Sisters)

 

PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Marc Leach/ Über Rock.

 

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