Kobra And The Lotus – Belfast, Voodoo – 26 November 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Friday, 08 December 2017 04:40

It’s a cold Sunday night in Belfast, and the third of three gigs in as many nights for the team from URHQ… but, hey, we ain’t complaining – ‘cos the nature of rock ‘n’f’n’ roll and we wouldn’t have it any other way!


Normally, as regular UR readers will know, I’m a big fan of bands that defy categorization: I love to have my musical boundaries explored and pushed… but, the danger, all too often, can be that in doing so, bands turn their sound into a mishmash of cultural clashes and confused/confusing aural experiences. And, so it proved, unfortunately, this evening with openers Brutai – a band I’d actually been looking forward to seeing, given the snippets I’d heard online from their debut album, last year’s suitably monickered ‘Born’.


Brutai 2

If I have to describe their sound, to me it is part mathcore, part progressive metal and part metalcore, with heavy bass rhythms very much to the fore.  The small stage, crammed with both bands’ gear, makes it difficult for them to move about, and perhaps having some valuable room would have added some energy to their performance, which is as static as those delivering it: in fact, guitarist Henry Ryan and keyboardist Alex Lorimer look bored all the way through (as did most of my friends around our table, as they spent the majority of the set on their various social media channels).


The result is very much a light bites appetizer for us to nibble on and still leave us with more than enough room for the main course.  Just a pity it was so unfulfilling an entrée, as, as referenced above, the morsels I had enjoyed from the album had been somewhat tastier.


Kobra And The Lotus 15


I’d seen Kobra Paige and her band of merry musos quite a few years back, when they opened for a stonking Judas Priest/Saxon double headliner in Hammersmith:  I could smell the potential then, and have watched them develop ever since, and so was really looking forward to seeing them up close and personal in this most intimate of venues… and boy, I’m glad to report that I was far from disappointed. In fact, to continue (and conclude) the culinary references, it was a more than satiating performance, in every regard.


Despite the (relatively) tiny turnout, Kobra bursts onto the stage with a huge smile on her face, and right from the off has everyone in the room eating out her sweaty palms. The power of her voice fills every corner of the room and is matched only by that of her personality, which shines through from the very beginning of the set to the very end.


Kobra And The Lotus 14


The band are tighter than big Paul’s grip on a bottle of brandy, but the focus inevitably is on the young lady up front, who has that all-important ability to command a room, whether it is a festival arena or a tiny back street club such as this. In reciprocation, the horns bowing in “we are not worthy” style appreciation symbolize the avid reception she and the band are receiving from this dedicated band of loyal fans, some of whom have travelled from Germany, such is their dedication.


KATL manage quite a difficult feat – retaining a sound that is very much rooted in old-school metal sensibilities, from the form and structure of the songs through the twin guitar attack to the almost obligatory drum solo (which in turn leads into one of their many beloved covers, in tonight’s case Zeppelin’s ‘Immigrant Song’), yet also sound fresh, modern and dynamic, as well as branded very heavily with their own distinctive and independent stamp.  The result is a powerful and impressive performance from a powerful and impressive band who deserve exposure to bigger audiences than they attracted this evening.


It was also good to see Kobra and the guys hanging about after coming off stage, signing autographs, posing for photos and chatting to those of us who had a few minutes to hang around, in between stripping down their gear. Let’s hope that, as their career progresses, they retain that sense of humility and groundedness.




PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © The Dark Queen/Über Rock.  You can view our full gallery of photographs HERE.


Prior to the gig, we sat down with KATL guitarist Jasio Kulakowski to chat about 'Prevail I' and it's follow-up:



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