Belfast’s gig goers were on the march once again on Tuesday night (21st March), as West Coast cult metal heroes Armored Saint returned to the city for only their second ever gig in the Northern Irish capital. Playing in support of new live set 'Carpe Noctem', the show followed on from their debut at the now redeveloped Spring And Airbreak venue, back in 2006.
Playing to a modest but devoted following at the Limelight 2 venue, the five-piece proved a ‘Symbol Of Salvation’, delighting the crowd with hits from right across their three and a half-decade career.
Kicking off with the title track from latest well-received release ‘Win Hands Down’, and following up with the anthemic ‘March Of The Saint’, it was clear that despite being only their second date of the year (following on from an appearance in Dublin on Monday night (20th March), the band were tighter than many of their well-rehearsed contemporaries.
Explosive from the off, the five-piece led by former Anthrax singer John Bush, and producer and in-demand bass player Joey Vera, proved just why one of the world’s biggest acts – Metallica – have over the course of their history, courted both vocalist and four-stringer.
With technically precise musicianship without being needlessly showy, the four instrumentalists - Vera, along with guitarists Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan, and Phil’s brother Gonzo on drums - were a perfect match for the stunning vocals of the powerhouse Bush.
Greeting the crowd, John acknowledged the rabid response that the band were receiving, saying; “Wow! Thank you so much”, before adding; “We’re very honoured to be here in Northern Ireland to play in Belfast with Armored Saint for the second time”.
Mixing up their set with a healthy smattering of tracks from ‘Win Hands Down’ - from the groove-driven ‘An Exercise In Debauchery’ to the far-from-it ‘Mess’ - the band also delighted long-time fans with the epic ‘Aftermath’ and commercial highpoint of ‘Last Train Home’.
Closing their set with early-period classics ‘Can U Deliver’ and ‘Mad House’, Armored Saint took their bows for what could prove to be one of Belfast’s gigs of the year.
Armored Saint are due to appear at Hammerfest in Wales on Thursday night (23rd March) before completing their UK tour with dates in Birmingham and Manchester.
Look out for eonmusic’s EXCLUSIVE interview with Joey Vera, to be published shortly.
Armored Saint 2017 UK Tour Dates:
Mar 23 - HammerFest, Cardiff
Mar 24 – Rebellion, Manchester
Mar 25 - O2 Academy 3, Birmingham