Live Reviews - Reviews

Rabid Bitch of the North (Single Launch) w/ Astralnaut & Erosion @ Voodoo, Belfast


It’s a gig that’s been a long time coming: Rabid Bitch of the North’s single launch for ‘Green Eyes’. Plagues by distribution issues (record label Alone Records hit problems with both Record Store Day and the crumbling Greek economy), invitations for preorder were went out in March last year but the vinyl single (and accompanying anthology CD) didn’t actually arrive until around Halloween. A posse of bands was duly assembled (with Caustic God sadly having to drop out last minute) for the launch gig scheduled for January 16th in Voodoo.

First up, Caustic God’s replacements Erosion stepped onstage. Having been together for less than a year and with only a few gigs under their belts, they sound surprisingly polished, with their groovy brand of thrash metal a joy to behold. Combining old school thrash with ‘punch you in the face’ racing grooves is a rather daring move, but it really works, as evidenced tonight. With drummer Mark Stewart taking lead vocals, the band fire out a remarkable wall of sound that threatens to overwhelm even Voodoo’s robust sound system. They need to work on their live song structure a bit – the endings are rather abrupt and squeak rather than roar – but on the whole this was an impressive set.


Astralnaut are up next, with their beefy and pulsating stoner rock. They immediately draw the crowd in with their hypnotic solos, morosely dark vocals and soaring melodies. Although their music is rather meandering and proggy (as good stoner rock is) there are moments of real vim and vigour that certainly make you stand smartly to attention. A tribute to fallen hero Lemmy garners a particularly loud roar of approval; in fact the crowd happily demonstrate their enthusiasm for this talented bunch throughout the entire set.


After a rather protracted wait (and a fair bit of faffing about with a projector) the assembled audience finally get to witness Rabid Bitch of the North‘s first ever music video for ‘Green Eyes’. It’s funny, silly, very cool (especially the mirrored sunglasses!) and a bit of a biting commentary on today’s society – a description, incidentally, which largely sums up the band themselves.

The formalities over, it’s time to get down to what Rabid Bitch do best: play ass kicking rock n roll. They blast off with the chugging ‘Sisyphus’, firing out riffs mighty enough to flatten the place. Vocalist Joe McDonnell’s (pictured, top) voice is in particularly rude health tonight, with his often unearthly screams flooding Voodoo confidently.

The reaction from the crowd is electric: the by now packed room responds with we-deserved deafening whoops and roars. Beaming, the band continue on with crowd favourites such as the racing ‘Defending Two Castles’, the razor sharp ‘Slave to the Man’ and, of course, single ‘Green Eyes’.


It’s around this time that whoever is operating the smoke machine falls asleep on the button, or something: the entire stage is all but obliterated for about ten minutes, with music emanating from what seems eerily like an empty stage! No matter: they soldier on with single B side ‘Your Misery’, with its deep bass-y riff that can be felt right down to your bootstraps, followed by the slower paced but no less engaging ‘God of Punishment’.

Mcdonnell pauses briefly here to also pay tribute to his (and the band’s) idol Lemmy, before they play a spirited, RBOTN-stamped version of Motorhead’s ‘Die You Bastard’. The concentration on their faces says it all: they want to do it justice, which is rather touching.


New song ‘Chance’ is then given an airing (love the ‘My Sharona’-style drumming!) followed by the always awesome ‘Help! I’m Trapped In 1999!’. Final track ‘Us Against Them’ knocks it out of the park as it revs down the gears and back up them – that riff! That battering ram of a beat! A huge roar from the crowd later and it’s all over. It may have taken the Rabid Bitch boys awhile, but they made it. Worth the wait? Hell. Yes. Melanie Brehaut

Photos by Liam Kielt