Armored Saint are not a band prone to bouts of long and extensive touring so when the band hit Belfast – for what what was only their second gig here in the guts of 35 years – there was a respectable turnout, despite it being a Tuesday night!
After a well received 45 minute set from local thrashers Sinocence, Armored Saint took to the stage to a heroes welcome. Launching straight into “Win Hands Down”, it was immediately obvious that despite the fact that this was only their second show on this short tour, there was no sign of any ring-rust as they tore through a 90 minute, 15 song set of both old and newer tracks; with all of their albums being represented.
Taking in absolute classics such as “March Of The Saint”, “Last Train Home” and “Reign Of Fire” – alongside perhaps more obscure tracks such as “Aftermath” and “After Me, The Flood” – Belfast lapped up all Armored Saint had to offer before the double whammy of “Can U Deliver” and “Madhouse” left both band and crowd finishing on a jubilant high of metallic awesomeness! One thing that really stood out during this performance was the bands innate sense of groove, which was anchored by the uncluttered swing of Gonzo Sandoval and the fluid playing of bass wizard Joey Vera. John Bush was ever the exemplary frontman, delivering his lyrics with a bullish intensity one minute to interacting with his audience in a warm, genial style the next. Meanwhile, guitarist Jeff Duncan and Phil Sandoval mostly shunned the limelight and let their playing speak for themselves.
What was great about this concert was Armored Saint’s collective joy at performing. They’re fully aware that they are never going to be the biggest band in the world but what is important to them is getting on state and rocking the fuck out for the sheer love of their music and their fans. Can u deliver? Armored Saint certainly did and with talk of a new album in 2018 hopefully it won’t be another 10 years before they get their asses back to Belfast! 8/10
Look out for a Worship Metal interview with both John Bush & Gonzo Sandoval coming soon!
Armored Saint’s live album, Carpe Noctum, is out now!