Thanks to the sterling work of James and The Distortion Project, Belfast is fast becoming quite the hotbed for metal shows….for both big name draws and the not so big! This time, it was the turn of the highly influential Sacred Reich – who were setting foot on stage in Belfast for the first time in 27 years – to remind Belfast why they are revered as thrash legends.
Before our highly delectable main course of thrashy goodness though we had a starter in the form of Animator, who hail from Dublin via Waterford. We’d never heard of these young whippersnappers before, however there blend of thrash with a healthy dollop of Pantera style groove seem to go down well enough with those who had bothered to show up early enough. Although, despite vocalist Barry’s constant exhortations to get the crowd going menta,l it wasn’t realy happening. No doubt the crowd which was made up of more ‘mature gentlemen’ were saving their energy for the headliners. Still, it was an enjoyable 45 minutes and they can definitely say their first show in Belfast was a success!
Sacred Reich had stated before the tour began that everyone was a VIP and that they would be by the merch stand to chat with fans, sign stuff and take pictures. True to their word, as soon as the doors opened they did just that and in fact remained there until shortly before they took to the stage, only too happy to sign whatever was thrust in their direction. Top drawer lads, top drawer. If only all bands were this committed their fans instead of ransacking their bank accounts!
By the time Sacred Reich took to the stage the club was packed and the temperature was soaring as the band launched into the title track from the iconic Ignorance and Belfast was lapping up every second of it. Just to add to the inferno like conditions inside the Limelight 2, they decided to drop “Death Squad” reasonably early into the set and the first mosh-pits of the evening duly broke out as the crowd went suitably apeshit. From that point on both band and crowd seemed to be surfing on a wave of euphoria as one iron clad classic followed another. Whether it was the belligerant grooves of “Independant” or the mass singalongs generated by “Who’s To Blame” or “The American Way”, Sacred Reich had Belfast eating out of the palm of their hands. All this could only mean one thing though and that was the night ending with an explosive version of thrash classic “Surf Nicaragua”, which saw a handful of stage divers cause carnage, much to the amusement of the band and the horror of the venue security!
This was by no means the perfect show, there were a handful of glitches that seemed at times to rob Sacred Reich of their momentum. But, given the temperatures in the venue, this was maybe a blessing in disguise as it gave both the band and the crowd time to catch their breath. Despite the gremlins, the band were tighter than the proverbial gnats chuff, while frontman Phil Rind was a genial host throughout proceedings, taking time to comment on the differences in Belfast since the last time they had been in the city, during The Troubles 27 years earlier.
Fingers crossed they don’t leave it another 27 years before they return! 8/10