Some death acoustic metal - Nick Oliveri style

July 2015 had arrived and after the previous couple of gigs I was once more looking forward to something different.

Now I am not a fan of acoustic sets. And having no idea who Nick Oliveri was (I missed a lot as it passed me by OK?) but Johnny had said this will be an amazing gig. So, off Simon and I went to Voodoo in Belfast to partake in some 'Death Acoustic' and see if this was going to keep knocking me out of the park on the experience.

As with all these gigs each venue has its own frisson. I have been to the Limelight, McHugh's Bar, O'Reilly's Bar, The Eglantine Bar and VooDoo with each one having a particular good but different atmosphere.

Voodoo is a bar on Fountain Street in Belfast and has a rather alternative feel about it with an all are welcome attitude. Almost the epitome of Rock and metal - that you can dress or look how you want as we are all here for the music.  The staff are really down to earth, friendly and efficient at their jobs of selling beverages (alcoholic or not).

So gathering at Voodoo were the usual suspects along with Simon and myself. Johnny, Carolyn Ashby and Mark Ashby along with a bit of a heaving crowd come to see Nick Oliveri. The banter and craic was flowing just as fast as the beer. This sort of thing can really help raise your spirits. This was a Distortion Project gig and that guarantees you will always meet the lovely James Loveday, the metal man of the masses who organises so many gigs every year under the Distortion Project banner. Having paid in and duly received the usual wrist band I was very relaxed.

At gigs you have paid your money and it is the stress for someone else to entertain you or to organise the event. I appreciate this and I think everyone who ever goes to a gig should appreciate. Turning up and paying your money in is the culmination of a lot of blood sweat and tears of a lot of people behind the scenes.

So. Nick Oliveri. Turns out he is far to talented for his own good. As a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter, he is best known as former bass guitarist of Queens of the Stone Age. He has also been a member of Kyuss, Dwarves and Vista Chino. He is the frontman for Mondo Generator, a punk and metal hybrid that he formed in 1997. As talented as he is he has also had a very troubled past in true rock star style. But tonight he was going to have to entertain me.

Firstly he has a real hard edged 'I have seen the hardness of life' look with long beard and bald head. But he looked comfortable with it too, as he seemed to accept what life throws his way - all the good and all the bad.  As he strode onto the stage with his guitar I waited for what was going to come and interested in how his self described death acoustic was going to sound.

He knew the stage was small and pulled us closer to him - in fact as close as possible, which is fairly easy as the stage is really just a low platform with no barriers.  This really does make for very intimate gigs. 

Even though he is suffering from a sore throat he downs a hot whiskey (a traditional curative in Northern Ireland) and goes for it.

And wow!! For someone with a sore throat he really did not let that affect his performance at all. Absolutely superb set that was well nearly an hour and a half of just him, his acoustic guitar  and his voice.

Inbetween songs (and sometimes during) he would regale us, the audience, with powerful personal stories that both made us laugh and sombre at the same time. I was also surprised his guitar stayed the course as well as his voice. This was one of the rawest performances I have seen so far. An emotional, sharp, raw, acidic, guttural, pure, powerful, stripped back performance that reached right down into your gut.

I knew none of the songs. I was also one of the only ones there in that particular category. But it did not matter. Nick knew his insides were rotten, torn, bruised, poisonous and yet with this performance he entertained us by showing us those insides. It was a cathartic performance that took me through a range of emotions myself, some I didn't really want to feel again. But I was not alone. That was Nick's powerful trick. It was a roller coaster of a performance. Beautiful ugly, comforting and terrifying all at the same time. Near the end he invited the ultimate audience participation event by pulling and cajoling people onto the stage with him to sing along.

For a much better review of the gig check out Mark Ashby's PlanetMosh article.

Definitely, Nick Oliveri live is a must see. He is also a lovely humble man to have a chat with as well.

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