Live: Orange Goblin / Saint Vitus (Voodoo Lounge, Dublin 30/10/2014) Posted: 18/11/2014 by John O'Brien
There’s something magical about the Voodoo Lounge on a Thursday night and tonight sees host to two of the biggest bands of it’s genre. And with both of them celebrating anniversaries this year and next year. Switching headline duties each night left us wondering who was gonna open up………
First up was the mighty ORANGE GOBLIN who unleashed straight into ‘Scorpionica’ and set the tone for the night. And make no mistake about it, this was gonna be one hell of a night. Despite being together for 20 years next year, ORANGE GOBLIN shows no sign of slowing down. The venue was well packed by 8pm. With a set list spanning their entire career they rolled out classic after classic. The man mountain Ben Ward controlled the stage and engaged the fans in every song they played. Tracks from the latest album “Back From The Abyss” showed signs of being in their live set for years to come still. ‘Sabbath Hex’ is a pure crowd pleaser and with a chorus demanding everyone to raise their right hand and sing along was met with the sight of fists being held high and proud.
Like most metal bands they are heavily influenced by BLACK SABBATH. And they are without doubt one of the best live bands out there and with a recent support slot announced on a major American tour, ORANGE GOBLIN deserve after all these years to break the American market. ‘Heavy Lies The Crown’ and ‘The Devils Whip’ just remind you of what these guys are capable of. Before time though and from the look of the crowd too, a set they wished was longer, ‘Red Tide Rising’ from the latest album closes proceedings but still has us foaming at the mouth for more. Be sure to check out ORANGE GOBLIN when they come through again next year.
SAINT VITUS have been together since the late-70s but tonight they celebrate 35 years of “Born To Late”. Taking to the stage after 9pm and it’s pretty clear that father time hasn’t been kind to the boys. But don’t let this fool you… cause these guys still kick ass! Starting of with ‘Living Backwards‘ and ‘I Bleed Black’, Scott’s voice is still on fine form and despite the image being something from the 60’s, Dave Chandler’s guitar playing is a pleasure to witness live and after waiting 35 years to see their live debut over here the crowd were lapping up every moment.
‘War Starter’ and ‘The Troll’ are finally great to hear live on these shores. With no intention of slowing down either ‘Clear Windowpane’ and ‘Born Too Late’ show us exactly why SAINT VITUS are held in such high regard amongst the Doom faithful. Encore ‘Saint Vitus’ is played and this time the crowd are definitely wanting more from the forefathers of Doom. Cue Scott’s mad dash to get back through the crowd after the encore is completed and he has left the stage. Once Scott is back onstage we are treated to three more songs and with the house lights up it just seemed to add more to the mystique of SAINT VITUS. It’s no wonder that no self respecting Doomhead holds SAINT VITUS in such high regards. Only hope now that they make it to these shores again before they finally call it day.
Interview with ORANGE GOBLIN’s Ben Ward…
The first thing that strikes you about ORANGE GOBLIN is the 6ft plus frame of frontman and long time member Ben Ward. He looks like a wrestler with his frame and stature and as he enters the room ahead of the interview I was both in awe at his sheer presence but also the fact that I’ve been a fan of ORANGE GOBLIN for some nineteen years now. With a drink in our hands I sat down and was literally star struck for the first few seconds. So I quickly gathered my composure and settled in for the interview.
Wes: You’re half way through the tour. How has it being going so far?
Ben: Yeah! It’s been great. Nothing bad to say about it to be honest. It’s a massive honour to be out with SAINT VITUS. We’ve been fans for years and friends of the band for a long time. It’s been great, obviously they’re celebrating their 35years together. we got a brand new album to promote and the timing is perfect, every show has been great. We’ve been to Spain,Portugal, France, Italy, Switzerland back across to the UK and Ireland. Last night was good as it was our home town in London and we headlined, so it was a bit personal.
Wes: I’d say it was a big difference weather wise playing the UK and here compared to Spain and Italy?
Ben: It was unseasonably hot at times on the stage a few of those nights in Italy, Spain and Portugal. The worse thing about it was the mosquitos everywhere. We were covered in bites.So it’s good to get back to normal weather.
Wes: This album, “Back From The Abyss” is one of my personal favourites and for me one of your best so far. Did it feel good to get it out so soon after the delay that last album suffered from and give something back to the fans?
Ben: Yeah! There was a bit of a delay of five years between “Healing Through The Fire” and “Eulogy Of The Damned” where we didn’t do any recording or writing even. When we finally got around to it. The response to “Eulogy…” took us by surprise and it has finally allowed us to do what we love as a living, which is why it didn’t take so long for “Back From The Abyss” to come about. We acknowledge that you need a product to go on tour. Record sales aren’t a source of income, so you have to be prepared to get out there on the road and play as often as you can. But yeah we’re really pleased with the album, like we didn’t go into writing mode in January knowing we had to start recording in April/May in typical ORANGE GOBLIN style leaving everything to the last minute. It felt like a natural spontanious way to record it.
Wes: Was it better that way for you?
Ben: Yeah! It was to be honest but we seem to work better under pressure. You try to write on the road but it never happens that way. You’re usually busy drinking or doing something else and it gets left till the last minute. I went on tour with another band as a tour manager and it wasn’t till we actually went into the studio that I started writing lyrics and vocal melodies. Martin came in did his bass parts and went on his honeymoon and he didn’t know what I was working on, but neither did anyone else know what I was working on and it kept it fresh for us. The way we record is the first four or five days we get the bass and drums down then we would go in and do each part ourselves over five more days. Then every weekend we would go in as a band and see what we could do to make it better or what we could change. It’s a really good way to record and the studio in London where we did it and the guy we worked with Jamie agreed that it was the way t go with us.
Wes: You worked with Jamie Dodd before?
Ben: Yeah! We worked with him before on “Eulogy…” and we did a BLACK SABBATH track for Metal Hammer. So we asked him to work with us again and the production on the album is brilliant from him, so yeah we didn’t want to change the formula for this album.
Wes: The vibe on the record is amazing and it comes across that you really enjoyed recording it too. Next year marks 20 years of ORANGE GOBLIN, any plans for it at all?
Ben: There’s a few things in the pipeline at the moment and we will play “Big Black” in its entirety at a few festivals we are already confirmed for and there’s some tracks that will get played too that haven’t been played lived before that rely on additional players on stage be it harmonica, keyboards.
Wes: So chances are there will be tracks that will be played live that aren’t fan favourites but are fan favourites?
Ben: That’s exactly it. There’s songs that we will need extra musicians for cause a lot of those songs were written when we were still a five piece. Other than that there’s always plans for touring. We’ve two weeks left on this tour with SAINT VITUS, then two weeks off at home before we go tour the States for three weeks as the main support to DOWN.
Wes: Have you got a big fan base in the States as it is or is it a steady growing one?
Ben: It’s a hard one to call to be honest. We do really well in the major cities but it’s huge over there and it’s such a hard market to break. Over the last ten years we’ve been there a couple of times but last year we made a breakthrough as support to CLUTCH who do really well there. So we went back over as a headline tour and we noticed it definitely building up. But we said to our agent over there that there’s no point in us at this point in time doing headline tours but give us support slots, that’s how we got the DOWN tour. Hopefully we get to do the BLACK LABEL SOCIETY tour too as there is talk of us doing it.
Wes: You’re doing the Damnation Festival this weekend. You looking forward to it?
Ben: Yeah! It’s the first one we’re playing since the very first one in 2007. It’ll be good to play amongst great company too in BOLT THROWER, CANNIBAL CORPSE and the recently reformed RAGING SPEEDHORN, who are all good friends of ours.
Wes: Do you see the smaller festivals like Bloodstock, Hellfest gaining momentum as opposed to the likes of Wacken and Download?
Ben: Yeah! I remember when Hellfest started off and a lot of people didn’t know about it and it’s now being seen as one of the biggest festivals in the world. I don’t know whether it’s good booking or that it’s more acceptable now. I’m just excited that 20 years on people still want to book us for the festivals.
Wes: One final question Ben, any plans for Christmas?
Ben: We actually don’t get home till the 23rd of next month after the DOWN tour, so I’ll be looking forward to seeing my son and spending time with the family.
Review / Interview by Wes Morrissey
all photos by Olga Kuzmenko
( http://www.olgakuzmenko.com/ )