Woad-coated Irish folk metal

We seem to have stumbled in on Waylander at a bad time. They’re beset by technical problems. Although we do catch a haunting whistle of ‘Amazing Grace’ that leads into the customary gruff roar and grate of our woad-coated warriors, it’s not long before is dissolves into the hunt for a new string for their guitarist.

Waylander’s brand of Irish folk metal is in perfect keeping with stage predecessors TYR and Alestorm, if a bit less polished and with a smaller audience now that stage one has kicked off. Never ones to be put off, they soldier on through ‘Hero’s Lament’, and suddenly the guitar’s good to go, and everyone seems elated. Not that being minus a guitar sounded bad at all, which is an amazing feat when faced with a room full of hardened metal devotees.

‘As The Deities Clash’ produces a good show of hands and headbanging from the undaunted crowd. The hardcore fans at the front are really into it, and there are even a few war dances happening at the back. ‘Born To Fight’ sees vocalist Ard Chieftain O’Hagan optimistically suggesting that if the band start the song, the audience will finish it. He shouldn’t be too disappointed with the reaction he got, especially from the hardcore brigade down the front. Although when he suggests that we chant along, he finds himself repeating what he wants us to say several times, as a few deafened audience members beg “what are we meant to be chanting?” It was surprisingly useful after a weekend of constant noise.

Technical difficulties may have sapped time and some of the atmosphere, but the enthusiasm was undeniable, and Waylander are a fantastic show. How about not getting them to compete with Voodoo Six and Skindred next time?