Belsonic: Elliot leads by Example, has crowd in palm of hand
The end of summer looms ominously on the horizon, but Belfast's festival season is just getting started. Next week sees Tennent's Vital bring The Killers and David Guetta to Boucher Park, while over the next fortnight Belsonic will have Custom House Square reverberating to the sounds of Queens Of The Stone Age, Kodaline, Imagine Dragons, Chic, Biffy Clyro and, opening proceedings last night, bloke-pop overlord Example.
First, though, the support acts.
Dublin electro act Le Galaxie have been doing the rounds for years and are massive down south, regularly packing out large venues and festival tents, but their profile here remains low and hundreds of apathetic teenagers keyed up for Example resolutely failed to be won over.
Their extravagantly bearded frontman Michael Pope's closing words summed it up: "We've been old, you've been young."
No such worries for Jess Glynne, the Londoner riding high having supplied vocals for three of the year's biggest singles – Rather Be by Clean Bandit and Route 94's My Love, plus her own, Right Here.
The first two hits – dispensed with in quick succession mind-set – duly sent the kids wild, but the rest of the set's vaguely soulful, ultimately generic pop failed to inspire.
There was never any question of Elliot Gleave having to get the crowd onside.
From the start of a high-energy, hit-packed set he had the Belsonic crowd in the palm of his hand.
Gleave trades on everyman charm, and his blokey charisma and constant exhortations were ideally suited to a crowd eager to go absolutely mental.
This music has all the subtlety of a breezeblock to the head – the colossal All The Wrong Places and Perfect Replacement sounded like the unholy union of electro, dubstep, nu-metal and rave – but no one comes to an Example show for delicacy or introspection.
Instead, the crowd got exactly what they wanted – an unstoppable stream of very silly but deliriously fun rave-pop anthems.