By Eric Mackinnon
Zippo Encore Stage
Friday, June 9, 2017
For many Download-bound festival fun seekers Blackwater Conspiracy will be the very first band they wrap their eager lugs around.
The Northern Irish rockers will open the Zippo Encore Stage on Friday, June 9, and kick-start a weekend of hair-swinging, hip-thrusting, foot-stompin, partner twirling and smile inducing magic.
“I just hope we get through it without fuckin` it up,” jokes Blackwater Conspiracy frontman Phil Conalane.
“Seriously though, it is an honour to open the second stage so we plan on playing the songs off the new album, which is released the same day.
“We definitely want to hear what people think of it. You cant please everybody all the time but hopefully most people will `get it`. Its just our take on rock n roll done the Irish way.
“ Once you have written them , you WANT people to hear them....what's the point otherwise? however once you have released them out it to the world you really have no control on how people interpret the songs and that's cool. Each song will mean something else to the next person. If people can enjoy the songs, great.”
Their début album 'Shootin' The Breeze' drops on the same day they will be prowling the second stage like panthers on a hot tin roof but for Phil it won't be his first time on the Download bill after previous appearances with his former band Million $ Reload.
The evolution from Million $ Reload into Blackwater Conspiracy was made live on stage in quite dramatic fashion when, at a live show at the Empire Music Hall in Belfast, the M$R backdrop on the stage dropped to the floor and the bass drum artwork is ripped off to reveal the new identity – Blackwater Conspiracy.
“We didn't really look at it as being brave, it was more of a case of getting it over and done with without going into a whole lot of drama on the `whys` & `what for's?`. So yes, it did get the message across … very quickly.”
He continued: “It was a little bit of both , the music direction in Million $ Reload was slowly evolving into a little less in your face hard ferocious rock and more laid back ,chilled out rock n roll. So changing the name was natural to us, M$R was a separate identity as far as we are concerned.”
Back to the festival circuit and this summer's date with the dedicated Download masses. Do bands ever look at the bill and look at who they are up against at the same time?
“ I really don't know what other bands feel about going up against other bands on other stages,” he said. “Fans will like what they wanna like , so they will go to whatever stages they want , which will be pre-planned. Whoever shows up to our stage for our set will have a good rockin time, that's for sure! I'm not bothered who is playing at the same time as us.”
He went on: “I'm looking forward to seeing both Exodus and Good Charlotte. I grew up on a lot of thrash metal , so definitely want to check them out. Good Charlotte too because they have a few good tunes. We plan on being there all weekend so there are a bunch of bands we'll want to see.