Live Gig Review by Brian Boyle (Contributor/Writer) Myglobalmind Webzine
© Paul Wharton
Photos by Paul Wharton
I have to tip my hat to Stormzone, having been given a 6.45pm time slot on a Friday evening, in Dublin, is tough. Even tougher, walking out on stage when there’s just eight people propping up the barrier, and a handful floating around the bar area. Nevertheless, that didn’t deter these guys. For the measly 25 minute set they were handed, John Harv Harbinson and co., completely tore it up with a ripper of a performance.
I must admit to not knowing an awful lot about occult metallers, Hell. But after witnessing the Derbyshire 5 piece brand of heebeegeebee metal, I have become one of their disciples. My dark trip into the unknown began with a chilling Gehennae Incendiis. Lead vocalist, David Bowers appearance on stage was curious, jaw dropping and a tad comical. Adorned with a crown of thorns and satanic red eyes, there was a lot of open mouths in the crowd. The rest of the band, including guitarist and acclaimed metal producer, Andy Sneap, looked equally as disturbing with zombie-esque white faces. But despite the gimmickry of their appearance, they held this entranced Dublin crowd captive right until closing track, On Earth as It Is in Hell. So if you like your metal laced with gory camp theatrics, these guys will not disappoint.
Having been named as a part influence for heavy metal spoof film, Spinal Tap, Saxon virtually played out that famous Stonehenge scene tonight. Legendary lead vocalist Biff Byford jokingly made light of the bands backdrop, which frankly wouldn’t have fitted over my kitchen table. But Saxon don’t rely on gimmicks, they never have. Right from opener Motorcycle Man, the only thing this crowd wanted to do was worship upon the alter of a band that have been metal crusaders for the past 35 years. After the wonderfully doomy Sacrifice,Power and the Glory gets the nostalgia flowing, while 1981 classic And the Bands Played On is brilliantly received by the hardcore Dublin following. Bassist Nibbs Carter gave the crowd a headbanging masterclass onStrong Arm of the Law, his frenzied rotating mane was a sight to behold. Now a healthy 63 years young, Byford‘s vocals are holding up nicely, and on the rebel rousing Heavy Metal Thunder, he proves he ‘s still a impressive force.
For the balding, and quickly ageing, rockers like myself, the last 40 minutes or so were nothing short of exquisite. Out came the big guns, The Eagle Has Landed, 747 (Strangers in the Night), Crusader and Princess of the Night, had the unassuming guitar duo of Paul Quinn and Doug Scarratt, working overtime. While drummer, Nigel Glockler‘s effortless thudding gave this club’s foundations merciless stress. As encores go, I doubt they come much better than the career defining Wheels of Steel and Denim and Leather. It was a case of down came the phones, and up went the fists. Byford always cuts an imposing figure, but when he’s belting out iconic tunes like this, he’s really at his most commanding.
Saxon gave this Dublin crowd everything they had, the enthralling power of their music has stood the test of time. They may be one of the most unfashionable bands of all time, but fashion has no loyalty, Saxon and their fans bleed it.