rarely been to UK club gigs outside of London so it feels odd at having to make
my way through pitch darkness with no obvious landmarks to guide me. At one
point I even ended up in a cemetery (I kid you not!). Eventually I manage to
find the Red Lion – a pub with adjacent live venue that will be hosting the gig.
Main attraction are More, one of the countless NWOBHM bands that fizzled
(temporarily) into obscurity but not before releasing some prized gems. In
More’s case this constituted in 2 full-lengths. Opening for More tonight are to
be Wretched Soul, some local lads who are preparing to release their debut album
While the bands are making their sound-checks, my
gaze aimlessly scouts the decor of the Red Lion. That’s when it hits me that I
am sitting in a beacon of Metal history. The pub’s walls are littered with
posters and photos of bands that have played here since the late 1970s: Diamond
Head, Iron Maiden, Praying Mantis, Venom, Ethel The Frog (whatever happened to
them?), Samon (Bruce Dickinson’s band prior to joining Iron Maiden)……I
almost begin to see the ghosts of all the Metal fans and musicians that,
doubtlessly armed with a pint or two, indulged in this new-fangled sound called
‘Metal’. I wonder…..were they aware that music history was being rewritten?
But enough dithering now, because it’s showtime....
Sadly I missed the first few songs of Wretched
Soul’s set but what I did manage to see and hear was something quite different
from More. The band plays a hybrid version of Thrash Metal, spasmodically
venturing into more melodic stuff as well as using more brutal sounds.
As seen from my part of the stage all the band
members played with a heartfelt passion and really seemed to be having a great
time. Chris Simmons lead the way with his crushing but solid vocal delivery.
Pity that the attendance was a tad underwhelming.
Perhaps the music needed some more memorable riffs
but otherwise its thumbs up for Wretched Soul.
Where Shadows Ride
Black Wings Of Treachery
Summon The Hunter
Dash To Destruction
More’s gigs are rarer
than a rainless day in an English November, so I made a concerted effort not to
miss this event. Due to a series of unfortunate events that marred the band’s
reunion efforts over the last few years, only bass player
Barry 'Baz' Nicholls
remains from More’s early incarnation. Nevertheless, the current line up
consists of a quintet of formidable musicians that, in terms of standards,
stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the ‘80s More.
Generally speaking their performance was excellent.
For instance Paul Stickles’ skills were well rounded plus I really liked the
sharp sound of his guitar. Behind Paul, drummer Steve Rix was at his very first
gig with the band, adding his own modern touch to the More classics.
From the 2 albums More released, “Warhead” was
probably better suited for a live delivery and judging from the amount of
“Warhead” songs that found their way into tonight’s set, it seems the band
shares my view. Also performed was ‘Touch Of Evil’ a number co-written by More
guitarist Chris Tsangarides when he was producing the “Painkiller” album for the
Brummies in 1990. Regarding More’s own songs, I particularly enjoyed ‘Road
Rocket’ and ‘We Are The Band’ which gave the audience ample opportunity to bangs
their heads and play their always-in-tune air-guitars.
‘My Obsession’ and ‘Scream’ were songs I hadn’t
heard before - apparently they were written sometime in the 1990s before the
health problems of Kenny Cox (original guitarist and founding member) and never
officially released. But I stand to be corrected on that.
A few days after this gig, the band should be
delivering a set at the Hard Rock Hell festival in Wales. Beyond that, one hopes
to hear…erm…more of More.
Killer On The Prowl
I’ve Been Waiting
We Are The Band
Touch Of Evil
Way Of The World