Openers tonight are AOR rockers TRISHULA, named after either a Hindu trident or a Dragon of the Ice Barrier in the Yu-gi-oh! Game, take yer pick but my money’s on the former! The band are the brainchild of guitarist Neil Fraser ex-Ten/Rage Of Angels, who since 2019 have put out three top class albums including the just released “We All Fall Down”.
Tonight, they have 45 minutes and not a second is wasted as the powerful pipes of Jason Morgan take the band through 8 tracks, opening with “I Can See It In Your Eyes” the lead track from debut album “Scared To Breathe”, the commercial “Secrets And Lies” from the same album, and “How It’s Supposed To Be” the lead track from second album “Time Waits For No One”, before coming up for air!
“Scared To Breathe” allows Rick Benton (Magnum) to stretch out on the keys, dueling with Fraser’s superb axe-work. Things get a little heavier with two out and out rockers in “The Mighty” from the second album and the first new track tonight in “Never Gonna Stop”, before “The Border” and a towering “Hear No Evil” from “Time Waits For No One” bring their all too short set to a conclusion.
These guys will be headlining before long, their quality in the realms of AOR being extremely high. But the headliners tonight are NWOBHM icons DEMON, and the sound is ramped up a notch or two with the band who formed in 1979 and still featuring founder/vocalist Dave Hill firing on all cylinders.
Now Leek’s finest started off on Clay Records, the Stoke-based home label of Discharge, GBH and other punk-orientated acts, so that was a bit of a strange one in those tribal times, although their debut album “Night Of The Demon”, the first of their 13 studio albums to date was licensed to Carrere Records (Home of Saxon). The other classic albums put out during their early period include “The Unexpected Guest” and the more proggy “The Plague”, all of which are well represented in tonight’s show.
The band line-up with dual guitars, bass, drums, keys and the theatrics of singer Hill who begins the show dressed in a bowler a la “The Plague”, and ends it by wearing the Demon Mask, which gets passed around the audience circle for all to model.
In-between we’re treated to a set that’s tight, exhilarating and fairly rolls back the years. The highlights were many but include “Sign Of A Madman”, debut single “Liar”, “The Plague”, “Blackheath” from the same album, “Nowhere To Run”, an outstanding “Standing On The Edge” from latter album “Better The Devil You Know”, “Into The Nightmare”, the superb classic “Don’t Break The Circle” and ending with the encore of “Night Of The Demon”.
The support band were outstanding but Demon were better, a great band that I would advise anyone to check out, it’s certainly NWOBHM at its finest.
DERRICK ‘BISON’ MOORE
Photography by Kevin Hargrave