|Subject||CliveAid @ Bar Monsta|
I didn't arrive at Bar Monsta in time to see the almost omnipresent King Lizard. Spiral Dive were playing when I got there - they were METAL, but less than memorable. Good musicians who have mastered the (not very difficult) art of being LOUD and HEAVY, but like most bands of their type these days have yet to master the more difficult art of writing good songs.
Next up were the most interesting band of the event - the Conspirators. This was the most unlikely band of the evening as they were certainly not a metal band of any description, but they did have some decent songs - as well as a violin (electric) and horn player - plus a Halloween theme.
They also had Robin Guy on drums - so they were always going to be worth watching! Unlike the previous band, this lot make a real effort to entertain the audience, rather than just show how loud and heavy they could sound. Needless to say, they also had the best drummer by far of any of the bands on the bill.
Clive Burr, the man the whole event was in aid of was present, and there was a ceremony to present him with a cheque for £2500 raised by his supporter's past efforts. Hopefully, a fair bit more was raised at this show to help him in his continuing battle with MS.
Beholder took to the stage next - unlike the previous bands they didn't make the effort to write decent songs and stuck to metal covers instead. Again, they were good musicians but didn't do much to keep my interest. They went down well with quite a few people though - more due to their choice of covers than being a great band in my humble opinion. Rather less humble than my opinion was their singer, who soon started to get on my nerves with his standard 'metal frontman by numbers' patter, dumbed down lowest common denominator shtick, and 'attitude'. His prima donna tendancies didn't do much to endear him to me either - one minute complaining to the soundman that he wasn't getting enough vocal in his monitors - then throwing a bit of a strop and complaining about feedback when the sound guy did as he demanded and turned his vocals up! To be fair, the band did stir up the most violent moshpit I've seen at this venue so some people were getting well into it.
The evening was finished of the the (new) Blaze Bayley Band. I've only seen Blaze perform once before - with the mighty Wolfsbane at the Marquee quite a few years ago. He was one of the best frontmen I have ever seen - and he still has it! His new band had barely had time to rehearse for this gig, but it didn't show much. The first song sounded very much like Wolfsbane, although the following songs were certainly less so, although not a million miles from that band or Iron Maiden. Unfortunately, things were interupted on more than one occasion by the guitar amp packing up. Blaze filled in the first time by entertaining us with a story or two, and the second time he just carried on with the rest of the band and performed it without guitar. Blaze's performance was (no pun intended) incendiary! This guy is possibly the best frontman I have ever seen - at some point in the performance he must have fixed virtually everyone in the crowd with his legendary stare.
His voice as as powerful and distinctive as ever, and he makes maximum effort to reach every single person in the room - this is a real 'in your face' (in the most literal sense) performance. Blaze Bayley means it!
In a set loaded with irony the singer who was booted out of Iron Maiden to make way for the returning 'air raid siren' performed in aid of that band's original drummer Clive Burr - and wasn't that the Wolfsbane classic 'Black Lagoon' closing the set? Finishing with a song by the band Blaze walked out on to join Iron Maiden was ironic enough, but then during the song he was joined on stage by 'Eddie'! Under the Eddie gear was a man who looked suspiciously like Dave Murray when I saw him earlier...
Before leaving the stage Blaze proclaimed that he wasn't going to run off to a dressing room to snort coke off a strippers arse like a 'rock star' - he was going straight to the mech stall at the back of the room to sign anything anybody wanted signed and have his picture taken with anybody who wanted it for as long as it took until every single person who wanted that sort of thing had got what they wanted. That said - he did have two burly 'security' guys to give him close escort to and from the stage - rather unnecesesary at this very small venue I thought. As I left later he was still signing away...
The Conspiritors and Blaze Bayley were well worth seeing at this event - as for the rest, well it was all in a good cause... I was really excited when I heard the the original lineup of the mighty Wolfsbane had reformed to tour with the Wildhearts in December - after tonight I am even more excited about seeing them at the Astoria and I think old Wolfsbane fans are in for a real treat!