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British Lion / Voodoo Six / Nine Miles Down Hot

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British Lion / Voodoo Six / Nine Miles Down - Rescue Rooms, Nottingham (UK) - 18 December 2019

This would be my first encounter with Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris's band British Lion, and I suppose I was lucky to catch him here as there were only a small handful of dates in the UK. I was surprised to see that the walls were not heaving as I expected a full house, and even the balcony was roped off. I was also surprised to see ex Judas Priest guitarist K.K. Downing walk past me into the concert room. Not something you see every day!

First on stage was a five-piece Metal band from South Wales called Nine Miles Down. As seems to be happening a lot these days, people were still coming in as they started their set around 19:15. The small (badminton court sized) room soon filled out though, and I thought they were very good for a first support, despite slight problems with volume on certain samples of Rob Wilsher's keyboards. I believe there were originally connections between them and Iron Maiden, with one of the founding members being a guitar tech for the Metal giants, so obviously Steve Harris would be aware of them when deciding on support acts, and the standard was pretty high from the start. Being completely new to me, I am not sure if the song titles listed below are correct, but if they are then the third song 'Faithless' is, apparently, vocalist Andy Makin's daughter's third (or maybe fifth) favourite song. There was some nice harmony guitar in a couple of songs, including the set closer 'My Last Fire'. It was a little confusing though, especially for people who didn't see them from the beginning, as they played in front of the following band's backdrop, and it is a pity that not all of the crowd got to see all of the set.

Set List (probably): Mockingbird, Where We Belong, Faithless, Icarus, The Long Way Down, My Last Fire

Next up was Voodoo Six, another five-piece band who also had connections with Maiden, having played support to them in the past, and was also founded by bass player Tony Newton, and now Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner. Again, it was a very accomplished performance from a band that has changed considerably over the years, and tonight they played a couple of new songs yet to be released on their new album, namely 'Gone Forever' and 'Walk Away'. A bit heavier than the previous band, and a little more mobile with it. If the set list is correct, then 'Icarus' sounded a lot like Devin Townsend's 'Animals', utilising the same style riff and chords to an extent. As with Nine Miles Down, the band received a really good reception, showing that whoever chose the supports did a good job.

Set list (probably): intro The Great Escape Theme, The Traveller, Take The Blame, Gone Forever,(new song), Sink Or Swim, Falling Knives, Lead Me On, (new song, possibly Walk Away), Electric.

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So, onto the final five piece band of the night, headliners British Lion, not to be confused with British Lions who existed from 1978 to 1980 (and included members of Mott The Hoople and Medicine Head, and who I actually saw play in a local club), despite this band's music being based on the classic British Rock of that time. It will come as no surprise to anyone reading this, that almost the whole crowd were wearing British Lion or Iron Maiden t-shirts, the majority wearing the latter. Coming on at just before 21:00, vocalist Richard Taylor explained that this was a band of songwriters, which was the main point of the group and, owing to some hold ups and the 10:30 curfew (although I thought they came on at the scheduled time), they wouldn't be cutting the set short and would just play the last few songs faster. I'm not sure how old Steve Harris is (or the other members, but I assume they are younger), but the energy from the Iron Maiden bass player had to be admired, I know the stage isn't very big, but he was all over it, all the way through, and hardly seemed to break a sweat. He played his customary West Ham (boo) adorned Fender Precision, with the widest guitar strap ever, made from a West Ham (boo) scarf.

I had overheard a couple of people chatting just before we came in, and they were comparing the vocalist to Maiden man Bruce Dickinson, saying that Richard Taylor couldn't hit the high notes and went falsetto, on a previous occasion, and that he wasn't Bruce Dickinson. Well no, he wouldn't be, cause if he was, we would be watching Iron Maiden play here tonight, and that wasn't going to happen was it? I personally thought he sang very well, and had no problem singing the ball-squeezers. Maybe he had a bad night on the previous occasion you saw him lads, eh? He also played guitar, and gave us information regarding the songs, such as 'Spitfire' being based on a true story about a dad telling his son stories from the past, and 'The Chosen Ones' which is a song for the underdogs, and 'These Are The Hands' which is an acknowledgement of where he came from and who he was/is (Lowestoft in case you were wondering). We also got a new song, 'Bible Black', from the forthcoming album 'The Burning'. The guitarist to Harris' left, David Hawkins, reminded me of a seventies student (hippy anybody), who looked a bit bemused and befuddled by most of it, like he had wondered in by accident and had been handed a guitar to play. He certainly knew how to play it though, and we also had a little more harmony guitar, between him and Grahame Leslie in 'Nickels And Dimes', and some audience participation. Coming to the end of the main set at 22:13, Richard Taylor explained that they would normally go off, and come back after a couple of minutes, but because of the curfew would stay on and go straight into the encore, which consisted of two songs, 'A World Without Heaven' and 'Eyes Of The Young'.
I wasn't sure what to expect tonight, not having seen or heard anything by any of the bands, but that's the beauty of the situation that you can do that with music, and sometimes come back with three new bands added to your list of ones to watch, and I'm sure most, if not all, probably felt the same.

Setlist: This Is My God, Lost Worlds, Father Lucifer, The Burning, Spitfire, The Chosen Ones, These Are The Hands, Legend, Bible Black, Nickels and Dimes (Andy Curran, Printed as 'Guineas And Crowns' on setlist), Last Chance, Lightning, Us Against The World, Judas, A World Without Heaven, Eyes of the Young

Review Andy B, and Lou C. Photo's Andy B.

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