Well, I just say “Wolfsbane.” Because this is the band that always manages to tick every one of my boxes. They fit ALL of my required parameters.
Go through my Metal Checklist if you don’t believe me:
· Metal supplies the courage you need to face the day √
· Metal provides the vitality you need when you feel depleted √
· Metal awakens your senses √
· Metal forces you to think about life and death √
· Metal creates its own gravity so that you can keep your feet on the ground √
· Metal is strong enough to sweep away your nagging worries √
· Metal gives you the ability to smile at yourself √
· Metal makes you feel that you belong √
· Metal has a tradition and a culture that you can buy into √
– © Neil Mach –
So when I heard that these demigods of metal were playing live at their home-turf in Tamworth I just had to go up to the Midlands and honor them. And to remind myself of the reasons why I am devoted to the Religion of Metal.
The band came out to rapturous applause and quickly took over the two huge trailers that made-up the big stage. Kicking off with ‘Limo’ (from the “Did It For The Money” EP) and those ridiculously powerful percussive rings – played along with the most vindictively sharp riffs this side of the Chattahoochee River – this song immediately reminded us of “The Bad Boys from Boston” playing a number written by Def Leppard. And we do not mean that disrespectfully – it’s meant as the highest complement.
Then ‘Black Lagoon’ (from ‘Down Fall The Good Guys’) thundered into play. This song has some roaring, penetrating guitars and wide panoramas of voice. And the “Black Lagoon” hook made so much sense to us … and it caused our knees to jitter and our heads to spin cartwheels of blurred delight.
The open field at Tamworth Castle Grounds was a dark and desperate place, even at 4 o’clock in the afternoon when these monsters came onto stage. It was a typical weekend in August. Wet windy and depressing. With an evil touch of cold in the air to weaken our bones. The dank sky really eroded any resolution we might have had. Yet, when when Tamworth’s finest started out on their ‘Blue Sky’ number from “Wolfsbane Save The World” we all started to believe in a better day. That startling introduction – a guitar solo from Jase Edwards – brought a smile to even the most derelict looking metal-heads that stood shivering in the big field. Then the relentlessly fat rhythms picked up. The accompaniment broke down for a few moments – so that Blaze could roar out the verse. And after that, a charcoal-black murmuring bass line started to chortle and wheeze, and we all headed (in concert) “For the blue sky…” Superb.
“Money to Burn” was as fast as a laser beam fired inside a supersonic cockpit. And the guitars were as pointed and as sharp as obsidian hell. Then we were all treated to a bundle of classic riffs. And a voice that dripped sweat and glistened like syrup. Yes, we all sang: “I Like it Hot.” And we swayed together.
After that came a high point of the show. “Kathy Wilson”. It is the most ‘Maidenish’ of all the songs from Wolfsbane. It burns like sulfur straight from the ashes. The guitars create a mesh of barbed-wire vibrations – against which the story is lovingly re-told. In this epic piece, Wolfsbane manage to create a vividly real landscape – even though it’s total fantasy – but nonetheless it’s as mesmerizing as one of your own dreams – and totally engrossing.
Other great moments at Tamworth included “Temple Of Rock” and the life-affirming knee-knocker that is “Paint The Town Red” from the ‘All Hell’s Breaking Loose Down At Little Kathy Wilson’s Place” recording.
But the best moment of all was that howling viper of a song “EZY”. It’s like all the greatest classic rock moments that you have ever heard. Put into one basket. And delivered. It had the lot. Shimmies of drums, jiving riffs and piping hot vocals. And the“EZY baby…” chorus made us all wheeze,weep and wee in unison. Brilliant.
– © Neil_Mach August 2013 –