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Even in the Metal metropolis Helsinki a Monday could turn out a bit difficult for a concert, therefore I am curious how many people will actually be at the club. And how many of them actually know the band and not just like me the bass player. Steve Harris´ side project is touring Europe´s clubs until the end of March, a "back to the roots" experience for a man who usually plays arenas with Iron Maiden... The Finnish lion welcomes his British colleague in a rather frosty way, weather-wise - namely with a snowstorm - a bad omen?
Not when it comes to attendance, the club is quite full, yet not sold out. I hoped to catch a few songs of the support Zico Chain from London, but when I arrive, their short set has already ended. You can check them out here: www.zicochain.net
Unfortunately no photo permission, therefore you got to check the band website for live impressions (link in the header). But not such a bad thing after all, because when Steve Harris British Lion punctually start at 21h, I can fully concentrate on the music. Which is pretty fine, I´d define it as classical Hardrock, with Grunge, Prog and Stoner-Rock or even Pop elements. Occasionally you think of Alice in Chains, or of Rainbow, a keyboard triggers a Deep Purple reminiscence. Or in other words - Rock´n Roll rhythms, heavy but melodious guitars, a great charismatic singer, catchy tunes and even catchier choruses. Only occasionally a bass line or the guitar harmonies have a certain Maiden touch (e.g. The Burning).
The band-godfather rather prefers to give room to his colleagues, also concerning the stage show, Steve often rather withdraws to the back. What I noticed, however, is the fact that he seems to know (and sing along) every single word of this band´s vocals, too... The instrumentalists also have room to shine musically, yet there are no solo orgies.
Steve has gathered a great team, with Richard Taylor on vocals, David Hawkins on guitar and keys, Grahame Leslie on guitar, and Simon Dawson on drums. They seem to enjoy their first time in Helsinki, the most Northern stop-over of their tour. Richard reveals later that they also make a video of the whole thing, but the audience has been enthusiastic anyway right from the start, singing along and even chanting "British Lion" in between. Many - about 50% of the crowd - put their hands up when Richard asks "how many of you have the album"... so it could have been the perfect gig ... however...
... in the middle of the show somebody throws a beverage container on stage - which hits Grahame´s head. Which - understandibly - angers him, he even suggests "after the gig we fight it out" to the perpetrator... Well, basically the audience should have left teenage age and behaviour behind for a long time, therefore SHAME ON YOU (in case the culprit wasn´t indeed beaten to a pulp by Grahame).
The music leads to a quick reconsiliation - for example a hymn like Us Against The World or the songs Last Chance and Judas, which could almost be labelled as power ballads. The band disappears - but quickly returns for 2 more songs, where the audience is once again encouraged to sing along... and then they simply don´t stop, even though the band does and takes a bow... But unfortunately that was it for tonight, time to face the snowstorm again...
Summing up, a great band, independently of the fact that a certain Steve Harris fumbles the bass guitar. Go and watch the British Lions when they come to your town...
This Is My God
The Chosen Ones
These Are The Hands
Guineas and Crowns
Us Against The World
A World Without Heaven
Do You Want It
Encores: Let It Roll
Eyes Of The Young
Klaudia Weber; bandphoto: JOHN McMURTRIE
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