||JONATHAN CHURCHILL: DEFENDING OUR ISLAND
TAKING DAWN, CAMDEN BARFLY
3rd February 2011
Welcome to my Metal Column!
This is my first review for MetalTalk.net and what better place to start than rock's new upstarts Taking Dawn!!
Fired up by a fantastic debut album (2009's Time To Burn) and fresh from supporting KISS last year, the band are midway through their first headline UK tour. The band has been attracting attention stateside and a quick flick through February's Classic Rock reveals lead singer Chris Babbitt stating his love for big solos, lots of harmonies and promising to bring back classic hard rock.
I couldn't go to the KISS show in Wembley Arena last year so I jumped at the chance to catch Taking Dawn in the intimate setting of the Camden Barfly. And when I say intimate... I mean it! No more than 200 metal fans packed into a sweaty room waiting for the rock revolution. Ample support was provided by Godsized, the UK's answer to Black Label Society, a focused powerhouse of a band, squeezed onto the tiny stage. Lead singer Glen Korner's voice has a really interesting Eddie Vedder-like tone and the band powered out some massive crunching riffs. If you get the chance to see them I recommend checking them out.
A hard act to follow, but Taking Dawn hit the stage like a cyclone, with singer and lead guitar Chris Babbitt belting out first track 'Like a Revolution'. Bare-chested guitarist Mikey Cross and bassist Andrew Cushing cover back up vocals with new drummer Carlo Mazzone totally lost at the back on the tiny stage - but playing a brilliant set, anchoring the chaos and firmly keeping the band in check.
Full of energy, enthusiasm and bullshit, it's hard not to like the band. They're not that cool or cutting edge but their sincerity shines through and they're playing their first UK headlining show like it's their last! Burning through their album – 'Save Me, Scream, Never Enough' - every track has huge hooks and massive choruses. Babbitt gives a running commentary between tracks and the set goes ballistic for 'Fight 'em with your Rock' – sounding like it's been lifted straight off Skid Row's debut.
Taking a breather we're introduced to guest-star Paul Stanley (bassist Andrew Cushing in falsetto) with Babbitt telling us "You wanted the best... but you got Taking Dawn".
What we actually get is a blistering cover of 'Black Diamond'. Raw, rough, round the edges and just huge. It sounds fantastic. Taking the piss out of the venue Babbitt tells us it's the time they usually go off stage and pretend to finish before the encore - but the Camden Barfly is so small there's nowhere to go!!
So the lights go down... we all make a noise... and they're back, finishing off the set with 'V', 'So Loud' and saving the best til last. An epic 'metal' cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain'. It's tailor-made for this band and for the last solo Babbitt jumps into crowd and comes all the way to the back and finishes his solo standing on the bar! (see photo above).
It reminds me of when I saw The Darkness supporting Def Leppard at Hammersmith a few years ago, (well before they became a national embarrassment). But tonight Taking Dawn are fantastic and it's great to be seeing a young band playing like there's no tomorrow in a tiny venue, rather than paying £75 to watch Axl Rose take the piss at Reading.
Taking Dawn are rough round the edges and way too young but have tons of potential. I was there with two hardened metal gig-goers and we all agreed we'd like to see them again. Apparently there's a new album in the works and hopefully next time the venue will be much larger.
5/5 for effort and enthusiasm and potential.
Check out latest Album: Time to Burn Special Edition.
Next up for me is Adler's Appetite at the end of the month. Can't wait...
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