Norwegian rockers from Trondheim TNT are celebrating thirty years in the business and after playing the Hard Rock Hell Festival the previous night were delighting fans in London with an explosive set.
Many TNT fans are split between the two Tonys. Some still hark for former singer Tony Harnell whilst the rest of us just get on with it and enjoy seeing Brummie Tony Mills in the band, although some are distracted by the direction TNT have taken on their last three albums which has seen them move in a Beatles/Queen vibe. But no one can argue about the dedication of Tony Mills to the band as he now resides in Norway and has the name of the band forever inked on his left arm.
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Fresh from a European tour with Magnum were young melodic rockers Neonfly who were on stage at the ungodly time of 6.45pm. I've seen this band progress over the last few years and bizarrely, it was outside this very venue about three years ago that I got talking to guitarist Frederick Thunder and he gave me a copy of their EP, 'Clever Disguise', and I'm glad to report that I didn't make a coaster out of it like most handouts and it has been regularly played on my death decks. Oddly enough, Tony Mills guested on 'Broken Wings' from that EP.
Since then Neonfly have recorded a well received full length album in 'Outshine The Sun' with new singer Willy Norton whose on stage confidence grows every time. In fact so much so that he was climbing on the side wall barrier later on without missing a note.
The tour with Magnum has worked wonders as Neonfly are becoming a tight unit with some neat synchronized movements ala Accept style from the guitarists.
The band were impressive on the opening numbers and were showing touches of class on 'Ship With No Sails' and 'A Gift To Remember' although I could've done without the Metalized version of Journey's 'Separate Ways' as their own material is strong enough to shine through.
Whilst TNT have made a thirty year career, Stampede almost took that time to make their latest album, 'A Sudden Impulse', and a fine return to form it is too. Fronted by Reuben Archer who incredibly is now seventy years old and by no means looks it or acts it. A real rock 'n roller who was the only man on stage tonight drinking from a beer bottle.
My friend next to me said I will look like Archer in ten years time which at first I took as a compliment before I realised I've still got another thirty years to catch up with the silver grey fox.
Stampede tonight were without Reuben's step-son Laurence Archer who is busy elsewhere, so his place was taken by regular stand in Rob Wolverson. After a few gremlins on the first couple of numbers Stampede really found their groove. New tracks such as 'Having Fun' and 'Send Me Down An Angel' were corkers whilst oldie 'Days Of Wine And Roses' still packs a commercial clout.
The duo partnership of guitarists Wolverson and Chris Clowsley were inspiring, playing twin leads as if they learnt the back catalogue of Lizzy and Wishbone Ash back to back. They were that tight. With solid bass from the underrated Colin Bond the band were playing better than I've ever seen them before. A new track from Archer's forthcoming solo album in 'Stone Cold Turkey' proved Archer is going to hang around longer than the Stones.
The Underworld started to fill up by the time TNT graced the stage and the band were dynamite from word go. Amazingly this was the first time I've seen Tony Mills on stage since an appearance at the Reading Festival way back in 1987 with his former band Shy when he infamously drank from a missile thrown on stage which contained a yellow liquid.
His voiced has matured since then for the better, as has his barnet. Mills seemed to be enjoying himself back on British soil.
Surprisingly only one song from the Mills era was included with the riff-tastic 'Substitute'. Guitarist Ronni Le Tekro was springing up dazzling cutting riffs all night with ease. He and bassist Victor Borge acted as a great team behind Mills and I was surprised to find out that Borge has since left the band which is a real shame because the chemistry was there for all to see.
Like all Scandinavian bands TNT are guilty of some cheesy Cheddar Norge moments on early tunes such as the rip roaring 'Harley Davidson' and 'USA' but these certainly got the crowd going. '10,000 Lovers' was dedicated to the departed Shy guitarist Steve Harris and was sung by all in the Underworld.
Encores of the classics 'Everyone's A Star', 'Intuition' and 'Seven Seas' ended a highly enjoyable evening from a great varied bill of melodic rock at it's best.
Listen To Your Heart
Break The Ice
As Far As The Eye Can See
Caught Between The Tigers
Everyone's A Star
Shadows Of The Night
Days Of Wine And Roses
Send Me Down An Angel
Stone Cold Turkey
Ship With No Sails
A Gift To Remember
Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)
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