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  STEVE HARRIS BRITISH LION LET IT ROLL IN GLASGOW
Steve Harris British Lion: The Classic Grand, Glasgow
Wednesday 2nd August


johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid



british lion

What can you say about Steve Harris? The hard-working geezer from Leytonstone, Essex, who is always working away on something whether it be the next Iron Maiden record, rehearsing with the band or touring the world with them; Harris is a guy who doesn't seem to sit still for a minute.

The band may be Harris' side-project, but he's not the central figure in this talented quintet. He's a key figure yes, but each of the band members bring their own unique qualities and together, well... they're pretty damn good.

british lion

With Iron Maiden finishing 'The Book Of Souls' world tour only last month, Harris and his cohorts had already announced an eighteen date European tour, which along with club dates also included festival appearances at Ramblin' Man and Steelhouse Festivals in the UK as well as Sabaton Open Air in Sweden and Wacken Open Air - the place where almost a year ago to this day, Harris was headlining with Iron Maiden, playing to an estimated 80,000 fans in the flesh whilst millions tuned in around the world to watch the live stream.

In case you weren't aware, British Lion was originally formed in the nineties with Harris serving as the band's manager as well as being involved in the writing, but they never really went anywhere and went off and did their own things before getting back together in 2012, the year they recorded and released their self-titled debut album. One of the tracks in their set here, 'A World Without Heaven', was one of the very first songs written by the band all those years ago.

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Following the album's release, the band toured all over the UK and Europe and this was followed up a further tour in 2015 with an equally extensive number of shows, but for those who missed them, this was the ideal opportunity to catch them up close and personal once again.

There were never going to be any Iron Maiden tracks on offer but that didn't stop the Maiden faithful, who seemed to be an older crowd compared to their show at the city's Hydro earlier this year, turning out in droves to support a top notch band.

british lion

The setlist was drawn mainly from their 2012 album with set opener 'This is My God' setting the blueprint for what was to follow in the next ninety minutes – scintillating hard rock at it's very best. Early on frontman Richard Taylor mentioned that the sound from the onstage monitors needed adjusting but from our vantage point, the sound was crystal clear from start to finish. 'The Chosen Ones' had the audience singing along and Taylor looked mighty impressed with their efforts whilst those down the front jostled to get the best view as Harris, along with guitarist Grahame Leslie darted about the small stage.

Taylor spoke about the recent attacks in London and Manchester during the into to 'These Are The Hands', saying that 2017 had been a troublesome year and the slower pace of the song showed there's more to this band than perhaps you might have first thought. These songs have something to say, and they're not afraid to say it while 'Judas', which closed off their regular set, saw Taylor giving his best and most passionate performance of the night.

british lion

The promised second album is still to be recorded but that didn't stop British Lion playing a clutch of newer numbers including 'Father Lucifer' which saw Taylor switch to acoustic guitar for the intro before the main guitar and drums kicked in. Drummer Simon Dawson is the master of his craft, working hard throughout the set and never more so than here. There was a great soaring guitar solo from David Hawkins, who had been pretty low key up to that point.

'Spitfire', Taylor explained, was about a father telling his son how things used to be when he was young and it strongly featured that unmistakable Harris bass sound in the intro and was a watershed moment early in the set. No half measures here, just all five band members giving their all, especially Dawson punching out the difficult drum beat whist Harris sang every lyric, like he always does, while Taylor put in one of his top notch performances.

british lion

'Bible Black' hasn't been officially recorded but "people seem to know it", explained Taylor and it's easy to see why. Dawson showed his incredible skills once again with the complicated drum pattern whilst the guitar riff from Leslie was met with a roar of approval from those pressed against the crowd barrier before his show stealing guitar solo.

A highlight of the set came late on in the form of 'Last Chance' which had Leslie introducing the track, telling us that his Grandparents were born in Fraserburgh and getting the audience singing along before Taylor took charge. It's a rollicking number thanks to the stomping drum beat from Dawson before Hawkins takes centre stage and plays out of his skin.

british lion

There was no running off and back on the stage before the encore with the band instead pressing straight on with a cover of UFO's 'Let It Roll' before wrapping the evening up with 'Eyes Of The Young'.

British Lion may be spearheaded by one of British Metal's finest bass players and song writers, but don't let your love (or indeed hate) of Iron Maiden cloud your judgement because this band are more than just Harris; they're a genuine British rock band who can stand shoulder to shoulder with The Who, Deep Purple and, of course, UFO in terms of quality both on record and definitely on stage.

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Steve Harris British Lion setlist:
This Is My God
Lost Worlds
Father Lucifer
The Burning
Spitfire
The Chosen Ones
These Are The Hands
Bible Black
Guineas And Crowns
Last Chance
Us Against The World
A World Without Heaven
Judas
Let It Roll
Eyes Of The Young

Steve Harris British Lion are:
Richard Taylor – Vocals
Grahame Leslie – Guitar
David Hawkins – Guitar
Steve Harris – Bass Guitar
Simon Dawson – Drums

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british lion

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