Sensational Dan Byrne Hits The Jackpot With Current Lineup

It is no great surprise to me that Classic Rock Magazine have declared Dan Byrne one to watch in 2024. We here at MetalTalk have been lauding the talents of the former Black Diamond and Revival Black frontman since the latter’s debut album in 2018. Dan and his talented band are on a run of shows to promote the release of his new EP, Beginnings, and tonight, they roll into Chester with Valhalla Awaits.

Dan Byrne – Valhalla Awaits

The Live Rooms, Chester – 9 March 2024

Words: Dave Bonney

Dan Byrne is without doubt one of the UK rock scene’s brightest up-and-coming stars and, with the release of his new EP Beginnings, has really shown his calibre in the songwriting stakes. 

A few changes in the lineup to his current band see him reunited with bass player Colin Parkinson (Inglorious) from his Myke Gray/Skin tenure, and stepping in at the back on drums is Max Rhead (Kira Mac) alongside constant guitarist Glenn Quinn (Myke Gray/Skin, Son Of Man) 

Dan Byrne - The Live Rooms, Chester - 9 March 2024
Dan Byrne – The Live Rooms, Chester – 9 March 2024. Photo: Dave Bonney/MetalTalk

Like Animals is currently riding high and getting valuable airplay on Planet Rocks weekly playlist, getting Byrne’s music where it belongs, out there to the masses, where rock lives. Word is also getting out in Europe, and the single has entered the German rock charts, where Byrne has a presence with a couple of other projects. 

Make no mistake, the four songs on Beginnings are huge and I’m eager to hear how they translate in a live setting. 

Kicking off with Hard To Breathe from the EP immediately gets the now healthily sized crowd involved, with most latching onto every word. This powerful, mid-paced rocker is well placed as the opening song and leads into another new song, Control, which has had an airing or two at previous gigs. 

Dan Byrne - The Live Rooms, Chester - 9 March 2024
Dan Byrne – The Live Rooms, Chester – 9 March 2024. Photo: Dave Bonney/MetalTalk

Delving back into Revival Black territory for the excellent Take You Out ramps things up further before a brave run of four new songs only one of which is on Beginnings. 

The show of strength in these songs is remarkable, and the crowd laps them up like old favourites. The ballad Easier, in particular, grasps the attention with Byrne’s voice soaring higher than an eagle. This is one that will surely have crowds holding aloft lighters and mobile phone spotlights in huge venues in the not-too-distant future. 

The extraordinary good Hemispheres, written by Dan for the last Revival Black album, sees the singer pick up his acoustic guitar and slow the tempo for over five minutes of pure aural delight. This song showcases his voice like no other—a voice of soulfulness, subtlety, emotion, melody, and controlled power. Coupled with scintillating guitar work from Glenn Quinn, it makes this one of the special moments in tonight’s set. 

Like Animals, with its heavy opening riff, delivers harder live and is a real foot stomper with a chorus that simply begs crowd participation, Hate Me is another fine example of where Dan Byrne is right now. 

Dan Byrne - The Live Rooms, Chester - 9 March 2024
Dan Byrne – The Live Rooms, Chester – 9 March 2024. Photo: Geoff Gibson

Wide Awake took the fans back again and gave them another chance to sing along to a song that, dare I say, sounds somewhat fresher than before. Again, Byrne’s astounding vocal range rises above. 

This leaves Death Of Me, my personal favourite from the EP, up to close the show out in a triumphant style. This song is big, bold and it surely will not be too long until Dan Byrne is gracing stages big enough to accommodate the grand piano that this song deserves. 

It was a wonderful performance from all the bands tonight. No disrespect to any of the amazing players Dan Byrne has shared the stage with over the last six years, but this lineup just sounds and feels like he has finally found what he has been searching for.

Dan Byrne - The Live Rooms, Chester - 9 March 2024
Dan Byrne – The Live Rooms, Chester – 9 March 2024. Photo: Geoff Gibson

Valhalla Awaits

Warming up the crowd tonight in the very cold live rooms venue are Welsh marauders Valhalla Awaits, who first came to my attention at last years excellent FireVolt Festival where they went down a storm. Valhalla Awaits did exactly that again tonight. 

With members of past Welsh rock scene luminaries such as Revoker, Buffalo Summer, and The Blackout, the ingredients are already there for something special, and the band whips them up into a beautiful cacophony of a grungy, doomy assault on the listener’s ears. 

Fivevolt Festival 2023 - Valhalla Awaits
Fivevolt Festival 2023 – Valhalla Awaits. Photo: Dave Davies (RIP)

While fuzzy guitar Kicks off opener Dying Inside, singer Andrew Hunt cuts a commanding centre-stage figure, both hands on the mic stand and head bowed. His impressive mane no doubt induces hair envy amongst males and females alike. After his depping stint with Phil Campbell & The Bastard Sons, he’s really stepping up and showing there are two incredible voices on the show tonight.

Guitarists Chris Green and Rhys Carter come to the fore on songs such as Staring At The Gun, We Remain, and Is There Anybody Out There from the band’s brand new EP, the latter, with its brooding build-up, leads into a Carter solo that lifts it to further heights. 

The bulldozing rhythm section of Snoz and Sam Kilby keep Dying Inside, Digging The Grave, Slave and Black Waters in the groove before closing out with the grungetastic Skin & Bone with more fuzzy wah pedal from Green, leaving Valhalla Awaits to exit the stage to a fantastic ovation from the now well and truly warmed up crowd. 

Classic Rock mag, are you watching?

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