A very good-sized crowd packed into Islington Assembly Hall for an evening of Heavy Metal led by Steve Harris and his British Lions. Contributing more than their share of raucous rock towards the evening’s entertainment were the excellent pairing of Voodoo Six and Airforce.
Voodoo Six – Airforce
Islington Assembly Hall – 18 January 2023
Words: Paul Monkhouse
Photography: Steve Ritchie
First up were old-school New Wave of Heavy Metal legends Airforce. Their all-too-brief six-song set showed a masterful grasp of the tradition of making a lot of noise when plugged into the power grid.
From the opening blaze of the Maidenesque Fight and onto the Judas Priest attack of Life Turns To Dust, the quartet were on fire. Whilst ex-Iron Maiden drummer Doug Sampson and bass player Tony Hatton provided the thunder, the class of six-stringer Chop Pitman shone, and Flavio Lino’s natural showmanship proved just what a powerful proposition they’ve always been.
The big, grinding riff of Heroes was enough to flatten mountains, Pitman’s solo a thing of delicate wonder that mixed power with a real deftness of touch that Ritchie Blackmore would have been pleased with and the closing pairing of Finest Hour and Sniper blended the rampaging with the pounding.
Never less than thrilling, there’s a visceral surge of adrenaline that Airforce has captured that’s as potent today, four decades after the birth of NWOBHM, as it’s ever been.
Voodoo Six certainly didn’t waste time with niceties, tearing straight into the heavy blues ironclad fist of Falling Knives, the twin guitars of Matt Pearce and Tommy Gentry scything. With frontman Nik Taylor-Stokes charging around the stage, seemingly trying to make eye contact with every single member of the crowd, it was plain to see that they were out to make a seismic impression.
Something For You comes on like a torrent of molten rock, and the fractured modernity of Gone Forever shows a spiky edge that is built for festivals, the drums of Joe Lazarus a whipcrack to the senses.
With the dirty toughness and melody of Sink or Swim and blistering Led Zep dynamics of Your Way providing further highlights, founder member and bass player Tony Newton led the combo to a filling, rattling climax, the band fulfilling their long-held promise to break into the big time, beckoning as ears are left ringing.
Review and photos of British Lion can be found at https://www.metaltalk.net/british-lion-light-islington-assembly-hall-like-a-supernova.php