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Friday, 8 December 2017

A View From The Back Of The Room: Diamond Head (Live Review By Paul)

Diamond Head, O2 Islington Academy 2

Earlier in the year I’d missed Diamond Head’s headline set at Amplifed due to the flooding of my tent. I’d been due to interview Karl Wilcox, drummer with the NWOBHM legends at the event but Karl was fantastic and was happy to conduct the interview by email. The interview is available to read in the blog. When I noted that the band were playing in London when I happened to be working there I contacted Karl who was very generous in providing guest passes to get into the gig.

I arrived too late to catch Dead Man’s Whiskey so apologies to those guys. Cairo Son (7) were in full swing as I made my way into the packed venue. The London based three piece have a somewhat stoner/grunge sound which was well received. Playing tracks from their two albums, 2016’s Storm Clouds and their debut Hearts Against The Feather and throwing in a newie as well, Cairo Son were really enjoyable. Vocalist and Guitarist Magdy, who introduced himself as half Egyptian and half Polish was not only a decent singer but a tidy guitarist too, chucking out fat riffs for fun. Alongside him bassist Rico and drummer Ed laid down a rock hard foundation. With two albums out and a third in progress, Cairo Son is definitely a band worth checking out if you get the chance.

As Mars - The Bringer Of War blasted out of the speakers, a trimmed down Diamond Head (9) took to the stage. Missing rhythm guitarist Andy Abberley, there was more responsibility on bassist Dean Ashton to provide the heavy, but he didn’t shirk for one minute. A hugely energetic performance, alongside guitarist Brian Tatler meant that you didn’t even notice the absence. A perfectly paced set, with a couple of tracks from last year’s self-titled release sat comfortably alongside the numerous classics that the band possess in their locker. It’s only when you catch these guys live that you realise how bloody good they are. Tatler is a stunning guitarist, with the rare skill of making everything look simple. Up front the energy of vocalist Rasmus Andersen was infectious, the audience in full voice and pumping fists in the air. Wilcox is a fantastic drummer, little fills and tricks fitting neatly alongside the solidity and power which give the band such a firm footing,

As I said the set list was crammed full of classics which really do excel in the live setting. Highlights included In The Heat Of The Night, Shoot Out The Lights, Lightning To The Nations as well as the more recognisable The Prince, It’s Electric and a blisteringly fast and heavy Helpless. By the time we got to Am I Evil? The crowd was in a frenzy but it was the signature song that really got the place moving. A magnificent song, a real metal monster and still sounding brilliant. The band extended it slightly, before closing their main set. A deserved encore concluded a fabulous evening and a demonstration that, even 40+ years after they first formed, Diamond Head remain a must see band in today’s scene.

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