Hard Rock Hell – Saturday’s First Bands
Come inside for early-bird reactions to Pig Iron, The Glitterati, Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts, Girschool and Marseille.
* Pig Iron - A surprisingly strong attendance for a performance that started at the (relatively) ungody hour of 12 noon. The band sounded intense and plodding, in a good way, with some belting vocals from Johnny Ogle – and some great harmonica playing from him, too. The brooding, southern rock-flavoured Lord, Kill The Pain was a fine ending to a fine set.
* Dumpy’s Rusty Nuts – Made their appearance on the somewhat dubiously named ‘Old Skool NWOBHM Stage’. Dumpy (for it is he) appears to have morphed into Father Christmas – which we suppose is rather apt, given the time of year. Otherwise it was like being in The Marquee on a wet Tuesday night 25 years ago. Unfunny between-song asides from the decrepit and bitter Dumpster, meandering guitar solos from him also, and a set packed full of witless mutilations of old rock’n'roll standards.
* The Glitterati – The singer (Paul Gautry) looked like the son of Gary Holton, and there were certainly some hooligan Heavy Metal Kids-style elements to the band’s trash/punk approach… if you concentrated really hard. But as the set progressed each song – be it Fight Fight Fight or Overnight Superstar – began to sound like The Knack on steroids.
* Girlschool – Overcame some early problems with Enid Williams’ bass to deliver an excellent performance. Highlight was a rollicking version of Take It All Away – a song introduced by Kim McAuliffe as “the first song we recorded all those years ago… but we still remember it – I hope”. This was an ageless display, with Enid in particular looking hot in her uniform of leather or rubber (or possibly both). At the end of Race With The Devil a grubby-looking pair of men’s underpants was thrown on stage. Tom Jones, eat your heart out. Our only criticism? Given Girlschool’s time-honoured gritty approach, Jackie Chambers’ gleaming Flying V-style guitar looked a bit out of place. Still, she could always sell it to Steel Panther.
* Marseille – Back to the ‘Old Skool NWOBHM Stage’. Guitarist Neil Buchanan played up to the adoring hordes in the front row – well four or five people, at any rate – something rotten. But the band’s show was hampered (as it always has been) by a lack of quality material. Be it an old song like Rock You Tonight or a new ‘un like Are You Ready, Marseille’s stuff is trite and average at best. It’s also discomfiting to see them portray themselves as NWOBHM legends, because that’s a claim without foundation.