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3rd February 2011

jonathan churchill

taking dawn

Welcome to my Metal Column!

This is my first review for and what better place to start than rock's new upstarts Taking Dawn!!

Fired up by a fantastic debut album (2009's Time To Burn) and fresh from supporting KISS last year, the band are midway through their first headline UK tour. The band has been attracting attention stateside and a quick flick through February's Classic Rock reveals lead singer Chris Babbitt stating his love for big solos, lots of harmonies and promising to bring back classic hard rock.

I couldn't go to the KISS show in Wembley Arena last year so I jumped at the chance to catch Taking Dawn in the intimate setting of the Camden Barfly. And when I say intimate... I mean it! No more than 200 metal fans packed into a sweaty room waiting for the rock revolution. Ample support was provided by Godsized, the UK's answer to Black Label Society, a focused powerhouse of a band, squeezed onto the tiny stage. Lead singer Glen Korner's voice has a really interesting Eddie Vedder-like tone and the band powered out some massive crunching riffs. If you get the chance to see them I recommend checking them out.

A hard act to follow, but Taking Dawn hit the stage like a cyclone, with singer and lead guitar Chris Babbitt belting out first track 'Like a Revolution'. Bare-chested guitarist Mikey Cross and bassist Andrew Cushing cover back up vocals with new drummer Carlo Mazzone totally lost at the back on the tiny stage - but playing a brilliant set, anchoring the chaos and firmly keeping the band in check.

Full of energy, enthusiasm and bullshit, it's hard not to like the band. They're not that cool or cutting edge but their sincerity shines through and they're playing their first UK headlining show like it's their last! Burning through their album – 'Save Me, Scream, Never Enough' - every track has huge hooks and massive choruses. Babbitt gives a running commentary between tracks and the set goes ballistic for 'Fight 'em with your Rock' – sounding like it's been lifted straight off Skid Row's debut.

Taking a breather we're introduced to guest-star Paul Stanley (bassist Andrew Cushing in falsetto) with Babbitt telling us "You wanted the best... but you got Taking Dawn".

What we actually get is a blistering cover of 'Black Diamond'. Raw, rough, round the edges and just huge. It sounds fantastic. Taking the piss out of the venue Babbitt tells us it's the time they usually go off stage and pretend to finish before the encore - but the Camden Barfly is so small there's nowhere to go!!

So the lights go down... we all make a noise... and they're back, finishing off the set with 'V', 'So Loud' and saving the best til last. An epic 'metal' cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'The Chain'. It's tailor-made for this band and for the last solo Babbitt jumps into crowd and comes all the way to the back and finishes his solo standing on the bar! (see photo above).

It reminds me of when I saw The Darkness supporting Def Leppard at Hammersmith a few years ago, (well before they became a national embarrassment). But tonight Taking Dawn are fantastic and it's great to be seeing a young band playing like there's no tomorrow in a tiny venue, rather than paying £75 to watch Axl Rose take the piss at Reading.

Taking Dawn are rough round the edges and way too young but have tons of potential. I was there with two hardened metal gig-goers and we all agreed we'd like to see them again. Apparently there's a new album in the works and hopefully next time the venue will be much larger.


5/5 for effort and enthusiasm and potential.

Check out latest Album: Time to Burn Special Edition.

Next up for me is Adler's Appetite at the end of the month. Can't wait...

Join our forum. Were you there? Top notch or utter shambles - let me know what you think!!



Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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