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Photos by John Price for QEDG


On a cold, blustery evening Uriah Heep are close to winding up yet another hard touring year in support of their 23rd studio album, 'Into The Wild'. They've performed 125 gigs in 23 countries around the world.

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It also brings the gigging year around almost full circle for me as I saw both of tonight's acts way back in January at the Rock And Blues Festival in Skegness at Butlins Holiday Camp of all places.

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Opening for the London show only are a band with plenty of pedigree. Snakecharmer are playing their first official gig, although I have previously seen them a couple of times under their previous guise of The Monsters Of British Rock.

uriah heep

For those of you old enough to remember Whitesnake before they got diluted in an ozone breaking layer of hair spray, Snakecharmer are a dream come true featuring original Whitesnake members Micky Moody on the slide guitar and the well travelled bassist Neil Murray. Joining forces with them are drummer Harry H James (Thunder and Magnum), Laurie Wisefield (ex Wishbone Ash), Adam Wakeman (last seen tinkling the ivories near the back with Ozzy Osbourne) and vocalist Chris Ousey (Virginia Wolf and Heartland).

uriah heep

Snakecharmer brought back the twin guitar based classic rock sound back to those early Whitesnake favourites. Ousey... er... oozes class with a soulful voice more similar to Paul Rodgers. You could even say he looks like a younger model of Rodgers with his tight fitting vest and close shaven stubble.

Snakecharmer played a set that showed that without the gloss Whitesnake haven't written any better tunes since... yes, you guessed it... 1987.

uriah heep

It was a dream set for older fans and a tuition for the youngsters. Whilst it was great to hear such gems as 'Ready An' Willing', 'Ain't No Love...', 'Here I Go Again' in their original format, I do feel the band missed a golden opportunity by not playing some new material.

Having heard two new tracks the week before which would surprise and impress many, Snakecharmer slithered off without showing what they're really about in 2011. Next year could well be the year of the Snake. Watch this space.

uriah heep

On the last tour in support of 'Wake The Sleeper' Uriah Heep took the brave move of playing the new album in it's entirety. This time round that album shamelessly doesn't get a look in and only four tracks from 'Into The Wild' get an airing and by no means the fans' favourites.

However the Heep show no signs of slowing up and are still a force to be reckoned with. New song 'I'm Ready' opens the proceedings before majestic versions of old favourites 'Return To Fantasy', 'Stealin'' and the haunting 'Rainbow Demon' draw us into the world of Heep.

uriah heep

'Money Talks' features a brain shaking drum solo from Russell Gilbrook who has to be one of the greatest finds in rock history. Gilbrook has a tattoo of Animal from the Muppet Show on his arm and it's easy to see why as he could easily use this as an ID if the police ever need to know his name.

'Nail On The Head' is the Metal version of the Gap Band's 'Oops Upside Your Head' but luckily no one dared to sit on the floor in a line like they did back in the discotheques in the eighties (ask your Auntie), although I was standing in line waiting to be served at the bar at the time.

uriah heep

The gig went into overdrive with pulsating versions of 'Gypsy', and a thunderous 'Look At Yourself' with plenty of wah-wah from Mick Box and I thought Gilbrook's arms might smash through the drum skins.

No Heep gig could be complete without 'July Morning' and the set ended with 'Lady In Black', a big smash for the boys in Germany with it's easy singalong chorus for our foreign friends.

The only track from the John Lawton years, 'Free N Easy', was the first encore which saw Mick Box and Bernie Shaw's children come on stage for a bit of headbanging, no doubt encouraged by yours truly who managed to get myself on stage for my fifteen seconds of fame. If only I had brought along my kazoo I could've tempted Mick Box to play 'The Magician's Birthday'.

With my head in a spin and plenty of back slapping from my drinking buddies, a riveting 'Bird Of Prey' followed, a song that no doubt influenced King Diamond with it's high operatic demonic vocals and it led us a to a neck breaking 'Easy Livin'... Oh yes, have I been forgiven?

Set lists:


Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues
Ready An' Willing
Ain't Gonna Cry No More
Slow An' Easy
Ain't No Love (In The Heart Of The City)
Here I Go Again
Fool For Your Loving

Uriah Heep

I'm Ready
Return To Fantasy
Rainbow Demon
Money Talks
Nail On The Head
The Wizard
Into The Wild
Look At Yourself
July Morning
Lady In Black

Free 'N Easy
Bird Of Prey
Easy Livin'




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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