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Johnny Main

johnny main

the sword

For a lot of people, Monday 7th January was the first day back at work after the Christmas/New Year holidays so what better way to unwind after (probably) the worst working day of the year that to see three quality bands rocking out.

The first band to take the stage were local outfit The Amorettes, who slipped onstage unannounced and started straight away with the rocky 'Take Cover'. Bass player Heather McKay looks suitably at home early on, with her foot firmly placed on monitor as she head-banged away.

Follow up 'Box Ticker' shows this is a band who means business tonight, and also proves how hard the band can rock with drummer Hannah McKay relentlessly pounding away at the back whilst lead guitarist Gillian Montgomery produces some great solos.

We're treated to the debut live performance of an un-named song tonight, after which Montgomery is visibly relieved that it all went without a hitch. The rest of the set is made up of classic tracks from their debut album 'Haulin' Ass' (reviewed by Metal Talk here) including 'Too Much Is Never Enough', 'Hot And Heavy' before the 'Whoot Woo' winds up their quick but punchy set. A few more Amorettes fans made tonight? I would say so.

Next up is the Norwegian four piece band Lonely Kamel, who have a heavy sound that is clearly influenced by early Black Sabbath. Singer/rhythm guitarist Thomas Brenna has an almost workman like approach to his art with his head down from the get-go, studiously concentrating on what he's playing whilst lead guitarist, Lukas Paulsen, prowls the stage with his hair flailing in his wake.

The band get a good reception from the bourgeoning crowd and the band settle into their groove with "the song about the Devil himself" which gives Brenna the opportunity to show off his great bluesy voice, and, despite forgetting some of the words, this track will surely become a mainstay of the bands set in the future.

Another song about Beelzebub has bass player Stian Helle and drummer Espen Nesset working together solidly and holding a heavy bass which continues throughout the band's set. Brenna soon settles into his stride and the crowd of head-bangers gets bigger and noisier as the set progresses.

Mid-way through, their forty minute set slows slightly but the songs still have enough raw power to keep the momentum of the crowd going. Paulsen manages to create some truly astounding solos which break up the slower songs and some tracks feel more like jamming pieces that the band could play and see just where it takes them.

The pace picks up again towards the end of the set and with the dandruff flying down in the front few rows, the band are afforded an encore. With three albums already out, Lonely Kamel are a live force to be reckoned with and are certainly worth checking out in the future.

At 9:15pm on the dot, The Sword make a very welcome appearance onstage, and there's a huge roar of appreciation as the band swing into 'Apocryphon', the title track of their most recent album. For only their fourth appearance in Glasgow, the band have built up quite a following with fans of all ages.

The set continues apace with the trio of 'Freya', 'How Heavy This Axe' and 'Hammer Of Heaven' all going down well whilst it seems that guitarist Kyle Shutt is having the time of his life as John D Cronise on vocals/guitar produces a great solo in the latter song.

Both 'Cloak Of Feathers' and 'Execrator' from their latest album have their synthesized parts (almost feeding back to white noise in the latter) blasting out from the PA, giving the band a small respite but these songs still have the crowd at the front head-banging and jostling for a better viewing position, and, judging by the reaction tonight, the band should consider adding these future classics in the set for future tours.

Bass player, Bryan Richie, gets his own showcase halfway through the set by way of the intro to 'Dying Earth' as the crowd sings along to the quiet bass line that he lays down before the track kicks in properly. It could be me, but it sounded like Cronise may have dropped his vocal register on this song pulling off a fantastic all round performance.

'Tres Brujas' and 'Mother Maid And Crone' prove to be two of the most popular songs of the night, with the pit down the front heaving with a mass of bodies writhing from side to side and seemingly disembodied arms reaching out trying to touch their heroes, whilst a trio of songs from the new album 'Seven Sister', 'Veil Of Isis' and 'Eyes Of The Stormwitch' bring the main set to a close.

With time against the band as venue the curfew closes in fast, they rattle though the remaining couple of numbers with 'Barael's Blade' and (specially for Glasgow as Cronise notes) 'Iron Swan' from their debut release completing the show, the band retreat to the safety of the dressing room to no doubt reflect on the evening, but there is no doubt in my mind that what was witnessed here tonight is nothing short of a truly triumphant performance from the band.

You can catch The Sword/Lonely Kamel here:
Wednesday 9th January – The Fleece, Bristol
Thursday 10th January – Underworld, London

Set List for The Sword
Hammer of Heaven
How Heavy This Axe
Tres Brujas
Cloak of Feathers
Dying Earth
Maiden, Mother & Crone
To Take the Black
Seven Sisters
Eyes of the Stormwitch
Arrows in the Dark
Veil of Isis
Winter's Wolves
Barael's Blade
Iron Swan

The Sword are:
John D. Cronise – Vocals, Guitar
Kyle Shutt – Guitar
Bryan Richie – Bass, Synthesizers
Santiago "Jimmy" Vela III – Drums

The Sword -
Lonely Kamel -
The Amorettes -


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