London on a Saturday night. It's the night widely forecast for heavy snow, and the queues outside the Islington Academy go around the block and onto the main street. Eventually we get in, with hot southern Metal heroes Primitai assaulting the audience, promoting their new second album 'The Line Of Fire'.
The crowd went wild for these young pretenders to the Metal crown. In an audience made of mostly kids wearing t-shirts from the last Maiden tour and old hands from the Edguy underground UK army, they go down a storm. It's Srdjan Bilic on guitar that stands out, taking on an iconic Lynott-esque pose. A rock hero in the making!
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I make no bones in saying that if Reading and Berkshire are currently known as the testing crucible for producing the shoutiness of Malefice and Sylosis, it is about time for Primitai to claim it back for Power Metal! Bring it on!
By the time they leave the stage, 75% percent of the audience are willing them back for more. Not bad for the opening act guys!
Voodoo Six are next up. Essex Geezer Metal at its finest. The powerhouse of new drummer Joe Lazarus, who learnt his craft in the Nicko McBrain school of pounding, keeps the beat impressively. Meanwhile we get a now familiar set of tunes that have had a fair amount of Planet Rock radio exposure. Although perhaps a mis-match with the Power Metal audience tonight, these chaps got heads nodding, particularly to new song 'Falling Knives'.
Edguy finally hit the stage. It's "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the freak show" once more!
We're treated to new material from 'Age Of The Joker', which to my ears sounds standard Edguy fair, but not classic yet.
'Tears Of The Mandrake' really gets the crowd going, and readily reminds us of all the fun and humour of this amazing band, that borders on the epic. The new Irish jig that is 'Rock Of Cashel' starts to tell you the love Edguy have for our sceptered Isles. Follow that with the gloriously ludicrous 'Lavatory Love Machine' and the audience are in Germanic tongue-in-cheek rapture.
"Honey, do you like the way I cream?" Indeed! In the age of the joker, Tobias Samnet, with his obvious Dave Lee Roth influences. plays the rock n' roll clown superbly, and the rest of the band clearly enjoy themselves with jolly japes and mock duals a plenty.
It's during the new 'Robin Hood' anthem that we see more evidence of Edguy's Anglophile love. Introduced as "This one's about Michael Praed" (Robin of Sherwood – wow! Did you get that in Germany?) and "Oh, and Kevin Costner".
The love is continued during the mid-section of the song with a homage to Maiden's 'Seventh Son', complete with Brucey-esque "Scream for me London" that delights the nuggets (young Metalheads!) in the crowd. In fact many a Maiden fan would go home happy tonight after this is followed by a rendition of "The Trooper!"
The ballad, "Save Me", continues the night, but I can't help wondering if I'd rather have heard 'Land Of The Miracle' in its place, but there are so many great songs in the Edguy back catalogue now that an all too short set fails to do Edguy justice really.
I first saw Edguy when Bloodstock was indoors at Derby Assembly rooms in 2003, and the rest of the bill was widdly nonsense like Dragonforce. I was very drunk and bored, and this band with their 'Hellfire Club' album ripped me out of the monotony with 'Tears Of The Mandrake' et al, and I was hooked! This inspired me to start frequenting European Metal festivals like Wacken to learn about all this Euro Metal stuff!
Almost ten years later Edguy seem to be at the same level though. It's a shame that Edguy can headline Euro fests, but are largely ignored by the UK rock festivals, apart from Bloodstock, but even then are only given awful mid-afternoon 45 minute slots.
Tonight Tobias Samnet reflects this frustration by asking us to write to our rock magazines and ask: "Why aren't Edguy on your cover?"
Quite rightly they should be the new heroes on the front of Classic Rock Magazine and get regular airplay on Planet Rock, but these institutions seem to be more interested in the fact that Led Zeppelin might reform, Hendrix and Morrison are still dead and Joe Bonnemazzzza is paying their bills! And that's the story!
Anyway, back to the show! The night is bought to a barnstorming close by the fabulously camp anthemic singalong 'Superheroes', with 'Vain Glory Opera' being our Wicked guide to the finale, the brilliantly epic 'King Of Fools'.
As we wind our way home on an inefficient transport system collapsing under the snow, one wonders what the efficient and comic Germans make of this as a metaphor for our Metal scene!
See you soon Edguy! Keep a watch on Primatai!