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  STRAY/PEARL HANDLED REVOLVER
The Borderline, London
16th January 2015


Liz Medhurst: Pics by Noel Buckley

liz medhurst



stray del bronham

Is it too early to start thinking about a contender for gig of the year? I had been looking forward to tonight, an ideal bill to blow away the dark January blues, and it delivered in spades.

It was an early start at The Borderline, necessitating a hike through the early evening Friday crowds of Shaftesbury Avenue, something that is rarely pleasant but on this occasion completely worth it.

Stray, led by founder Del Bromham, are always a treat live - one of the original and best rock bands, born in the wonderful late 60s period where Heavy Metal and hard rock were formed, and they have yet to stop.

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First up tonight though were Pearl Handled Revolver, who always impress and tonight once again showed their skill blending a mix of influences and styles into a unique and original sound.

The band have been locked away in the studio for the past few weeks putting together their third album so they were very at home in the dark basement of the Borderline. Right from the off with the opener 'Help Me Down From The Trees' we were drenched and infused with blues-psychedelia of the highest order.

With vocalist Lee Vernon's grit and passion, Andy Paris' melodic, punchy and progressive guitar licks and Chris Thatcher's drumming which hits you in the gut and chest at the same time, a portal is opened to the most tasty sounds imaginable. It is Simon Rinaldo's keys though, high up in the mix, coaxing out bad-ass purrs and jazzy interludes that bring everything together and lift the songs to a whole new level.

Del Bromham himself joined the stage for 'Hello Mary', and the epic 'Peace By Piece', the additional guitar adding to the pleasure.

As the band seamlessly gear-changed through tempos and rhythms, the full to capacity venue was unanimous in its appreciation.

As the set drew to a close with 'Rabbit Hole', a wonderful trippy state had been reached with nothing other than the power of the music (and perhaps a small amount of pear cider).

Pearl Handled Revolver are a band of the highest quality. Go and see them every chance you get.

Pearl Handled Revolver setlist:
Help Me Down From The Trees
Loverman
Into The Blue
Honeycomb
Hello Mary
Peace By Piece
Rabbit Hole

stray del bronham

There was massive anticipation in the air by the time Stray came on. Fans of blues and hard rock and Metal are all equally passionate about Stray, and with good reason; who wouldn't be?

From the opening riffs of 'Come On Over' the place started bouncing and didn't stop. The invitation to "Come on over to my place if you want" was gladly welcomed, The Borderline being owned by Stray tonight. With an interlude from 'Tomorrow Never Knows' minds were indeed turned off from the chaos outside and floaty and relaxed was a good way of summing up the mood.

Don't be under any impression that this gig was on the lighter side though – Stray rock hard and heavy, producing pure honest rock n' roll that packs a mighty punch.

Fortunately this was exactly the tonic that the Editor needed, as part of his rehabilitation following his recent obsession and imbalance with folk Metal which you can read all about it here. Having checked his bowed psaltery on the door, he was soon back with the programme and the few plaintive shouts for more tin whistle gradually died out, so we are getting there.

stray del bronham

Pretty much all of Stray's long and celebrated career was represented tonight with the second track, 'For The People', originally from the 'Stand Up And Be Counted' album, making a live appearance for the first time in about 30 years, followed by the not quite as rare but still scarcely played 'Only What You Make It'.

Tonight's line up of Del, Karl Randall, Stuart Uren and guitarist from the mid 70s period Pete Dyer were scorching hot, producing track after track of British rock music at its very best. In a week where the demise of Soho has been headline news and column fodder, this was one corner of the village that was well and truly alive and kicking.

Stray's most recent studio album, 'Valhalla', proved that the band are just as good now as they ever were and thankfully a selection of the outstanding tracks appeared in the set tonight - the hard-hitting trio of 'Move A Mountain' with its forceful and punchy riff, 'Free At Last' and 'Harry Farr'.

One of the (many) things I love about Stray is that it is not just the music that is outstanding, but Del tackles important subjects lyrically too. 'Free At Last' reminds us of the words of Martin Luther King and John Lennon, and their quest for peace which could not be quelled by an assassin's bullet.

stray del bronham

'Harry Farr' was written for the memory of the twenty-five-year-old soldier suffering from shell shock who was shot for cowardice – a disgraceful decision by the establishment. Much was made last year of the official death toll of WW1, but still far too many whose lives and those of their families were permanently blighted remain excluded. We are still a long way from true justice - Question Everything.

Anyway, tonight there was no constructed enemy, we were all united in our love of great rock, which just kept coming. Simon Rinaldo joined the line-up to add delicious keys to 'Mr Wind' and the glorious anthem of truth 'I Believe It'. Pete Dyer took over lead vocals for 'Houdini' and 'One Night In Texas', the latter nearly lifting the roof with its Thin Lizzy-esque vibe.

'Buying Time', another mid 70s classic that sounds just as fresh today has astounding energy and a fantastic bit of showmanship with great use of a talk-box.

The showmanship continued right to the end with 'Suicide' and 'All In Your Mind', with Del pulling out all the stops with the traditional guitar heroics, a triumphant conclusion to a stellar set.

There wasn't a single duff moment tonight, just a great show by two of the best live acts around. A perfect Friday night.

stray del bronham

Stray Set List:
Come On Over
For The People
Only What You Make It
Jericho
Move A Mountain
Free At Last
Harry Farr
After The Storm
Mr Wind
I Believe It
Houdini
One Night In Texas
Buying Time
Suicide/All In Your Mind

Click here for MetalTalk's review of 'Stray – Live In Japan' and exclusive video interview with Del Bromham.

Click here for MetalTalk’s interview with Pearl Handled Revolver at Cambridge Rock Festival.


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21.1.15







WACKEN WINTER NIGHTS IS HEAVY METAL WONDERLAND

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

WACKEN 2018 TRAVEL PACKAGE ENQUIRY

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