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O2 Academy, Islington, London
Wednesday 26th August 2015

Andy Rawll: Photos by David Craig

andy rawll

steve harris british lion

Ironically coinciding with the announcement of next year's globe gobbling The Book Of Souls World Tour, Harry's keeping himself gig-fit with his leonine side-project.

British Lion may be singular in name and somewhat toothless in the studio, yet live they again proved to be a fiercer proposition. It's well over two years since their maiden gig in the capital at the same venue and the intervening 34 gigs have helped hone the live bite of the band, aided by the brilliant loud and clear mix conjured up by Tony Newton working his voodoo at the sound desk.

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As before the set-list drew heavily from the eponymous debut, with 'Judas', 'Us Against The world' and 'These Are The Hands' particular alt-rockish stand-outs.

For me, the more commercial songs like the very journeyman 'Eyes Of young' and the Boston suburbia of 'Chosen Ones' (more than a feline?) missed the mark. However, much of the newer material was very promising indeed.

andy rawll

In all the set-list included six unreleased tunes, with 'Spitfire' the squadron leader, indicating that Steve has pride and faith in the longevity of this new venture. However, it's doubtful that a second album will appear any time soon, given that he's now in countdown mode with less than six months to go before he boards Ed Force One.

The gallopy claret and bluesy bass-man was far from the only ace in the pack. Simon Dawson packed a punch from back and Richard Taylor's voice was excellent, sinewy and melodic in equal measure. The twin guitars of Grahame Leslie and David Hawkins were relatively low in the mix, yet tastily melodic without being too flashy and underpinned the unmistakable babbling bass of our 'arry.

andy rawll

Despite the slim-pickings for the Ed-heads in the crowd, with no songs about theatrical demons or free running, the band got a suitably roaring reception from the academy and gave an Oscar-winning performance, capped off by a stonking cover of UFO's 'Let it Roll'.

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