When most people think of the ‘New Wave of British Heavy Metal’ (NWOBHM) they tend to think of 80’s metal bands like IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, VENOM, MOTORHEAD and SAXON. But, the NWOBHM movement was merely a media label put onto heavy metal bands who survived the commercial punk wave of the late 70s. It was also a term used to differentiate the modern breed of metal band from genre forefathers like BLACK SABBATH, DEEP PURPLE and LED ZEPPELIN.
These ‘NWOBHM’ bands had already existed long before the ugly acronym did. Bands like DIAMOND HEAD, ANGEL WITCH, SAMSON, TYGERS OF PAN TANG and GRIM REAPER had already done the hard metal yards. So too had bands like GIRLSCHOOL, RAVEN and TANK. Last Saturday night at Melbourne’s Croxton Bandroom, that latter three bands proved that metal never was or will be a ‘flash in the pan’, unlike the punk movement of the late 70’s.
The night opened with local metal trio MANIAXE, playing its own blend of 80’s style thrash metal in similar vein to German thrash legends DESTRUCTION, KREATOR and SODOM.
TANK is a band that started as a hard-hitting trio in 1980, playing a brash style of rock that was often compared to MOTORHEAD. Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans are the backbone of this band, and together with new vocalist David Readman (Adagio / Pink Cream 69), the band delivered a set of straight up hard rock attitude that would be tough to top. Readman is a born frontman and hearing him sing with TANK I was blown away by his vocal range, delivery and stage presence. Watching these guys play was like seeing the legendary ALAN FRYER out front with HEAVEN.
RAVEN hit the stage next, and aside from some early sound/comms issues the band was ON FIRE! I’m sure the Gallagher brothers, John and Mark, must have had way too much red cordial back stage before the show, because these guys DO NOT have an ‘off’ button! Running around like crazy men (‘raven lunatics’), the boys left nothing behind after absolutely killing it in every way possible with their on-stage antics. Where they get all that energy from I have no idea!
GIRLSCHOOL seemed to be plagued early on by the same gremlins that pestered RAVEN early in its set. But, like true professionals the girls forged onwards, making light of the situation and not letting it effect their performance. It was a real treat to finally get to see the girls live in Oz after being a fan for so many years. A greatest hits package was just what we needed after having been denied a tour for so long, and they delivered it with all the sass, attitude and energy that you would expect. Kim McAuliffe admitted to having a bug that was effecting her vocal ability, but if it was it didn't show. The band tore through a list of bangers, finishing with the obligatory ‘Tush’, a ZZ Top cover that was a hit for GIRLSCHOOL in the early 80s.
For those who may have been too young to live through the NWOBHM during its peak, this show was a great lesson in the sound and attitude that influenced a generation of metal heads for decades to come.
C'mon Let's Go
Guilty as Sin
Hit and Run
Screaming Blue Murder
Nothing to Lose
Kick It Down
Take It Like a Band
Watch Your Step
Take It All Away
Race With the Devil (The Gun cover)
Tush (ZZ Top cover)