A night of true power metal in the good old Underworld is hard to beat and so it proved but this gig nearly didn't happen. As I arrived at the Underworld for the 7pm door time there was a notice saying due to technical difficulties the door time was increased to 7.30pm. OK then I thought. Then I was chatting to a guy I know outside the Underworld and then slowly 7.30 came and went still no sign of us being let in until finally it turns out that the bands missed their ferry over from Belgium and were on a later one and had not even made it to the venue in time to set up the gear and sound check. So it was gone 8.15pm before they let us in which set times would unfortunately have to be cut short as there was an 11 o'clock curfew.
As I walked in Evil Invaders were already playing the first song. I must admit I enjoyed their new album quite a bit. Not anything super amazing of course but if you're after an Iron Maiden on acid trip then Evil Invaders is your first port of call. In the live setting the energy of the band was unquestionable as they roared through their speed fixated, heleter skelter, Maiden metal. The front man's high screams were the same as on the album and the band were really pretty cool. Keep an eye on these guys. The crowd was at it's highest at this point I must say and would have numbered somewhere below a 100 which would slowly thin further by the time Majesty came on. In fact the attendance for this gig was piss poor which is a damn shame. Power metal gigs are not badly attended when Hammerfall or Helloween or other quite big bands come to town. Sabaton draws a 1000 and more and yet these well established true metal warriors can't draw even a 100 on a pleasant and not too cold midweek evening.
Anyhow on to Bloodbound who I had been dying to see for a good while now. They came on with no keyboardist which was a shame so that part of their sound was piped in. They also had two members of Twilight Force standing in for those absent so to call the band Bloodbound without 3 members of the band there was rather weird but I'll forgive'm this time. I was just happy to hear and see them for the first time and I was hoping for some great songs and of course hoping and praying for Nosferatu their best song. The guys played with smiles on their faces but I could tell from singer Patrik's face that he was slightly disappointed to be playing to about 50-60 people although we were very enthusiastic and made up enough noise for double that amount. The band played a mix of tunes from their albums but unfortunately their set was cut to just 40 minutes from the original hour long set billed. The band sounded good and singer Patrik is an engaging front man for sure although his vocals were a little quiet in the mix and he kept pleading with the sound man to turn up his volume more than once which he did do eventually after being told a few times. I definitely wanted to see Bloodbound more than Majesty in this 3 band bill and to get only 40 minutes was a shame but what they played was great and had the diehards at the front fist pumping and headbanging like there's no tomorrow. To my utter relief the last song of the night started and it was the familiar first bars of Nosferatu and I had a big smile on my face. OK so he's not as good as Urban Breed doing this song but Urban's not in the band and Patrik did an amazing job on the song. I sang that song as loud as I could whilst recording it for posterity. A great end to an understandably short set.
This was the quickest I've seen Underworld staff work in getting the stage ready for Majesty. It must have been around 10.15 or so before Majesty took to the stage, all dressed in warrior padded outfits which is a typical look for a true metal band. Unfortunately after Bloodbound the crowd had thinned further. I really don't know where every one went. Maybe they all had trains to catch but it wasn't that late. I mean the turn out was piss poor to begin with ok but when Majesty came on there were about 30 or 40 people at the front with about a further 20-30 standing on the raised section at the back. I think the disappointment on Tarek's face was there for all to see. As he explained in between the songs they had gone to hell trying to get to the gig and to top it all off he had a terrible throat infection which the doctors have warned him not to sing and his voice whilst ok didn't sound it's best admittedly.
However being true metal warriors he and the band didn't let a lack of attendance spoil their night and they turned in a great performance it must be said. Their true metal Manowar worship is more Manowar than Manowar even as song after song they played and sang their hearts to a very small but appreciative crowd. Their best songs were Into the Stadiums which is a huge true metal anthem although very ironic when you play it to 50 people in a club, new song Generation Steel, another massive anthem, Thunder Rider with it's epic sing along and plenty more. I saw the set list and about 6-7 songs were crossed out due to lack of time and they even played past the curfew for the encore. The constant loud chants of "Hail! Hail! To Majesty!" went up often and long and Tarek was geeing us up to shout even louder!
I'm not sure if they'll be back again though but Tarek said they would although he might have just been saying that flippantly who knows. He did say that he hoped next time there would 10 times as many people there but Tarek mate don't hold your breath. Our legions of true metal fans are very fickle and choosy. They just don't turn out to support small bands. It's always Sabaton, Helloween, Hammerfall and Blind Guardian. In fact BG plays in a few weeks and there will be close to a 1000 there. This night was rescued from being a damp squib in the end by the resilience of the true metal warriors on stage. They may be cheesy as hell but when your heart bleeds for metal you play as if it's your last and even when you're sick as a dog that's true fighting spirit. Hail! Hail! To Majesty!