Girlschool / Blitzkrieg / Age Of Evil
16 December 2008
London Astoria 2

Disappointingly Benedictum had pulled out of tonight’s show, however there was US representation in the form of Age Of Evil. I believe the band are still in their teens and they certainly looked young enough to be the kids of either band following them tonight. With youthful exuberance and a good degree of talent the two pairs of brothers that comprise Age Of Evil set about winning over those arriving early with a blend of modern metal like a clash between Trivium and Megadeth.

Megadeth was a plainly evident influence for guitarist Jordan Ziff, who has the same hair, posture, clothes and guitar as Dave Mustaine in the late 1980s. His playing scattered shredding solos over Age Of Evil’s songs and its no surprise that Marty Friedman had been a guest on the band’s debut album. Currently self released, frontman Jeremy Goldberg told us that the Living In A Sick Dream album will be available in March next year and the title track was a high point of the set.

Wrapping up with a faithful, and well received, cover of Judas Priest’s Electric Eye, Age Of Evil put in an impressive performance and whilst they haven’t fully realised their song writing potential yet, their age hints that the best is yet to come.

Age Of Evil set list:
? / Call Me Evil / You Can’t Change Me / ? / Living A Sick Dream / Guitar Solo / ? / Electric Eye

Taking to the stage with the confidence of headliners, Blitzkrieg lined up to their intro tape with bassist Paul Brewis taking centre stage, bass above his head and asking the crowd “Are you ready.” As Inferno opened the set, frontman Brian Ross, strode on to the stage wearing dark glasses and black leather gloves looking somewhat like a mixture of Joey Ramone and Howard Stern.

The band’s roots remain in the New Wave Of Heavy Metal and they have not tried to reinvent their wheel over the years. There’s little shift in sound from that opening song from their 1985 debut album to the next two, which feature on last year’s Theatre Of The Damned. Prior to Unholy Trinity, Ross noted that it’s Blitzkrieg’s own 30th Anniversary next year and the obvious enjoyment of the band on stage suggests they’ll be adding a good few years to that total. With Hawkwind playing in the main Astoria its not a surprise that the venue is far from packed and Brewis attempts to get everyone jumping to Tortured Souls was a bit futile.

Of course the one song that everybody here knows is Blitzkrieg itself, made famous by Metallica. Closing the set with this ensures the band leave on a high. My own attention did wander mid way through the set but if NWOBHM is your thing then Blitzkrieg are definitely worth checking out live.

Blitzkrieg set list:
Inferno / The Phantom / Theatre Of The Damned / Unholy Trinity / Dark City / My Life Is My Own / Escape From The Village / Tortured Souls / Blitzkrieg

Tonight is however Girlschool’s night, billed as a celebration of their 30th Anniversary. Things didn’t get off to the best of starts though with the intro tape having to be restarted and then Jackie Chambers’ guitar going AWOL during opener C’Mon Let’s Go. To add to the problems, Kim McAuliffe had come down with a stinking cold for Girlschool’s big night, but she did well to soldier through the set.

Taking the microphone for Hit And Run, Enid Williams had no such problems, belting out a strong vocal. Ace from Skunk Anansie joined the girls for Spend Spend Spend with Williams confirming the rumours about that band reforming next year.

From The Other Side was dedicated to guitarist Kelly Johnson who sadly passed away last year. On the band’s latest album, Johnson ashes are credited as percussion on one song and with the band all shaking mini-maracas you had to wonder whether Johnson was making a contribution to the gig.

The next special guest was Doug Scarrat, guitarist of Saxon who took the stage for Everything’s The Same and remained for I Spy with Neil Murray (ex-Whitesnake/Black Sabbath/Vow Wow) also appearing on bass. With a Sabbath like feel this song stands a little different to the rest of tonight’s set. With Ronnie James Dio contributing a version to the band’s latest album I had wondered whether a live version without him would be lacking but Williams put in a great performance.

Following the petulant Yeah Right it was time for the home straight of old classics, with Race With The Devil in particular getting the crowd bouncing at the front. Even with 30 years experience there is no degree of rock star attitude from Girlschool who remain very connected with their crowd throughout the gig and the stage banter is very easy going and chatty. With a few special guests and a celebratory look over their history, tonight’s relatively relaxed atmosphere seemed the perfect way to raise a glass to the band’s longevity. Being our last gig of 2008, Rockers Digest had no problem in doing that!

Girlschool set list:
C’Mon Let’s Go / Not For Sale / Hit And Run / Never Say Never Again / Spend Spend Spend / Screaming Blue Murder / Future Flash / From The Other Side / Everything’s The Same / I Spy / Yeah Right / Race With The Devil / Demolition Boys / Emergency / Take It All Away

Age Of Evil