Armored Saint Camden Underworld 14-07-16
First up was Portsmouth 5 piece Dendera who won over the already rabid crowd with their full assault heavy metal with singer Ashley Edison's vocals coming over somewhere between King Diamond and Rob Halford.
Full on in your face metal with plenty of monitor foot stomping from all and the crowd threw fists and horns and a great warm up not that anyone present needed it.
Next up was Savage Messiah who we had seen twice recently supporting Testament and you could see from their confidence that the road work was paying off.
Having 40 minutes this time they added Scavengers Of Mercy and Zero Hour from their excellent The Fateful Dark cd to the previous set and with a great sound the guitar tag team excelled.
Equal parts Metallica and Iron Maiden we have seen it all before but when it is played with such self belief it draws you in and here's to a new NWOBHM with these guys at the fore front.
Last year I finally saw Armored Saint for the first time live supporting Queensryche after being a fan for more than 30 years with Symbol Of Salvation in my top 10 albums of all time.
Sadly the quite horrendous sound last year pretty much ruined their set with John Bush in audible through out.
So with a packed house and the temperature rising this couldn't go wrong and it didn't.
Quite simply Armored Saint ripped London a new one with a display of ferocious heavy metal that will live long in the memory.
For 85 minutes this was the place to be and this is what they played.
Win Hands Down
March Of The Saint
Long Before I Die
Last Train Home
That Was Then Way Back When
Left Hook From Right Field
Reign Of Fire
Can U Deliver
Starting with the title track of last year's stand out cd Win Hands Down and from the word go the sound was spot on with Phil Sandoval and Jeff Duncan's guitar interplay soloing wonderful and for me the best bit John Bush was audible and clear and the man in my opinion has had one of the best voices in rock ever.Powerful and with such a range in tone and melody he stalked the stage and gave a performance for all others to follow.
The rhythm team of Gonzo Sandoval on drums and Joey Vera on bass were fantastic laying down the rock that the band are built on.
March Of The Saint was greeted like your best mate had been away for decades with horns and fists everywhere and the chorus being bellowed back at the band.
Tribal Dance from Symbol Of Salvation was a welcome addition with Gonzo laying down an almighty drum barrage and more crowd participation.
Gigs become legendary as the band feed of the crowd and the crowd feed of the band and this was one of those nights as the fever pitch never dropped if anything it increased.
Last Train Home was just simply incredible.To finally hear one of your favourite songs played live after nearly 30 years was a life highlight.
The song ebbs and flows with guitar melodies during the quieter parts and add lib soling during the heavier bits as the song builds to the biggest chorus ever with John Bush hitting every note as the vein on his neck grew ever larger and the crowd were bouncing up and down and the chorus being bellowed by all.
Left Hook From Right Field was a welcome addition with it's crushing riff and chorus again hitting the mark before an awesome Pay Dirt with Bush hitting even greater heights vocally.
He told us that they apologised for not coming to the UK enough but had added this one off show as they were heading to Barcelona for a festival so this was the rehearsal and everyone present was more than thankful.As was John for the safety pin someone handed him when he had a trouser malfunction.
Reign Of Fire which during last year's show was about the only song heard was another highlight with guitar duelling,vocals from the gods and the crowd going nuts.
A 2 song encore of Can U Deliver and of course Madhouse finished off a night that everyone present will remember for a very long time.
In 2001 Armored Saint released a compilation called A Nod To The Old School which seems very apt to sum up this evening.
It felt like the 80's with all bands on the bill having an old school vibe but all so very now too and such a passion for music that shone through.