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The Gaff, London 6 November 2009

Achilla, photo by Noel Buckley

An interesting night was to be had in the North of London this evening with a talented diverse three band bill in a cosy little venue called The Gaff.

Bangtoy opened proceedings, orignally hailing form Florida under the name Bangtoy 69.  The band had minor success in the States before calling it a day.

Singer Frank Lee decided to pack his bags for the UK and start afresh a decade later with a new line up.  Along with the wonderfully named Johnny Nonsense on guitar Bangtoy made a loud brattish start to the evening with some infectious riffs that lay in the gutter of where Skid Row would pee.

Frank Lee has a lot of front and got the crowd singing on 'Your Outta Luck', with lyrics that wouldn't be out of place on a Steel Panther album.  Good greasy rock.

Achilla, photo by Noel Buckley

Lovers of female fronted progressive goth rock bands are starting to talk in hushed tones about Achilla. A band that have embraced the multiculturalism of London featuring members from Italy, Greece, Spain and Hungary and making the capital their home.

Fronted by Martamaria ,the Rudapest from Budapest the band played some very tight hooks reminiscent of the debut sound from Evanescence.  For a band that still in their early days I was very impressed at how strong they sounded.

New song 'Your Face' showed where the band are heading before climaxing with 'Arashi', a track that was recently included on a Metal Hammer CD.

Time will tell if Achilla can reach the champions league status of Nightwish but there's no reason why they can't snatch a Europa position from the likes of Leaves Eyes.

GMT, photo by Noel Buckley

GMT are a band that should be playing on bigger stages.  Featuring ex Gillan members Bernie Torme on guitar and John McCoy on the bass, the band are completed by drummer versatile Robin Guy who is a joy to watch, often criss-crossing his arms without missing a beat.

GMT, photo by Noel Buckley

Bernie Torme still plays with his distinctive out of tune Hendrix style, songs from the band's two releases were coming fast and furious with a fun punky rock sound.  The mammoth that is John McCoy surely most own the coolest bass guitar in the world.  The elephant head looking bass complete with tusks was literally smoking at times.

GMT, photo by Noel Buckley

The set moved up a gear with 'Rocky Road' an enjoyable Irish jig of a number that had me punching the air. Bernie Torme once performed in Ozzy Osbourne's touring band after Randy Rhoads passed away and paid tribute with a great version of 'Mr Crowley' which was followed by a drum solo from Robin Guy who was keeping the ladies entertained.

The only Gillan track was actually a hit cover of 'New Orleans' which was great for everyone to join in with it vocal lines of ''Hey,hey,hey yer''.

Bernie Torme, photo by Noel Buckley

I was surprised the boys still do a song made famous by their former employee in the shape of 'Smoke On The Water', but no one near me was complaining.

For the encore Torme paid homage to his hero with a blazing version of 'Fire', truly amazing.  A brilliant band that are a lot of fun, could do with a bit more of Gillan and Torme solo stuff though, but's that's only because I'm such a big fan.  Glad I finally managed to catch this band live, you should do the same.

GMT, photo by Noel Buckley

Set list: Cannonball / Bullet In The Brain / Wheel Of Fortune / Can't Beat Rock 'N Roll / Perfumed Garden / Ball 'N Chain / You Can't Hold Me / Punko Rocco / Down To Here / Rocky Road / Longer Than Tomorrow / Mr Crowley / New Orleans / Smoke On The Water... Encore...Fire

Review by Mark Taylor

Photos by Noel Buckley

FM is one of the Ten for 10

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