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OLIVER DAWSON SAXON/DENNIS STRATTON/ PRAYING MANTIS
Bridgehouse II, London, 30
ago the new wave of British Heavy metal (NWOBHM) was alive and well here
in Canning Town East London at the Bridgehouse in East London, where the
likes of a youthful Iron Maiden were starting to strut their stuff.
original Bridghouse is no longer a music venue, but the Bridgehouse II is
flying the flag yet again down the road on an industrial estate at a venue
which is used for car MOT's during the daytime.
gigs here are held upstairs in a cosy little room, but today the
Bridgefest is held outdoors on the forecourt where some of metals old
bangers will be doing some fine tuning. Some 200 happy headbangers turned
out on this Bank Holiday Sunday.
just in time to see Praying Mantis who have just made arguably
their finest album to date with 'Sanctuary.' Featuring just two original
members,the brothers Chris and Tino Troy, the band seemed to have have
settled on their steadiest line-up ever, having found a fine singer in
of that album found their way into the set 'Restless Heart' being my
favourite. From the glory days we got 'Children Of The Earth' from the
debut 'Time Tells No Lies' ending with the metal mutha 'Captured City'. A
hour wasn't enough, with the crowd begging for an encore.
Stratton was playing a rare Iron Maiden set which featured songs from
the debut LP which he played on.
This was a
treat for Maiden fans. Dennis sang the songs himself after his singer was
stuck on the motorway. It was good to hear that classic early Maiden
has carved out a nice niche for himself doing Maiden songs around the
world and there's no reason why Stratton can't do the same. A short five
song set that featured 'Prowler', 'Remember Tomorrow', 'Phantom Of The
Opera', 'Iron Maiden' and 'Running Free' phew!
reservations about seeing Oliver Dawson Saxon before this gig. How
would I enjoy the music of one of my all time favourite bands but without
Biff Byford? Nonetheless, I was here to see boyhood heroes: guitarist
Graham Oliver and bassist Steve Dawson.
'Redline' from 'Power And The Glory' the solid bass was still evident, but
I felt uncomfortable with singer John 'Wardi' Ward, who looked like a Rod
Stewart tribute act who would do well wooing the Northern girls on a hen
weekend in Benidorm, but surprisingly he soon won me over with his
enthusiasm and energy.
Once my ears
had adjusted to the voice of Wardi I started to really enjoy myself
headbanging away to some classic tunes from those early Saxon LP's.
songs where played, including the rather impressive 'Whipping Boy'.
As I made a
dash to catch the last tube home I couldn't help but wonder how modern day
Saxon would sound if they had Oliver and Dawson back in the band.
One can only hope.
A great day
OD Saxon set list: Redline/Past The Point/Strong Arm Of The Law/Whipping
Boy/747 (Strangers In The Night)/Dallas 1PM/Eagle Has Landed/Princess Of
The Night/Wheels Of Steel Encore: And The Bands Played On
and photos by Mark Taylor
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