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Gig Review : DIAMOND HEAD / DOVER BOOKING HALL

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Having never had the pleasure of visiting this exciting new venue located in the south east of Kent, it was decided that on the way home from Great Yarmouth and the 4 day HRH Festival we would follow DIAMOND HEAD on to their next show after their great performance just a few hours previous.  

On arrival we parked up and were met with friendly door staff.  A good start! But the venue itself was just great, a wonderful high stage and single highceilinged room with a healthy gathering of fans in a lovely, laid back, friendly atmosphere. This is what a spit and sawdust venue should be like and I am not at all surprised about the quality of the acts such as STONE BROKEN, THE WILDHEARTS,and MASSIVE WAGONS who have already dropped in to play on their way over to the continent.  

Opening act tonight was local band BLACK ROZE fronted by the gifted “Vixen” this energetic front woman knows how to work a crowd, from the opening doomladen stodgy riff of “Obscenity” with its fantastic midsection guitar solo from “Baz,” she was on top form.

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The band have recently released their debut album “Spiritual Hell” and played a few songs from this including a sledgehammer of a track called “Lost” which alone was enough for people to head to the merchandise stall and pick up a copy.

Although only allocated a 30 minute support slot they took every opportunity and what BLACK ROZE show would feel complete without a version of “These Boots Were Made For Walking” with the crazy Baz intro of Hendrix “Voodoo Child” morphing into a slimy greasy version of “These Boots” with Viixen, in her leather studded cap and whip in hand, they just lorded it up on stage rounding off a brilliant set.

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Just for the record I watched BLACK ROZE a year ago in Hastings and although a good band then, I can say that this last year they have streamlined themselves into a topclass act, a band for the future.  

DIAMOND HEAD in Dover?   Never in a million years would I have ever imagined that happening, but here they are mingling with the crowd and floating about before their live set had even started.IMG_8849.jpg

I have total respect for founder member Brian Tatler, who after 40 years is still prepared to keep his legion of fans happy by playing this venue on a cold Sunday evening before boarding a ferry to get over the channel. The band now consisting of  

BRIAN TATLER / GUITAR 

RASMUS BOM ANDERSON / VOCALS 

KARL WILCOX / DRUMS 

DEAN ASHTON / BASS 

ABBZ / GUITAR 

Having witnessed a great set from the band the band at HRH, I had a rough idea what to expect but with the added bonus of a full hour and a half show. They served up the classics as well as a dusting of new material from the latest album “Coffin Train”.

With Tatler’s trusted and world famous flying V guitar, “Lightning To The Nations” comes oozing from the speakers with its many time changes that over the years have never become tiresome to the listener

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This is evident by the reaction from the fans watching. Filed away in the genre that is classic sounding Thrash is “Belly Of The Beast” from the new album and heavens above does it shake this stone and brick building to its core! With a frantic second guitar from “Abbz” keeping up with Tatler, who has his head down riffing away while all the time “Anderson” is staring the crowd square in the eyes and interacting like any top drawer front man should do.

Messenger Of Death” is another new song and a stand out track from the album, which rolls along at a slower tempo but with a bass guitar sound that just growls all preceded by a slight extended guitar solo from Tatler.

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Then its time for another classic “ Its Electric” taking us back 4 decades with its tinges of rock n roll riffs and a mid section clap along, which if I am honest did not need much asking from the band its just one of those songs that has to be joined in with.

After a request from “Anderson” to put mobile phones away because this is a rock concert not a advert for “You Tube” ( applause all round ) all the group let themselves go with a staggering version of “Helpless” with plenty of ageless head banging both on and off stage, the concentration on Tatler’s face is a joy to watch as his fingers weave magic all over the fretboard.

If that was not enough we where all waiting for that one song, and that one song is “Am I Evil” a song so important to not only the history of N.W.O.B.H.M but the history of rock music in general.

Timeless and epic just doesn’t do the track justice. Tonight watching the band play this live close up is just immense with “Dean Ashton” hammering out that distinctive drum beat while the aggressive speeded up section has everyone rocking out.  

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Closing song of a hugely enjoyable evening was “Sucking My Love” another staple track from the Diamond Head live experience. 

What a way to round up a busy 4 days watching / reviewing bands and if I am honest of all the acts I managed to see at HRH, to have Diamond Head as the extra gig on the way home was a huge bonus. 

Review by Steve Bruty

Photography by Darren Smith

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