The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

PAUL DIANNO (with KILLRAZER)/ LACRYMAE/ BABYJANE

Amplifier Bar, Perth, Western Australia

Sunday 27 June 2010

 

By Shane Rockpit

 

 

A motley collection of denim and leather clad rockers, gorgeous rock chicks, long hairs and those whose hair has long vanished started cramming into the Amplifier Bar as soon as the doors opened tonight for their chance to relive the voice and excitement of Iron Maiden 1980 style.

 

 

 

Local rockers BABYJANE are full of confidence tonight and hit the stage like a whirlwind with something to prove – which, with a world-class album in the can almost ready to unleash, they are!

 

Babyjane's Andy Smith

 

 

The set is far too short - opener ‘Are You Listening’ embodies the spirit of rock itself as the room starts getting crowded: feet and heads start tapping, and air guitar shapes start getting thrown. ‘Quicksand’ and AC/DC cover ‘Whole Lotta Rosie’ are just two other standouts, and with a sound that’s a little bit Guns n’ Roses, a little bit Metallica, and maybe the tiniest pinch of Foo Fighters, Babyjane are all rock and we can’t help but predict big things for these guys once their album drops in a month or two.

 

 

LACRYMAE’s studious and precise math-metal seems a little at odds on tonight’s line-up, but they hold their own and keep the attention of a decent portion of the crowd despite the electric atmosphere of anticipation buzzing for Dianno.

 

 

PAUL DIANNO needs no introduction –as an integral player in the rise of modern metal while fronting Iron Maiden’s first two albums, he was the missing link between English punk and the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal. Equally reknowned are the many tales of his repeated public falls from grace – usually involving over-indulgence, unreliability & mayhem – which got him sacked from that band almost 30 years ago.

 

 

DiAnno now travels the world enlisting local groups to act as his ‘pickup band’ in different regions, and this is the second Aussie tour Sydney speed metallers KILLRAZER have joined him on. They take to the stage in front of a restless and fiery crowd and launch face first into ‘The Ides of March’, prompting a mighty roar of approval.

 

This tour has been touted as the 30th anniversary tour for Maiden’s debut album and the setlist was promised to include the entire first album and much of the second, and everyone here is eager to hear these classic songs sung live by their original vocalist.

 

DiAnno hasn’t withstood the ravages of time too well – he is now large, bald and with a pronounced limp - but the crowd still roared as he limped his considerable girth onstage and Killrazer played the intro to ‘Wrathchild’. This is the closest we are ever gonna get to hearing classic Maiden, and despite the added weight and personal dramas over the years, DiAnno’s voice tonight is pretty close to his early recorded works.

 

 

Next song off the rank is ‘Prowler’ and to the headbanging metalheads present – some of whom weren’t even born when these songs were originally recorded – it might as well be The Ruskin Arms 1980, such is the love in the room.

 

This wasn’t to be an Iron Maiden tribute show though – close, but not quite. As the double kick drum furore of ‘Marshall Lokjaw’ starts up I was slightly nervous whether his non-Maiden tunes would stand up next to the classics, but it’s a testament to not only DiAnno himself, but also Killrazer that all the material tonight sounds somehow right and cohesive together.

 

Killrazer are no mere tribute band, either – they are respectful of the material, but play it with the fire and fury that perhaps Maiden themselves are lacking nowadays.

 

‘Murders In The Rue Morgue’ is next and simply brilliant. It’s around this time that Paul shuffles stage left for the first score update from the World Cup soccer match between England & Germany, and his mood darkens suddenly as he realises his team are on the way to a hiding. He had previously joked bout wanting the cancel the gig so he could watch the game but considering Germany went on to a four-one victory perhaps he was better off on stage!

 

He gives his all though through “Strange World’, Murder One’s ‘The Beast Arises’, ‘The Children Of Madness’, ‘Remember Tomorrow’ and ‘Impaler’, bemoaning the lack of drug availability in the country, chewing out Melbourne for being “too artsy”, and bitching about the World Cup score some more. Apparantly after the gig he said he funnelled his aggression about the game into his performance and tonight’s gig certainly bears little resemblance to some of the poorer reviews of his shows in recent months.

 

Of course these solo-era songs aren’t received as rapturously as the Maiden classics like ‘Remember Tomorrow’, but this may be by virtue more of their unfamiliarity than anything else, as they sounded like they could have almost been outtakes from those influential and treasured albums.

 

Next up was a cover of the Alex Harvey classic ‘Faith Healer’. It could be argued that even the Maiden songs in tonight’s set are also covers, but I beg to dispute this. DiAnno was there at Ground Zero for these songs: he was intimately involved during their writing and gestation, even if he didn’t write them himself. The iconic images of him during the NWOBHM era, and his vocals on those two albums assured him of a place in music history forever, and I believe that gives him the right to play these songs as his own for the rest of his life if he so chooses.

 

After another solo offering (‘A Song For You’) DiAnno left the stage “for a cigarette” and Killrazer carried on with one of their own tunes, ‘Sunken’, before coming back for a mind blowing run through to closing time.

 

Doug Killrazer

 

 

‘Charlotte The Harlot’ and ‘Killers’ were worth the price of admission alone, and the quintessential DiAnno song ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ was simply epic. Killrazer nailed it, as they did the whole gig.

 

‘Iron Maiden’, ‘Running Free’ & ‘Transylvania’ followed, and surely most of the crowd were thinking that this was just a dream gig – with a setlist studded with so many classics how could anyone have left disappointed?

 

It’s almost over now and he tackles another cover – Bon Scott & AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ – and you sense a kindred spirit with another fallen rocker as he recounts the tale of how Scott bought him his first alcoholic drink, then nervously says “I don’t wanna fuck this up!”.

 

 

Finally it’s “a punk song. Well it was before I joined The Spice Girls” – and we realise he’s referring to his old band as he catapults himself into a frenetic and furious ‘Sanctuary’ before exiting stage left.

 

 

As someone who bought “Killers” and “Iron Maiden” on vinyl 30 years ago, words can’t explain the excitement at hearing these songs sung by DiAnno himself. Yeah he seems a bit of an arsehole, and he isn’t in great physical shape, and I wish he’d thrown in a b-side or two since Maiden were always so prolific in this department, and hell – he probably deserved to be sacked from Maiden… but as long as he is singing this well and putting on gigs this exciting and breathtaking, then he’s okay with me.

 

Shane Rockpit

 

Setlist:-

Ides of March

Wrathchild

Prowler

Marshall Lokjaw

Murders In The Rue Morgue

Strange World

The Beast Arises

Children Of Madness

Remember Tomorrow

Impaler

Faith Healer

A Song For You

Killrazer – Sunken

Charlotte The Harlot

Killers

Phantom Of The Opera

Iron Maiden

Running Free

Transylvania

Highway To Hell

Sanctuary