April 2017 will be heralded as the month that had all of the gigs. ALL of them. With something happening pretty much every night, promoters are grappling to push ticket sales for the abundance of shows for fear of poor turn outs. Despite all of this, Grand Magus manage to pull in a near sold out crowd, and on a Sunday night too; impressive work.
Fronted by the Earls of Mars’ Harry Armstrong, Blind River are a relatively new project but deliver the live show of a band that’s been around for decades. Their bluesy hard rock packs in more groove than a 70s disco and the band’s confidence and stage bravado is infectious. It’s rare to see an opening act connect with a crowd with such immediacy, however, Blind River make it look easy and leave behind a lasting impression.
Athens’ Planet of Zeus have built a loyal following for themselves, drawing a portion of the audience who are clearly there just for them. A chant begins as they take the stage and the crowd enthusiasm only intensifies as they begin to play. Their ballsy, straight-up approach to the music they play is larger than life and the band plays with a passion that’s clear for all to see. It’s not especially complex music, but its feel good anthemic quality is undeniably entertaining.
“Fucking hell, London!” shouts Grand Magus frontman, JB, at The Underworld’s explosive reaction to them taking the stage. The Swedish trio bulldoze through a varied set of well-known classics, such as ‘Kingslayer’ and ‘Iron Will’, as well as newer material from latest record ‘Sword Songs’. For a band with a reputation such as theirs, they’d have every right to be complacent, however, they play with the same enthusiasm as you’d expect them to have for their very first show and it’s clear to see they’re having every bit as much fun playing as their fans are watching them. The climactic finish of ‘Hammer of the North’ is heroically epic and the crowd’s chants for more continue on well after the band have left the stage. Quite simply, Grand Magus are a refreshing, adrenaline filled pump of heavy metal that will never be boring to witness.
Reviewed by Angela Davey