FIST – London 23/01/2016

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Location:             ‘The Unicorn’, London (England)
Date:                     23rd January, 2016
Bands:                  Fist, Seven Sisters, Ascalon
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My first encounters with the music of Fist had been numerous compilations, amongst which was Lars Ulrich’s “New Wave of British Heavy Metal ’79 Revisited”. I was hooked straight away and had made it my mission to collect as many Fist records as I could find (there aren’t so many, mind you). So there was no way I was going to miss the band’s first London gig in a veeery long time.

Seven Sisters I had already seen at last October’s Live Evil festival so I did have an idea of what to expect but Ascalon were a totally new proposition to me. Before long, I realized that the music of all three bands shared an affinity with traditional Metal.

Take Ascalon, for example…..

Ascalon
To my ears, Ascalon’s guitar harmonies seem very much inspired by Iron Maiden and Matt Gerrard, the band’s frontman, reminded me of Ralf Scheepers in more ways than one. While not particularly tight, especially with regards to the drums, Ascalon put on an entertaining show with the crowd responding very well to the vocalist’s taunts.
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The most memorable moment was when they performed the song ‘Ascalon’ with the crowd chanting the band’s name in the chorus.

Anyone into Iron Maiden, Primal Fear or Angel Witch……..take note.

Ascalon was:
Matt Gerrard-vocals, guitar
Chris Marsh-guitar
Alex Varley-bass
Vince Scott-drums
Set-list:
Steel Nights
Speed Daze
Enforcer
Red Leather
Reflections
Ascalon
Vigilante

Rating: 75/100

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Seven Sisters
A quick soundcheck just before the actual performance and local band Seven Sisters kicked off their show with exuberance to spare. ‘No Guts, No Glory’ perfectly encapsulated the band raison d’etre….unashamedly cliché-ridden, yet well-written songs influenced by old-school British Metal but also having shades of classic U.S. Power Metal. Seven Sisters guitarist Graeme Farmer is wearing a Europe shirt and something about the melodies of his solos suggests he is indeed inspired by the Swedes.
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I wasn’t entirely convinced by the lead vocals, which sounded a tad limited to me, but like Ascalon Seven Sisters had a good crowd response especially in the second half of their set when the band was more inspired. Interestingly, their set concluded with a cover of ‘We Stand to Fight’ of defunct NWOBHM cult band Virtue.

On the whole Seven Sisters gave an entertaining show. Good stuff.

Seven Sisters was:
Kyle McNeill-vocals, guitar
Graeme Farmer-guitar
Adam Thorpe-bass
Steve Loftin-drums
Set-list:
The Warden/The Silk Road
Wicked Steel
Onwards They Ride
Cast To The Stars
Lost In Time/No Guts, No Glory
Avenger
We Stand To Fight (Virtue cover)

Rating: 74/100

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Fist
To be quite honest, for the first few songs of Fist’s set I had a flicker of doubt as to whether this was going well. All uncertainties were interred, however, when Fist played ‘Turn The Hell On’. From then on the audience were never freed from the band’s solid grasp.
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I loved the vocals of Glenn S. Howes…..a strange opinion perhaps considering that Glenn’s musical career was built around his guitar playing skills. In fact not only did he do the classic Fist songs justice but his singing seems to have its own style and personality.

For me set highlights included ‘S.S. Giro’, ‘Name, Rank & Serial Number’ and the aforementioned ‘Turn The Hell On’. All well-written songs given the dynamic interpretation they deserve. Apart from the set closer (more on that in a moment) the set-list was made up entirely of classic Fist songs despite the band already having some new songs up its sleeve. And the audience lapped it all up with heads banging frenetically, fists punching the air, choruses of songs sung in unison…..you just had to be there.

“There once was a guy called Lemmy and he was a rocker.” Right after Glenn’s brief intro, Fist proceeded to play set closer ‘Ace Of Spades’. And the audience truly went beserk. As I said, you had to be there.

Another thing I liked was that all the Fist members proved to be eminently approachable and down-to-earth, socialising with fans before and after the gig. The members of Ascalon and Seven Sisters were friendly lads too and wherever there was a riot they were never far off.

A great evening and triumphant return from an icon of the NWOBHM.

Fist was:
Glenn S Howes-lead vocals, guitar
Dave Irwin-guitar
Norman Appleby-bass, backing vocals
Harry ‘Hiroshima’ Hill-drums
Set-list:
The Vamp
Too Hot
Forever Amber
Collision Course
Dog Soldier
Turn The Hell On
Lost And Found
Devil Rise
Brain Damage
S.S. Giro
Never Get Me Up
Name, Rank & Serial Number
Ace Of Spades (Motörhead cover)

Rating: 90/100

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(Text and all live photos by Chris Galea.)

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