It’s hard to understate the significance of this gig. After vocalist Dennis Willcock and guitarist Terry Wapram had left Iron Maiden they formed V1. That was 1977 and despite the band’s potential they slipped into obscurity without ever releasing a full-length. It was a fate many English bands of that era had faced. But as the phoenix rose from its own ashes, tonight V1 rise and spread their wings by releasing their first album and playing live after such a long absence.
Several members of Iron Maiden’s late 1970s line-ups were present in the audience in addition to a handful of die-hard fans. As I heard someone remark, this gave the event a sense of intimacy much akin to a family gathering. V1’s album, entitled “Armageddon”, played continuously before the first band hit the stage.
I was surprised that V1 played first and followed by younger upstarts Kaine…..instead of the other way round. I was also surprised that V1 didn’t play any Iron Maiden numbers that Dennis and/or Terry had co-written, numbers such as ‘Phantom Of The Opera’ and ‘Prowler’.
With Dennis and Terry in V1 were drummer Gareth Dylan Smith and Dwight Wharton, a bass guitarist of U.S.A. origins. Original bass player Charlie Borg recently opted to withdraw from performing duties with V1 although he remains active as a songwriter.
So basically the band played through all the tracks from their album. Although most of the songs dated back to the band’s origins I was hearing them for the first time tonight. I must say some of them sounded particularly well-suited to a ‘live’ scenario, in part due to their well-written melodies and ensnaring riffs. I mean it is now several days after the gig and the chorus to the song ‘V1’ is still going on an indefinite loop in my mind.
Dennis proved to be an ideal frontman. Terry had some excellent solos – very different from the Iron Maiden we know but fitting with regards to the sound of V1. I was also impressed by Gareth whose drumming provided a crucial backbone to the band’s overall performance.
Show over, the band stepped down from the stage all smiles and visibly relieved. The band has a long road ahead but if tonight’s gig was meant to certify their return then it’s most certainly a case of ‘mission accomplished’.
Next on were Kaine, a band I have seen play live on numerous occasions…..but they were never as good as tonight. For some reason the repertoire on display all seemed to make sense to me…it just clicked.
As in my previous encounters with the band, Kaine’s inspiration from the NWOBHM and particularly from Iron Maiden was strikingly clear. Drummer James Balcombe was filling in for regular Kaine drummer Chris MacKinnon, who was unavailable for tonight’s gig. James also plays with Osmium Guillotine, with whom Rage Sadler (Kaine lead vocals, guitars) used to play. Under the circumstances Mr Balcombe did an excellent job.
Within the set-list was an epic instrumental number (whose title I missed) as well as Kaine live favourites ‘Iron Lady’ and ‘Wanderer’.
Great stuff. Tonight Kaine were top of their game.
– Words and live photography by Chris Galea. –