Metal God Steve Harris can do little wrong in my books so I was delighted at chance to see his side project ‘British Lion’ at the O2 in Birmingham, one of only a handful of dates the band is playing in the UK. Playing the second stage, this was a chance to get up close and personal with a metal icon, who is probably used to having a stage the size of this whole room.
With a nod of the head the band swiftly got the crowd jumping by playing the first three songs from their debut album. ‘This is my God’, ‘Lost Worlds’ and the exhilarating ‘Karma Killer’. Vocalist Richard Taylor commanded the crowd well and you could tell that although this crowd is probably only a fraction of what Steve Harris is used to, it did not stop the energetic bass monster enjoying the intimate audience participation pumping his fist in the air and singing along.
The next two songs were new (and hopefully implies a second album) ‘Father Lucifer’ and ‘The Burning’ featuring the brilliant drum work of Simon Dawson, and twin guitars of Grahame Leslie and David Hawkins, each of which would allow Steve Harris a turn at the front to whip the crowd up to near melting point on this cold spring day.
The next two songs returned back to the album with ‘The Chosen Ones’ and ‘These are the Hands’ both of which had the crowd trying to match the mesmerising vocals. The set continued playing a mix of album and new songs. Then things finally slowed down with ‘Judas’ giving us all a chance to catch our breath.
The band then went off for a little break. At this point the crowd seconded guessed each other as to what they would play as an encore. They were soon back and the answer was a cover, not of an Iron Maiden song as some had hoped, but UFO’s ‘Let it Roll’ which was a great fit to the set list, giving a nod to the past and the 70’s Rock theme that British Lion have.
The band finished their energy engrossed set with the anthem ‘Eyes of the Young’ then stayed on stage to soak up some of the admiration the crowd where giving back, Steve even shaking hands and high fiving people. This was a fantastic show and very different from where Iron Maiden are at the moment. Seeing a Rock / Metal icon play a small intimate venue and thoroughly enjoying it is how music should be played. But let us not forget the rest of the band, accomplished musicians all.
I hope this band continues to do what it does, (and a second album comes to fruition). If you like the nostalgia of 70’s Rock music this is a show not to be missed.