Tonight, Audio, in Glasgow, is no longer a concert venue, it is a time machine, and at the controls are Canadian mad scientists going by the name of Striker. You may not want them at the helm of the Large Hadron Collider, but if you want a party that kicks ass, has you smiling from ear to ear, and banging your head like your neck is made of rubber, this is the band you want in charge.
Before we got to party central, we had the no small matter of the two support bands, the first of which was local hard rockers, Manifold. I had not seen this band before, so I am always looking to see what this city has to offer in the way of new, young bands, and once again, I was not disappointed. Unfortunately they were on early, and there was not a large crowd gathered for their set. I can tell you I was absolutely blown away with the pocket-sized powerhouse that is lead singer Erin Woods. Where does that sound come from? I was honestly taken aback at the power that came from the woman, and backed up with a very solid and professional band, I am sure they will get many more support slots. I look forward to seeing them again.
As the second support band (and again, local) took to the stage, the room is filling up. Yes, most may be at the bar, but they are still present. I missed Disaster Area the last time they were supporting in Glasgow, so I was glad to make amends. I take my hat of to the venue for for once again (as they always do) picking great bands in supporting roles. Disaster Area were a great fit. They kick started the time machine generator, as we flew through the decades to a time when I was young and immersed in NWOBHM, followed quickly by hair metal. Singer CJ even looks like a fresh faced Geddy Lee from those days. They played a great set, which comprised of songs from their cassette (yes I did say cassette… this time machine is damn good), with songs like “Take The Money And Run”, “Let It Burn”, and a cover of Grim Reaper’s “See You In Hell” I was thoroughly impressed. Keep an eye out for these guys.
With Striker lots of things just slotted into place. I only discovered them three weeks ago, when one of our reviewers reviewed the their recent album, and told me to check them out ASAP. Up until that point I had never encountered them. I don’t know if I had just been unlucky, or whether the name was too similar to Stryper and it just scared me off, but having known this reviewer since my school days, I jumped on his advice and fell in love with these guys the moment I heard them. About one week after hearing them, I saw tonight’s venue announce the band on their website. I wasn’t too sure it was the same band, as I was informed these guys do not like to travel. I tried chasing it up, but no-one seemed to know. Eventually, I found clarification, so from Canada to Glasgow, via Australia, I was here tonight awaiting the appearance of my new found favourite.
The band took to the stage in a no frills way and proceeded to fill the not-too-large stage with smiles, guitars, and kick-ass attitude. From the opening of “Crossroads” the cogs of the time machine were churning and we were back in the 80s, with all the cliches that entails.. but do you know what? I loved it then, and I loved it tonight. Although it is early in 2016, I have still been to a fair few gigs, but for sheer enjoyment no other gig has come close. This is a band that reminds me why I got into Metal in the first place, The double axe attack, the soaring vocals, the denim, the leather, and the stink of sweat.
Talking of clichés, we have all heard ‘the hardest working band in the world’, ‘the stoopidist band’, etc, but I now give you Striker, the happiest band on the planet. As they rock through their set, they never stop smiling, I have not seen a band so comfortable on stage, so competent, yet have a complete ball from start to finish. The venue was far from sold out but they couldn’t care less. They came to rock, and rock they did.
At one point we had all, bar the drummer Adam Brown, in a line and pulling of a synchronised head banging routine… it was a thing of beauty, perfectly aligned, and even getting in fist pumps timed to perfection. This was NWOBHM heaven. These guys have taken a sound and improved it no end. When the original movement stumbled into town, we had a whole host of punk bands and musicians jumping on the bandwagon, and lets be honest, there were a lot of crap musicians but there is not one weak link in this band. The fretwork of both guitarists were outstanding, the solos were sublime.
For me, no matter how good a band is, a lot hinges on the lead singer, and in Dan Cleary you have the cream of the crop. He has a voice of an angel wrapped inside the devil, and going by the female reaction in the crowd he also has a wizard’s spell book too. The man commands a crowd and owns the stage.
The anthems came hard and fast, and it hit me hard, the fact that I had never heard of this band three weeks ago, and here I am watching them play their first gig in Scotland. I hope to see them again soon, but I fear it may be some time before that happens. I hope the guys enjoyed Glasgow as much as their faces portrayed and that may swing it for them to come visit us again soon…with a bass player called William Wallace, how can they not?
The first stupid question to come out of Dan’s mouth happens on the final song “Fight For Your Life”. He actually asked a Scottish audience if they wanted to sing “Fight for your freedom” WTF? This is taught in school and runs in our blood. As the show comes to a close, and the boys mingle with the crowd, I only have two minor niggles: The set was far too short, and Tim, if you want to be authentic ‘old school’ you need to rethink your patch sewing… we were very particular about this back in the day and seeing thread is a no no!
If you love old school, guitars, great vocals, anthemic songs and more fun than a barrel of monkeys pissed up on Jack Daniel’s, please check this band out. I promise you will not be dissapointed.
review and images Ritchie Birnie
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