Blaze Bailey/ Damaj @ Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Blaze Bailey/ Damaj @ Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Almost a year to the day Blaze Bailey returns to Glasgow to promote his latest album and number two in the Trilogy. Having been at last years gig I am pleased to say there are far more punters here tonight and as his fans can get a bit crazy I was expecting a rowdy night…and I was not disappointed.
It is all a bit Deja vu tonight as main support comes from local lads Damaj. I honestly do not know why I am surprised by these guys every single time I see them. I should know by now they consistently push the bar every single gig but tonight there was a huge difference. It has been a couple of years now that I have been following this bands progress. Back when I saw them for the first time I saw a very rough band with a huge amount of talent and drive. Every gig from that day forward they have improved and most recently they have released a brilliant slice of thrash in their EP “ The Wrath Of The Tide”. Everything about this screamed professional from the cover artwork to the beautifully crafted songs.
I can honestly say with hand on heart there is no other young British band out there doing duelling guitars like this band and tonight I saw the reaction from Damaj virgins in the crowd…at one point I looked around the audience to see people standing with their mouths open and this was far from a Thrash audience. It was also evident after their set as they sold out of Large and extra large T-Shirts(yes, that says a lot about the people who bought them…oh, and it looks like I may finally get the Purple T-Shirt I have been shouting about for some time). The band also had a good few punters come up to them after the show.
The boys short set was mainly taken from the recent EP and they opened with “The King” which you should also check out the brilliant Lyric video for. This song sets the bar and the guitars come at you like an axe attack with pummelling drums from the always to be know new boy in Scott Macleod.
By the time we get to second song “Testament Of Judas” I am wracking my brain to figure out how the hell the band are so different to previous shows and this song itself sums up the difference. This is a track over seven minutes long, the guitars are ever present and the work between James Haggart and Daniel Stewart is just breathtaking. This relationship was what stood out for me in the early days but now it is a machine, built on brutal licks, weaving melodies and sheer skill. As I watched this battle between these two men and their chosen weapons I stood and thought this must be what it was like to witness Metallica in their club days, yes this gig and this band are that good.
The band flew through the short set so quickly they were left with some spare time so they decided to squeeze in an extra song to the delight of the crowd and rather than going for the safe option of a well known and played number they opted for a brand new song in “Die For Nothing”, much to the dismay of Bassist Duncan (yes, that is his name…we are just awaiting the Deed poll dropping through the letterbox). The poor lad had never even rehearsed this number but you would never have known it. The once quiet boy of the band relishes all before him and loves his place on that stage. His fretwork is almost unrecognisable from those early days as his fingers work that neck like a master.
Once again this was the best I have seen these youngsters, each gig they grow, each year they improve to the point they are unrecognisable and for me, an ordinary punter these are the best damned Thrashers in the UK.
Last year was the first time I had seen Blaze Bailey for a long, long time and I was thoroughly impressed, so much so I was never going to miss this show. Latest album “Endure And survive” is a cracker and as expected we get plenty of inclusions tonight and we opened with the title track.
Blaze fans are very loyal, they have followed him through thick and thin. I remember seeing Wolfsbane many more years ago than I care to remember and his voice is still spot on to this day but the thing that has changed from those early days is how he works an audience. I would send any young frontman to one of his shows with a notepad and pen…he has this shit so tied down it is almost formulaic but also so sincere, oh, and funny.
The man has to be given congratulations as this is not the biggest of venues and he has trod the biggest stages in the world but he has no airs and graces on that stage, no chip on his shoulder. He is a professional and it shows. As we wind through the lengthy set you also have to give it up for the band tonight. Chris Appleton on guitar, Karl Schramm on bass and drummer Martin McNee are a powerhouse and with their live work as well as doing Blaze’s studio albums there are no gaps, no missed notes, you could not ask for more.
As well as the songs from his last two albums Blaze goes over old ground with Maiden in “Futureal”, “The Man On The Edge” and probably my highlight of the evening in “The Clansman”. A highlight for two very different reasons, one…well D’Oh you are in Scotland and as cliché as it seems, yes we do like to shout and sing “Freedom” at every opportunity. It was an immense version tonight that was spoiled by Blaze himself. After his speech about how good it is to play Scotland and to sing this song to his Scottish fans he refused on two occasions to accept a saltire offered from his fans. This really put a downer on my night as I hate to see something like this. It was deliberate and it was uncalled for so for me the rest of the set it was pretty much over for me(yes I know I am fickle but us Scots are very, very partiotic…you dont mess with that folks).
All in all it was a good show mired by one event which tarnished a whole show for me. I hope this is a one off as this is the kind of things that loses you fans and respect…another lesson for all upcoming bands to remember.
Images and Review Ritchie Birnie