Last Saturday at Hard Luck Bar was a doozy of a show. With old-schooler British metallers Raven (celebrating 40 years together) touring with California-based Night Demon and a couple local acts, it was a night that would be sure to attract and entertain metalheads around the city.
I showed up a bit late and caught only the last song from openers Manacle. I immediately wished I showed up a bit earlier as they were quite good. I will definitely make a point to see them later on. The second band, Razorwire, played a solid set of thrash with some light-hearted banter between songs.
The third act was Night Demon who sounded strikingly similar to Diamond Head. Fittingly, they included a cover of Diamond Head’s “Lightning to the Nations” in their set. Their guitarist Brent Woodward produced some really interesting guitar riffs and the entire set was full of high speed ragers.
Finally came Raven, one of the original NWOBHM bands. With brothers Mark and John Gallagher on guitar and bass and Joe Hasselvander on drums (and with John sporting a headset in lieu of a microphone stand) the band resembled a bunch of old grampas making ridiculous faces while clad in black jeans, studded guitar straps and leather vests.
But they did not sound like grampas.
Their set was a steady slew of first pumpers and high-octane bangers. The band was highly animated throughout and took a couple self indulgent extended solos that lingered long enough to the point of absurdity, but not quite long enough to overstay their welcome. Each song was punctuated by John’s shrill falsetto. The setlist included classics like Hard Ride and All For One as well as newer number Destroy All Monsters. They ended the set with a mega-medley of sorts with nods to UFO, AC/DC, Montrose and Black Sabbath which was a nice touch.
Despite the risk of being overshadowed by the excellent support acts, Raven was able to prove that they’re still the king of the hill.