A tremendous night of rock and metal from four very different bands and all in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust unfolded at the Classic Grand in Glasgow as the Headbangers Balls Tour rolled into town. 12 tour dates spread across July and August with over 40 of the UK’s finest upcoming bands taking part and helping to raise awareness of cancer and more importantly raise funds.
One of two bands flying the flag for Scotland as part of this tour, and opening the night, was Falkirk band Cnoc An Tursa. I had a great degree of sympathy for them tonight as they took to the stage. Given curfews at the venue it meant an early start and folk were still coming in as they kicked their set off. Not that this deterred them in any way, as they very quickly hit their heavy melodic stride with great aplomb and had the crowd warming to them instantly. Sadly we only managed to catch a few songs before interviews called us away, but Cnoc certainly acquited themselves well from what we heard and set the night up perfectly for what was to follow.
Interviews complete we made our way back to catch midlands metallers Reign of Fury. The Headbangers Balls tour itself was the brainchild of these guys so it really was fantastic to see them make their way up to Glasgow and play an absolute stunner of a set. Frontman Bison, thankfully and wonderfully five years clear of testicular cancer, is in fine form as they tear up the stage. I likened him to a full-on metalled up version of Dexter Holland when I reviewed their album last year and tonight he sounds exactly as I thought he did on the album. The man does indeed have balls of steel and has an amazing voice that is perfect for Reign of Fury’s style.
I wish they had longer than the allocated 30 minutes though, as their set raced by far, far, FAR too quickly for my liking. It’s been a year since debut album World Detonation came out and I have to say that the tracks themselves sound even better live. In particular Born to Die (Dying to Live) and title track World Detonation were absolute stand-outs for me as the band worked the small and compact stage and beyond to the absolute limit. Their set was full of energy, tight as a gnat’s ass and a tour de force of old school influenced heavy metal. Hopefully they’ll be back up in our neck of the woods sooner rather than later with more time to showcase just how good they are.
Edinburgh punk-rockers States of Panic took to the stage next, with a very different but no less enthusiastic or impressive set. Having only just seen them a month past at Les Fest 2013 we knew exactly what we were going to get and like those before they did not disappoint. Their commercial punk-rock vibes and infectious energy are tailor-made for playing live and even with some sound and technical issues during their set the band continue to show why they are making such a name for themselves in rock and metal circles here in the UK. Another fine performance from a fine band.
Closing out the night superbly were London band i Am i, at present more renowned at the moment for the fact that they’re ZP Theart’s new band than anything else. I have a feeling though that it really won’t be long before that changes because tonight from start to finish the simply owned the Classic Grand. True, a huge chunk of that is down to the charisma, style and vocal authority that ZP carries on stage, but the band themselves aren’t afraid of ripping out some huge riffs and solos when required. Even before the end of the first song the band had the enthusiastic crowd eating out of the palms of their hands as they all looked to be having a great time of it, smiles shining all round at the response. Granted, I thought the fans blowing the hair back on stage were a wee bit too much cheese, but I think that’s more hair envy on my part than anything else (and at the end of the day has nothing to do with the quality of music)!
At times their set felt like a mutual appreciation society as ZP’s easy going style and banter with the audience reaped the rewards with great satisfaction. The crowd loved it, so it seems did he. Testament indeed to a guy who is probably more at home on festival stages playing to thousands than this intimate gig was in Glasgow. The icing on the cake came as their set drew to a close with a mass sing-a-long to a cover of John Farnham’s classic “you’re the voice” followed by single release Silent Genocide. A brilliant end to a brilliant night where hopefully plenty money was raised for a very worthy cause indeed.
You can view the full gallery of the night at the Classic Grand right here on Planetmosh
Find out more about the Headbangers Balls tour and how you can donate to the Teenage Cancer Trust by visiting www.headbangersballs.co.uk