Metal fans may have been relatively thin on the floor at last night’s Heavy Metal Buffet in the Lerwick Legion, but the die hards that turned up were in for a terrific night of rock music.
Newcastle’s Tombstone Crow headlined the gig – their third in Shetland. It was the last gig in their Dragged Under tour for the “original Geordie metal” act and coming on after local favourites Ten Tonne Dozer, they might have felt was a tough act to follow.
Not so – vocalist Debi Lisle, sounding at turns like something out of the Exorcist, or Suspiria, backed by some terrific musicians, had the crowd moshing, headbanging and generally capering – getting the kicks the squares will never know.
Tombstone Crow had played at the Mid Brae Inn on Friday night supported by Bulletfarm, also on the buffet menu, and Delorean so they were well warmed up for the Legion.
Tombstone Crow are less full-on thrash than a couple of the acts that preceded them, but still immensely powerful and just the tonic the crowd needed for a final assault on the dance floor , and sometimes on the stage.
If you were going to put a heavy metal score to a horror film – and why not? – Tombstone Crow would be just the ticket. At the end of their set, in true Metal Buffet style, practically everyone in the room crowded onto the stage.
The gig was opened by local act Sidewinder, a band comprised of five talented sixteen-year-olds who played a mix of their own tunes and some fairly hoary rock covers, some of which must have been first played years if not decades before they were born, including Creedence’s – Fortunate Son and Green Day’s Basket Case.
These youngsters undoubtedly have a successful future ahead of them as musicians and their sound was less heavy and probably more appealing to mainstream taste than most of what followed.
Next up was thrash/death metal specialists Bulletfarm, who sound like a furious herd of mechanised buffalo thundering across the prairie. Daniel Christie provides the classic metal growl that perfectly compliments the chugging guitars of Mathew Irvine and lead guitarist Rowen Thomson.
It was to be the final Bulletfarm gig for Irvine who said that he had very much enjoyed his time with the band, but it was time to look for something that better chimed with his own musical inclinations. He is replaced by Damian Calder who slotted right in to the line up at the Legion.
Funkicity provided a completely different chance in tone with their funked up rock led by Lewis Hall on keyboards. Hall’s style gave the band something of a sixties sound while he is also something of a showman and focal point of the band.
The three piece, also comprising Shaun Jr Strachan on bass and Murray Smith on drums, were joined by Peter Kay of the Bashies on guitar. Kay also provided the vocals for a cover of Black Night – the only song on an otherwise instrumental set.
The penultimate act Ten Tonne Dozer, upped the ante in their inimicable style and soon had fans charging around the floor like the living dead on speed.
Dave Kok is the consummate showman and his gurning, growling and general antics sent the youthful audience into a frenzy. He may be a peculiar pied piper but Kok makes a real connection with the fans – the undoubted royalty of the local metal scene.
At the other end of the scale, ace lead guitarist Jamie Duncan is the stoic, almost motionless counterpoint to the typically frenzied Kok and rhythm guitarist Jamie Dalziel, himself one of the buffet organisers.
It would be no exaggeration to say the reviewer feared for the headliners after the tear the floorboards up act of Ten Tonne Dozer, but thankfully this was not to be. With the accolade from guitarist Andy Bright, “The North-east has f**k-all on this place”, you have a feeling Tombstone Crow will be back again.