Back in the days before MP3’s, the Internet and access to a million tracks at your fingertips the first exposure you had to many bands was when they pitched up in your local club. Now going to see a band when you have no idea what they are like may seem like a bit of an odd concept these days, but when music wasn’t so easily available you made the effort to drag your arse out of the house two or three nights a week to see what was on offer.
The Edinburgh Venue was our dingy concert hall of choice, and many of my fondest gig memories are from there. One week it may be a dodgy hair metal band (Anyone remember Lyin Rampant ?), or local heroes Holocaust, or even the odd band destined for superstardom like Janes Addiction, and the next it could be touring regulars like Napalm Death, Pop Will Eat Itself, Chrome Molly or Little Angels.
Wolfsbane were a band that always seemed the most likely of the Venue regulars to make the step up. Every time we saw them there we assumed it would be the last and next tour they would be gracing the stage of the nearby Playhouse.
But things never quite worked out that way.
Fast forward more years than I care to think about and Wolfsbane got back together for some reunion shows in 2007, then again to support the Quireboys on the 20th anniversary tour for A Bit Of What You Fancy in 2009,
And they were brilliant, well and truly back and as energetic as ever. At the time it wasn’t sure how permanent this reunion was to be though, but when they announced a headline show in London (their first for 17 years) before setting off on tour with Saxon I knew I HAD to be there…
Wolfsbane took to the stage and proceeded to wind the years back. There had been concerns for Blaze’s health but if there was anything up with him it certainly didn’t show as the band ripped through new stuff (loved Did It For The Money) along with some of the highpoints from the back catalogue including I Like It Hot, Money To Burn and the always awesome Manhunt.
I’ve always rated Blaze as an excellent front man, but for all his stadium rock pedigree with Maiden he is at his best when he can get right in the faces of the audience in a sweaty little club. That was true 20 years ago and it hasn’t changed.
There’s something of a resurrection of proper heavy metal on the go at the moment, and on the strength of this performance Wolfsbane are ready and able to stake their place at the forefront of it. They’ve got a new studio album on the way… can’t wait.