One of the most enduring bands from the European metal scene, Danish outfit Pretty Maids, have not played these shores since 1985 amazingly enough, other than an appearance at Firefest. In the circumstances it was disappointing that even the Underworld was less than half full, though the fanaticism of the fans in front of the Underworld’s pillars, including a healthy smattering of European winners made up for things.
Singer Ronnie Atkins had been struggling in the run up to the gig with a stomach bug, but the wizened frontman is an old trouper who ploughed on regardless and is a master of the right stage moves, in tandem with his fellow founder member Ken Hammer, looking stately in a cowboy hat and reeling always fluent if unflashy solos from a guitar emblazoned with the image of Philip Lynott.
Their new album Motherland is a strong, adventurous one and featured heavily early on as they opened with Mother of all Lies and I see Ghosts: after a couple of more basic oldies in needles in the Dark and Love Games, with the crowd shouting out the chorus, another two newies impressed in the more melodic Sad to See You Suffer and Why So Serious, with some intense drumming from Allan Tschicaja.
Returning to tried and tested, the likes of Queen of Dreams with its guitar/keyboard duel and Back to Back were reminders of how the Maids influenced a subsequent generation of European power metal bands, while I loved the commercial hooks of Rodeo and a classy version of the obscure Phil Lynott single Please Don’t Leave Me.
A frantic Red Hot and Heavy from their very earliest days rounded off the main set, before a generous three song encore showed off the sheer diversity of their work: the rapid fire Comes at Night, Little Drops of Heaven whose strong chorus had people singing along with the odd pogoer at the front, and the title track from 1987’s Future World, again with some great guitar and keyboard interplay.
Solid pros who put on a good show, let’s hope the poor turnout hasn’t put the Danes off more frequent visits to these shores.
Review and photos by Andy Nathan
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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