Gig review: DEMON – Winking Man, Leek, Staffs, 4 May 2013

This was a rare UK appearance and a fairly low key gig in Demon’s home town of Leek which had been billed as part of the “Leek Arts Festival 2013”. The Winking Man pub is in the middle of nowhere on the A53 Leek to Buxton road and claims to have the highest function room in England at 1500 feet above sea level.

Support for the evening was by Black Tiger, a local band who played a set of classic rock covers including “The Zoo”, “Hell Ain’t A Bad Place To Be”, “Hell Bent For Leather”, “Doctor Doctor” and “Running Free”. Fairly enjoyable set but could have done without the “Rebel Yell” cover…

The gathered crowd of only around 200 was purely here for Demon though. No one was disappointed – Demon played a blinder from start to finish. An evening of proper classic rock music ensued. Opening with “Wonderland”, Demon proceeded through a classic set focused mainly on their early eighties output with only “Fill Your Head With Rock” (tribute to the Sweden Rock Festival) and title track “Unbroken” being aired from last year’s release. “Don’t Beak The Circle”, “Night Of The Demon”, the emotive “Remembrance Day” and the superb “Blackheath” all went down a storm.

Band leader Dave Hill seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself and was on top form with vocals and facial expressions throughout. Guitarists David Cotterill and the forever “hatted” Paul Hume could not be faulted and it was great to see Ray Walmsley back in the band, though now on bass.

Neil Ogden was a powerhouse on the drums even having to borrow a snare drum from the support band after breaking his. Karl Waye was hidden from my view on keyboards but again could not be faulted – Dave Hill joked that he wasn’t even born when the early stuff was written.

Demon have been unfairly dismissed by the UK press throughout their long career and maybe the name still puts people off…Dave Hill moaned a few times about the UK press ignoring them and assuming they died back in the early eighties. Germany and Sweden have always welcomed Demon more openly than their home land which is truly a shame…still they are proud to be British and holding up the flag…shame they didn’t play “England’s Glory” though…

Enjoyable evening was had by all.

Setlist

Wonderland (British Standard Approved, 1985)/The Plague (The Plague, 1983)/Fill Your Head With Rock (Unbroken, 2012)/Sign Of A Madman (The Unexpected Guest, 1982)/Heart Of Our Time (Heart Of Our Time, 1985)/Standing On the Edge (Better The Devil You Know, 2005)/Unbroken (Unbroken, 2012)/Remembrance Day (Taking The World By Storm, 1988)/The Grand Illusion (The Unexpected Guest, 1982)/The Spell (The Unexpected Guest, 1982)/Life On The Wire (Breakout, 1987)/Don’t Break The Circle (The Unexpected Guest, 1982)/Night Of The Demon (Night Of The Demon, 1981)

Encores: Nowhere To Run (The Plague, 1983)/Blackheath (The Plague, 1983)

Review by Phil Berisford






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