So here we are again at Bannermans Bar/Venue in Edinburgh, this time to see the legend that is Chris Holmes (ex W.A.S.P. gunslinger) and his Mean Man band. But first up, the two support bands.
Local band Nest of Vipers open up the proceedings, a band I’ve followed since 2014 and my have they grown up (in stage presence and sound) since then. They have a stand-in guitarist tonight as previous guitarist Thom has left the band. Aidan Mackintosh from another great band, Runemaster, kindly stepped up to help them out did a great job given the timescale involved to learn the songs.
The band roar through another classic but short metal set with that air raid siren of a singer that is Hannah Jones screaming out the songs. Ed Van Bart looking every inch like Nikki Sixx and just as good a bass player, keeping the steady rhythm going. Up the back on the drums is Alan Chetcuti. This band just get better and better, they end the set with the classic “Viperstrike”.
Nest of Vipers are currently auditioning for a full time replacement guitarist which will hopefully not take too long with a debut EP not long away from coming out. If you like your metal classic and loud check this lot out.
Next up, a band I’ve not seen or heard before – Tombstone Crow from Newcastle [we chatted to them in the runup to Bloodstock 2015 – Mosh] – who really rocked the place with their brand of heavy metal. A much heavier band than Nest of Vipers but none the less enjoyable, playing song from (amongst other things) their excellent new 4 track EP Dragged Under. Andy (guitarist) kindly gave me a copy of as I was leaving and very good it is too.
The band have a killer vocalist up front in the form of redheaded Debi Lisle whose voice screams at you… in a good way! Andy Bright on guitar looks like he stepped in from Suicidal Tendencies and boy can he play that guitar. On bass Robb was pounding up a storm until it packed in but on hand with a loan was Nest of Vipers man Edward. Good man, just the way it should be between bands. The rear rhythm is ably taken care of by Kev Nolan on drums pounding away happily.
If you like your music heavy and loud then this is the band for you, check them out and do yourselves a favour and get a copy of the new EP.
The main event next and I was really looking forward to this. I’ve not seen Chris since his days playing with W.A.S.P. There were a few Facebook posts worrying about his voice etc. I know of at least a couple of folk who left after a couple of tracks but that’s their loss as myself and a packed Bannermans rocked out to a very tight band and the legend that is Chris Holmes.
The band played an amazing setlist from Chris’s own material, W.A.S.P. and even Neil Young. Chris is a big fierce looking fella but with a great smile. You could tell he was enjoying himself and is truly glad of the fans he has and the turnout tonight. He interacted brilliantly with us all. This is a great, tight band with the rhythm section of Italian Folkert Beukers on drums hammering away merrily and the amazing Frenchman Pascal Bei on bass who so reminded me of that sadly missed Y&T man Phil Kennemore with his infectious style of playing.
Not to forget, on twin neck guitar all night and playing the last few songs with a broken string, Frenchman Thomas Antoine Cesario. Along with his killer guitar playing he had an amazing voice and sang a lot of the tracks tonight.
And of course the man himself Chris Holmes. Who can forget his playing in W.A.S.P. or that interview scene in the swimming pool with the vodka, but that is all in the past. I suspect a lot of his recent return to form will have to do with his good wife and manager Cathy.
The setlist included a lot of Holmes’ own solo stuff from his Shitting Bricks & C.H.P albums with a few classic W.A.S.P. tracks thrown. He told us he got an email from Blackie Lawless asking him not to play “Animal (Fuck like a Beast)”… but thankfully he ignored him and it was awesome to hear it live again. He ended the night’s proceedings with an amazing metal version of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World”.
A truly fantastic night of metal played by a legend and a very good band. The place was packed, the show was very loud and very hot to the point my camera lenses were steaming up – epic. I would advise anyone to go see the man on this tour as you may never get another chance. A great time was had by all here at Bannermans.
- Shitting Bricks
- Get With It
- Let It Roar
- L.O.V.E. Machine
- Sleeping (in the Fire)
- They All Lie And Cheat
- Don’t Care
- Nothing To Lose
- Born Work Die
- Wild Child
- Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)
- Way to Be
- Rockin’ in the Free World
All photos, including the set below, by Gary Cooper.