Wolfsbane – Pontypool, The Dragonffli – 22 December 2017 Print E-mail
Written by David O'Neill   
Friday, 05 January 2018 04:40

I’d had the ticket for this since August, so I guess I was ready for the mayhem that was about to happen. 


It was a very early start at 6pm for the doors,  so unfortunately I missed the first two bands, Jacdo and Smithgrind but I managed to get there for the surprise act of the evening, Isolation.  This five piece blew me away at the Overoth gig in September, as they came out with a sound that belies their appearance of Orange boiler suits and straightjackets with full makeup.  They rapidly blasted through their 30-minute melodic metal set led by the vocalist Al, who appeared more excited to be on the bill with Wolfsbane than performing to a sellout crowd! 


Isolation 6


A set of almost all original music driven by the drums (Paul) and bass (Nat) was superbly backed up by the dual guitars of Will and Mawg.  Just before ending they threw in a well-played cover of ‘Rebel Yell’ and their final track, ‘Sweet William’.  If you get chance to see these do not be put off by the appearance, you WILL be pleasantly surprised by the music on offer - no screaming vocals, just good old fashioned rock with a show on offer.


As I was on official Über Rock duty it had started as a very dry evening, but the heat generated from 100 plus in the compact and bijou venue that is the Dragonffli soon dragged me to the bar for my first beer - an ice cold lager, which was much needed. 


Wolfesbane 7


Then on to the main show: Wolfsbane.  I had recently been researching the band, as like many of the metal bands of the ‘80s and ‘90s, other than mainstream, these had slipped under my radar.  Oh, how I am loving working for Über Rock!  The opportunity to go to gigs and see bands I would never have found… what’s not to like?


The extremely partisan crowd of fans (known affectionately as the Howling Mad Sh**heads or HMS) gave a rousing welcome to the stage for Wolfsbane. I doubt none of them had ever come within touching distance of the band before, but they certainly were now, no photopit, no stage security – I’m sure they had died and gone to Wolfsbane heaven!  The band - in their original line-up of Blaze Bailey, Steve Danger, Jase Edwards and Jeff Hateley - rapidly rattled through ‘Lifestyles Of The Broke And Obscure’, ‘Steel’ and ‘Want Me All’.


A bit of Blaze banter and crowd involvement led into ‘Load Me Down’ and ‘Black Lagoon’ before he started extolling the virtues of riding a motorbike through the beautiful mid-Wales countryside on a usual Welsh day (raining) and ‘Searching For The Blue Sky’. ‘Loco’ was followed by ‘Fell Outta Heaven’ and some more banter, where Blaze was trying to persuade everyone in the audience that we were all 17 again searching for ‘Generation Rock And Roll’, with and ‘Money To Burn’.


Wolfesbane 2


Throughout these tracks the musicianship of the band was outstanding. Jase Edwards is a big guy with extremely fast fingers.  I was in the front row mesmerised by his every solo, and the hammering Steve Danger gave the drums was only slightly muffled by my professional grade ear plugs.


More banter on the heat (and it was damn hot) led to ‘I Like It Hot’ and ‘Temple of Rock’, before the classic ‘Smoke And Red Light’ and ‘Kathy Wilson’. ‘Manhunt’, ‘Paint The Town Red’, ‘Ezy’ and ‘Broken Doll’ finished off the 90-minute set to the howls of the HMS in the crowd.


I have to say I was on the verge of becoming a fan thanks to Spotify, but after that show I have to admit to being an HMS from now on… and I would definitely go to another gig.


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