On Hell PAtrol!

It’s a 50th Anniversary for these two old bastards that seem to go ‘on and on’ …

For at least the last 10 years we are in the midst of a changing of the old guard of heavy metal.   Bands from the 80’s are retiring, some are even reforming for one last grasp of glory.  For alot of them, its all they know what to do in life but nowadays its a daunting task with how expensive touring has become.

So it saying all this, when i legendary band that has been around from say, 1974, come to town, you better take advantage of it and support them the best you can, especially if they live halfway across the world.   It’s best to see them now before you regret it.

Such is the case with Raven, of one the most heavy metal influential bands from the UK who are playing tonight at the Wise Hall in Vancouver with support from Vicious Rumors, Lutharo and local band Decadence.

John Gallagher

The band is a three piece made up of the two legendary Gallagher brothers, John (lead vocals, bass) and Mark (guitar, backing vocals).    They also have a very accomplished drummer with them in Mike Heller who has played on albums from Fear Factory, Malignancy, Abigal Williams and alot more others.

Upon arrival I was a little worried they didn’t make the show as there was lots of Vicious Rumors and Lutharo merch but no Raven merch.  Apparently they had some issues at the Canadian border and were prohibited from bringing it across for some asinine reason.

Mike Heller

I cant remember the last time I saw a vocalist use a headset microphone but that is what John uses while singing as they tear into “Destroy All Monsters” from 2015’s ExtermiNation album..  What a barn burner of a start!

There is good crowd of us ‘old guard’ of heavy metal maniacs out tonight.  I am betting the average age is around 45 here at what looks like a not quite sold out Wise Hall.  In saying that, they were just here not too long ago last fall so that could be the cause of the lower turnout.  We don’t care however as they dug super deep on this one from 1981’s Rock Until You Drop album with “Hell Patrol”.  This is classic metal sound from the early 80’s and John might not hit all the notes he used to, it still sounds really great.  Love at the end where John and Mark hold their guitars up and put them face to face together.

After that, it’s something a little newer “The Power” from the Metal City album from 2020.   These Gallaghers just don’t stand in one spot all night, as they move around the stage and are quite lively considering they are both approaching their mid 60’s in age.

Songs 4 with “Surf the Tsunami” and 5 “Turn of the Screw “ are both new ones from 2023’s  All Hell’s Breaking Loose album   John does not mince words as he dedicates “Turn the Screw” to the Canadian border officials for merch issues.

Another golden oldie with “All for One”, then another one from the first album with “Rock Until You Drop”.   This one gets out of control near the end as Mark goes into a 8 minute shred fest guitar solo.   Later in the show John gets a bass solo which he made sound like a guitar solo to my ears, which is different to say the least.

Mark Gallagher

“Inquisitor” then “Mind over Metal” were next BUT the one song I was looking forward to was “On and On” from 1984’s Stay Hard album.  The video from this song had Raven with a more glam like look with costumes, knee pads (which Mark still wears) and most of all, if you recall, drummer Wacko with pads and a full face hockey helmet.   That’s the Raven I remember most, but we don’t see Mike on drums wearing any gear tonight.

Alas, all great things must come to an end, and they do with classics with “Break the Chain” from 1983’s All for One and “Chainsaw” from 1982’s Wiped Out album.   Everyone had a great time watching these guys perform these songs and seeing them after 50 years is quite an accomplishment.  Most bands never make it this far, but that goes to show that these two brothers still have metal in their veins, and I sense they will go a little longer yet.  But like I mentioned, you never know, and you want to be sure to see heavy metal history live when you can.  If you haven’t see Raven before, DONT WAIT..  Be sure to catch them on tour, they put on an excellent show and I am happy I witnessed this one.

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