Bands: Red Dragon Cartel, Syron Vanes & Jupiter Falls

Venue: 02 Academy, Islington

Date: 6 June 2014


London offers a huge variety of things to do on a Friday night, so filling a venue is one of the biggest challenges bands face in this city.  Still a lot of people came down to the O2 Academy Islington to check out a band that has been formed by Ozzy Osbourne’s former guitarist Jake E. Lee and is guaranteed to blow your mind.

But before Red Dragon Cartel took the stage, two supporting acts entertained the crowd, Jupiter Falls and Syron Vanes - two bands that could not be more different from one another.

Jupiter Falls filled the room with a modern sound that reminded of bands such as Shinedown and Five Finger Death Punch. Great ballads and melodic guitar riffs included.  And let me tell you, if you closed your eyes for a few seconds, you would have thought that you were listening to a record instead of being at an actual live gig - that is how professional these guys played.  You can be sure as hell that their songs would sound amazing on a CD.  But do not worry, according to the band their album will be released in about 2 months time.  These guys do have the musical skills and once they get comfortable on stage, they will leave an impression. 

After that Syron Vanes took the stage with a heavier sound, think Dio or Iron Maiden.  Established in the 80s, their energy, stage presence and powerful set clearly showed that they have been in the business for quite some time.  Their heavy guitar riffs and Rimbert Vahlstroem’s powerful voice instantly awakened your inner head-banger and together with Jupiter Falls set the perfect foundation for what came next, Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel.

If you expected a great show, you definitely underestimated this band.  Not only did they offer an amazing show full of catchy songs but these guys know how to own the stage in their own way.  Singer Darren James Smith did not only have the "Moves like Jagger" but also a strong, powerful voice.  Bassist Ronnie Mancuso complemented well with drummer Jonas Fairley offering a catchy rhythm section while also doing a foot shuffle along the way.

But the person who stood out the most in my opinion was Jake E. Lee, a truly under-appreciated virtuoso on guitar who captivated not only with his smooth guitar playing and catchy melodies but also with his presence on stage. In my opinion, he brilliantly combined attributes from American or European guitarists together with those I have seen in many ‘visual’ Japanese bands.

Although held in a middle-size venue (that by the way was more than half-full what is quite rare for a Friday night gig that normally has far less people attending), the show reminded of something far bigger and the crowd clearly loved it.

Once you thought the audience could not get more excited, Red Dragon Cartel finished their set with 'Bark At The Moon', a song Jake E. Lee got known for back when he played in Ozzy Osbourne’s band.  Normally you would think that someone who has had that much success in a period of their life and who has guitar skills this amazing would have an over-the-top personality to match, but not Jake E. Lee who showed his gratefulness to everyone who came down by staying longer on stage and taking his time to thank his fans in all appreciation.

All in all, it was a fantastic night at the O2 Academy Islington with three great bands that offered a musical variety which would appeal to everyone with an appreciation for good rock music.

Setlist: Ultimate Sin, Deceived, War Machine, Highwire, Shine On, Rock N Roll Rebel, Shout It Out, In A Dream, Rumblin’ Train, Sun Red Sun, Feeder, Bark At The Moon.

Review by: Anna Zurek





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