Band: Toledo Steel, Speed Queen & Skyryder

Venue: Head of Steam, Newcastle

Date: 12 September 2019


With the onset of Winter just around the corner, it was time to bring a little heat to a chilly Newcastle evening, as we headed out for a night of pure Heavy Metal bliss, courtesy of Southampton’s Toledo Steel.

But first up tonight on the three band bill was local hero’s Skyryder, who set about getting the evening under way with their twin guitar fuelled rock n' roll.

The band of Luke Mills (vocals), Adam Thorpe and Jonny Stern (guitars) Luke Williams (bass) and Andrew Macknight (drums), hit the stage running.  It was clear from the off that is a band who wear their influences proudly on their sleeves.

Donned in outrageous multi coloured leggings, the Newcastle crowd really warmed to the locals, with many of their friends and die hard fans, rocking out to tracks from their digital album “Volume 1”, with “Sentinel (of the Spaceways)" being a particular favourite of the set. 

Next up we had a change in tempo and pace, provided by Belgium’s very own Speed Queen, who were making their UK debut with these three shows with Toledo Steel, tonight being their first of those dates.

The band headed by Thomas Kenis on vocals brought that no holds barred all guns blazing Heavy Metal we’ve come to expect from the European metal bands, aided by Andreas Stieglitz and Tom Neeskens (guitars), Lander Savelkoul (bass) and Toon Driezen (drums).

The band opened up their set with the anthemic “Kids of Rock 'N Roll”, taken from the bands "King of the Road" EP.  From here on in the band tore up the stage at the Head of Steam, as they continued their short but impressive set with the blazing “Midnight Murder”.

We were then treated to a track not featured on the bands "King of the Road" release, but still as heavy, the lick fuelled “Live Hard”.  The band were on fire tonight and the packed room were very appreciative of the songs they were hearing performed live.  Next up the band performed the first of two new tracks with the pyromanic “Fire”. It was back to "King of the Road" for two and a half minutes of pure rip-snorting Heavy Metal with “Speed Queen”.

Church Avenue” was the second of the new songs and was dedicated to a venue that is now sadly closed, in the band's home town of Limburg.

The band ripped through a stunning cover of Rose Tattoo's “Nice Boys”, before returning to the EP for the excellent, almost Maidenesque tone of "Fly High".  It was into the title track off the EP "King of the Road", before the band sadly had to cut short their set after this track, due to venue restrictions.  However, what they did play tonight was one hell of a great set of Old School Heavy Metal, with enough melody to make me not only buy the EP, but also put them on my radar for future shows.  If you get a chance to catch these guys live then please do, you'll thank me afterwards.   

Now for the main event, Southampton’s Toledo Steel.  A band that we first caught performing live at this years S.O.S. Festival in Manchester, earlier this year.  Their performance that day impressed us that much, that off the back off that show, that we headed out on a chilly Thursday night to check them out again.  . 

Like the Belgian’s before them, the boys from Southampton were taking no prisoners here tonight.  The band of Rich Rutter (vocals), Tom Potter (guitar), Felix Dock (bass) and Matt Dobson (drums), really brought their A-Game, as they brought some old school metal to the fray.  Opening up their assault on the senses with the title track from last years impressive album “No Quarter”, this is a great song, filled with soaring riffs courtesy of Porter, who really took hold of this one from the off and made this small venue sound like an arena. Rutter really has the vocal might for this genre and really puts his heart and soul into every lyric.

This was never more apparent than on the next song in the set, the anthemic  rocker ‘Rock Nights”.  This is the type of Heavy Metal that I grew up with.  This is what made me get into the style of music in the first place.  The towering vocals, the no-nonsense licks and a rhythm section that could raise dead. This song has it all and then some.  

With a new album penciled in for 2020, we got a taster of what was to come with “Writing on the Wall”, and to be honest, if this is the quality and direction the band are going with for album number two, then I for one can't wait.  Yes the riffs and licks are still there, but there is maturity in the song writing that I really like.

It was back to "No Quarter" for the six minute plus epic “Visions in the Fire”.  This was another song that took me back to the heady days of my youth, this is s song for for all those denim and leather outriders. who live for rock and don their hero’s names on their chests and backs.

The band rolled back the years to 2015 to their "Zero Hour" EP for the excellent “Speed Killer”, before rounding off this stunning set with what else but “Toledo Steel”, another song taken from the bands "Zero Hour" EP.  A great no holds barred, no frills, heads-down slice of storming Heavy Metal, that really ended a great night of pure unadulterated Heavy Metal from all the bands. Some fool once said Rock is dead, well let me confirm Heay Metal is most certainly not dead, not when we have rampaging Heavy Metal bands keeping the scene alive and fresh.

Review by: Little Linda & Barry McMinn, Photo's by Little Linda




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