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Town Hall, Lougborough, England

March 10th, 1986

Len Williams (Samurai)
Pic: Alan Lee

A venue struggling bravely to get on its feet (ideal for metal – spacious stage, adequate standing room and an alcoholic watering hole – book it!), a fledgling outfit learning to run with the pack and a once lethal trio that has for all intents and purposes shot itself in the kneecaps. I’ll curtail this taster of gloom and doom and introduce you to the sonic boom…

Samurai – a band that grinds! The dedicated neckbrace merchants headbanged with the fury of hummingbirds (maybe with a little less grace grant you), some stood and gawped and yet more drained pints in the bar oblivious to the tidal wave of molten metal only next door. Why does this always happen? I’m presciently aware of it every time I set off for a gig, it’s preordained: “There shall be wankers”.

Even if Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Bon Scott and Phil Lynott clawed their way out of their respective coffins, formed a band and went on the road supporting Culture Club, the peacock people would still be found propping up the bar and preening themselves rather than even contemplate a look at the opening act. And people wonder why British metal is having a rough time of it!!!

‘Attack’, ‘Weapon Master’ and the Savage-like ‘Fighter’ are all prestigious pounders that forge Samurai’s induction into the Luffy crowd’s memory banks with deadly ease (‘Dish’ from Savage: ‘They sound like UFO don’t they?’ No, they sound like you actually! ‘Oh!’ he says bemused. Savage used to do UFO covers! Ha! Ha!).

The fists are shaking, the floorboards tremble; the whole edifice seems to yield awry. I just know those huge blocks of polystyrene-painted-to-look-like-rocks will come tumbling down on my bonce any minute à la ‘Samson and Delilah’ – its epic!

Vocalist Len Williams bestirs himself to bound around like a beach ball bestrewn with all manner of flapping rags (obviously been raiding the council tip for stage gear or mugging tramps). He growls, he yelps, and generally sees fit to make an unholy roaring noise over everything. Don’t get me wrong, for Loopy Len is a fine warbler and not into the bestial barrage of burping that lesser ‘hardcore’ (ooh I’m scared!) bands employ. The man can sing, and the band can play.

The songs maybe go on a bit too long, but don’t tell me that Judas Priest had their act together in 1968 coz I won’t believe you! I’m sure that the fans tonight got a pleasant surprise with Samurai and will be back again if the band hit our catchment area again. Go see ’em!!!

Rock Goddess – oh Jesus. I do not want to write this, okay? It’s not enough to stick the knife in here; it needs a wrenching twist to make any impact.

The three girls came on, Jody Turner in black leather, Dee O’Malley newly coiffured, lights on, tension up – looking good. Volume down, two crap new songs in a run – looking bad!!!

Goddess have elected for the laid back airplay path of Shy, FM and other such scrotal tumours. As far as metal circles go, it’s time to strap a bell on your forehead and shout “unclean”. Any fresh material is supposed to be progression right? This is blatant commercialism, playing Russian roulette with six bullets.

Rock Goddess are now so lightweight it’s untrue; are they suffering from metallic anorexia? Even the old blazer ‘Satisfied Then Crucified’ has shed the pounds. Can you believe they’ve hacked out major guitar parts?! Slimming down is one thing, cutting your bollocks off is something else entirely!

Dee O’Malley (Rock Goddess)
Pic: Alan Lee

Jody introduces a song about Elvis and the crowd boos. There’s an abundance of songs from the forthcoming album that leaves me cold. One was kinda okay, ‘Gimme Sex’ had some interesting moments, and no, not due to the subject matter, but because as a song it stands up on its own.

Julie Turner and Dee O’Malley’s harmonies were faultless, but on such limp numbers like fighting a forest fire with a water pistol. Segments of Jody’s vocals were stunning, despite wallowing in muddy tracks. The girl could make millions in Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals if she cut out the Dalek impersonations. Classic voice wasted.

A recurring focus of embarrassment were the chants of “Getcha tits out for the lads!” It was a distinct and obvious lack of interest in the set that provoked this smut. If a cretin can’t get into the music, his warped mind finds something else to linger on and three attractive girls are an open target.

Rock Goddess still have the hardware for the job, but their method of employing it is somewhat verging on the ridiculous. You don’t phone up your old pals in the 5th SS Panzer Division, full complement of motorised infantry and tactical air support, just to rid your Mam’s kitchen of mice.

The band got two encores, but it was half-hearted cheering that incited the return to stage. I’m not normally a vicious bastard, honest, but the truth as I see it is that any coroner’s report on Rock Goddess’ demise would read “suicide”. Sorry girls, truly. Time to investigate life insurance…

Garry Sharpe-Young

Review taken from Metal Forces, Issue 18 (1986)

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