RAVEN and GIRLSCHOOL on one evening. That’s something you don’t wanna miss out on. Four ladies that have been named the sisters of MOTÖRHEAD and three guys that invented athletic rock. This is simply too good to be true. The location of this festivity is de Lakei in Helmond. A very cozy place to be and it has parking space in front of the venue. The third band tonight is called HARMONIC GENERATOR and they hail from France. When we reach the club, we still have a couple of minutes to chat with our good friends Mario, Henry and Marcel. When Big Al and Anja entered the hall, HARMONIC GENERATOR was just entering the stage. This was a night, where we could rock until we dropped! Actually, I disn't know anything about HARMONIC GENERATOR. Now I know that their sound is comparable to bands like THE CULT and AEROSMITH to name but a few. During “I Feel Fine”, the bass player gives his instrument to the singer in the middle of the song and plays a very nice piece of mouth organ. Besides that, I did recognize a song called “Nobody Dies”. In the beginning of their set, the band was a bit quiet. They were probably waiting for the first positive reactions to appear. Later on, they received more applause and seemed to defrost a little. The French rockers ended their set with a cover by ANGEL CITY, an Australian band that later became THE ANGELS. “Marseilles” is a tribute to their hometown and a nice closure of their thirty-five minutes show. Their energetic rock got some good response, but everybody knows that this was just to give them a warm welcome. Most of the people came to see the next two bands of course. GIRLSCHOOL can’t do wrong by me. Their dynamic live shows are always high quality and these hard rocking ladies seem to never grow old. Wish I could also say that from myself. Going back to school is never easy, but for this school I’ll gladly make an exception, especially when seeing four lady teachers. On the program is a full hour practical lessons in heavy metal, taught by these four profs who have seen it all, done it all and have been there many times before. A master class you can’t say no to. When the four lady teachers enter the stage, it’s time to rock but pretty soon the first problem appears. The band starts with “Demolition Boys”, but very soon they find out that Denise isn’t ready yet and she’s still fixing her drum kit for the big job. With a little help from the roadies, things are getting organized and off they go again for a full hour of GIRLSCHOOL power. The beginning is difficult and after the first song, Denise is still struggling a bit and Jackie makes a silly joke that Denise is usually destroying her kit but now she’s trying to fix things. You’re not used to that. After “C’Mon Let’s Go” with a drum intro, all signs turn to green and the band is about to “Hit And Run”. A slow start, but the band makes up for that pretty easily. Jackie is dressed in a latex suit and a lot of guys are starting to salivate. I choose to stand on the right side of the stage, where Enid Williams is plundering her bass. Kim is standing right in the middle of these two ladies. “I Spy” has Enid on vocals. The fact, that Ronnie James Dio sang on this song, gets a very positive response in the form of some loud yelling. Oh, and Tony Iommi of BLACK SABBATH got to play a little piece of guitar on the studio version as well. Now the girls are on their own, but they make a very nice version out of it. “Never Say Never” is also a relatively new track among all the hits and classics that we get to hear this evening. “Screaming Blue Murder” is on next and GIRLSCHOOL are at full steam now (steaming blue murder) and with “Future Flash” we have come to the first highlight of the evening. A very energetic version unfolds itself and the reactions of the audience are heartwarming. “Kick It Down” is a nice surprise, but another big highlight must be “Watch Your Step”. Some songs are getting to you double as hard, when you haven’t heard them for a while and that’s certainly the case with this terrific song. “Yeah Right” is the perfect song to do some singing - well actually, it was more screaming, but you get the point. The GUN cover “Race With The Devil” is on next and the crowd is really going out of their mind right now. The only thing we still have to do after this song is to call 999 for an “Emergency”, caused by an overheated audience. By the last notes of this song, the public is in a state of euphoria. The average metal head shares my vision. GIRLSCHOOL can’t do no wrong. The only disappointment is, that I saw a wonderful white Flying V on the left side of the stage behind the curtains. It’s a shame to have a killing machine like that and not using it. But you can’t have it all. They also didn’t play as loud as before, but their sound was a lot clearer than usual, although I get the idea that it wasn’t that good on stage by looking at the expression on their faces. After going back to school, it’s time for some athletic moves to close the day. For those of you, who still have got some adrenaline running through their veins. It was at Keep It True, many years ago, that we met up with the band again. And I finally had the opportunity to do a long interview with bass player John Gallagher, who is also a Monty Python adept like me. The band still sets up their gear themselves for thirty-five years now. These guys have got that ‘Do It Yourself’ attitude and I’ve got deep respect for that. When the stage is cleared, the band takes a ten minute break to put on a clean shirt, brush their teeth, comb their hair and look good for their precious audience. Once they are on stage and the first notes come from the P.A, we know for sure that they are here to “Take Control”. Their sound is loud and it has got a terrible buzz from where I’m standing. But the band shows their first moves and it becomes clear that they are ready to rock the joint tonight. “Live At The Inferno” belongs to my list of favorites, but then again I must confess that I have many on that list. At the end of this track, John notices the strange buzz as well and takes care of it right away. The three musketeers continue with “All For One”, a song that really is autobiographical, no doubt about it. Like the three musketeers, they cross their swords - I mean their guitars - resulting in a whole lot of noise and a firm yelling of the audience. “Hard Ride” pleases many of the old fans, which was definitely the majority of the public this evening. It’s good to see that all these people are still so dedicated to their favorite band. “Breaking You Down” is a new track but it receives a stunning response. The motto of tonight is “Rock Until You Drop” and the rules of the game are explained in the next song. The title is also on the logo of the shirt of John, which carries the RAMONES logo with the names of the guys of RAVEN on it. Nice tribute to one of the best punk rock bands in the world. After that, it’s time for Mark to stand in the spotlights with a blistering guitar solo. According to some fans it was a bit too long, but the faces he pulled and the enthusiasm, he pumped the notes out of his guitar was really mind-blowing! These fans will be pleased with a good version of “Speed Of The Reflex”, in which we hear some of the early influences of RAVEN, namely the band RUSH. Just listen to the awesome yet too short mid-piece of “Tyrant Of The Airways” for example, which has got a very progressive touch. The next song “Mind Over Metal” gets the crowd moving again. On the right side of the stage, the band has a few female spectators. It looks like the ladies of GIRLSCHOOL had a good time watching their brothers of metal for a while. “Into The Jaws Of Death” continues and obviously the whole back catalogue of the band comes along, which mixes very well with their newer stuff. “Crash, Bang, Wallop” is a personal fave of mine and a very nice opportunity to let out some sweat at the end of this gig. And these guys sure did their very best to please everyone in the house! It was a real pleasure to watch them cranking out one classic after another. And the flow of classics went “On And On”, as the next title already suggests. Okay, I take another air guitar, why not? The evening is still young. Then it’s time for John to freak out. He takes the time to show his skills and his bass guitar rocks like hell. The seclusion of tonight’s show comes with a long version of “Break The Chains”. Like always, they play some parts of classic rock songs in this last song and this time is no exception to the golden rule. Every headbanger sings along to songs like “Caroline” (STATUS QUO), “Wheels Of Steel” (SAXON), “Rock Bottom” (UFO) and “Genocide “(JUDAS PRIEST). With this heavy metal jukebox hit mix we have also arrived to the very last song of tonight. A night, where two wonderful British bands teamed up together for a good night of feel good heavy metal with a very high retro level. Just the way we wanted it. It made me feel twenty again for a short moment. The next morning however, it felt more like seventy, but that’s the way it goes sometimes. At least, they can’t take this away from me! This is just what happens, when three musketeers invite you back to school.
*Text by: Toine van Poorten
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten