Get Ready To Rock: Stampede & Praying Mantis – The Peel – 14th May 2011

14 May 2011

Get Ready To Rock

Photos by Moonshayde Photography

Stampede, photo by Moonshayde Photography

Both Stampede and Praying Mantis were thrown under the NWOBHM banner but neither were exactly heavy metal as such but played with a more hard melodic rock approach.

Both bands are experiencing a renewed interest. Praying Mantis recieved some rave reviews for their recent ‘Sanctuary’ release and have just revisited some old ground recording five older classics with their ‘Metalmorphosis’ EP.

Stampede are back with a great new album after an absence of 28 years with ‘A Sudden Impulse’, another album which has got some of the top critics tongues wagging.

The Peel in Kingston is ram packed tonight including some of those journo’s who have been brought here under the promise of a mini-bus ride back to their favourite watering holes in Central London once the gig has finished. Some fans have travelled from afar including one dedicated headbanger who has driven all the way from Belguim.

Praying Mantis played a great historical set capturing the early days, the modern material and even some forgotten gems from the mid-nineties.

The Mantis were around the same time as Iron Maiden in those early club days and when you listen to the twin melodic guitar sound of Tino Troy and new boy Andy Burgess, it does make you wonder if Iron Maiden stole a few ideas for the sound on their own debut. But whilst Maiden went running free with their career Praying Mantis were left behind with poor management and an endless procession of singers.

Singer Mike Freeland stamps his own identity on the new versions of ‘Children Of The Earth’ and ‘Panic In The Streets’, the finest singer the band have ever had.

The band were firing on some extra cylinders tonight sounding rockier than I’ve ever seen them before. Ending with ‘Captured City’ another newly re-recorded track from the ‘Metalmorphosis’ set, it was as if 1979 had never happened and today was a new beginning. Captivating stuff.

Stampede, photo by Moonshayde Photography
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It’s been 28 years since Stampede released their debut studio album ‘Hurricane Town’ on the Polydor label. There was high expectations for the band at the time, they even gained themselves support slots with the likes of Saxon, Whitesnake, Def Leppard and Gary Moore.

But after ‘Hurricane Town’ the band got left behind to settle in the dust after singer Reuben Archer badly broke his leg after running for a bus with Bruce Dickinson which forced him to retire from the music business. His step-son Laurence went on to join Phil Lynott in Grand Slam and later joining Phil Mogg and Pete Way in UFO.

Stampede, photo by Moonshayde Photography

Joining the Archers is original member Colin Bond who provides some heavy pounding bass tonight and complementing the band are the new recruits Chris Clowsley on guitar and drummer Steve Graystone.

Reuben Archer is the ever youthful loveable rogue (whose mobile phone must contain the who’s who of rock ‘n roll) and still possesses a voice of clarity who many say is similar is style to UFO’s Phil Mogg.

Like Mantis, Stampede played a set featuring the whole of their career including tracks that only featured on their official ‘Live Bootleg’ album.

Stampede, photo by Moonshayde Photography

The band kick off the set with the title track from their debut studio effort and it’s like a hurricane that blows away all those missing years. For a band that have only played a few dates together, all the nails are banged into place forming a solid foundation to build on.

It was actually the new material that impressed most. ‘Having Fun’ lightens the mood and welcomes everyone to the new hurricane party. ‘Send Me Down An Angel’ already has a classic feel about it with some fluid riffing from Archer whilst ‘Shame On You’ has a dirty gritty feel about it that really grows on you.

Stampede, photo by Moonshayde Photography

Ending the night with ‘Back Door Man’ which originally featured Laurence Archer from his time in UFO on the ‘High Stakes & Dangerous Men’ album was a nice touch which reminded us what a underated album that was.

Stampede have raised the stakes to a high level and if you feel a sudden impulse, that’s because Stampede are a band recharged.

Praying Mantis set list ; Children Of The Earth / Panic In The Streets / Restless Heart / Praying Mantis / Turn The Tide / Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark / Dream On / Turn The Tables / Captured City

Stampede set list : Hurricane Town / Missing You / Having Fun / Humble Pie / Days Of Wine & Roses / Send Me Down An Angel / Shame On You / Jessie / Moving On / Recharged / This Road / The Runner / Back Door Man

Review by Mark Taylor

Photos by Moonshayde Photography