The Gods 2000 and Warm Up Dates

The Gods 2000 and Warm Up Dates

As usual here are my personal observations on the gigs. I would like to include Your views to so please send them to me.

Praying Mantis – 31 October 2000 – The Cartoon, Croydon

With the English transport system in a complete mess it was great to leave
reality and watch Mantis playing again.

Well a form of Mantis, sadly Tino didn't make the gig tonight in his place
was Fester Munster. Strangely he plays rather like Tino and had Tino's
distinctive laugh.

Tony O'Hora had also had a tough time getting to the gig. He was due in
London for a practice session on Monday but the worst storms in 13 years meant
there were no trains. He left at 8.30 today for a 3.5hr (Probably an over
estimate) journey and because of speed restrictions put in place because of a
train crash about 10 day before he didn't arrive in London until 3.30.

Four Japanese fans showed remarkable dedication by turning up for the gigs.
They too had been delayed a day by the bad weather. So much for one of them
commenting, "I hope it is warm".

The soundman Laurie did an exceptional job of getting everything clear. I
have to say it was way to loud for me though. I am sound sensitive due to
illness but don't usually need to go to earplugs. Tonight in the warm-up I
almost felt sick due to the volume so they had to go in for the main set. I
still felt the volume going through me though. Most unusual.

We got all the songs that were played in the Wacken warm ups plus two songs
from Nowhere To Hide. These came over well. I was very impressed how like the
album they were.

I notice that in "I Can't Stop The Fire" Chris gets a nice complex bit to
play, which is nice to hear. It could easily be extended to give him a bit of a
solo. I don't recall spotting this section before. I will have to listen out for
it on the album. I also noticed Chris plays quite complex Bass lines in Turn The
Tables. Perhaps it was just the clear mix and loss of treble due to earplugs
helping me hear things differently tonight

Rise Up Again lost the We Will Rock you section and had a scratchy sort of
guitar rhythm instead. I liked that but if time permits I hope they will add "We
Will Rock You" back in at the Gods festival just to grab peoples attention if
the band are completely new to them. I think that followed by Turn The Tables
would make sure they leave the crowd with a bang and wanting more.

The Remaining Photos are all from The Gods.
I have shown pictures from the Swift and Cartoon
in previous reviews.

Tonight's set followed the Gods set list but then the lads tagged on the
remaining songs. With luck they will have time to play these when they support
Glen Hughes at the Astoria 2 and have an hours slot. The longest they will have
had all year. It's such a shame there hasn't been a Japanese tour or anywhere
else for that matter where they can play a full set. It would be nice to see
what they would include now.

The crowd seemed to really enjoy the set and a chap who had come
down from Leeds was pleased with the night.

A Cry For The New World
Children Of The Earth
Best Years
Nowhere To Hide
I Can't Stop The Fire
Rise Up Again
Turn The Tables
Lovers To The Grave
Can't See The Angels
Letting Go

Praying Mantis – Dean Swift – 2 November 2000

Well they were Brilliant tonight. I really enjoyed the sets. I seem to recall
this at the 2nd gig of the last set of Warm up's.

The Dean Swift of course is Dennis's local pub so the band always gets a
capacity crowd and excellent response. If only all gigs could get such crowds.
Surely if this group of people enjoy this style of music then there must be the
potential for a rock scene in the UK still. It is frustrating to me that the
music I like just doesn't get any coverage in the mainstream media and therefore
people don't know what they are missing. I was talking to the dad of Ben Main 
(the support at the Cartoon) and he was telling me Ben's classmates had never
seen a band perform live and that the local youth club won't allow him to play
because the music is too loud. It is a sad state of affairs.

Anyway tonight it was just Mantis and a packed crowd. Early on they ran
through the two new numbers as a sound check and they sounded great. I must
admit I was worried there wouldn't be the usual crowd at 9pm but around 9:30pm
when the first of the 2 sets started the place was packed. This was a straight
run through the Wigan set and to me it sounded the best I had heard them. Chris
said it was very hard on his voice since there were no monitors and he couldn't
hear his voice but I couldn't tell the extra hassle the band were having hearing

I guess the 2nd set started around 10.30. They decided to add in the extra
songs at the start. So we got Lovers To The Grave and Can't See The Angels
before another run through of the set again. This time Tony was even throwing in
a few "Hello Wigan's". The crowd were even more up for it on the 2nd set. The
first time through there was no middle extension at all during Rise Up Again the
2nd time they added in "We Will Rock You". I would like to see again who took
the decision and how it was communicated. I have a feeling it was Tino that
moved it on straight away first time but I don't really know. I love watching
this type of spontaneity.

The band really enjoying playing here as a warm up venue and I am sure they
will be back for more some time soon.

Praying Mantis – The Gods Festival Maximes, Wigan – November 4th, 2000

I was asked to write this review for Powerplay Magazine when visiting the
Powerplay stall before the Mantis set. I said I thought I would be too biased
but I will try not to be.

This was the first British performance by Praying Mantis to a large crowd for
over a decade and the first time they had played in Britain outside London since
probably 1982.

Having a 20-minute turn round time between bands was a big worry for the
band. With Twin Harmony guitars and four way vocal harmonies playing without a
sound check was a big risk for them. I was positioned between the stage and the
speakers so I can't comment on the house sound but the mix sounded good if a
little raw to me.

The main thing about a Mantis performance is the energy and showmanship the
band put in. When they go on stage they go on to have fun playing great music. I
have heard a boot of the band playing Newcastle in 1981 and someone is heard to
comment on it that they are a bit static. That is certainly not the case now.
Dennis Stratton and in particular Tino Troy both on Lead guitar run around the
stage at every moment they have away from the Microphones.

The crowd seemed very lethargic to me. I am not sure how the previous bands
had gone down but compared to the response Mantis were getting at Wacken I was
very disappointed by the feedback. Yet watching crowd responses for at least 3
bands afterwards my impression was that Mantis had had the best reaction. Being
my first Gods I don't know if this was normal or if it was just too early in the
day for most people.

Because of tight time restrictions the band weren't supposed to doing much
talking between songs but the band soon forgot this with Dennis Stratton 
delay the start of the third song saying "Hold on, are you having a good time or
what?" This was followed by vocalist Tony O'Hora challenging the audience to
drinking contest, them against the band. In fact each song thereafter the band
spent time working the audience.

With only 40 minutes to play with Mantis could only fit in 7 songs. The band
premiered "Nowhere To Hide" and "I Can't Stop The Fire" from the new album
"Nowhere To Hide". For the old time fans they included "Children Of The Earth"
from 1980's "Time Tells No Lies". "Rise up again" was adapated during a the
sing-a-long section to included the chorus from Queen's "We Will Rock You". Also
in the set were "Lettin' Go", "Turn The Tables" and my personal favourite of the
night "Best Years" from "Forever In Time".

There can be no doubt the band when they left the stage they had enjoyed
themselves and woken up the crowd a bit. I too had absolutely loved seeing them
on a stage with a full light show and Dry Ice.

I sampled a few people opinions after the show and they seemed to be along
the lines that the house sound could have been better but it as a great show all
the same.

Showmanship 10

Reproduction 8

Feelgood 9

More Pictures from this set of dates are here.

Press opinions can be found here

Praying Mantis – Dean Swift – Nov 21 2000

After having Fester Munster step in for Tino at the Cartoon on Halloween it
was time for another line-up change tonight. This time is was Tony O'Hora that
couldn't make it. In his place was Shawn O'Hora who is remarkably similar in
voice and looks but has about 14 inches less of hair.

Apparently Tony wanted it all shorn off put he decided to go half way for

So it was back to the Dean Swift for another warm up gig and they really were
hot tonight. I thoroughly enjoyed both sets. The gig was put in at the last
minute so not too many people knew about it.

The pub therefore had a good size crowd but also gave the band a bit more
room to break out of their tight little corners and have fun. And fun they had
especially in the 2nd set.

Actually at the start of that Chris almost had Tino's eye out with the end of
his bass. For some reason they had only got one microphone between them so
although they were having to face each other to sing. It didn't take long for
Tino to give Chris a joke kiss. I thought it had looked a likely move sometime.
Also I believe Tino was missing a foot pedal so he was having to up his guitar
for solos on the Amp. I wouldn't be surprised if it was these unusual conditions
that prompted Tino to be in such an out going mood tonight. And once someone
starts enjoying themselves it inevitably rubs off on the other members of the
band. Tino was also practicing the art of leaning backwards over the barriers
while playing.

The good thing about playing the Swift so much this years is the Crowd are
really starting to get familiar with the songs and often sing-a-long. During the
2nd set Tony was making the most of this and getting individuals to sing into
the mic.

Turn The Tables at the end was quite amusing as Tony's mic stopped working
again and he then had to share the Mic with Tino and Chris. It still sounded
pretty good though. I suspect the mic was rebelling against Tony's Mic stand,
down his trousers!

The night ended with Lovers To The Grave, which is probably my favourite live
track. I love the slow start, which then goes into the fast second section. Tino
wasn't too up for this claiming it was too slow. I am glad they did it and wish
it were in the set tomorrow. Tony clearly enjoys watching them doing it, as it
is nearly always his idea that they do it.

The 2nd Set was

Nowhere To Hide
A Cry For The New World
Best Years
I Can't Stop The Fire
Lettin' Go
Rise Up Again
Turn The Tables
Lovers to the Grave

Praying Mantis – London Astoria 2 – 22 Nov 00

Tonight I was actually worried how Mantis would go down. I arrived very early
into order to see the sound check etc. It's a long while since I have seen
Mantis in a proper venue with time for a sound check. The last time was probably
in Japan in 98 in fact.

Time was a little short by the time Glenn Hughes had had his check and the
gear was set up. I had never really heard anything by Hughes solo and his sound
check was very tight and he was running through a few things with his guitarist
and drummer (he is only a trio this date). I wondered if he would outclass

Anyway Mantis normally run through each instrument getting the sound and then
try a couple of numbers. They didn't have time for full numbers so they just
choose suitable segments such as the a cappella section of Rise Up Again. I sat
in the floor in front of the mixing desk and I was very impressed with the
overall sound. Tonight was going to be good.

In a rare move Tony gave Dennis the Mic to sing a line from
a verse.

Last night was the first Mantis gig I had been to that no one from Japan had
attended since the first warm up at Epsom for the 98 tour. Tonight that was
corrected as Ko made it over. The Dean Swift had been a last minute addition and
he couldn't get his schedule changed in time.

Space on the stage was rather tight so there was no room for running around
and posing etc which in my view is a shame. Tino of course was still bouncing
around on the spot etc but visually things were more interesting at The Gods.

Tino and Dennis did meet once at the start of Lettin' Go

The Sound however was ten times better. I was on the upper level at the back
so I had a perfect place to hear the performance. I have seen several gigs at
the Astoria now and I have to say they always get an excellent sound. It really
was clear tonight though. So clear that the only things I noticed mistake wise
were the sound people turning up solos late. A Severally delayed Echo on Tony's
voice from time to time and Tino's guitar being treated as a solo when it was
supposed to be dual harmonies with Dennis. These are the sort of things I
wouldn't normally notice at a gig what with everything bouncing of the walls and
just getting lost in the overall noise.

Again visually I was slightly disappointed when I saw Angel Witch support
Samson and Lyadrive support the Groundhogs Dry Ice and full lighting was given
to every one. Today Mantis only had the main spots and no dry Ice. (They then
over did the Ice during Glenn Hughes)

Tony's Mics worked all night. It was Tino that broke
strings instead.

At the start there was a call for Captured City so clearly one fan from the
old days was there. I am sure most hadn't heard Mantis before though so it was
interesting to see what the reaction was. To start with it was stationary
watching with pretty good applause at the end. As the set proceed there was some
audience participation and the applause was very good. In fact at then end they
wanted encore. They couldn't have one though.

I think I will make special mention of Leon Lawson on keyboards at this
point. It was through him that Mantis got this support slot and I know the day
put him under tremendous pressure as a result. I hope he can look back on it and
enjoy the pleasure of it's success all round despite the difficult
circumstances. Well done old man!

A Cry For The New World
Can't See The Angels
Children Of The Earth
Best Years
I Can't Stop The Fire
Nowhere To Hide
Lettin' Go
Rise Up Again
Turn The Tables