at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., August 8, 2015

STEVE HARRIS BRITISH LION (Live at The Riverside, Newcastle, U.K., August 8, 2015)
Photo: Mick Burgess

You’d have thought that after having just finished recording an epic laden double album due for release in a matter of weeks and hopefully a huge world-wide uber tour booked and ready to announce, that Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris would be spending his Saturday evening with his feet up in front of the telly waiting for his beloved West Ham to come on Match of the Day, after all, it was the opening day of the football season.

To Harris, a break in Maiden’s hectic schedule means one thing, heading out on the road with his “other band”, British Lion. Although having their roots dating back to the early 90s after Harris began as their manager and producer before joining as a full member, their debut album wasn’t released until 2012.

Although there was strong interest from the rabidly fanatical Maiden fan base, it is clear that British Lion gives Harris the opportunity to step away from the bombastic histrionics of Maiden with the air ride siren vocals and galloping basslines to cover something in an altogether more melodic Classic Rock style with a distinct ’70s feel.

Their debut album was well represented with just about every song aired during the show, coming across much heavier live than on record with Us Against The World being particularly dynamic with some impressive guitar harmonies from Grahame Leslie and David Hawkins while the more the buoyant set closer Eyes of The Young headed into a more melodic and dare it be said, a more Poppy direction. It would be difficult to envisage this on a Maiden record but with British Lion it made perfect sense.

Vocalist Richard Taylor’s warm, soulful tones perfectly suited the melodic The Chosen Ones and showed off his impressive range on Lost Worlds. They may well, as a band, only have released one album in over 20 years, but his confidence as a frontman was clear to see.

Wisely eschewing any Maiden standards, after all this project is supposed to give Harris a break from all that, British Lion did hammer out one indulgence in the form of Let It Roll by UFO, arguably the band that inspired Harris to form Maiden in the first place. Several new songs were aired during the evening with Spitfire and Bible Black showing an altogether darker, heavier feel and boding well for the next record.

Of course the main interest of the evening was Steve Harris. As founder member of Iron Maiden, he has sold millions of records and headlined huge stadiums around the world. Such is his love of his art he has no qualms of hitting the clubs, indeed he seemed to actively relish the occasion with foot on monitor and machine gunning the crowd with his bass, this could quite easily have been Long Beach Arena rather than a small club on the banks of the Tyne. To use the old footballing cliché, Harris gave 110% and the crowd loved it.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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