At O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., August 2, 2017

LIONIZE (Live at O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., August 2, 2017)
Photo: Mick Burgess

It’s either a very brave or a very stupid band that heads out on tour and fills well over half of their set with material from a forthcoming album that no one in the crowd has heard before. Or alternatively they may well be so supremely confident that their new songs will make such an instant impact that any thoughts of a bored, foot shuffling audience will never have crossed their minds.

American Rockers, Lionize however are no fools and open with the cowbell clanking Funk powered Skynet from their breakthrough Jetpack Soundtrack album before launching into no fewer than eight cuts from their soon to be released Nuclear Soul album interspersed with songs from across their recording career.

It’s certainly a promising sign that on first listen the likes of Blindness to Danger with its Uriah Heep meets Deep Purple power house riff overlain with some devastating swirling Hammond organ hooks from Chris Brooks, grabbed the attention instantly. Likewise Fire in Athena with its tinge of Thin Lizzy and the more laid back Ain’t It A Shame showed some serious class. Lack of familiarity certainly didn’t soften their impact.

For many bands the focal point is the lead singer or lead guitarist while the rhythm section tends to hang back at the stage getting on with the job in hand. While the gold lame space suited bedecked vocalist Nathan Bergman does take centre stage with a ferociously powerful vocal performance which has the Blues growl of Mountain’s Leslie West, the rhythm section in Lionize were spectacular. Drummer Chase Lapp and bassist Hank Upton locked tightly in an almost telepathic way driving the engine room of the band with a groove and swagger that energised Dream Wizard and Evolve.

Lionize have an innate ability to blend Blues based Psychedelic Hard Rock with some dub reggae elements and a huge slab of Funk for good measure to create something rather unique. Nuclear Soul may well be the album that makes the world sit up and listen.

Review and Photographs by Mick Burgess


  • 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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