at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., November 28, 2021

GIRLSCHOOL (at Trillians, Newcastle, U.K., November 28, 2021)
Photo: Mick Burgess

In most bands it is the lead singer who is the focus of most of the attention, although there may well be a lead guitarist or two who will challenge this presumption. When vocalist Graham Bonnet recently departed Alcatrazz, almost 40 years after founding the band with Jimmy Waldo and Gary Shea, it looked like it was all but over.

However, in something of a déjà vu moment, in stepped Doogie White to fill the void. White of course has followed Bonnet into Rainbow, Michael Schenker Group and Yngwie Malmsteen over the years, testament indeed to the high esteem in which White is held within the business.

On a freezing cold night when many were stuck at home sheltering from storm Arwen, Alcatrazz raised the temperature with an explosive, crowd pleasing set of old and new with a few surprises thrown in for good measure.

“Grace of God” from the just released album V opened proceedings before dipping right back to 1983’s classic debut No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll with “Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live” with “Jet To Jet” from the same record coming later.

White’s voice may lack the abrasive edge of his predecessor but he possesses the power and range to more than do justice to the songs and his affable personality quickly won over any doubters.

Alcatrazz has a history of showcasing guitar heroes with Yngwie Malmsteen, Steve Vai and Danny Johnson all having stints with the band. Huge shoes to fill without a doubt but Joe Stump filled them with ease with a stupendous display of flair, dexterity and flamboyance. Shea and Waldo have certainly chosen wisely.

With White in the band, it meant that the setlist could reflect some of his past with Rainbow’s “Ariel” hitting the spot and Schenker’s “Vigilante Man” rattling the rafters.

“God Blessed Video” saw Stump’s fingers burning up the fretboard before White’s wonderful rendition of Rainbow’s “Temple Of The King” rounded off a killer set.

At a time before politically was correct, Girlschool stood pretty much alone in a bastion of testosterone and took on the men at their own game coming out on top with the likes of Motörhead and Saxon welcoming them into the Metal world as equals on their own, hard-won terms.

Over 40 years on and Girlschool still fly the flag proudly for all things Metal with founder members singer/guitarist Kim McAullife and drummer Denise Dufort joined by guitarist Jackie Chambers and Bishop Auckland born, former Rock Goddess bassist, Tracey Lamb.

It’s easy to see why their appeal has endured so much over the years as “Demolition Boys” and the anthemic “C’mon Let’s Go” positively thundered out of the speakers anchored by the canon fire drums of Dufort.

Classics “Hit and Run” and “Take It All Away” rubbed shoulders with “Take It Like A Band” and the title track from their most recent record, Guilty As Sin and saw a band brimming in confidence and vitality.

Closing the night with the hits “Race With The Devil” and “Emergency” alongside their cover of Motörhead’s “Bomber”, which featured on the classic Motörhead/Girlschool St. Valentine’s Day Massacre E.P, was never going to be anything less than a match winning strike.

Review and Photos 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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