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TNT/Stampede/Neonfly
Camden Underworld, London 30 November 2012

A rare UK show by one of the forefathers of Scandinavian melodic rock, TNT, should have had the fans flocking to the Underworld, but in a week when Europe, Magnum and the Electric Boys were in town, and many people had decamped to Hard Rock Hell for the weekend, the result was a very disappointing turnout, barely into three figures.

Neonfly, photo by Andy Nathan

Those of us who made the effort were treated to a very strong three band bill, even if with a Friday night curfew Neonfly came on stage at an unfeasibly early 6.45.

Indeed I only caught the last half of their set but was very impressed with a metallic yet melodic two guitar sound and their self-confident swagger, but with the musical ability to match.

Their own material fitted comfortably alongside a heavied up cover of 'Separate Ways' and they seem to have taken a quantum leap forward from when I last saw them a couple of years ago.

Stampede, photo by Andy Nathan

Stampede continued their heartwarming comeback on the back of last yearís fine reunion album 'A Sudden Impulse', even if the number of original members is now back to two in evergreen singer Reuben Archer and bassist Colin Bond.

Their sound was noticeably different from when I had heard them before with a far greater emphasis on harmony lead guitars, the rapid fire technical ability of Rob Woolverson and the more restrained Chris Clowsely complementing each other nicely in the style of Thin Lizzy or Praying Mantis.

The twin leads, delivered together from the centre of the stage, gave a fresh dimension to songs like 'Shadows of the Night', 'Days of Wine and Roses' and above all 'Missing You', with a quite brilliant solo from Rob. Newer songs 'Having Fun' and 'Humble Pie' both had an enjoyable natural groove to them.

Well in to his sixties but still full of vitality and good humour, Reuben is one of rock n rollís survivors and even gamely got the sparse crowd to sing along to the commercial 'Send Me Down an Angel', as well as premiering a new song in 'Stone Cold Turkey'.

Their 45 minute set was perhaps the most enjoyable of their shows I have seen, though my love of the twin lead guitar sound may make me biased!

TNT, photo by Andy Nathan

TNT are celebrating their 30th anniversary and are also now down to two founder members but the star of the show is still guitarist Ronni Le Tekro, one of the generation, along with George Lynch and Vito Bratta, of superb technicians whose guitar pyrotechnics built on Eddie Van Halenís trailblazing style, but who is also able to mix up his style with meatier riffs.


Last time I saw them at Z Rock in 2006, ex-Shy singer Tony Mills was very much the new boy and feeling his way, but on this occasion he seemed to fit in seamlessly, and opener 'Invisible Noise' proved he had no problem attacking the high notes Tony Harnell made his own with ease.

Whether to commercial numbers from 1987ís classic 'Tell No Tales' such as 'Listen to Your Heart' and 'As Far As The Eye Can See', or the simple fist in the air choruses of 'Harley Davidson' and 'USA', the crowd response made up for the relative lack of numbers.

My only gripe was that Tony introduced very few of the songs, and as someone whose knowledge of TNTís more recent output is patchy it would have been nice to know what some of the less familiar songs were.

TNT, photo by Andy Nathan

After a solo slot from Ronni culminating in him playing his guitar behind his head, he cranked out the unmistakable intro to their best known classic, '10,000 Lovers In One', but surprisingly that was the end of the set after barely 45 minutes.

However they atoned with a trio of encores that probably eclipsed everything that had gone before: the straight ahead urgency of 'Everyoneís A Star', 'Intuition' with its chorus of almost Journey-esque smoothness, and the enjoyable anthem 'Seven Seas', going all the way back to their 'Knights of the New Thunder' debut.

It was a gig to reawaken my interest in a too often neglected band, but equally important a good night out with real strength in depth in a three band bill. More fool those who passed up the opportunity to be there.


Review and photos by Andy Nathan

 


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