Gig review – Tank, Raven and Girlschool at the Croxton Bandroom– Melbourne – June 29, 2019
By PERRY GRAYSON
Photos by TANYA CATELLI
Tank, Raven & Girlschool live at the Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne
The evening opened with a blistering, thrashy set from supporters Maniaxe. Their fast metallic delivery fit right in with the triad of headlining New Wave of British Heavy Metal acts. The majority of the metalheads in the crowd wore cut-off denim jackets jam-packed with band patches. At times they were reminiscent of early Megadeth, especially in the snarling vocal delivery of guitarist/singer Axe Maniac, who played his arse off on a white Randy Rhoads-style Jackson V. Even the non-deplume of the members harks back to ’80s metal mayhem by the likes of Venom, Sodom, etc.
Tank were the first featured act of the night, and they lived up to their reputation of being an energetic and raw NWOBHM band. Tank did an admirable job of jumping on the tour in the place of fellow Brits Venom Inc. While I was bummed about Venom Inc. not making it (the third time I was supposed to see any lineup of Venom), I was pleasantly surprised with Tank. Despite the fact that founding bassist/vocalist “Algy” Ward was not in this touring lineup of Tank, the band plowed through a tight set of that sent a high percentage of the metalheads in attendance to bank their heads uncontrollably. They didn’t shy away from playing older material, especially tunes from their debut Filth Hounds of Hades.
Second up was Raven, an act that has been around the metal scene in one form or another since the mid-1970s. Brothers John and Mark Gallagher are the constants in Raven, and they’ve forged a place for themselves in a frantic, loud, raw, hard partying niche populated by other big names such as Anvil, Twisted Sister and AC/DC. Raven was joined on this tour by drummer Mike Heller, in the absence of long-standing skin-basher Joe Hasselvander (Pentagram, Blue Cheer).
Last, but not least, was all-female quartet Girlschool, another NWOBHM institution band still going strong over 3 decades after their initial foundation. They proved they could bash out some heavy-arse metal as compelling as the other two headliners. They’re not just a novelty act, they’re the real deal. Rhythm axewoman/vocalist Kim McAuliffe belts out her lyrics with abandon usually associated with the likes of Motorhead. Girlschool proved that in the live arena they can keep up with the best of their male counterparts.