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Pretty Maids / Cage The Gods / Tainted Nation http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/54/18/b9/pretty-maids-live-review-2013-rocktopia-86-1389807115.jpg Hot

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Pretty Maids / Cage The Gods / Tainted Nation - Camden Underworld, London (UK) - 22nd September 2013

They say good things come to he who waits...well I have waited a bloody long time to see Pretty Maids. I've been a huge fan since 'Spooked' but this was my first chance to see the band live, so when they announced a London date I leapt on it quicker than a banker on a yearly bonus.

The Underworld was about a third full when recently formed Tainted Nation but comprising established names Pete Newdeck, Ian Nash, Pontus Egberg, Joel Peters and Mark Cross walked out to Frankie Goes To Hollywood's 'Two Tribes' and launched into 'Dare You'. The guitars and rhythm were crisp with clear vocals from Pete Newdeck who explained they'd only just made it in time. Consequently they cut the chat and quickly rolled through their set including 'Nothing Like You Seem' and 'Who's Watching You' where Newdeck encouraged audience reaction. The thick riff from 'Don't Forget Where You Came From' then hummed around as Newdeck's vocals sailed on top. Their set quickly came to its end and they closed out with 'Loser' before Newdeck thanked everyone and apologized for being "a shit driver".

Next came Cage The Gods: a group that consists of an Englishman, Irishman, Scotsman and a Welshman (I can only imagine the jokes...) The venue was still sparsely populated as they strolled out and kicked off with 'The Ending' and 'Badlands'. I liked their style immediately and one friend rightly remarked their Classic Rock sound had a little less punch but more finesse than TN. I then thought I'd missed a good gag when Peter Comerford said "This Is Bruce Willis" but what he was referring to was the next song, the amusingly entitled 'Bruce Willis (My Time Is Now)'. The wonderfully thick Southern progression pumped round the room and the band bounced around to good effect making this my favourite from them. CTG pumped out another good riff during the lively 'Sacrifice', which was followed by 'Falling'. Their penultimate track 'From The Start' was also their funkiest and it saw the crowd really getting into it before they finished with 'Promises'. The revolving riff echoed round the venue as the solid bass and drums bounded away before CTG were rewarded with a big cheer.

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The Underworld was pretty full when Pretty Maids got their party underway in barnstorming fashion with 'Mother Of All Lies' and 'I See Ghosts'. Ronnie Atkins reminded everyone that it had been 28 years since their journey started before dipping into the past with 'Needles In The Dark' and 'Love Games'. He actually provided everyone with a moment of amusement during '...Games' when he lost his microphone under the drums and had to resort to sharing Ken Hammer's until he was handed another. PM returned to their new album for two more selections: 'Sad To See You Suffer' and 'Why So Serious', the former being the uncontested highlight of my night. The Maids dedicated the rest of the set to old favourites including 'Yellow Rain', 'Queen Of Dreams', 'Hell On High Heels' and 'Rodeo'. Atkins used the following break to introduce the band with Hammer getting the biggest cheer, which only made the smile on his face even broader. They followed this up with one of their biggest hits, surprisingly (to me) the cover of John Sykes' 'Please Don't Leave Me'. Afterwards Atkins proclaimed that it can't be another 28 years before they play London again and that he also realised they hadn't played anything off 'Pandemonium'. PM quickly righted that wrong with 'I.N.V.U' before they closed the main set with 'Red, Hot And Heavy'. They returned for the expected encore with 'It Comes At Night' and 'Little Drops Of Heaven' also both from their acclaimed 'Pandemonium' album. The night was brought to a close with another trip down memory lane to their second album and its title track 'Future World'. The crowd were well aware it was the end and they sung, cheered and clapped along giving the band a resounding round of applause at the finale.

It's been a long time coming but tonight was well worth the wait. The Maids were simply fabulous and everything I'd hoped they would be live. Atkins' vocals sounded wonderfully throaty and he took every opportunity to get the fans involved whilst Hammer played a beauty on the guitars, filling the venue with those infectious riffs. The night was made all the better with the inclusion of Tainted Nation and Cage The Gods. Both bands played equally well and although they weren't quite in the class of PM they still made a great contribution.

We can only hope that we get to see Pretty Maids return to these shores sometime soon...

Dave Scott

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