Concert Reviews

Rock Goddess / Praying Mantis Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     March 22, 2016    
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Rock Goddess / Praying Mantis - Islington Academy, London (UK) - 3rd December 2015

Great to see a rejuvenated Praying Mantis looking confident and in control on stage tonight. Vocalist John Cuijpers brings a lot to the party, tossing his mane, striking a power stance and hitting the high notes on cue; he adds the pomp and presence needed to carry off the grander elements of the Praying Mantis material. This is, of course, a band formed by guitarists and the Troy brothers get a chance to shine, particularly in the slower track 'Dream On' and in the harmonies on finale 'Children Of The Earth'.

However, interestingly, new material 'Believable' comes across as the strongest and best material tonight, maybe because the front-man is more comfortable with the material which he sings on album, or maybe because the band are feeling a new lease of life, but it's the best song of the night. Some of the material being nearly forty years old, it's perhaps not surprising if the new material looks fresh by comparison. And at the end of the day, if a band's gonna keep going for forty years it might as well do so with new strong material and attitude to make it worth the effort and everyone's dollar.

But as the first gig in London for about thirty years, the night belongs to Rock Goddess. What a return! The girls are now no longer Hecate-style brunettes, but are stunning platinum blondes, lithe and youthful and very much looking the part of Rock sirens. Dare I say it, looking better than in the old days. Go girls!

And the music is heavy as the girls always were, in the Girlschool vein, and may draw comparisons more latterly with bands like Crucified Barbara. They sound loud, strong and punch every bit as hard as any band this heavy. In true Motörhead style, the songs are mostly fast and short with "rabid vocalising" which does not necessarily show off voice skills. However, the slower songs 'Heartache' and 'My Angel' show that Jody Turner can really sing and deliver a quality vocal in a Hard Rock genre without a guttural growl. No solos means the pace stays fast and furious throughout.

While the show is not sold out, the crowd are clearly mostly fans from the old days and are up for the crowd participation, being as good as sold out crowds in terms of loud enthusiasm.

I'm not sure why there was no appearance of 'Hell Hath No Fury' and mid-set there were a few lesser known songs which maybe would not have been missed. Also, if there was another guitarist Turner might be freer for crowd duty and the stage would be fuller, but of course, then it would not be the Rock Goddess we all know and love and perhaps some of the magic would be lost.

The main thing to know is this is still undiluted straight down the line Metal with no compromises. Thank God for not mellowing with age! More than that, these girls will give bands half their age a run for their money. Wow, in a good way!

Dawn Osborne

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