Neonfly / Primitai

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Neonfly / Primitai - The Lounge 666, London (UK) -  20 July 2019

After wandering up and down from the Camden Tube Station to the New Dev arms a few times, the Lounge 666 was not easy to find. Resorting to the mobile phone map app, I walked to where the venue was indicated. For an infrequent visitor to London, I found it disappointing that the lack of signage confirming the venue existed, a rather misleading "Ledfoot on tonight" poster on the gate, and without any advertising for Neonfly/Primitai. Especially as this was a pretty special gig for both bands. Doors were pushed back from 7.30 to 8.15. A group of other bemused fans had now gathered. Excited chatter started to arise, from reminiscing back to when they last attended Neonfly to their Crowd Funding campaign. Speaking of this, I will go into a bit of information as to why this gig was special.

Neonfly have been away from the scene for the past four years. They have two critically acclaimed albums, have stormed the festival scene and toured as main support for Alice Cooper, Dragonforce, Anvil and more. Currently, they are running a crowdfunding campaign for their 3rd album, 'The Future, Tonight'. They aim to start recording 21st Oct at Long Wave Studios (Cardiff) and the first single 'This World Is Burning' is available on Youtube. This was a rare headline show for Neonfly with support from Primitai. Hailing from London, Primatai made their mark in 2010, thanks to their second album 'Line Of Fire'. Their latest album 'The Calling' (2018) with its single 'Overdrive' is also on Youtube. They too are no strangers to the festival scene, having performed at Bloodstock, HRH, Hammerfest etc,and they have appeared with Sepultura and Saxon.

Back to the gig. Right on time, we were beckoned in. The venue was small and dark. The stage itself was at floor level and small and I wondered how the members were going to fit on. For saying the gig coincided with Rambling Man Festival, spirits were not dampened and inside the attendees were genuinely excited. The members of Primatai hit the stage. Stuck in the back was Jonny (drums), followed by the two Serj's on guitar, the taller of the lot, Scott (bass) and main man Guy (vocals), who burst onto centre stage like a professional. From the outset, I was instantly drawn into their music. Their Melodic Metal burst from the stage and their enthusiastic performance was fantastic. The music was loud, confident and infectious. Guy's vocals sliced through the scales from soaring choruses to gruff growls. Fans were loving every minute and were truly revved up. Wonderous solos and melodies emanated from both the Serj's (or Powersurges, affectionally known to the group). Bassist Scott hammered out riffs and drummer Jonny, who experienced cymbal issues, really packed a punch and dealt with it all professionally. I did feel sorry for him, but he battled on until the end. Their set included 'Driven Wild', 'Nightbridge', 'The Cannibal', 'Near The Beginning (LOF)' and ending on the anthem 'Scream When You See Us'. Leaving the stage to cheers, I can firmly say that I thoroughly enjoyed their impressive set. I could only wait with anticipation to see how the headliners were going to beat that.

Fans had travelled as far and wide from Mexico, Europe and all over Britain and by now the venue was nearing max capacity. I was buzzing and lost in the euphoric atmosphere and had forgotten about the size of the room which was now jam packed. Entering the stage, Neonfly truly looked the part and ready to prove their worth. Adorned with leather jackets and black jeans, lead guitarist Frederick Thunder also had his right shoulder adorned with huge crow-like feathers. Kicking off with 'Whispered Dreams', the guys certainly got us on a high. Following with 'The Enemy', 'Ship With No Sails' and 'The Messenger', the air was now hot, sweaty and everyone was loving it. This is what a gig is about. Band and fans, intimately rocking out in harmony and giving it their all. Irish born vocalist Willy Norton was making full use of the room, I mean literally. At one point he was up on the centre pillar of the venue, then perching on the bass drum, then he was over the side of stage. Nearing the end of the set, he was on the bar top before lying flat on his back, singing at all times. It was great.

An announcement was made by Willy as thanks to the crowd-funders, he had invited a couple of special guests. The first of the two was none other than Ben Christo (Sisters Of Mercy) who joined for a stonking version of 'A Gift To Remember'. It was fantastic to watch him at work, easily jamming the intricate guitar parts. He walked off, being revered for the master that he is. A medley of 'The Revenant'/'The Ornament'/'Spitting Blood' was delivered powerfully. Next, the new single 'The World Is Burning' enticed fans to once again fill the air with song. Then it was the turn of Alessio Garavello of Powerquest fame. He calmly took his place and raised his mic to belt out 'Heart Of The Sun'. Instantaneously he gelled in as if he was a permanent member. The smiles on the faces of the band said it all. It truly was a marvellous and touching moment. To conclude, 'Highways To Nowhere' and 'Morning Star' ended the set, with both bands leaving me wanting more. I look forward to hopefully seeing both bands performing on bigger stages. Cheers to all for an incredible night!

Review and photos by Sonia Waterfield

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