Paul Dianno with Killrazer
w/ Entrails and Razorwyre
Bar Bodega, Wellington
Thursday 1 July 2010
Early Iron Maiden was essentially an epic sounding punk band. Just listen to a track like Sanctuary for example; it was punk without being an actual punk song, in the same manner that Paranoid was for Black Sabbath. The cause of this was original singer Paul Dianno, who featured on Iron Maiden’s first two albums, as well as a handful of EPs.
Dianno was replaced by Samson singer Bruce Dickinson due to issues regarding drugs and personal conflict within the band. Dianno’s voice is harsher than Dickinson’s operatic wail, but he has an ample vocal range, ranging from deep growls to punk style to higher wailing.
Opening act Razorwyre (formally known as Gaywyre) played a crowd pleasing set that they’re starting to get a reputation for. No points for guessing who their influences are: they emulate NWOBHM bands such as Judas Priest and Iron Maiden with precision, with touches of thrash thrown into the mix. The hair was huge; the riffs were razor-sharp and the solos stunning. And of course who else but a band so inspired by Iron Maiden to open for Maiden’s original singer?
When the Dianno and band Killrazer finally graced the stage their presence was certainly noticed. The dry ice was so dense I could barely see the musicians on the stage not even two metres in front of me, but I could certainly hear them.They opened with Wrathchild, which certainly did the job of working up the crowd. Though he didn’t move about much Dianno certainly commanded the stage as only a well seasoned performer can.
In between songs Paul spoke freely with the crowd, telling us about all sorts, topics including his ex-wife, a drinking incident. Sometimes the cockney accent made him hard to understand, but his jokes were funny and he seemed like a down to earth musician trying to make a living, rather than the cocaine fuelled ego that he once was. Dianno even allowed his backing band Killrazer to play a few of their own songs throughout the set. They played a much heavier technical metal style which added some extra variety to the set.
As promised on the promotional poster, Dianno and the band worked their way through all of the tracks on the eponymous Iron Maiden album, some of which hadn’t been played by Dianno for 15 or more years. He said that a few tracks like Remember Tomorrow were specially chosen to be played exclusively to Australian and New Zealand audiences.
After a heated altercation with some punter disrespecting late AC/DC singer Bon Scott, Dianno and band ripped into a rousing cover of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell. The tribute was enough to leave Dianno with teary eyes, but he pulled the song off well. Unfortunately the Spice Girls and Lady Gaga covers Dianno joked about never eventuated.
For me, the best songs had to be Prowler, Iron Maiden and Running Free, although I probably could have also guessed as much beforehand. There’s just a timeless quality about those songs that always manage to excite. They concluded with Sanctuary, a song that packs a punch and sums up Dianno-era Maiden. Not the most extravagant and epic, but more hard and fast and punk-sounding.
I had regretfully missed Iron Maiden when they came to our shores early last year, so when I had the opportunity to see Maiden in an alternate incarnation I knew I could not miss it. Whilst this was obviously not going to be as impressive as a current large-scale Iron Maiden performance, I don’t feel that I missed out so much anymore. Sure there wasn’t any Eddie, 13minutes song or larger than life stage set, but it was still one hellova good night.