A cheery "Hello all" from vocalist Stu Nicholson was all he managed to say before MYOPIA. (opening track of their last CD, Following Ghosts) rocked the band into the first live show in almost a year. Afterwards Stu had a little more time to dedicate the track "to all the short-sighted local journalists" showing that it's not just the National Press who ignore talent. From almost current work a step back in time was taken for the next batch of songs, THE TRUTH OF YOU, originally on a fan-club only cassette, to "one written before the band even started in 18?? GHOST OF DURTAL (during which Stu descended into the audience to watch guitarist Roy Keyworth perform his magic) and "a quiet one" next from 'Nothing is Written' called DON'T LOSE CONTROL." The intro to the last of these was totally spoilt by the drunken bimbos standing front centre of the stage. They'd been chatting loudly throughout the set and even Stu telling them to "shut up" didn't work. We had to suffer the distraction until the second half of the set when finally they left.
Back to mere recent albums with the title track off SLEEPERS before a surprise. ROOM 801 was introduced as the last track of the first set "'cos we cant go all the way through, were getting old"! It's classic track and one of the first Galahad tracks I ever heard way back on the Friday Rock Show. Strangely, that very session was available officially for the first time tonight on the 'Other Crimes and Misdemeanours III' limited edition CD*.
Soundman for Mr. Smith's, Andy Stone, played four Tull covers armed with only voice and an acoustic during the break. Though the voice was different to that of Ian Anderson he handled the tracks well and WIND UP steaming into LOCOMOTIVE BREATH worked as well as it does at any Tull show. Stu joined in with the last line of THICK AS A BRICK before thanking Andy and warning us that Galahad would be back "for some electrified heavy rock music very shortly!"
The second set began with "something a little more up to date - it still sounds 50 years old though, BUG EYE a throbbing bassy number from Following Ghosts. The biggest surprise of the set followed, roughly half of the next album was previewed., Though Stu mentioned that YEAR ZERO was the title of the album, not the track, the setlist gave the tracks no titles, just numbers (parts I to IV & VI to VII). It began with a gentle swirl of keyboards moving through various phases (throbbing bass, screaming guitars etc) and the whole piece could have been one long track. On first hearing it is always hard to tell how good a track is going to be in the final iteration but this one has promise and would appear to be more mood driven than some of Galahad's rockier output. On to watch out for.
Having sat through almost 30 minutes of new music it was back to the first album for another epic track, RICHELIEUS PRAYER to end the set. Not to worry though and Stu led the guys back for "a prog Xmas song, a nice cynical Xmas song!" - what else but a heavied up version of Greg Lake's I BELIEVE IN FATHER CHRISTMAS. Getting into the spirit Stu donned a Santa hat and dished out chocolates during the instrumentals - making sure the audience got their monies worth. The final track of the evening was another from the BBC session, ONE FOR THE RECORD and a bit of nostalgia from the 'In a Moment of Complete Madness' CD. An entertaining night but spoilt by the loud bimbo group. I look forward to the next gig promised by Stu.
* The CD has
now been released properly (the one above was just a CDR). Full details
on the new Galahad site http://www.galahadonline.com/.