LONE WOLF Apollo, Manchester, June 1982 – Review by Howard Johnson

THIS IS going to cause the odd attack of migraine, for two new Hard Rock outfits have recently emerged with similar names and more than a slight resemblance in musical style. London’s Lone Wolf are finally out of the rehearsal stage and hot on the trail, having picked up the musical scent of Carlisle’s Wolf, and 1 for one will certainly be satisfied it this continues to be the style of emerging British bands.

‘Why,’ you may ask, are contract-less lone Wolf supporting big-name boys Thin Lizzy already?’ Simple – conjour up the name Paul Dianno, add the name of Maiden with a good deal less Iron, put two and two together an whammo! Justified? Ethically not, but this six-piece outfit have the musical pedigree to convince. The basic structures of the songs, introduced to a semi-enthusiastic Manchester audience, may have been a pomp/Rock niche, something along the lines of a hard rockin’ Toto (wide of the mark but close enough to be valid), yet they still remained rough enough for the headbangers. ‘Lone Wolf, a rousing pomp rocker (check out the bass work for evidence) and ‘Spiritual Guidance’, the other single candidate, were the picks from an evenly weighted set.

On the minus side, however, the keyboards dominate too little to give total conviction to the style, the band are not active enough on stage, and while Paul claims that he actually has the opportunity to sing now rather than scream, I’m not convinced. Lone Wolf’s coming to get ya – howww!!!

Watch out for em – they impress more then Lizzy, I might add!

Marquee, London 1983 NEIL JEFFRIES
LITTLE HAS been heard of this, the band formed and fronted by ex-Iron Maiden singer Paul Di’anno, since they appeared in an extended ‘Armed & Ready’ feature way back in Kerrang! number 11. It transpired that they hadn’t played a gig for five months so perhaps that’s hardly surprising!

This then, a support slot to Sad Cafe (I) was hardly the most auspicious way to relaunch themselves. When Paul walked on and said: “We’re trying out our music on a different crowd tonight”, he couldn’t have been closer to the truth! Very smart they were too, made a nice change from the Denim & Leather brigade, and all credit to them. The Sads onstage are a good ROCK band so their fans responded well to Lone Wolf. Very well, considering it was the first sighting of the group for all bar the handful of Wolf fans that came along.

Feedback problems aside (the monitor man seemed oblivious or unable to respond to Paul’s increasingly heated ‘suggestions’), there was plenty here that impressed. Although they looked a little too smart – perhaps they’d dressed for the occasion – the six-piece worked well together, despite being ludicrously cramped for space.

Their sound reminded me of vintage Byron-era Heep (especially when Mark Venables’ keyboards and the harmony vocals all came together), with the added bonus of some commercial sounding songs. Even though this crowd seemed to like them, I d say Lone Wolf would appeal most to a hard-rock audience … there’s plenty to please Grand Prix fans at least.

‘Here To Stay’ was introduced as” one of a couple of numbers we’ve just demo’d at Rockfield”, and sounded a very likely singles choice. Paul will have to improve or drop the scream in the middle, though … (or perhaps just use another monitor engineer)
‘Overdose Of Fear’ (“about drugs and naughty things – if you clap, you’re guilty”) was good, with a jazzy bass intro and break from Kevin Browne as was ‘Lady Heartbreak’, with drummer Mark Stuart making his presence felt. But the best was certainly saved until last in the form of a newie called ‘Flaming Hearts’ – twin guitarists P.J. Ward and Lee Slater fairly rattling it along.

Perhaps if this is put out with ‘Here To Stay’ (el pronto!) it might not be another five months before Lone Wolf see some action.

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