1 July 2006
Camden Underworld, London
Staying at home watching England lose to Portugal on penalties caused me to miss opening act Stress Factor 9 and also didn`t put me in the best of moods! However, that wasn`t going to stop me catching Armored Saint in the UK for the first time since 1991. In truth, by the time I left the Underworld I had completely forgotten about the football and was wearing a huge grin.
Opening with Lesson Well Learned from their 1983 debut EP, it was clear we were in for a good evening. The reissue of the band`s debut album March Of The Saint is the excuse for this run of dates, but it`s clear that Armored Saint just love playing together. The vibe is one of a band completely at ease and in tune with each other.
Fortunately, with the exception of a brief loss of Joey Vera`s bass during Reign Of Fire, the sound was spot on. Vera, nowadays sporting a Mohican, was incredibly animated, contorting his face when delivering backing vocals. His playing underlines why he seems to be so much in demand.
After a bouncing Tribal Dance, John Bush took a moment to give his sympathy about the football. "F**k Portugal for today" he proclaimed, before leading us into a fitting Tension. Bush`s vocals were simply awesome and my own view was that if they could be tempted back into the studio, I`d prefer to have him behind the mic with the Saint than Anthrax.
Over The Edge took us into bluesy territory, giving Jeff Duncan, who has an uncanny facial resemblance to Johnny Vegas, an opportunity to shine. On the other side of the stage Phil Sandoval pulled every guitar hero shape imaginable and like his brother Gonzo on the drums, was a mass of bobbing black curly hair.
Bush`s stage banter created a warm relaxed atmosphere. Before Warzone he amusingly explained the difficulties of sharing his surname with a couple of other famous Bush`s. The band`s own enjoyment is underlined during the instrumental section of Book Of Blood when Bush plonked himself on the railing to the side of the stage, sitting there enjoying watching the band play.
The final run in off Chemical Euphoria, Can U Deliver and March Of The Saint whipped up the crowd and the response was such that at the close the band returned for Mad House, which wasn`t originally included on the set list.
Dubbed "The Second Coming", let’s hope these dates aren`t the last for Armored Saint in this country. With the band`s second album Delirious Nomad the next to be given the re-master and reissue treatment a return visit is a must!
Armored Saint set list:
Lesson Well Learned / Pay Dirt / Reign Of Fire / Tribal Dance / Tension / Over The Edge / Aftermath / Seducer / Symbol Of Salvation / Book Of Blood / Warzone / Nervous Man / Chemical Euphoria / Can U Deliver / March Of The Saint / Mad House