Pagan’s Mind / Neonfly
20 May 2011
The Underworld, London
It’s an exciting time for Neonfly, with their debut album Outshine The Sun in the can and due to be released by Rising Records at the end of August.In advance of that, was a trip round the country with Pagan’s Mind and feedback of an impressive showing at Bloodstock last year ensured we were in the Underworld in time for their set.Apparently the buzz has been building, as much of tonight’s crowd were already in and pushed forward for the London based band’s arrival.
The set kicked off with Broken Wings, which was familiar to the band’s fans through Neonfly’s Clever Disguise EP.Its three year’s since that release, though tonight’s live version seemed to pack more urgency and was quickly followed by the catchy The Enemy with a hint of Iron Maiden.Ship With No Sails saw guitarists Frederick Thunder and Patrick Harrington adopting some synchronised guitar moves, though it was frontman Willy Norton that commanded attention.A relatively recent addition to the band, Norton, who resembles a young Kyle Maclachlan, has settled in well and aside from a professional stage presence he’s a confident singer which showed itself during some solo moments during The Messenger.
With a nod to their commercial side, Norton asked “Anyone like AOR?” comically counting the hands with “Two and me makes three!”With a sound that draws on European power metal and commercial rock, Power Quest would be an obvious comparison, though Neonfly don’t lean upon the keyboards and to my ears have a more cohesive sound.Tonight’s set not only pleased the band’s existing fans but seemed to pick up a few more admirers and the future looks bright for Neonfly.
Broken Wings / The Enemy / Ship With No Sails / The Messenger / A Gift To Remember / Spitting Blood / The Revenant / Morning Star / I Think I Saw A UFO
It’s one of those annoying occasions when a band’s tour ends up starting before their new album is released, so no chance for a pre-listening to Pagan's Mind's Heavenly Ecstasy CD.However, the soundman was pushing the right buttons tonight, with Eyes Of Fire cutting through like an old favourite on first hearing.Enigmatic:Calling favourite Enigmatic Mission followed, with Nils K.Rue encouraging the crowd to sing along.Surprisingly this was the only song tonight to feature from that album.
Rue, greeted the crowd and told us tonight was like a release party.He also explained that six weeks ago he had broken his hip and that the tour had been in jeopardy of cancellation.However, he hadn’t wanted to cancel and joked that he currently walked around like Ozzy.The majestic Walk Away In Silence followed which built like Empire era Queensryche and whet the appetite for that new album.
Following a trip to Aegean Shores from the band’s 2002 Celestial Entrance album it was time for a very early placed keyboard solo from Ronny Tegner.Though it did seem obvious such moments had been built into the set to allow Rue to rest his hip.Moving from In The Hall Of The Mountain King, to finish with The Final Countdown refrain, Tegner proved to be an amusing character.Stian Kristoffersen’s drums cut across the end of the solo, signifying the band’s return with God’s Equation.Pagan’s Mind leaned heavily on that album tonight with five selections and United Alliance followed with the crowd chanting “hey, hey, hey” in time with the opening riff.
Rue took his leave once more as the band ran through an instrumental during which Jørn Viggo Lofstad’s guitar work stood out.Actually Lofstad stood out all night with is ability to make what was obviously difficult look easy.Rue returned complete with a bottle of champagne to toast the evening and the new album’s release.He then asked us if we’d heard of a guy called David Bowie and Hallo Spaceboy unsurprisingly followed.Like on the God’s Equation album, Evolution Exceeded was next which Rue announced had never been played live before.
Time had flown by and Rue’s announcement that the next song would be the last was met with a pantomime “Boooo” from the crowd.Asking if anyone had the new album, a small cheer was greeted in mocking annoyance with “It’s not out yet!”.The band’s first video from that album Intermission was obviously familiar to many from the reaction with the band departing to great cheers.
Returning to the stage Rue asked “Do you want to rock some more?” with Tegner playing the Approaching introduction from the Celestial Entrance album leaving a huge clue what was next.“This song is about an Egyptian princess”, explained Rue, “Ronnie was married to her once!”.Through Osiris’ Eyes was greeted with cheers and at its conclusion melted into Alien Kamikaze for a fast paced finish to the set.
Advising us that it had “Been a beautiful night”, Rue and the band departed to the sound of Tom & Jerry’s “That’s all folks”, but hopefully that won’t be all we’ll see of Pagan’s Mind in London on this album cycle.
Pagan’s Mind setlist:
Eyes Of Fire / Enigmatic Mission / Walk Away In Silence / Aegean Shores / Ronny Tegner keyboard solo / God’s Equation / United Alliance / Instrumental / Hallo Spaceboy / Evolution Exceeded / Intermission / Approaching (Intro) / Through Osiris’ Eyes / Alien Kamikaze