Inglorious | Islington Assembly Hall | 21 February 2016
Photo credit: John Bull
“It was honestly the best night of my life,” Nathan James tweeted after the first show of Inglorious’ album launch tour.
That should come as no surprise to anyone at the gig – a fist-pumping, ass-shaking celebration of classic rock punctuated by the frontman’s broad smiles and genuine outpouring of thanks between songs. From the moment he and the band step out to the strains of The Who’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ to the final vocal soars of goodnight song ‘Unaware’, it’s clear they’re living out their wildest dreams on that Islington Assembly Hall stage.
Playing with the confidence, skill, and cohesion of ‘70s legends, they have no trouble recreating the power and prowess of the muscular debut LP released just two days earlier. So, exactly as it begins the self-titled album, set opener ‘Until I Die’ transforms from a Deep Purple-style organ solo into a testosterone-drenched battlecry led by Phil Beaver’s thunderous drumming and James’ stratospheric voice. It stays up there for ‘High Flying Gypsy’, all nimble guitar licks and epic soloing from Andreas Eriksson, Wil Taylor’s rock-solid Malcolm Young riffing, and Colin Parkinson’s rolling bass breakdown.
‘Breakaway’ hurtles down the A1 at 120 miles per hour, the irrepressibly strident singalong ‘Inglorious’ lodges itself in your frontal lobe with all the subtlety of a meat hook, ‘Holy Water’ invites the blues to the party, the hip-swinging ‘Girl Got A Gun’ shoots to kill, and ‘You’re Mine’ has a chorus big enough to fill Wembley Arena.
So too does ‘Bleed For You’, an old-school pre-vaping lighter anthem that tonight really showcases the full vocal range of a man inspired to sing by ‘Sweet Child o’ Mine’. But instead of paying tribute to the Guns N’ Roses staple or reheating their own cover version of ‘Burn’, James and the band fill out their set with steaming renditions of less obvious classics. Sprinkled through the set, Rainbow’s ‘I Surrender’ (complete with powerful backing harmonies from all three guitarists), Toto’s seductive ‘Girl Goodbye’, and Deep Purple’s badass boogie ‘Lay Down Stay Down’ all get the Inglorious makeover, before titanic album closer ‘Unaware’ does the same in Islington.
And as the still beaming James belts out the line “It’s ours tonight”, you simply can’t disagree.
Inglorious UK album launch tour dates
23 February: The Brook, Southampton (www.the-brook.com)
24 February: The Robin 2, Bilston (www.therobin.co.uk)
25 February: The Flowerpot, Derby (www.flowerpotderby.co.uk)
26 February: The Old Courts, Wigan (www.theoldcourts.com)
27 February: Garage 2, Glasgow (www.garageglasgow.co.uk)
28 February: The Caves, Edinburgh
29 February: The Fruit, Hull (www.fruitspace.co.uk/music)