- Record Junkee, Sheffield, Friday 17th February, 2023
Another Friday night of freedom in the City of Sheffield and the streets are bustling. I thought that there must be a football match on but no, the Stone Island wearing hooligans are going to the Reverend and the something or other concert.
Metalliville’s musical journey this evening takes us thankfully further out of the City Centre towards the Moor area and The Network. Or perhaps not. The building is closed. No sign of life. My brain feels bruised with numb surprise. Then, we spot a small crowd assembled outside The Record Junkee venue just around the corner on Earl Street. The show being headlined by the legendary Greek rock band, Nightstalker has been switched at the last minute.
I have not been here before. It’s a pretty cool place. A 150-capacity venue that sells vinyl and hosts regular gigs. According to their Facebook page they have a 5am licence! The concert room is quite narrow but long, with enough space to move around in and get to the bar.
The support band tonight are called Deltanaut and are from Sheffield. They have a decent local following here in their own right, and by the time they launch onto the stage at around 8pm, a respectable crowd have gathered. A four piece line-up of Luke Jennings (Guitar/Vocals), Niall Kingdom (Bass), Gareth Hodges (Drums) and Andy Gotteri (Keyboards).
They have been around since 2014 and play lengthy psychedelic/progressive style songs that would make ideal accompaniment on that solitary trip to Mars or wherever that space-ship is searching the infinite depths of space.
It is credit to the band and to Sheffield, that such a diverse melting-pot of musical styles exist in the City. I am not sure how many tracks they played, but the singer had a mischievous smile when he announced they had time for just one more song – it would however last for 30 minutes! That 5am licence would come in handy for these guys.
To be fair, Deltanaut did sound impressive, and the powerful Hendrix style guitar riffs were really something special. They were a worthy warm-up for tonight’s headliners.
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The guys from Nightstalker had already been kind enough to sign albums at the Merch stand and chat with excited fans before the show. The band from Athens – Argy Galiatsatos (Vocals), Andreas Lagios (Bass), Tolis Motsios (Guitar) and Dinos Roulos (Drums) are doing a small tour of the UK to celebrate ten years since the release of their hit album, 2012’s 'Dead Rock Commandos'.
They should have been over here last Summer, but that pesky Covid delayed things. Luckily for us, they have honoured the tour commitment and play Sheffield, Edinburgh, and London over three consecutive nights. Believe me, they might not be household names in the UK, but it is amazing to be here to witness such a fantastic rock band, who since their formation in 1989, and eight albums later, have built up a large, dedicated following in Greece and around mainland Europe.
The Greek Gods of stoner rock have over 500 live shows on their resume and from the moment they hit the stage, it is obvious they have some star presence up there. The singer, Argy, grips the microphone stand with both hands centre-stage. He looks like Robert Plant and sounds like Ozzy Osbourne.
All the songs are sang perfectly in English with a sort of unique Greek/Brummie blend that sounds very cool! The band don’t like to be labelled, they just play great heavy rock music, but if a comparison did have to be made, it is with Black Sabbath. They play bass-heavy, melodic metal with swirling guitar riffs and powerful vocals. Many of their songs start slow and gradually build to a sonic crescendo. A perfect formula for rocking out and jumping up and down and side to side like tonight’s energetic crowd.
The band play a tight set of around 14 songs, the majority from their most recent albums – 'Great Hallucinations' (2019), 'As Above, So Below' (2016) and of course, the 'Dead Rock Commandos' release. Song highlights played tonight are the epic, 'Sweet Knife', with the pained refrain, “I can’t sleep at night, The air is so thick, You can cut it with a knife.”
Or what about 'Children Of The Sun' – “Try to remember that we’re in this together, Just remember we’re born free forever,” An anthemic ode to their fans. The title track, 'Dead Rock Commandos' – one of the grooviest head-banging songs you will ever have the pleasure to hear, is a crowd favourite and well received tonight. It sounds formidable played towards the end of the set in this intimate venue.
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My personal favourite Nightstalker song is called 'The Dog That No-One Wanted' from the 'As Above, So Below' album and they play it this evening to my joy. It is a classic rock song with a bluesy melody, bass lines that twist like a snake, and poignant vocals and lyrics that stick in the forefront of your memory juke-box the very first time you hear it.
Argy sounds like he is singing from the bottom of his heart, “You are so beautiful, so beautiful to me.” Check this song and the wonderful promo video out. If it doesn’t elevate your spirit to a higher plain, then go and find a different hobby, like shopping at Ikea on a Saturday afternoon for instance.
The whole gig tonight was excellent. The band played with passion and the crowd really dug it. It was a privilege to see these talented, hard-working, and friendly guys from Greece. They are now due to embark on a long tour of Europe starting mid-March and covering such countries as Italy, Germany, Holland, and Croatia.
I wish them all the success and appreciation in the World, and we at Metalliville would love to see them back in the UK sometime soon.
Review By Saul Bennett
Photographs By Matt Cordwell