British Lion at KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton

You’d be forgiven “sort of” for letting the name “British Lion” pass you by, and not gracing your vinyl turn table first time round with their debut album under the name of “British Lion”. But good ol “Arry” has pumped out another offering “The Burning” with Superb musicians and great songwriting. Maybe a slight touch of Maiden, but surely that can be forgiven, it is bound to have some Maiden influence with the legend that is Steve Harris on bass!

British Lion

From the huge arenas around the world, the 1,000’s of lights, mind blowing pyrotechnics and massive stage production, that most bands dream of, to a small but well known club in these parts called KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton. British Lion are on their Winter Tour and playing in venues, clubs, even pubs, Steve don’t give a flying rats ass where he plays, he grew up playing tiny pubs and clubs, he remembers where he came from, stays very grounded and still to this day stays humble…very humble.

British Lion

Steve started his solo project way back in 2012 with their first offering under the name of “British Lion” Steve Harris. And eight years later the band came out with more of a collective effort.
KK’s Steel Mill in Wolverhampton, a club that holds around 3k but the club was cut in half to accommodate for tonight’s show. I was eating a cheese n ham sandwich sitting in the corner minding my own business when Steve Harris popped by and said afternoon. I couldn’t reply because of a fat sarnie in my mouth, so I gave him the thumbs up, He was full of laughter when he got on stage for the soundcheck making jokes about the size of the stage, as his last few gigs were a lot smaller, and could barely fit all their gear on.

British Lion

Kicking off with “This Is My God” from the first album set the pace for the night with vocals from Richard Taylor, making his statement right from the start with huge melodic variety akin to the classic era of UFO. “City Of Fallen Angels” from the new album, easing into “The Burning” took you back to the classic rock era we all love. As I was photographing from the pit I could hear the fans collectively singing away to Judas, a steady deep pumping bass line driving it home, and give drummer Simon Dawson a nice workout to warm him up. “Father Lucifer” takes us back to the 80’s rock with some beautiful guitar parts.

And so to the title track of the second album “The Burning” a fast paced track that keeps you tapping away or playing air drums, very energetic song, and you can see the band are playing their heart and soul out on this one, showcasing drummer Simon Dawson again briefly, the song calms down so we can hear good ol Steve’s cutting bass, then brings it up to a crescendo ending, cracker of a single.

On to “Legend” a somewhat laid back start with beautiful vocals, and lifts up into some nice power chord riffage, breaks up into a chorus of whoa’s and gives Taylor the chance to get the crowd involved, with Harris joining in and lovin it.

British Lion

This next song “These Are The Hands” from the first album gives a nice break for the band to gather their breath for best part of 4mins, Taylor is telling a small story in these lyrics, and they seem deep, and you can tell there’s a part of his heart is in this song.

Spit Fire” has Maiden boots all over it, but it’s a track that gets the crowd punching into the air and singing away like they’re at a Maiden gig. Staying with the first album, a track called “The Chosen Ones” a great wink to the mighty UFO with this one, loads of nice running bass notes all the way through, with some great vocals, and nicely blended guitar parts.

From “The Burning” album the band break into a personal fav of mine “Land Of The Perfect People” with a nice acoustic intro from Taylor, slowly building up to a seemingly anthemic tune, you can’t deny that Taylor’s vocals has such a gorgeous range, the band are tight with this one.
Bible Black” is the fifth single from the new album, a fast tempo track with some great twin guitar melodies, Taylor don’t stop jumping around to this one, you can tell he loves this as he feeds from the crowds air punching.

“Lightning” the second single from the new album bring echoes of Maiden at the start from David Hawkins, but immerses you into the song, and again the crowd lift their hands in appreciation to the twin guitars of Hawkins/Leslie very atmospheric.
Us Against The World” is a very strong track an essence of a Deep Purple keyboard intro, being as it’s a bigger stage to the recent clubs/pub they have played along the way, it give the lads a bit of leg freedom, swapping corners to acknowledge the enthusiastic crowd.

British Lion

The slow song intro of “Last Chance” guides you into thinking this is an armchair and slippers job, but the twin guitars soon get rid of that thought. Steve’s bass lines to this hit you in the chest with some force, and it’s a great feelin.

This band don’t do encores, instead some not so needed introductions of these fabulous musicians, with obvious rapturous hails of the legend that is Mr Steve Harris.
A world Without Heaven” a cracker of a song again giving the nod to the classic bands such as Wishbone Ash, Lizzy, and of course Steve’s favourite UFO.

The leaving song is “Eyes Of The Young” from the first album, you can do nothing but admire them for sticking to their roots of their first concept, they clearly love their first offering album, and why not, there’s some beautiful tracks on it, and this one is a happy song, remembering their past, where they come from, and telling the world anything is possible if you just stick it out.

In summary, Steve has bought a fabulous collective of musicians together, and my only hope is that he spends more time with these guys making more classic rock songs that fans like myself will only cherish and adore, because eight or so years between albums is heartbreaking.

Photos and Review by John Inglis

British Lion

Setlist: This Is My God; City of Fallen Angels; Judas; Father Lucifer; The Burning; Legend; These Are the Hands; Spit Fire; The Chosen Ones; Land of The Perfect People; Bible Black; Lightning; Us Against the World; Last Chance; A World Without Heaven; Eyes of The Young


Philip Goddard

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