After putting out Monster Truck, Scorpion Child and Buffalo Summer on the first edition of this tour, the Lords Of The Riff tour returned with a fresh trio of heavy hitting, guitar fuelled rock bands. This time we had American’s Lionize and Kyng with the addition of the Grecian rockers Planet Of Zeus coming late on. Due to having no obvious ‘headline’ band from the three, it was decided that a simple case of rotation would be put into force and each band would play an equal amount of time.
At the Birmingham leg of the tour it was Planet Of Zeus who would be opening. Due to them being announced so close to the start of the tour, there was little chance for anyone to get to know these guys (I’m assuming here that not many of those in attendance had heard of these four Greek chaps before they were announced). That didn’t stop those that turned up for the beginning of the evening though. We were rewarded by a set that really showed why this tour is deserving of the Lords Of The Riff name. Despite looking like the kind of band you might expect to see in a Scary Movie film they put out some seriously big tunes and they handled their first show at the birthplace of metal admirably. Judging by the good reception that they got, it won’t be their last over here.
After a solid opening set the room was filled with anticipation and up next were Kyng, carrying on with the big riffs as well as bringing a bit of crowd participation to the evening. It didn’t quite seem that the crowd were quite as ‘into’ Kyng as they were Planet Of Zeus, although that may be due to a slightly bland set of which the most noteworthy part was when they were ‘bullied’ into doing a Sabbath cover by a rowdy member of the crowd. These guys are a good band, there is no debating that, but being sandwiched in the middle of the night seemed to knock them off their game a little.
Headliners on the night were Lionize. On what was a big tour for these guys, they did enough to show that they could have been permanent headliners on this tour. They came across as the most comfortable on stage of the three bands on show, which may be due to touring with bands like Clutch over the past decade. Regardless of the reasons, their songs really do the talking. Opening track Replaced By Machines sums Lionize up in a neat little three and a bit minute package – killer riffs mixed with sci-fi inspired blues. Whilst there isn’t much movement from the guys on stage, plenty of energy is provided by the groovy laden riffs and the big powerful vocals from singer, Nate. The combination of the two was enough to get everyone’s toes tapping and, once he had shepherded everyone down to the front, the energy that the band gave off was reciprocated by the crowd. They were on stage for just under an hour and in that time they did not let up even slightly. Lionize have taken a lot of inspiration from Clutch, but these guys are really starting to show why they have the potential to be a force to be reckoned with.