British Lion Gig Review – The Leadmill Sheffield. 7th January 2023

Rolling into Sheffield tonight for their first ever performance in the city is British Lion who are currently playing an eleven-date tour of the UK over the next two weeks. The venue is The Leadmill which has a small and compact stage and has been the home to the music scene in Sheffield for over 40 years. During the set Richard Taylor referred that British Lion’s origin has a connection with Sheffield and gave a shout out to Ian Roberts who was in the crowd. Ian, who is local to the Sheffield area and current British Lion guitarist, Graham Leslie, were responsible for sending in the original demo tapes that caught the ear of Steve Harris back in the early 90’s. 

For those who don’t know British Lion are a side interest of legendary bassist Steve Harris, you know, that bloke from Iron Maiden. For those Maiden fans in the venue tonight, and there were a few in the crowd showing off the band patches on their battle jackets, it was going to be an intimate gig as the front row of fans were right up against the stage as there wasn’t a photo pit.

British Lion marched out on to the stage to rapturous applause and cheers from the crowd. There was certainly a good fan base in Sheffield as the crowd chanted the names of the band as they appeared. It was a close call between Steve Harris and Dave Hawkins as to who the crowd cheered loudest for.

The stage set up had the bands equipment hidden from view by two large screens either side of the stage. If you weren’t in the centre of the crowd, there would have been no chance of seeing drummer Simon Dawson. However, you did hear Simon thundering along on the kickers from the back of the stage on every single song. 

The plus side of the screen meant the fans got so close to the band they could almost strum the guitars as the neck of the instruments passed above the heads of the crowd. Whilst there wasn’t much room to move both Richard Taylor and Steve Harris made the most of the space they had. Steve was alternating between the two sides of the stage, mouthing the words to every song as he moved. And when he stopped, he had his foot up on the monitor in front of him, smiling and looking like he was having the time of his life. This constant movement gave the crowd a unique opportunity to bag a souvenir photo of the legendary bassist closer than they ever would at a Maiden concert.

Most songs on the setlist had a classic heavy sound coming from the guitars and the thunder of the drums. Richard Taylor put on a stella performance hitting all the notes of the songs perfectly. Richards movements and expressions brought passion and feeling to the seventeen songs he performed tonight. Richard played the acoustic guitar on several of the songs and during the instrumental sections the four guitarists lined up on stage playing in unison. Richard with his black leather shirt and shaved head contrasted with the other hair flailing musicians up on stage. On a side note, I liked the t-shirt worn by Steve Harris which had the words “Whale Oil Beef Hooked”. Go on say it a few times and you’ll get it!!

Several of the songs allowed the crowd to get involved with the chants which were encouraged by Steve Harris who jokingly cupped his ear with his hand as if to say that he couldn’t hear the crowd. The biggest crowd reaction was for the first song of the encore, Last Chance. The crowd cheered so loud they loosened The Leadmill roof and as the guitars blasted into the action the roof was well and truly blown off! 

I’d say that the first show British Lion have played in Sheffield has been a success and I’m sure it won’t be long until they are back on. The fans came out in their numbers and played a part in tonight’s performance, singing and chanting along to the songs. They were rewarded by a great setlist full of heavy hitting classic sounds performed brilliantly by the five musicians on stage.

Set List

  1. This Is My God – British Lion
  2. City Of Fallen Angels – The Burning
  3. Judas – British Lion
  4. Father Lucifer – The Burning
  5. The Burning – The Burning
  6. Legend – The Burning
  7. These Are The Hands – British Lion
  8. Spit Fire  – The Burning
  9. The Chosen Ones – British Lion
  10.  Bible Black – The Burning
  11.  Land Of Perfect People – The Burning
  12.  Us Against The World – British Lion
  13. Wasteland – 
  14.  Lightning – The Burning
  15. A World Without Heaven – British Lion
  16. Last Chance – The Burning
  17. Eyes Of The Young – British Lion

British Lion Gig Review – The Leadmill Sheffield. 7th January 2023 @ Rock News.

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