As the saying goes, everything happens for a reason. After their tour date at Wakefield was sadly cancelled in the latter months of 2018, the chance for Chasing Dragons to showcase their debut album in their Northern roots was put on hold. Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait with bated breath for too long, for mere days after the festival of love, the monstrously bold album ‘Faction’ came storming home down at The Key Club in Leeds. If not for that seemingly unfortunate turn of events last year, we would not have had the same show with the same people and the same astonishing atmosphere. It is impossible to say what the original show could have been, but what we were given was a night of metallic wonder.
Joining the party were a pair of locally sourced bands, the first being the delightfully dark Psychobabylon. Looking like they’ve just stepped out into the streets of Whitby Goth weekend, their collection of tracks from their new EP lie somewhere between hard rock and good old-fashioned, head banging metal. Whatever you want to call it, they were frighteningly fabulous. Jupiter Falls followed swiftly with their equally gripping set of bold rock songs. With notes of a new generation Avenged Sevenfold and Guns N Roses about them, it looks like rock n roll is here to stay, and thank goodness for that.
As the lights drew low again, the eerie, sci-fi style backing track intertwined with a heart monitor echoed across the room before the most powerful percussion hit you square in the chest. The Dragons had returned, and brought the show to life with album opener ‘How the World Went Black’. It could never come easy to play a show with one man down, or in this case, a woman down. The absence of drummer Katie Bullock due to a bout of tendonitis was notable from the offset, but stepping in to fill her earthquake inducing shoes was Josh Fahran. And it has to be said, a remarkable job he did too for only a couple of weeks to rehearse.
The greatest hits of ‘Faction’ blasted into the fray, with ‘Bare Knuckle Lover’ injecting the ooze of sex appeal into proceedings. Vocalist Laurie Carnan aka Tank has undoubtedly, one of the most sensationally beautiful voices in the world of hard rock/metal. The carrying notes at the introduction of ‘Whitehorse’ and ‘The Connection’ are simply sublime, and soar beyond reason. It was plain to see the pure comfort of being home on that stage, the way she worked the insanely upbeat crowd with a captivating, yet approachable confidence during ‘I’m No Devil, I’m Just a Girl’ was wonderful to watch.
In between each song was littered with conversation with the fans, jokes and gratitude towards stand-in drummer Josh, which is a pleasant sight in a venue so intimate. Perhaps it was to give the band a slight breather in between such energetic songs, with heavily complex riffs executed seamlessly by guitarist Adam Smith. There is sheer talent coursing through the veins of Chasing Dragons, as we reach ‘The Connection’ and ‘For Kingdom, For Glory’, the professionalism and ridiculously infectious quality of these songs rivals bands with twice the experience.
Hardly coming as a surprise, firm fan favourites ‘Like Gravity’ and ‘Devil in Her Eyes’ brought this night to a close. Having years to feast upon the latter, it was hardly surprising that every word was screamed back to Chasing Dragons with absolute pleasure, the lyrics etched into their heart with pride. Bassist Murf Sixx provided fabulously gritty backing vocals at the chorus, the final arrow in the quiver of unending reasons to love this band live, as if we needed any more.
In another life, on a bigger stage, you could see Chasing Dragons exactly as they are but with a heck of a lot more pyrotechnics and enthusiastic head banging. This collection of tracks give them the potential to do all this and more. If close your eyes and you can see them there with the likes of Rammstein but with an injection of Tank’s sass as she entrances you with her beguiling stare. And by God we hope they get there. But the roar of the crowd that night in the humble Key Club could have easily been the same noise from an arena crowd, such as the power of Chasing Dragons.