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Dendera, Toledo Steel, Forgotten Shores @ The Joiners, Southampton (UK)

DENDERA / Toledo Steel / Forgotten Shores
in Tuesday, 15 December 2015 at The Joiners
by Tim Bolitho Jones

2015 has seen an impressive array of gigs in Southampton. Back in January AMON AMARTH tore the roof off The 1865 club and since then, we’ve had two terrific festivals in Takedown and Southampton Annihilation and some smashing shows courtesy of SKINDRED, CROSSFAITH, THE DARKNESS and BRING ME THE HORIZON. There were also loads of top quality underground acts playing in miniscule venues and capping off this packed calendar are local lads DENDERA. Having played in and around the city for years they’ve managed to build up a small but devoted fan base and a satisfying number of people have turned up to catch them play the longest set of their career. It’s not the biggest gig of the year, but it’s still great to see so many folks turning up to support them.

They deal in straight up Heavy Metal with galloping riffs, extended guitar solos and Rob Halford-esque vocals, so it’s a bit surprising to see FORGOTTEN SHORES opening for them. With a sound rooted more in Post-Hardcore than NWOBHM you could forgive them for being nervous playing to this many patch jackets but they pull off an impressive set nonetheless. In singer Reece Hayton they have a potential star in the making and they win bonus points for powering through an unfortunate guitar malfunction mid-show. There’s three guys down the front having a whale of a time and they get things off to an energetic start, even if two thirds of the audience don’t look convinced.

TOLEDO STEEL on the other hand couldn’t be more old school if they tried. All five members have hair that reaches their waistbands, they’re clad in denim and sound like they’ve never listened to anything but SAXON and IRON MAIDEN in their entire lives. There are songs with titles like “Speed Killer” and “Escape From Alcatraz,” even a cover of “747 (Strangers In The Night)” to ram the ‘Proper Metal’ vibe home. It’s cheesier than ILL DIVO eating fondue but loads of fun all the same. If they’d been born two decades earlier they’d have been on the Wayne’s World soundtrack.

There’s no doubt though that tonight is DENDERA’S show. Onstage for well over an hour, they play almost everything off their recent “Pillars Of Creation” album and a good half of its predecessor too, the assembled headbangers lapping up every squealing pinch harmonic and lung bursting chorus. “Claim The Throne” starts it off with a big audience participation singalong that’s swiftly followed by the wicked one-two punch of “The Chosen One” and “Senlac Hill.” Horns are raised to the ceiling, beer gets chugged and a few cheeky sods copy the singer’s dramatic poses while playing air guitar.

It also becomes clear just how many great songs they have in their repertoire. “The Daylight Ending” is the clear high point, but “Bloodlust,” “Disillusioned” and an epic “Edge Of Tomorrow” all demonstrate how traditional Metal can still sound fresh and vibrant. The ever-enjoyable “Bridges Will Burn” caps things off and a hundred or so grinning metal heads bustle out into the night humming the main melody. It may have been one of the quieter blips on the city’s gig radar but DENDERA put on a fantastic show, someone needs to put them on tour with ACCEPT as soon as possible.

*Photography by Rob Calderly

Promoter: Independent
Ticket Price: £6


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