Monday, September 15, 2014

Raven at the Gramercy Theatre

John Gallagher & Mark Gallagher
Two brothers, vocalist/bassist John Gallagher and guitarist Mark Gallagher, and drummer Paul Bowden formed Raven in 1974 in Newcastle, England. Rooted in British hard rock and progressive rock, the power trio became part of the burgeoning New Wave of British Heavy Metal and began to develop into what would become speed, thrash and power metal. Raven relocated to New York and had a minor hit with "On and On" in 1985. Virginian Joe Hasselvander (ex-Pentagram) joined the Gallagher brothers as drummer in late 1987, and the revamped trio continued recording and touring until 2001, when a wall collapsed on Mark, crushing his legs. Raven went on hiatus for nearly four years, from 2001 to 2004, while the guitarist rehabilitated. Raven resumed performing in 2004 with Mark in a wheelchair. Raven's 12th and most recent album is 2009's Walk Through Fire.

Raven returned to the New York stage tonight opening for Accept at the Gramercy Theatre. Raven opened with 1983's "Take Control" and continued with a set from the early 1980s, from 1981's "Rock Until You Drop" to 1986's "Speed of the Reflex." John Gallagher spoke extensively to the audience between songs, establishing Raven's credentials as longtime metal heads and engaging the audience to clap or move. He screeched the songs while playing a heavy bottom on his bass. Mark Gallagher filled out the songs with extended leads. Hasselvander kept the thick rhythm even when the Gallagher brothers stopped playing or rubbed their guitar and bass necks together for noise. Together, Raven was a sonic battering ram. With the scarcity of classic metal bands these days, the minor 40-year-old thrash band sounded pretty major.

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