Live Review: Michael Schenker Group / Night Demon – O2 Ritz, Manchester 28.11.2023

With a whopping fifty years under his belt, Michael Schenker was embarking on his latest tour in order to celebrate the feat, and with it, he had brought his trusted comrades as well as the support band Night Demon from across the pond.

As Night Demon hit the stage it was only too plain to see that they were here to teach us all a lesson in heavy metal, one which had been born from roots twisted around the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) sound. Leatherby commanded from the front, solid in stature and powerful in voice, each lyric emanating from his lungs was distributed with power, force and passion, equalled only by the execution of his bass lines. Armand John Anthony was magical with his strings and fretboard, the arrangements and riffs were technical and flamboyant, and each chord and down pick was calculated and crisp which all merged together to generate an output which was effortlessly intricate, delicate and mesmeric from start to finish. As they closed out with the substantial and anthemic ‘Night Demon’ I could do nothing but surrender to the fact that I had just discovered a new band (although I am disappointed that I’m perhaps a tad late to the party) and one which has branded its logo firmly on my radar for future reference and discovery.

When an individual with a pedigree and CV as decorated as Michael Schenker’s, coupled with his seemingly unstoppable career, then you know you are in for an event when you sign up for an evening with him, and we were not disappointed. ‘Into The Arena’ carved us open from the start and then McAuley entered the arena as ‘Cry For The Nations’ was illuminated. Schenker was charismatic and flamboyant throughout, controlling his fretboard with maniacal ease and taming the strings as if they were a natural attachment to his torso by way of a third limb. The set was punctuated with classics and modern-day masterpieces like, ‘Doctor Doctor’ was colossal and ‘Let It Roll’ was magnificent in all its finery. ‘Armed And Ready’ let Mann really spread his wings and embrace us while impressing us with his pinpoint execution of the riffs demanded of him, and as the set progressed it was evident with each moment that passed that every facet of the MSG was on point tonight, each displaying the technical abilities which have continued to claim our embrace as a collective.

As the set signed off with a tsunami of UFO covers, we were left to vacate into the night with ringing in our ears and anthems bouncing around in our heads, many a body still singing their highlights of the evening in a muted yet proud way, and all this was virtue to the fact that we had been in the presence of metal royalty this evening and one who had simply served to us an impressive platter of flawless audible and visual delights. Now that ladies and gentlemen, that is how you put on a heavy metal show.

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