Raven and Riot Act : September 26, 2022 @ The Rail Club DFW in Fort Worth, TX

New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) pioneers Raven are bringing their Wiped Out 40th Anniversary North American Tour to cities across North America. The 42 date tour stopped at the Rail Club DFW in Fort Worth for a Monday night show. It was just the fourth night of the lengthy tour that has four Texas dates.

The always expressive Raven bassist and vocalist John Gallagher. Photo by Brian McLean

Joining the british metal veterans is Riot Act which features former Riot guitarist Rick Ventura. The guitarist was part of the classic Riot lineup that released Fire Down Under and Restless Breed through Elektra Records. To this day, metal purists rank Fire Down Under with praise as one of the finest metal albums recorded.

DFW’s own Headbanger rounded out the band roster for the night of classic heavy metal. The band features guitarists Rick Perry and John Perez who have respectively carved out careers in metal. 

Headbanger specializes in bringing NWOBHM and classic metal from 1978 – 1982 to life on stage. It’s been nearly a year since the band has played live so their inclusion on the bill was a treat.

Headbanger will bring out material many people have never heard live whether in an arena or smaller venue setting. Songs such as “Heavy Metal Mania,” “Night of the Demon,” “Innocent Exile” and “Give Em’ Hell.” All classic NWOBHM songs in the band’s Monday night set. Judas Priest’s “Savage” and Black Sabbath’s “Turn Up the Night” were part of the set as well.

Cell phone in video mode recording Headbanger’s set. Photo by Brian McLean

Seconds into the set opener, “Metal Church,” heavy metal maniacs and battle vests quickly made their way to the stage. Immediately, Headbanger set the tone for the night. Raised fists, banging heads and cell phones in video mode were quickly visible. 

There was a healthy anticipation lingering in the air for the stage arrival of Riot Act. It’s been several years since the Brooklyn native Ventura has been in this part of the country. His presence was definitely welcomed in the heavy metal realm Monday night.

There was a sincere excitement from fans to actually meet Ventura. Fans that spun those legendary Riot albums in their teenage years on turntables or record players. Ventura was more than approachable for those who sought a few moments of his time. Whether those individuals sought just a handshake or an autograph on a classic Riot album.

As anticipated, Riot Act hit hard with “Rock City,” “Road Racin,” “Swords and Tequila.” and “Altar of the King.” All from that classic era and prior reaching back to the debut, Rock City. Riot Act though did not just rely on the classic material. The band played songs from Closer to the Flame, the Riot Act debut. Fans heard the title track “Closer to the Flame” and “Right Between the Eyes.”

Riot Act vocalist Don Chaffin does an honorable justice to the classic Riot songs. For the Riot Act material, Chaffin delivered a solid vocal performance that fits ideally with Ventura’s song writing.

Overall, fans truly appreciated the set Riot Act delivered. Just a straightforward set of hard rock and heavy metal.

It’s been nearly four years, November 2018 to be more precise since Raven has played Fort Worth. There’s been Texas dates on recent tours but Fort Worth was not on the itinerary. 

Raven’s current tour celebrates the 40th anniversary of the band’s second album, Wiped Out. The album which was released by Neat Records in June of 1982 was part of the NWOBHM. It’s considered to be one of the definig albums of the era.

The majority of the Raven’s set consisted of selections from Wiped Out but there was more. The band pulled “Take Control” from All for One and “Hell Patrol” from Rock Until You Drop, both Neat releases.

Even though the tour concentrates on Wiped Out, the band did play “Top of the Mountain” from Metal City. It’s Raven’s latest release from 2020.

In fine Raven form, the Gallagher brothers, bassist John and guitarist Mark were wireless allowing for plenty of stage mobility. 

John Gallagher sports a headset microphone that allows for pure stage freedom adding to the non stop stage movement. The microphone arrangement for John is his signature. It’s hard to imagine a microphone anchored in front of the extremely active and expressive bassist. It’s one of those things that makes a Raven show unique. 

Even though there’s a microphone stand for Mark, it doesn’t hamper his desire to constantly move about. It’s just part of the Raven live reputation. 

Each time Raven takes the stage, the band gives more than just solid effort. Raven puts forth so much more. Monday night at the Rail Club DFW was different. No matter the day of the week. If there was a knob that determines Raven’s the energy level, it would be in constant repair after each show.

A fan truly can’t be christened by the NWOBHM until after that first Raven show. It’s something that must be done. With 30 plus North American dates remaining, there’s really no excuse not to go out and “Crash Bang Wallop.”

Raven drummer Mike Heller. Photo by Brian McLean