NIGHT DEMON - Hello Cleveland! Live Album Recording

December 5, 2017, a year ago

Mark Gromen

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Ventura, California based Night Demon opted to record their first live album (scheduled to be a 90 minute, double CD) at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, Ohio, the city being amongst the first to warm to the trio's brand of high energy, NWOBHM inspired music. As part of WJCU DJ, Bill Peters' annual multi-band, charity show, the boys were guaranteed a big, noisy crowd. Didn't hurt that the show (which also commemorated Peters' 35 years on the air) is free, with plenty of opportunities to snag a cool Xmas gift, in one of dozens of raffles held throughout the night. 

This marks the 10th time I've seen the band live, in the last three years, yet was still hearing some of the songs for the first time. As with the most recent string of dates, speedster "Welcome To The Night", complete with moody intro, kicked things off, although the pace rarely let up. Pity drummer Dusty Squires (surely a fit hombre), running through most of the set at soundcheck (which was also recorded) and then a full 90 minutes of fast paced playing, just a few hours later! "Full Speed Ahead", which followed, just about sums it up. No less frenetic, but more bouncy, the chorus to "Ritual" was but the first of many audience sing-alongs.

All that headbanging, didn't take long for frontman/bassist Jarvis Leatherby to be drenched in sweat. Onstage, the man attacks. See "Hallowed Ground". Even on a night where he probably should have been a little cautious and focused on a technically proficient performance, he goes all out. "Maiden Hell" came and went, in the blink of an eye. The pre-recorded intro to The "Howling Man" gives everyone a moment to catch their breath, before the red lit "Black Widow". First surprise of the night, going back to the initial EP, "Ancient Evil", the least known of those four (all of which would be played tonight). Thematically, it made sense, as part of the triple-shot with "Satan" and surprise #2, a cover "Evil Like A Knife", by Cleveland's own Midnight, complete with hooded and bullet belt adorned frontman Athenar trading vocals with Leatherby.

Along with audience approved "The Chalice", accompanied as always by their hooded, skeletal mascot Rocky, "Stranger In The Room" and "Screams In The Night" race towards the conclusion and the only logical place for the Darkness Remain title track. Quite unlike anything else, it's slow, sung-not-shouted, almost progressive piece, Jarvis motionless, at the mic, for the only time tonight. The band came back for a re-energized "Heavy Metal Heat" and their signature tune. Should have been enough, but what's one more, so as with many of their recent shows, they returned, yet again, for a rendition of Iron Maiden's "Wasted Years", a title which certainly doesn't pertain to Night Demon.

A full two dozen songs, hopefully to see the light of day, this spring, on Century Media/SPV. In the meantime, beginning in January, the band will support Accept, throughout Europe, and then hopefully another chance to see them in North America, before the summer festival season. It seldom remains dark on the Night Demon tour itinerary.

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