When you use the words 'inflential' or 'underrated' in connection with hard rock and heavy metal music, one name won't be too far from the top of most fans' lists, and that is Diamond Head. And tonight in Pontypool the 120 or so hardcore punters, packed into the bar of the Hog and Hosper pub, saw and heard exactly why.
With their West Midlands roots stretching back right back to the mid 1970s, guitarist Brian Tatler has been to hell and back again in keeping the name Diamond Head alive and kicking right up until the present.
Most of you will know the story of how they missed the boat in the NWOBHM golden era of the early 1980s and, despite revivals largely driven by the worldwide success of uber fans Metallica, it never has quite happened in a big way for them.
That, however, is absolutely no reflection on the quality and longevity of their music, as demonstrated in Pontypool tonight at the starting point of their 2012 European tour.
After 2 local bands provided support, Counter Hold plus Fell On Black Days, all we needed was the men (or indeed women) in the crowd to start chanting 'We want Head'. That didn't happen but Diamond Head played a blasting set of the new, the old and the very old including in some sort of order:
Play It Loud
Dead Reckoning (you tube)
Shoot Out The Lights
Sucking My Love
The Prince (you tube)
Lightning To The Nations
Am I Evil? (you tube here and here)
....but with that they were gone, off to tomorrow night's gig in France!
But it was a night few in Pontypool tonight will forget in a hurry.