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Inglorious at London Islington Assembly Hall - live review

Indomitable trad rockers keep the faith

Crowd shot

On record, Nathan James sounds like he’s about to burst. With every scream, you fear for his health, and hope that someone is standing by with defibrillators. Yet live, he appears to do this without much effort at all. He’s a remarkable singer, a miraculous Gillan/Coverdale hybrid who could safely parachute into Whitesnake should Elsie ever decide to retire and continue his band as a franchise.

The rest of the package has some catching up to do. The audience is ready – the show is sold out, a significant number sing along, and some actually scream – but Inglorious don’t yet possess Deep Purple’s live-wire effervescence, nor Whitesnake’s louche charm: only on Faraway, Holy Water and the closing Until I Die do Nathan and co. suggest they can match the elasticity or restraint of either band.

The latter is a highlight, as James walks among us, accepting kisses and sharing the mic for a moment with Heather Leoni from support band Gypsy Heart, who’s written the lyrics on her arm.

Elsewhere, acoustic versions of Soundgarden’s Black Hole Sun and Purple’s Burn provide a lift, but too often their own songs feel like lovingly crafted but thudding facsimiles.

“Thank you for keeping British rock music alive,” Nathan James tells his audience. “We can do this for forty years if we want to.”

You get the feeling they probably will.

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 35 years in music industry, online for 22. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.