Judas Priest, Uriah Heep hit CN Centre tonight

The Prince George Citizen - - Local / Weather - Frank PEE­BLES Cit­i­zen staff fpee­[email protected]­i­t­i­zen.ca

If you never thought Judas Priest would ever per­form in Prince Ge­orge, well you’ve got an­other think comin’.

In an age when the mu­sic term “metal” could eas­ily mean glam-posing ju­ve­niles with a drum kit, or end­less high-speed fret scales to prove your man­hood, there was also Judas Priest.

The shred­ders loved Judas Priest, the glam­mers loved Judas Priest and the band cut no cor­ners to get that rep­u­ta­tion. They were au­then­tic and un­com­pro­mis­ing. They oc­cu­pied a rare space with the likes of Black Sab­bath, Iron Maiden and Mo­tor­head – bands that hit hard, hit fast, and didn’t re­ally care what you called them.

The gui­tars wailed, the drums thun­dered and Rob Hal­ford’s vo­cals would lead them to legend sta­tus. With a touch of Bri­tish punk pro­pel­ling them, and the amps turned up to 11, they were Break­ing The Law start­ing in 1969 and they are still Scream­ing For Vengeance bran­dish­ing their spikes and leather.

The band got record deals and Rolling Stone re­views through­out the 1970s, but it was the 1980s when they struck su­per­star chords. The al­bum Bri­tish Steel so­lid­i­fied their po­si­tion at the top of the charts and the head­liner mar­quees. Metal was a po­lar­iz­ing genre in those days, it was rel­a­tively new, it was the bane of cen­sor­ship move­ments, but there was Judas Priest called into ac­tion for the Live Aid event and pi­o­neer­ing the ad­vent of MTV. They were main­stream, even if it hurt the main­stream’s ears to ad­mit it. They might rep­re­sent a Touch Of Evil, but they were also our Turbo Lover.

They even won a Grammy Award, and guess when that hap­pened: 2010. Yup, even af­ter Hal­ford left the band (he’s back now) for years on end, they were still charg­ing around the world fu­eled by the roars of crowds and mo­tor­cy­cle engines. Judas Priest tran­scended a sin­gle song or a sin­gle era and be­came iconic - the poster-band for stud­ded bracelets, Har­ley David­sons, walls of gui­tar and nearly oper­atic sign­ing.

They have launched six live al­bums out into the world be­cause it’s in con­cert where this power klatch re­ally es­tab­lished their whips and chains dom­i­nance.

The same year Judas Priest was formed, Eng­land also birthed an­other metal mon­ster. Even more un­com­pro­mis­ing was hard­edged Uriah Heep, pump­ing out 25 stu­dio al­bums and 13 live pack­ages since then.

They were the ones who brought the avant-garde to the heavy metal party. If any­one ever doubted the mu­si­cal abil­i­ties of this genre, Uriah Heep gave them a slap across the ears. They did con­cept songs, had a spine-jan­gling jazz men­tal­ity and took hold of the fan­tasy-fic­tion metal fan.

Songs like Lady In Black, The Wiz­ard, Sweet Lor­raine and Sym­pa­thy all got solid trac­tion in main­stream cul­ture. They had no fear of acoustic el­e­ments, dense lyrics and, like Judas Priest, they were founded on tech­ni­cally strong vo­cals.

They also had a streak of or­gan-driven hard south­ern rock to them that opened them up to the same crowd that was into early Lynyrd Skynyrd, Thin Lizzy, or later on The Black Crowes.

A good ex­am­ple of that was their an­them Stealin’ (When I Should Have Been Buy­ing) or Easy Livin’.

This is a night for fists in the air, leather and denim in any con­fig­u­ra­tion and restor­ing your en­ergy in the fight against con­form­ity.

Just bring earplugs. Se­ri­ously.

CN Centre ig­nites for these two sem­i­nal metal bands tonight. Get tick­ets on­line at www.tick­et­snorth.ca or charge by phone 1-888-293-6613 or in per­son at the CN Centre box of­fice.

AP FILE PHOTO

Judas Priest lead singer Rob Hal­ford per­forms at Knot­fest USA at San Manuel Am­phithe­ater in 2015, in San Bernardino, Calif. Judas Priest will be head­lin­ing a show at CN Centre on Fri­day.

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