BRITISH LION, the side project of Steve Harris, bassist and co-founder of metal icons IRON MAIDEN, will embark on a six-date U.K. tour in December. The trek will kick off in Norwich on December 15 and conclude in London on December 20.
Steve said in a statement: "I'm in the U.K. in December and thought it would be great to take BRITISH LION out on the road for a few shows while I'm here. We haven't played any in England since 2017 and as most people know, I love getting out and playing live whenever I can, so this seemed a good opportunity to fit some dates in. The setlist will be a mixture of songs from the first BRITISH LION album and new songs from our upcoming second album which is due to be released early next year. We'll be announcing full details of that very shortly."
BRITISH LION's second opus has been in the can for several months and the band has been performing select cuts from it — including "Spitfire" and "Bible Black" — during recent tour dates.
Asked how the musical direction of BRITISH LION's follow-up effort will be different from "British Lion", Harris told The Metal Voice: "The band has evolved over the last five or six years live — we've played quite a lot of shows in Europe and stuff — so it's become more of a tighter band. I think we've found our direction is naturally evolving, and if anything, I think it's getting heavier than it was, really. It's very melodic. The songs are… I don't know… There's still kind of a UFO, THIN LIZZY type of influence, I think, in a lot of them, [and] there are influences too, but in general, I think we are getting just a little bit harder-edged, really. These days, I suppose there are some bands that make even MAIDEN sound like THE MOODY BLUES — there's some real, real heavy bands out there — so what I think is heavy and what other people think is 'getting heavier' is two [completely different things]. But we feel we're a bit harder-edged than we were. So it is a bit of a slight directional change, possibly. But it's been a natural thing; it's not something we consciously thought, 'Oh, we've gotta go this way.' It's just been the way we're playing our live shows — it's very powerful, much more powerful live than on record, I think. And I think with the second record, we've tried to capture that essence of what we are live more."
BRITISH LION's debut album sold around 3,000 copies in the United States in its first week of release. The CD landed at position No. 3 on the Top New Artist Albums (Heatseekers) chart, which lists the best-selling albums by new and developing artists, defined as those who have never appeared in the Top 100 of The Billboard 200.
"British Lion" was released in the U.S. in September 2012 via Universal Music Enterprises (UMe). Mixed by Kevin Shirley — whose credits include IRON MAIDEN as well as LED ZEPPELIN, JOURNEY and RUSH — the CD featured Harris alongside singer Richard Taylor, guitarists Graham Leslie and David Hawkins and drummer Simon Dawson.
Photo credit: John McMurtrie