Just before Christmas 2011 a young band called Fighting Wolves supported Saint Jude at the Academy2 one freezing cold Sunday night. Their single "One Minute More" was getting airplay on Planet Rock and many - RTM included - were tipping them for a bright future. Then the momentum rather stalled.
Well, that is until now. Because now Wolves are back, back, back with album "Chapter One" on sale, and playing Birmingham for the second time in little over a month. Even better they have lost none of the enthusiasm that set them apart a couple of years ago.
Still bouncier than a Kangaroo on a trampoline, they have songs to make them way above the type of band that normally plays to 20 people on a Wednesday night. Singer Paul Blue possess a cheerful demeanor that not even not liking last nights support band, or tonight's snare drum issues can spoil. Well he might too, as songs like "Give Me A Sign" and "I Told You" sound not unlike turn of the century Irish heroes Wilt, while slow burner "The Ocean" is more epic in scope and works well.
Ending with "...More" and having it still sound good, there is still time for Fighting Wolves to find a home for their ambitions and they may just be one big support slot from a little breakthrough.
RTM has seen Sons Of Icarus before too. Main support to the almighty Clutch last year, they impressed despite sounding nothing like Neil Fallon's men.
Tonight, they attack first song "Love" like, frankly, they damn well mean business. There is nothing original here - indeed as Andy Masson, Sons singer/guitarist, notes jokily, "the next one sounds like the one before it and the one before that, but it doesn't matter as it's all metal." As a summation it will do, and there are, after all, only so many chords you can play. The tracks do sound similar but what they all have in common is they are very, very good.
For 45 minutes they show their immense potential, "Make Amends" is catchy and heavy, but, flying in the face of Masson's jauntiness they are able to change things up, with a poignant ballad, "Fallen" which is dedicated to a recently deceased family member, and "I Want It All" which builds to a pleasing crescendo.
Elsewhere a cover of Alice In Chains' classic "Man In The Box" is faithful, before they climax with new single "Let It Burn" from a debut record which is due to land this year - it promises to a be one to look forward to.
Three bands for £5 in a tiny venue above a rehersal studio is exactly what underground and unsigned rock music is all about.
It is easy to deride bands sometimes for not breaking new ground and smashing boundaries as we all look for the next big thing. The fact is though, Rock n Roll needs brand new Classic Rock and you could do a lot worse than start with Fighting Wolves and Sons Of Icarus, as both were in top form tonight.