Saturday, 31 May 2014

The Tangent / Karmakanic - de Boerderij Zoetermeer 30 May 2014

This was a strange show! We had six people on stage twice, all of the  highest level at their instrument. The first hour they were called Karmakanic and played a few of their songs, then after the break they are the Tangent and treat us on an overview from that band. Only minor changes and participations and still we got two very different shows.

Karmakanic are headed by bass player Jonas Reingold and have in vocalist Goran Edman (Madison, John Norum, Yngwie Malmsteen and many .many others) a high class vocalist. I quite liked their first album with some sci-fi-prog short songs and that voice. Herefter they moved into Flower King areas (Mr. J.R. in command?) with many long songs that drag on without anything exciting happening. Live they were pretty much the same: technically sometimes amazing, while at the same time pretty boring. Sorry but just not my band or mood of the day.

How different would the same band be, when after the break they returned as The Tangent. Headed by the ridiculously under-appreciated Andy Tillison, suddenly things started happening on stage. Opening with uptempo Evening TV, we did put the kettle on for a pot of high class prog. Their songs might be as long, but things are happening and we get a show to enjoy. This goes from the announcements inbetween untill the much heavier rocking instrumental parts. Highlights also on Luke Machin on guitars. Being son-age to most of the band he did proof that the buzz in England around his playing is justified. Talking about English feedback, not very long ago Mr. Tillison stated in Prog magazine that touring with a prog band is a perfect way of wasting money. Looking at the relatively small audience yesterday I guess he was right. Too bad as the show was very good and felt too short.

After a final break the band returned for a double encore playing one song from both bands. This only to confirm my thoughts. Karmakanic being so-so and The Tangent very convincing even playing a new heavy song that is still to be recorded. As today both bands are playing Celebr8.3 in London, which I had to miss, I guess Karmakanic has to work hard to fit the bill, while The Tangent is a deserved headliner.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Night Demon - Cafe de Vinger The Hague, 27 May 2014

The Hague Heavy Metal Alliance: a non profit organisation promoting Heavy Metal shows in The Hague and finally I could make it to one. Night Demon and Venator, playing Cafe de Vinger. An evening of old school heavy metal was promised and delivered.

Support band Venator had the screams, the guitars and the whoo-ho-hoa sing alongs. The best part of this is that being not familiar with their music it sounds nice at first listen. Although I always recommend a cover (unless they played one I did not know). Hereafter came Night Demon, being on a small tour through Europe. This turned out to be a nice heavy trio, that sounded not much different from the NWOBHM bands that came 35 years before them. This fact was even made clearer by the two Flying V's and the covers they played: Lightning to the Nations and Axe Crazy. Their own songs were  new to me, but were all up-tempo with some nice guitars and sounding good. Next Saturday we have Fortarock in Holland which is this year's biggest metal festival. I doubt I shall bother to go there, as to me these Tuesday night surprises are so much nicer. Interesting observation from the vocalist was that since we were not in the USA, probably most of us should get up the next morning for work so they finished shortly after midnight. So people with a job don't go to weekday metal shows in the US, that is sad. I enjoyed this evening and hope for more bands of this level coming to The Hague. For appreciation of the band got the T-shirt and EP, to find out they played Radar Love in the past live. When I pointed the band that they were in the city of Radar Love, so an easy succes, I learned the new line-up did not play this song yet. A pity, but I preferred the Diamond Head and Jaguar covers anyway. Another discovery of a good band and they shall return next year for Very Eavy festival.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Lillian Axe - One Night in the Temple

In the nineties MTV got many bands to play acoustic sets and release a TV presentation plus an unplugged CD with in some cases quite some succes for the band. Some 15 years later my favorite US melodic rock /hair metal/ whatever band Lillian Axe decided to release a best of  album in acoustic setting for friends and family. A Pre-order was made fast and last week I received the nicely packed CD/DVD. Basically the CD's have been played constantly since and the DVD is on repeat turns already as well.

Those who liked the format in the past and appreciated especially strong releases from Tesla and Queensryche should see and hear this, as Lillian Axe brings the model to a whole new level. Helped by the fact that Lillian Axe don't do bad or average songs this 20 (well 19) song best of goes from one hghlight to yet another one. Never have I seen songs standing up so proudly without the shredding guitar solo's (as they happen to have one of the best melodic guitar shredders in Mr. Steve Blaze in the band). By saying that they mention one song to be the most representative Lillian Axe song ever and the guitar solo in Ghost of Winter is an emotional highlight. So here we have a band with 10 studio albums and of course I miss many songs, but at the same time I would not like to skip any one of the songs presented here. Another comforting fact is that while Lillian Axe has been through several line-up changes, the standard has always been stable and current vocalist Brian Jones does justice to all the old classics.

So I am a fan of the band and unfortunately one of the few in Holland as their empty shows told us two years ago. As a result I liked the interviews, Q&A's and repetition shots inbetween the songs. Those who want to see the songs only better listen to the double CD (as I did not discover that option on the DVD). As a fan I saw great added value in all that. Seeing Lillian Axe in their home territory gave a great opportunity to spot the differences, while being very similar in musical taste. With all respect the Christian, Support the troops, Cowboy shirts and hats are very typical Southern States and not so much northen Europe. As Steve explains in his answers, who cares! as long as you try to be a good person and to that most can relate probably. Hats off also for the local crowd who all sing along from start to finish on Nobody Knows (the Crowd version - song 20). As I have the debut album still on LP I checked but did not see lyrics and I only know lyrics from albums I have on LP (while Deep Red Shadows also had some acoustic songs including Nobody Knows and this time with lyrics). Mentioning the DRS album I did miss one song, the ridiculously haunting opener Under the Same Moon, which I would love to see in this format as well.

So anyone into music should see and or hear this. Being more specific anyone into great melodies, vocals, and acoustic solo's. Some explanations on songs that add emotion to the story, the wedding song that should be a global hit, a message to our children, the horror movie inspirations and lots more. I so much hope they can come back to Europe again one day. For those who hate acoustic guitars and soft versions, there is an extra with a live version of Take the Bullit, just to remind those how metal they are as well. The DVD just finished so now I go and put up Deep Red Shadows to hear Under the Same Moon and read along with Nobody Knows. What a band!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Marillion Vivo Hall Rio de Janeiro - 10 May 2014

More than once I heard Marillion in the past answer the question of their favorite show, with a reply hinting that Rio is up there among their favorites. As Rio is also my second hometown I decided that next time they would play Rio I would see for myself. Well that is not how it actually went. When I was disappointed that a worktrip to Brazil made me miss Technical Thrashers Toxik in Scum, I found by coincidence a good alternative in this show and with the help of some fortunate arrival of jet-lagged customers I did manage to see Marillion in Rio after all. With Marillion obviously liking Rio as much chances for a moody H were nill and everybody seemed to have a good time on stage. For those like me in the audience there was a nice bonus in the fact that on South American trips they just can't skip Kayleigh, so the percentage Fish songs is higher than any European show.

Starting off we got Gaza. Live this showed really that it must be the heaviest Marillion song of the past decade and starting well. As the tour was originally called greatest hits, turned into best sounds tour we did get many early H era hits as well, Easter and Beautiful followed. Power from the sounds album created large cues at the toilets, but was in a good pace, followed by the biggest surprise of the night in Ocean Cloud. Then we went back in time for No One Can and Warm Wet Circles/That Time of the Night and the roof started loosing some concrete, or was I only imagining that? The first part ended uptempo, welcomed by me in Cover My Eyes, Hooks in You and Man of a Thousand Faces.
The first encore gave us Kayleigh plus Lavender and Heart of Lothian with lots of vocals for the audience. Final encore was Neverland and it seemed a Greatest Hts show indeed.

So how was the show in Rio and what are my amateur antropologist comments? First the ticket stated start at 22:00 hrs, so when I entered the Hall around 21:30 I learned the the support band already finished. Upon arrival many people stood outside drinking and with the rather similar male part of the crowd being nerdy, into metal and bolding, all just like me. A big part of the women dressed  pretty different from Europe: as if going to a wedding and following the principle of Marillion's inbetween album Less = More. No complaints though. Brazilians like to talk a lot, but during the show this was not very obvious. The crowd is loud and singing along Rothery's guitar solo's is also a local hobby. Still I felt the crowds at Marillion weekends more fanatical as you gather the real freaks than. Helped by a very nice uptempo and old setlist I think this one shall go down in my memory as one of the better Marillion shows as well. Next time I shall be there again (if work helps that is).

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Salem - Forgotten Dreams

Here is one of those again: NWOBHM revival works for me as follows. First I get an anthology for the bands I did not know if released on CD. Then I try to catch them live in Holland (and miss most of them) and buy their new CD when released. Exactly the road followed with Salem. I knew the name, not the music and got their anthology "In the Beginning". Then they came for the release of this CD last year to the east of Holland and I missed them and now I bought the last CD Forgotten Dreams, to find it is a show to see later this year.

The CD opens with the Title song which blends several NWOBHM bands (vocals towards Saxon, Whooo Def Leppard in their early days, Bassing break and a melodic solo in 80's style aiming at melody and not showing off). This song sets the standard and is followed by my favorite "High Stakes". Those who expected a hair metal ballad with a title like "When Love's in Your Heart" thought wrong Uptempo hallo Saxon. A power ballad follows in "This Heart is Mine" after which midtempo "Kazakafnu" let's the head slowly bang again. "The Answer" slowly builds up to a great chorus. "Reach to Eternity" is fast and furious. "The Best is Yet to Come" is first hard to believe after Side A and B much slower and acoustic, which is nice for a change. "X-Rated" is back to mixing up and mid tempo work again. With "Break the Chains" I thought fast metal and got surprised by the slow intro and power ballad it develops into. "Ask the Lonely"is not a Journey cover, but starts with a Neal Schon like riff.
Closer "Aftershock" starts epic with a bulldozering chorus leading to an uptempo ending.

All in all a very entertaining release. I missed them last year and at Eastern in the north when Fates Warning played the same day. But they come back with Jaguar (another band I missed 3 weeks ago) in September. Being one week before Progpower in the midst of many shows I shall make an effort to be there: Great band. Finally I also saw them on the shortlist for Hatfield's Power & Glory 2 festival, but that is far away still (and the ticket for P&G 1 is bought only recently).