Thursday, 24 December 2015

Top 15 of 2015 - Live Shows

2015 saw the trend of the last years continuing. As I am one of the last CD buyers, bands need to tour to survive. This means lots of shows and especially in spring and autumn  a collapse of shows you really should not miss, but do. I won't list here the bands I missed, but run through the shows of his year I did see and picked my favorite 15 ones  ending in the best show of 2015 I attended. While putting the list together I do recognize that nostalgia plays a role, so old bands never seen before do end high upon the list.

15. Marillion - weekend Sunday night 22 March / Fish Boerderij 3 November
Joining some old friends to just make the list. While Marillion weekend overall is the most interesting musical experience of the year (Rockaoke Rulezz), the show itself culmulated on the Sunday when the singles were played and the first hour only contained Fish material.
Fish himself played the full version of Misplaced Childhood, but was suffering from a band not up to its task. Fish himslef was top notch though and still one of the best entertainers on stage.

14. Hell - Gebr. de Nobel 24 May
On a festival that brought us mainly black or death orientated metal Hell brought their great stage show to Leiden. The first time the surprise was tremendous, but still one not to miss with a perfect mix of heavy metal music and a bloody show.

13. Saxon - Gebr. de Nobel - 5 April
Still trying to figure out why someone would ever throw a beer to the stage when the evening of NWOBHM classics passed so well. Killed the end a bit, but not to Saxon's fault. I missed them in de Boerderij in November, so next year it is again.

12. Anihilated - Musicon 10 May
An old band, but unknown to me. Great performance and one hour of British Thrash metal just aroud the corner made this Sunday night a special one. Proving inbetween that w edon't depend on the big 4 for some great thrash metal on stage.

11. Hekz - Boerderij 4 December
I came to see Lonely Robot who released a great CD and has John Mitchell on guitars, a stamp for quality. Hekz I silently hoped on a big surprise. I did not realize they would be this good. Definitely a contender for Progpowers to come. Great progmetal with some Heavy Metal overtones.

10. Operation Mindcrime - 013 27 November
When you expect not that much really and everything surprises positive a great evening guaranteed. Geoff Tate better by voice than last times I saw him, the band good and the setlist opening with the greatest concept album of all time hardly could go wrong. Take Hold of the Flame as a closer of set also not a bad choice.

9. Thunder - Boerderij 11 July
They are back!. First the CD Wonder Days and then they passed de Boerderij. Still a great bad and just good atmosphere. Ballads (many) and rockers stood side by side during this evening of a band having a good time (according to Aardschok Graspop was emotionless, well this evening was great).

8. Absolva - Musicon 3 April & 1 November
A band that plays Heavy Metal passing the Musicon in April releasing a new album and returning in November is a great THHMA initiative. Too bad the second time (sunday) was poorly attended, but to me both nights contained all one needs in modern heavy metal with an old school touch, twin guitars anyone?

7. Dead Lord - Nobel 3 September / Paard 20 Noember
Exactly same story as Absolva. Great band, new to me loved their show bought their Cd's and then they came back when I already new the songs. Yes Lizzy is there, but also like Absolva one of the hardest woking bands picking up tours whenever possible. Twin guitars anyone?

6. Serdce - Sjiwa 4 October
Progpower Europe brought us many great bands, but Serdce was the one standing out to me. Tech metal, grunts, clear voice and some simply amazing instrumental work. Still a pity they did not bring any merchandse driving two days up from Belarus.

5. Raven - Musicon 16 October
Probably the biggest name under the THHMA banner so far passing Musicon. Great to see that the Athletic metal is still in great shape. Also a setlist that could do nothing wrong passing through history. Rockin untill they dropped and than have a beer with the fans. That is the spirit indeed.

4. Anubis - Boerderij 15 May.
Travelling to Europe from Australia for a few shows and than find a bar stage degradation. This would put off many bands, but not Anubis. Well over two hours giving it their all and live the solo's came over even stronger than on CD. One of the great hopes for the future of Prog.

3. Armored Saint - Melkweg 3 August
They came to support Queensryche and won hands down. Not to say te headliner was bad, but a shortened set due to vocal issues, gave the Saint the chance to shine. What a balls out set of US Heavy Metal at its best. So great to see them again after many years for me and to realize how strong their albums are.

2. Twisted Sister - Barcelona 24 July
Rockfest Barcelona is a relative new festival on the circuit. This second edition contained three days of going back to the eighties. I choose the Friday to see Twisted Sister for the first time live. What a show, what fun and total madness by Dee Snider. Next year they say 40 and f%&k it, for their farewell tour. Anyone never seeing them before should not miss out!

1. Trespass - Sudbury 3 July
This was the highlight of shows to me in a stunning live year. Travelling to England to see Trespass in their hometown in a small theater was too good to miss. So I had no LP's from them in the eighties as they did not release any, still knew their hits One of These Days, Bright Lights and Stormchild.  Last year seeing Stampede for the first time was my annual highlight, now Trespass passed a very similar exerience. Great reception in the place by organizers and band, brilliant set and the question remaining, why were they never huge? Headbangers Open Air have them in July, how about a stop in The Hague first?

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