Friday, 17 November 2017

Alice Cooper Live Report

Had to see Alice at least once before he finally gives up the ghost didn't I. A night at the Wembley Arena was a no brainer thoughts like this don't exactly come cheap but alas the Coops needs the money before he finally retires and lives out his days playing golf non stop.

Anyway we digress. Two support bands were listed neither of which I had ever seen so three birds were killed with one stone last night. First up were somewhat legendary and cult band The Tubes. A sort of 70s hybrid of rock, funk and AOR. Fee Waybill their singer is bloody ancient. he's probably as old as Alice though I have no idea how old he actually is. But he does sound very very old with a voice as rough as a tramp's arsehole. Their songs are mildly entertaining but it's their semi comedy garb that entertains the folks closer to the stage. Sadly I was about as far away from the stage as it was possible to get. But the sound was very good indeed and the bass and drummer for The Tubes were both excellent. Not really my thing overall but the last song was really catchy in an AOR kinda way. It turns out that this band supported Alice in the 70s hence their long lost return.

Next and main support were Brit gothy doom popsters, The Mission. In the early 90s this band used to bother the charts regularly with their twangy dark goth pop. It's a bit of a strange support slot for Alice but maybe he hand picked them and likes them a lot. I must admit I probably haven't heard a Mission tune in 25 years and then only once or twice. I was always a Sisters of Mercy fan me haha! Never got into The Mish meself! Anyway they played about 8 songs including all their biggest hits. They actually sounded really quite good but if slightly droning on and on and yet still danceable. A few old goths were I'm sure in nostalgia heaven with these guys.

I started to recognise a few snippets of their songs and they were toe tappingly gloomy and pleasant on the ear. Not a bad little set from these guys but overall I find them just good and not something I'll get all nostalgic about and go and seek their songs on youtube all over again or something! I enjoyed them for what they were though. I can imagine a bill with them Sisters and Fields of the Nephilim going down a storm with all the nostalgia gothsters!

At 9.20 sharp the house lights went down and the current Alice Cooper band launched into the heavy and semi-industrial sounding Brutal Planer, the title track of the album from a few years back. That was a heavy start indeed. Alice's voice is a bit rougher live than I was expecting but he still sounds good. Unfortunately whilst the gig was taking place in Wembley, I was actually sitting in the next borough down the road and all facial expressions and band interaction were rendered by midgets in the distance as far as I could tell. I really wanted to see guitarist Nita up close for she is a bit of a shred queen. Sadly the Arena doesn't have TV screens by the side of the stage either.

Not being a huge Alice aficionado I didn't recognise the next few songs. Lost in America stood out most. Great tune. Dept of Youth was also very catchy. Enough for me to go and seek out a studio version of it from the Welcome to my Nightmare album. Woman of Mass Distraction was funny and catchy too.

By the way, Alice never says a word in between songs. No talking not a word. He just lets the music do the talking it seems but he does say the odd "thank you London!" but apart from that no anecdotes just singing and a nice stage show. I just wish I was closer so i could see it better! Any how the show carried swiftly on with a Nita guitar solo followed by his first big 80s hit that I know. Obviously Poison is sung by literally 1000s in the Arena as Alice commands. Halo of Flies I don't know but then Feed My Frankenstein followed with a running Frankestein monster on stage running round like what Eddie does with Maiden. Great tune anyway and Alice puts feeling in that chorus! Cold Ethyl sees him carrying a lifeless rag doll around trying to inject life into the damn thing but she remained cold to no avail. Only Women Bleed followed. No doubt a classic but would you believe I have never ever heard this song before in my life? Not even by accident. I didn't even know that it was mostly a ballad lol. Oh well you live and learn eh Alice!

Paranoic Personality, the immensely catchy new track was given an airing and I think it went down very well. WHo can not love that chorus eh? Then we reached the theatrical section of every Alice show with the balld of Dwight Fry and the beheading of your man Mr Cooper. Now sitting where I was I could hardly even tell what was going on with my poor eyesight. All I could see was some gal in ghoulish white holding up Alice's severed head! Hey hold on he's got to the rest of the songs..anyway the songs segues into Killer and I See The Dead. I don't recall too much of the musical value as I was concentrating on what the hell was going on stage. Youtube will help me there no doubt.

There the main set ends and Alice finally returns with the original AC band doing 5 of the band's biggest hits. I'm Eighteen believe it or not I have never heard! Can you actually believe it? It's a good song though and I can see all the bald drunkards with their pints shoved in the air screaming "I'm Eighteen!!!" Nah mate you WERE 18 haha!
Billion Dollar Babies followed again not massively familiar to me but it was good and got everyone off their feet to sing. Then it's my fave AC song of all time. Who can not love NMMNG? That song is just made to be sung along with. Alice's old band plays it a bit slower than I'm used to. I only first heard the song when Megadeth done it decades ago and they speeded it up for the better. But Alice sings it the original way of course. Everyone loves it anyway and is in delirium by now!
Next we have Muscle of Love another song I have never ever heard. Damn it was quite catchy though! The set ends with all the old band and all the current band on stage as Alice goes through them all and introduces them one by one before a rousing School's Out complete with pretty cool Brick in the wall snippet in the middle.

Alice has still got it no doubt for an old timer. His movements maybe a bit slower and the voice not as clean as earlier times but the man can entertain pure and simple. How much longer he'll go is anyone's guess but he's far from shaming his legacy and whilst he's still enjoying it then long may it continue and who knows maybe I'll go to another AC show if he returns. On a side not the merch at this show had unacceptably high prices. Even higher than the Metallica show and the ticket price was already quite expensive. I don't know who sets the merch prices but if it's Alice's management then they need to have a word with themselves haha! Anyway keep rocking Alice till the grave!

Spend the Night intro
Brutal Planet
Under My Wheels
Lost in America
Department of Youth
The World Needs Guts
Woman of Mass Distraction
Guitar Solo
(Nita Strauss)
Halo of Flies
Drum and Bass solo
Feed My Frankenstein
Cold Ethyl
Only Women Bleed
Paranoiac Personality
Ballad of Dwight Fry
I Love the Dead

I'm Eighteen
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
Billion Dollar Babies
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
No More Mr. Nice Guy
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
Muscle of Love
(with original Alice Cooper Band)
School's Out
(with original Alice Cooper Band) (with 'Another Brick in the Wall Part 2' snippet by Pink Floyd)

Helloween - Pumpkins United

Well it had to happen I guess. Everyone in Helloween past and present buried the hatchet and not in each others back! Well at least put the hatchet away for another day and took the money and had a lot of fun for two and a half hours of happy happy Helloween.

No support, just a whole night's worth of happy metal at the Brixton Academy. The venue was rammed pretty solid with easily over 3k people at a guess but could be way more. There were a lot of people on stage as the curtain goes up and the band launches into the epic Halloween with both Kiske and Deris handling vocal duties.

The sound took a while to settle down and was a little incoherent at first but once our ears had adjusted it was a pretty decent sound with both vocalist's booming voices piercing the sky. Let me be honest here. Old school Helloween never really floated my boat at all. I came on board with The Dark Ride. I liked some songs here and there but never a full album and to be even more honest I don't really even recall half of these classics. Whilst I love the new material.

However I am far in the minority judging by the huge sing along's the classics muster up among the happy Helloween faithful. I guess seeing Kai, Michi and Weiki and Marcus all on stage together is the stuff of legend and the fans were lapping it up with a big spoon.

There was plenty of on stage banter with the boys with especially with Kai and Andi joking and taking the piss out if each other's age and ability to still perform. But perform well they did and Kai even sang one song, namely Ride The Sky. They played a very long time but had lost of short little intermissions with a cartoon video backdrop to entertain us. Two characters by the name of Seth and Doc with Pumpkin heads doing inane stuff. The videos during the songs were actually really funny and cool. Especially the character during Dr Stein was hilarious!

Each song had an effective video back drop to suit the song with even lyrics at times for these that fancied a sing along but had forgotten the words. Both Andi and Miki sang great to be honest with Andi more than holding his own. The rumours had been that Kiske had been having vocal trouble but he seemed great to me. Of course his warbling falsetto is the stuff of legend and he tested it to the max on a couple of ballads.

Believe it or not I actually missed the last two songs Future World and I Want Out as I was feeling dead after more than 3 hours of straight standing and bailed out. Even walking was preferable to standing at that point!

So the Pumpkins were United but I don't know if their heart was fully in it but they played with a lot of smiles apart from Weiki, he mostly never smiles of course. The cash was too good to turn down no doubt and the tour has been doing great business around the world. Oh and Kai's look is something else. Looks like a washed up glamster from the 80s still trying hard to be very 80s! You're not in Motley Crue dude!

Anyway an enjoyable night of classic Helloween material interrupted with the odd newer song. Good stuff if not amazing and for long time fans of the band, just a must see really.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Dying Fetus Live

Haven't been to a death metal gig for ages. Let's break that cycle with 4 bands of technical brutality. First band up was the least technical of the lot. They were Disentomb from Australia I believe judging by the singer's accent in between songs. They were the most brutal band of the night. Just sheer savagery from blasts to stomping riffs and grooves. Heads were banging for these guys but they know nothing about subtlety and that's just the way the nutters down the front like it. I've never heard the c-word as many times as I did from a singer either. We were called "sick cunts" regularly and often haha!

Next up were Canadian tech death wizards Beyond Creation. These guys upped the tech ante to a whole new level, especially the bassist whose fingers constantly moving up the fret board to widdle away. The band is very tight but I found they lost some of their clarity trying to over brutal. They were still tight as fuck and it makes for quite a spectacle watching them wrapping their spidery fingers up and their axes. Tasty tech death!

Main support was yet another Aussie band with Psycroptic. I've sort of gone off them of late but I swore by their Scepter of the Ancients album. I must admit to me they were absolutely wicked sounding on the night. The sound was not as ball bustingly brutal as for the previous two bands but very crisp and tight. The guitarists were absolutely locked into a tight as hell groove but with lightning fast notes at warp speed drilling into your brain. A very killer performance from these guys even though the singer said his voice was fucked at the end of a long tour.

Finally my first time seeing the Fetus guys. I could have sworn they were a 4 piece but it turns out they are only a 3 piece. The bald dude on the riffs and main vocals with the bassist on vocals as well. These guys have monster monster grooves. This is why everyone seems to love them so much. They can play like pretty tech but then lock into a jamming groove to get the moshers rocking. There weer loads of stage divers and one drunk idiot got thrown out for refusing to leave the stage haha! The band was greeted with pure frenzy by the packed crowd. Death metal fans are very fucking loyal in their fandom that's for sure and the Fetus are treated like all conquering heroes as every note is worshipped. A very savage and tight performance from the New Yorkers. The bald dude thanked us for coming and the "Fetus Fetus!" chants soon drowned him out before they launched into the final savage song. A night of brutal and technical death metal - once or twice a year it's not so bad!

Orden Ogan Live

A really cool triple bill of power metal on a Tuesday night to keep the diehard metalheads happy. First up Unleash The Archers from Canada. I forget the girl's name but her voice was superb. The songs were enjoyable too being speedy or fairly mid paced. I enjoyed the faster tunes more but it's all about the chick and her booming voice piercing the sky. Good start and perfect opener for this bill.

Next up were Rhapsody of Fire which is now solely Alex Staropoli's outfit these days with Fabio having jumped ship. People question the need for their existence but to be fair they were pretty amazing. Their set featured all great and classic Rhapsody tunes sung brilliantly by new singer Giacomo. I'll whisper this slowly so no one hears me...Giacomo > Fabio!
The guy is superb all night and sings the songs perfectly. Their set was nigh on perfect. Distant Sky was from the latest album but the rest of the songs were from the classic era. Dawn of Victory was completely awesome as was Holy Thunderforce and the rousing band anthem Emeral Sword was the pinnacle of the night with mass singalong by a very healthy crowd of 500. Yes, people loved Rhapsody of Fire!

Distant Sky
Dargor, Shadowlord of the Black Mountain
Flames of Revenge
Dawn of Victory
The Magic of the Wizard's Dream
Holy Thunderforce
The March of the Swordmaster
When Demons Awake
Emerald Sword

At 9.45pm the intro song Orden Ogan played over the PA as the Ogan lads took to the stage whilst main man Seeb was loitering backstage ready to launch into opener To New Shores of Sadness. The sound was crisp and loud but not annoyingly so as I've noticed in gigs lately. No point having it so loud but I guess I'm old! Anyway the band sounded great and looked the part all with the Gunman look. There's even a Gunman statue pointing a gun at the audience on the riser at the back. A nice stage set up indeed linking in with the western theme. Seeb's voice was in fine form as they launched into FEVER and every one's fist was pumping and voice was raised.

Gunman was the first new track we heard and a chance to raise our voices once again. What a great tune indeed. Sorrow is Your Tale, was a personal fave tune followed by my absolute fave from the new album Fields of Sorrow. A very emotional tune indeed and sung brilliantly by Seeb and the crowd too I should add. Come With Me To The Other Side was another magnificent track. Last two songs were brilliant once again. All their songs have this fantastic majestic quality that really sound great live. Though I will admit those massive choirs you hear on the records are somewhat lost in the live sound even though the rest of the band do a sterling job backing Seeb up, it's not quite as huge sounding obviously unless you had a 50 strong choir on stage!

A 4 song encore was a big bonus and they saved some of their epic tunes till the end with We Are Pirates particularly getting everyone dancing. The Things We Believe In brought things to an epic end and the band left to loud cheers from the crowd ringing in their ears. A great night for London's power metal fiends and a very decent turn out for a Tuesday night.

To New Shores of Sadness
Here at the End of the World
Deaf Among the Blind
Sorrow Is Your Tale
Fields of Sorrow
The Lords of the Flies
Come With Me To The Other Side
Forlorn and Forsaken
One Last Chance

To the End
Angels War
We Are Pirates
The Things We Believe In

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Fozzy Live Report

I was supposed to see Fozzy once way back in the mid 2000s or something. I had a ticket booked etc but I fell very ill and couldn't go. Here were are a decade later and finally seeing Y2J and his chums Rich Ward etc. Three bands were listed as supported. In fact I should point out this was a dual headline gig with Hardcore Superstar both getting an hour on stage.

First band was called The Last Band but strangely they were on first! Let's get the crap jokes out of the way. They were fairly average for me and held no interest so I just milled around and got a beer and went up to the balcony to sit down and see them from above. They were a sort of heavy groovy nu metal/aggro metal band. Not my cuppa really but I guess they were ok for this kinds modern metal crowd.

After that were a band called Madame Mayhem fronted a by dark haired chick. There's a lot of bands around these days playing modern metal with a hot gothy chick fronting them. It can be ok but mostly it's not. MM were ok but not great, but the gal IS great. Great looker and a nice focal point for her band. They need to work on making the songs more catchy like say in Skarlett Riot. Not too bad though and like I said the gal is watchable haha!

Next up were joint headlines, Hardcore Superstar and their souped up glam metal. I am a big fan of one of their earlier albums although I find their most recent stuff a bit average sounding. I've seen them live before and they blew the roof off the stage. I don't think they quite managed it this time. The floor was still bloody packed for them though and I couldn't get anywhere near the stage so I could get a better feel for them. They sound good though but for some reason not as OTT animated as I remembered the last time I saw. I guess they were solid though and played all their best and most memorable tunes. THey are a good band as far as Swedish glam goes though and I far prefer them so say someone like Steel Panther.

I think this was a Fozzy crowd even though it was a dual headline show and that's one of the reasons HS didn't really ignite. However Fozzy did as the intro played and the band took their spots before the man himself, Mr Jericho burst on stage and they launched head on into opening cut Judas. The crowd sing along during the chorus was pretty impressive as the fans lurched forward to get a bit closer. Seems Mr Jericho creates some excitement with his fans. The chants of "Fozzy! Fozzy!" soon start up between every song as the man soaks up the adulation. Seems people really like Fozzy lol, never knew! The band continued with all the big hits from current album and a few classics and played 11 songs in total in their allotted one hour. Which to be fair made for a disappointingly short set. People could have easily had another 30 minutes of this but it was a dual headline so that's what we got. Enemy was my particular highlight. Always loved that tune and it had an extended Ward solo spot too. Jericho's live vocals are a little more gritty and dirty live than they are in the studio but I guess every tries to singer tougher live than in the studio. It's an understandable trait when you're competing with all these massively loud instruments. I should mention the ABBA cover SOS which was really quite fun. The night ended with Sandpaper that catchy tune from the previous album.

Chris seemed genuinely pleased and thanked the crowd for coming and the attendance was very good considering there was another rock gig down the road with MSG. Although I'm not too sure if MSG shares too many fans with Fozzy but to be fair there were a fair number of old school rockers at Fozzy but the crowd was mainly made up of youngsters below 30. Fozzy was fun live, Rich Ward's guitar sounds heavy as fuck and he's actually a really good singer too and provided nice back vocals to Y2J. They left with the crowd's cheers ringing in their ears. Till the next time dudes!

Power Quest Live

After their great support slot with Dragonforce, it's time for the Quest to have a chance to shine all for themselves. A Sunday night gig is always a bit of a drag but I didn't really wanna miss them as the new album is really so good after all. Two support bands were billed. Nightmare World led by ex Threshold guitarist Pete Morton and Death Valley Knights who I saw earlier in the year at the Stone Free Festival.

NW played their entire album in full in their allotted 40 minutes. It's a good album but not amazing for me. Pete Morton only sings in this band and leaves the instruments to the other chaps. They definitely have a nice line in heavy and melodic riffage. Not sure the songs really capture the moment well enough but they are all fairly decent. A nice start.

Next is was DVK and their testosterone fuelled old school heavy metal. Just a straight up bally metal band really with little subtlety. They turn it up to 11 and pound away on the riffs whilst the singer screams his nuts off. They play excruciatingly loud too and blasted the audience. I guess that's what metallers love! These guys are cool and have a mean attitude and tick all the true metal boxes. Their songs are mainly good but not amazing. Could do with the choruses being a bit catchier but if you wanna head bang and pump your fist then DVK will help your cause.

Finally the PQ guys took to the stage and played a 90 minute set of classic new and old Power Quest. The new tunes were great and well received by the crowd of around 150. Everyone seems to love the happy go lucky nature of the songs. New singer Ashley is a great fit for the band. The "Power Quest!" chants between songs are a regular feature throughout their set. All the songs are very catchy. The band plays with huge smiles and everyone enjoys themselves and hails the might Quest on their journey. The band ends with their super hit Temple of Fire with that unbelievably catchy chorus that everyone loves to sing a long to. Ashley said they'll be back in 2018 with Freedom Call. Obviously these 150 diehards will be there! Till then!

Sunday, 29 October 2017


My first and last time seeing them basically. I've never really been a fan bar a few tunes. Just needed to tick them off the bucket list so to speak.

They played the whole of Crimson Idol live. I've never heard the album in full as I recall. The band sounds good it must be said. Blackie's shrill voice is pretty much the same as the old days. He's not really singing lower or more controlled like some old dinosaurs. He's just moving slower I guess and he's not so animated and shocking like what I've seen in old videos.

There is a touch of going through the motions about the songs. That's the feeling I get though I could be wrong but I'm not familiar with the tunes. A video or film has been created to go with the songs which is quite cool as you get more involved in the story of the album about a hot shot guitarist's rise from poor beginnings to the trappings of success and his ultimate downfall and demise. I never actually had really any clue about the story of the album. The video backdrops put into context the story nicely for a total noob. WASP's music tends to be slightly grating on my ears but it does have something about it that separates it from the other bands of that shock rock era. It's sort of more substantive especially when they get to the moodier parts. Special mention for the drumming. Literally the best thing of the night to be honest. The drum parts on the album seem to be very complex and difficult and the drummer played them with ease.

I didn't know who he was last night but tonight I checked him out and it turns out o be Aquiles Priester the Brazillian dude from Angra. The guy was playing fast and very skilfully from my non-drummer amateur perspective with constant lightning fast fills. Dread to think how fast his feet were moving. He was basically the star of the night for me.

The main set of Crimson Idol came to a momentous and rousing end as our hero takes his own life. Blackie never talked between the songs as the album has a lot of narration explaining the story. He only talked after a short 5 minute break as the band regrouped for a little greatest hit set to end things off. He mentioned that in some previous show there was moshing in a slow number in one of the songs and that he didn't like that at all. he prefers you to absorb and watch during the emotional parts lol. He also thanked the crowd for coming and it was pretty packed indeed. Probably a couple of thousand easy seeing as it's a Friday night.

Wild Child is basically the only really great song I like from WASP and everyone but everyone belts that one out. I made a hasty exit half way through the final song to beat the crowds. Not a gig that will live long in my memory, but at least I can say I've seen the band once at least! :-)

The Titanic Overture
The Invisible Boy
Arena of Pleasure
Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue)
The Gypsy Meets the Boy
Doctor Rockter
I Am One
The Idol
Hold on to My Heart
The Great Misconceptions of Me

The Real Me
(The Who cover)
L.O.V.E. Machine
Wild Child
I Wanna Be Somebody