Monday, 6 April 2015

UDO live at the Islington Academy

My third and final gig this week featured the legendary UDO and his band with support from Swedes Sister Sin and a band called Garagedays which I've never heard of to be honest. As I walked into the venue Garagedays were already playing and for my taste they didn't sound to good. They played a rough sort of heavy metal like the garage days I guess where you plug in turn to 11 and just rock. It sounds good on paper but the reality was pure boredom. It didn't help that they were playing to about 40 people. The full crowd would go on to reach a respectable 350-400 which is good but the venue was far from sold out. When I saw Night Ranger here and Morbid Angel it was jammed solid especially for Night Ranger when it was almost uncomfortable.

Anyhow I waited for Garagedays to end at the back whilst sipping a beer and looking at my phone. They ended and it was Sister Sin's turn. They were a much better prospect indeed although I didn't get into their 2014 album to be honest but it was OK. The front gal was an energetic chick with an athletic body and knew how to work a crowd with poses and head banging galore. I liked their songs live and they were a pretty perfect warm up act for the main man Udo to be honest. They dedicated one song to Udo himself and it was a very Udo-esque tune called 24-7. Soon their time was up and they left to a pretty good response from the filled out crowd.

The roadies readied the stage and at 8.10pm with a curfew set for 10pm the intro song played through the PA. The stage was covered in a leafy sort of garb from top to bottom with the drum riser center stage. The into song was Beastie Boys' You Gotta Fight and everyone was singing along before the band took their positions and dove headlong into opener Speeder from the new album before the man himself ambled on stage with his familiar gurgle. He sounded good even though he looked every single one of his 63 year and more. How much longer he will go on is any one's guess but he did look very laboured throughout the set and sweatin' buckets on top. These shows were actually billed as Udo's final UK shows but the man himself uttered no such confirmation from the stage and I can only assume that was a presumption on the part of the promoter to get more people in. If it was it didn't really work as the show was far from sold out as I explained earlier.

The band that Udo has gathered around him are all seasoned pros and played with great conviction and the only new member was Udo's son on drums and he fitted in like a glove. Apparently he's been the drum tech for the band for four years already so he knows the ins and outs of it all and it made no noticeable difference to the show. The band was on real rocking form and played with huge smiles on their faces. I enjoyed the new material most as I think Decadent is one of Udo's best albums. The song Pain from the new album is a fave of mine and was played perfectly. I loved Black Widow as well, what a cool catchy tune that one is. Udo played long and hard although it seemed he was reading some lyrics from his big lyric monitor front of stage. You could see his eyes looking down for a few words here and there and at that age I don't have any real problem with that at all.

They played a long time and an almost 2 hour set with a five song encore of classic Accept tunes such as Fast as a Shark, Metal Heart and of course the almighty sing along Balls to the Wall which had everyone singing literally. A classic end to a great night of old school teutonic heavy metal. Accept maybe doing very well since their comeback but there's still life left in Udo and he can mix it with Wolf and co no problems. For how much longer though only Udo himself can tell you. For now his touring schedule is full as I looked at his website so he's not slowing down by any means. Let's hope he's flying the flag of heavy metal for a few years yet!

Blitz of Lightning
King of Mean
Independence Day
Black Widow
Never Cross My Way
The Bullet and the Bomb
Under Your Skin
Tears of a Clown
Secrets in Paradise
Faceless World
Let Me Out
Metal Machine
Metal Eater

Break the Rules
Metal Heart
I'm a Rebel
Fast as a Shark
Balls to the Wall

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