A Gumtree alert popped up in my inbox. Some guy had a ticket for Ripper Owens at the Garage on Friday night for a tenner. Now I actually knew about this gig but had decided against going, mainly 'cause I'm no huge fan of Mr Owens and his vocal style and his two Priest albums meant jack to me and were rather bad in fact. Anyhow I thought let me contact this guy as £10 is less than face value and it's a Friday night out and it's not too bad even if it's not a great gig.
So I arranged to meet the guy and bought his ticket off him and off I went to see Mr Owens and his live band. There was no queue outside the Garage at the allocated door time so I had a moments thought that it had been cancelled but I knew it hadn't and it was just that no one had turned up as of yet I walked into the venue and there were basically about 10 people in there. I sure hope more turn up for Ripper otherwise it would be totally embarrassing for an ex singer of Judas Priest.
2 locals support bands were booked and unfortunately neither were any good. The first band was Memories into something and were just boring. No screaming vocals actually but the songs failed to moved the 5 people gathered at the front. Nice stage banter from the singer though.
Second band were Past The Fall from London. They were 04ch better than the first band band but still no great shakes. They also played a colossal volume in a cavernous big room so the sound made understanding the one dimensional song writing hard to grasp. I suppose they had some potential if you are into modern heavy thrash metal but live I couldn't make head nor tail of the songs.
Finally at 8.20pm Ripper's band took their positions whilst the man himself strode on with his big leather jacket and shades on looking every inch the rockstar. Miraculously the crowd had some how managed to get somewhere near three figures. There were quite a few die hard Priest fans there of the Ripper era as they were singing the words to the Ripper era Priest tunes that he played. Having hated both Jugulator and Demolition it was funny to hear those songs which I didn't like live. They sounded heavy and groovy and still boring haha. Dead Meat yeah whatever and Bullet Train is so annoying even though I was singng stupidly along! Cathedral Spires is a song that people go on and on about but it's just a boring long tune. Having said that Ripper was in fine voice make no mistake. He did play a lot of cool tunes as well not directly from his tenure in Priest.
Painkiller was awesome as expected and nearly worth the tenner I paid for the ticket alone. The Ripper was also aptly played. His rendition of Abigail from King Diamond was also a highlight. He played a medley of Iced Earth tunes which was pretty cool including Red Baron/Blue Max, Ten Thousand Strong etc. He played a mix of stuff from his band Beyond Fear and also from his solo album Playing The Game. We got a lot of songs and it was very good value for money. Ripper played a long time and it was past 10 as they played Living After Midnight with Ripper on Guitars himself. A great singalong and good way to end a night of screaming metal.
Ripper himself comes across as a very nice and amiable man who is truly happy to still be singing and rocking though at a far lower level than his Priest days. An attendance that barely reached 100 and was probably less,(in a venue that holds 700) is very disappointing indeed and this on a Friday night. It's a shame for him but he still put on a good show. Probably my first and last time seeing Mr Owens but he's still got a live scream to rival most in metal vocal land.
Diamonds & Rust
Greenface / Red Baron/Blue Max / Ten Thousand Strong
The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)
(King Diamond cover)
Lost and Found
Burn in Hell
One on One
Highway to Hell
(AC/DC cover snippet, with Ripper on guitar)
Living After Midnight