Symphonic Metal Nights was headlined by Serenity with support from Visions of Atlantis and two other symph metal bands. The first two were forgettable, Average stuff to say the least. Visions of Atlantis were great. Clementine, the female lead has a beautiful voice and their latest album is their best by far. Serenity, I was seeing for the first and boy were they great. Georg is a great front man with a surprisingly soft voice for such a big lad. They were joined by Melissa Bonny from the band Rage of Light to add a female angle although the band doesn't have female vocals much in the actual studio versions, she add a nice flavour to the live sound. The night was worth it for the two main bands but not the support.
A week or so back I saw the reunion show of Rhapsody at the Islington Academy. The place was absolutely rammed on a Monday night. Double the attendance I recall for when Luca's version of Rhapsody came calling with Alex Conti on vox. This was of the return of the original minus Alex Staropoli of course which in my opinion is a bit of a shame. He was a also a huge part of the band. Anyway the keyboard parts are piped in on this tour. The support was the mighty new band Beast in Black who were absolutely crazy fun. The Greek front man's voice reaches absolutely insane highs. The songs are blessed with super catchy chorus. Poppy melodic power at its very best. Rhapsody were amazing too with Fabio sounding absolutely superb live. The venue was so packed that getting a good view of the stage proved nigh on impossible once I had left my original position for a drinks and toilet break. This will be the last time we'll see Rhapsody in original form on these shores but a great way to end. London's power metal die hards loved it.
And finally last night I saw the Blaze Bayley band at the Underworld on a Saturday night. I hadn't seen Blaze for a long time it must be said, maybe 7-8 years in the very same venue and his fortunes have taken a turn for the worse but him and his band are back. The Infinite Entanglement trilogy was very good although I have yet to really get a grip on the final part as of yet at it's only just come out. Blaze was signing autographs and taking pictures in the bar of the venue and I queued up to have a word or two with the man and get a picture with him after buying a shirt. Not every day you get to meet an ex Maiden singer is it! The show itself was good although the support act was not my cuppa at all. They were called Faith in Glory for those interested. Blaze started at 8pm on the dot and played 18 songs all told from throughout his career. The attendance was pretty good at around 250, considering the terrible weather that we've been having.
Throughout the night, Blaze sang with great enthusiasm and this rubbed off on the crowd which feed off his joy for singing metal. It was like a mutual appreciation society haha! He constantly thanked the crowd for coming down and led the cheers for a big back slapping parade for all the fans who still support and have faith in him. As he explained he is a completely independent artist and it's through the fans that he can continue doing this.
He played a mix of tunes including of course some Maiden tracks which went down very well indeed. I was hoping for The Clansman or When Two Worlds Collide but sadly we didn't get those but Futureal and Man On The Edge were both excellent. Blaze sounds very good live I must say and much better than in the studio believe it or not. I'm glad I gave him another shot at the cherry. Blaze bleeds metal through and through. He may not be popular but he really is a hero for keeping on and on when anyone else would have just given up. Up the Blaze!
Some pictures from the three nights. Getting good pics from the Rhapsody gig proved impossible though but I got a couple from Beast in Black at the end.