Sunday, 25 November 2012

Buck Cherry & Kobra and The Lotus

Kobra Paige
Nice to be on 'Home turf' at The Roadmender Northampton. As i've mentioned before we get so few decent Rock acts in these parts so an opportunity not to be missed. I was running a bit late and didn't arrive until half past six and amazingly found myself first in the queue! Formed in 2009 and from Canada K & TL are old school metal. They got a good reception and put in a powerful set although I didn't think the sound was great and the vocals were hard to distinguish. The highlight of their set was definitely the cover of Iron Maiden's 'The Wicker Man' which was a great effort. Full Set List Nayana No rest for the wicked Welcome to my funeral Forever one Heavens veins Lonely sanctuary The Wicker Man (Iron Maiden Cover) My life 50 Shades of evil
Josh Todd

Have to admit not knowing too much about Buck Cherry aside from a couple of tracks played on Planet Rock which I liked. They have actually been around since 1995 and hail from LA. They have a sixth album due out in February 2013. Singer Josh Todd has a good voice and reminded me of Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) in some ways. He is certainly no stranger to the tattoo parlour thats for sure. A good front man with also a hint of Jagger the way he strutted around the stage. It all got a bit boystrous down at the front at times but I stood my ground nevertheless. It did have it's advantages as I rose like the proverbial salmon to catch a drumstick. Also claimed a few guitar picks, one of which shaped like a razor blade. It was a good set and they did remind me of The Black Crowes in some ways. Definitely a good band and well worth the 2 mile trip into town. To save me from typing I am posting a photo of the set list.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Lynyrd Skynyrd - UEA Norwich

A somewhat hectic trip back from Within Temptation in Antwerp not helped by a rail strike in Belgium but I eventually made it to Norwich. This was an unplanned gig as I won the tickets courtesy of Planet Rock so it was all a bit hectic for my liking. Skynyrd are one of those legendary bands that it was just too good an opportunity to miss. Going from an 18500 sell out arena at the Sportpaleis to a 1500 rammed University hall was quite something. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get anywhere near the front or even a decent view that wasn't obscured by either low ceilings, pillars or people in general. Therefore you will notice a certain absence of photos apart from a few internet library ones.
Skynyrd formed in 1964 as the 'Noble Five' out of Jacksonville Florida. Disaster struck in 1977 when a plane crash killed three of the band right at their peak. The band re-formed in 1987 with Ronnie Van Zant's younger brother Johnny took over on vocals. The only original member in the band today is guitarist Gary Rossington. Before Skynyrd we had a large helping of the 'Red White and Blues' probably a lot more than they were expecting..... The performed a very good hard rock/blues set and then came back for an encore, followed by another encore. Then five minutes later they popped back out with 'just one more for you Norwich followed by you guessed it 'just one more'. Things became even more crazy when they started jamming and doing a few cover versions of 'The Kinks' 'You Really Got Me' and 'Ozzy's' 'Crazy Train'. Total farce was achieved when they then pulled a fat bloke out of the audience wearing a pork pie hat to sing Sabbaths 'Paranoid'. Unfortunately he wasn't so hot on the words but seemed to enjoy himself and it kept the audience amused at least. They then started their original set again from the beginning - Pure Spinal Tap and you couldn't make it up. Thankfully they were soon put out of their misery - Skynyrd had arrived !!!!
Johnny Van Zant

Rossington, Medlocke & Van Zant at the Classic Rock Awards night
The Southern rockers had picked up the Classic Rock Comeback Award during the ceremony at the Roundhouse in London the previous night and celebrated with a performance of their greatest hits including 'Sweet Home Alabama' and a 15-minute rendition of 'Free Bird'.

They finally took the stage just before 10 PM and explained that there had been an accident on the highway and then the fog had slowed them down. Without any further ado they launched straight in to 'Last of a Dyin' breed' from their new album of the same name.
Gary Rossington
We were treated to greatest hits set list of brilliant 'southern fried rock' from a band who were true professionals and highly polished. My personal highlights were 'Simple Man', 'Tuesdays Gone' and 'Gimme Three Steps'. No Skynyrd set would be complete without the classic and epic masterpiece that is 'Freebird' and all three guitarists in full cry and the house well and truly brought down.

Full Set List
  • Last of a Dyin' Breed
  • Whats your Name
  • Down South Jukin
  • That Smell
  • One Day at a Time
  • I Know a Little
  • Simple Man
  • Gimme Back My Bullets
  • Whiskey Rock-A-Roller
  • The Needle and the Spoon
  • Tuesdays Gone
  • Good Teacher
  • Gimme Three Steps
  • Call Me the Breeze (JJ Cale cover)
  • Sweet Home Alabama
  • Freebird

Within Temptation - Elements Antwerp

Since 1997, things have rocketed for WT. They have become Holland’s most successful rock band internationally. This concert called 'Elements' was a celebration of the 15 years as a band held at The Sportpaleis Antwerp Belgium. Built in 1932 The Sportpaleis is the second most visited event hall in the world to Madison Square Garden. It can hold a maximum of 18,500 people. Here is a piece of interesting trivia for you; Roy Orbison gave his very last performance at the Sportpaleis, performing "You Got It", live, for the first and only time. It was billed as 'The most significant event in the history of Within Temptation'. Along with previous band members and the odd surprise guest they were backed by by the renowned Il Novecento Orchestra.

 Everything about this show was on a grand scale, the light show, the pyros, the orchestra, stage dancers and stilt walkers there was something going on constantly. It was hard to keep up at times and a bit distracting to be honest.
Sharon gets her wings
The set kicked off with four tracks from the latest album 'Unforgiving'. Before delving into the back catalogue with; 'Our Solemn Hour', 'Stand My Ground' and 'Angels' which saw Sharon with a huge pair of inflatable wings.
Mid-set we had a number of cover versions that the band have been putting together on a weekly basis. I have to admit the original artists; Bruno Mars, David Guetta and Lana Del Rey don't mean a lot to me and were basically dance numbers. In defence there was something for everybody but I hope it's not a sign of things to come.
Great to hear one of mine and most of the crowds favourite tracks 'Mother Earth' complete with inflatable tress that sprouted up on the stage. Sharon really was in great form and there were numerous costume changes and showed boundless energy up and down the catwalk stage.
The first encore featured 'Our Farewell' and Sharon duetted with the Dutch model/singer Isabella Scholten. We also had the wonderful 'Ice Queen' and by now the whole crowd were on their feet.
The second encore and final song of the night was 'Stairway to the Stars' from 'The Unforgiving' which brought an end to a fantastic night that will live long in the memory.
Many thanks to Aubrey Scully and Michael Dewsnap for additional photos.

 Full Set List 
  • Iron
  • In the Middle of the Night
  • Faster
  • Fire and Ice
  • Our Solemn Hour
  • Stand My Ground
  • Angels
  • The Last Dance
  • Never-Ending Story
  • Say My Name
  • Candles
  • Sinead
  • Titanium (David Guetta Cover)
  • Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey cover)
  • Grenade (Bruno Mars)
  • The Promise
  • Memories
  • Mother Earth
First Encore
  • What Have You Done
  • Our Farewell (With Isabella Scholten)
  • Ice Queen
Second Encore
  • Stairway to the Stars

Monday, 12 November 2012

Nightwish - Birmingham Academy

Floor Jansen
Despite all the rave reviews about the 'stand in' singer Floor Jansen (Currently Revamp and ex After Forever singer) I was still apprehensive - I needn't have worried. Anybody watching would have thought she had been in the band for years such was her powerful performance. She fitted in perfectly and added a dimension that has long been lacking since Tarja Turunen left. But I am not about to re-open that debate again. Instead I will celebrate what was a fantastic night and restored my faith in Nightwish.
Peter Tagtgren of Pain
Tuomas Holopainen
Supporting Nightwish were fellow Finns Pain. They went down very well and singer guitarist Peter Tagtgren managed to play in a straight-jacket which isn't something you see every day. It was a good set list and longer than you normally see. It was a very different start to the big arena shows I saw back in April without the dramatic opening and the pyros but it didn't really matter. We lost a few tracks from Imaginaerum but gained a couple of favourites in 'Dark Chest of Wonders' and 'Ever Dream'.Not to mention a brilliant version of the epic Ghost Love Score that I feared I would never hear again.

Marco Hietala
Pipe Master Troy Donockley
With Luke Hendry

Marina & Nikki at the front
 It was lovely to catch up with many fans who I speak to over Facebook and rarely get to see.

Nightwish are probably even better as a live band than they are recording band which is still excellent and I think that the set list was better balanced this time. As much as I love the cover of the Gary Moore classic 'Over the Hills and Far Away;' I am always left with a tint of disappointment that the solo doesn't come close to the original which makes the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.  
Thirsty work for Tuomas
There was a lot of interaction with the crowd and I think the look on Tuomas’s face when the crowd responded showed just how proud he was and how far the band have come.

Full Set List 
  • Storytime 
  • Dark Chest Of Wonders
  • Wish I Had An Angel
  • Amaranth
  • The Siren 
  • Slow, Love, Slow
  • I Want My Tears Back
  • The Islander
  • Nemo (Acoustic)
  • Last Of The Wilds
  • Planet Hell 
  • Ghost River
  • Ever Dream 
  • Over The Hills And Far Away
  • Ghost Love Score
  • Last Ride Of The Day