Sunday, 21 April 2013

Pain of Salvation - Boerderij Zoetermeer 20 April 2013

Pain of Salvation are a hard one to follow. Easily the best new Progmetal band in the second half of the nineties, their first 4 albums are absolute Classics. Than slowly things started changing and through Be and Scarsick, both still had their moments we landed at Road Salt part 1 and 2 which have very little to do with progmetal, but go through a (too?) wide variety of styles. Still Daniel Gildenlow possesses one of the best voices around, which make them recognizable no matter the style.

This spring they are on an acoustical tour with a stage representing a seventies Swedish household. I decided to see what was coming and bring my open mind along, since probably some of the performances might not be my cup of tea. Starting of we get Daniel Gildenlow coming on and talking to us. Since he does not possess the dry sense of humor his countryman Mr. Akerfield, this was starting with a left foot for me. Than after playing One Road Salt song accompanied by the first opening band he left and we were bored to sleep with two very lame opening acts. I do own Scandinavian sung progressive rock albums, but what the first band showed was too far from my interest zone. Anneke van Giersbergen followed solo. which did not really live things up, with a Dolly Parton cover as lowpoint. A good thing of the boerderij is that you can escape to the bar, where a screen shows what you did not want to see live and slowly it got more crowded in there.

After a short break we got Pain of Salvation the band. Nowadays it became even more the Daniel Gildenlow solo experience with support. I do not know the band members any more, nor if they are part of the band, or just touring members. Most songs got the vocalist of the first band helping out, while also Anneke came back for some songs. Acustical menas not amplified, so several songs where not as interesting as the original versions, but others stood out pretty nice. Main reason for me to go was hearing the voice of Daniel Gildenlow which stood out even more in this setting. So we got some highlights in the form of Ashes, Iter Impius, Linoleum, Spitfall, but unfortunately also some unfortunate covers. The Kris Kristofferson cover was simply horrible and what they did to Holy diver was technically, maybe OK but a uncomfortable to listen to as well. I also would appreciate it if someone could kill the Disco Queen once and for all. The first tour after Scarsick it was funny to have them playing this live, but the joke ran out and what remains is a disco song. Looking at the people jumping up and down I am not in a majority on this one, but what a drag.

After closing the set with the Perfect element, they kept the best for the end. Dust in the Wind was the most interesting cover and Chainsling and 1979 were ending the evening on a high. We even got a second encore in the heaviest moment of the evening with band only performing No Way.

Concluding I ended the evening with a smile, but the feeling of it could have been so much better also stays. Pain of Salvation always have been going there own way, so they did again. For me memories went back to Headway years ago, when even while being sick they were on their peak.
Next week we get the return of Headway and I shall miss out due to work travel. Headway shall return next year (I hope), but Pain of Salvation in Headway form seems to be gone for good.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

IO Earth - de Boerderij 13 April 2013

Three years ago I visited the Winter's End Festival in Stroud and among some expected highlights I was completely blown away by the to me unknown IO Earth. Since at the time I wrote in Dutch I can safely steal from my own words, as yesterday I saw them for the second time and the experience was very similar.

IO Earth is based around two opposite characters. The introvert Adam Gough on Keyboards, guitar and Theremin (the Sheldon instrument) and extrovert Dave Cureton on Guitars and vocals. Live this means that Dave steals the show and the rest follows him (even when ordered by a move of his head). Another differential is Luke Shingler on Flute & Alt saxophone, which sounds much nicer than it reads. Vocalist Claire Malin could not make it due to illness. Last week they even had to cancel the HRH Prog festival, but today they brought a Norwegian girl along. She also helped them out on the Yes cruise earlier this year, so respect to her. But stating she came and stole the show with an enthiusiastic performance would be too much. Her voice was good though and Live your Life Part 1 was her moment in the spotlights, which did not disappoint.

But I started to tell that IO Earth blew me away. The reason for this is that apart from their progressive landscapes Dave Cureton shreds along on all songs. Sometimes guitar hero, sometimes sensitive he is prog's answer to Yngwie Malmsteen. Luckily he has a sense of humor and not the Malmsteen attitude. This extra bite makes an IO Earth show for me among the most entertaining ones in prog land apart from the excellent musical performance. I guess they can only go up. Dave introduced some of the songs partially in Dutch. From personal experience I know this can only mean a wife or girlfriend, so chances of them being back anytime soon should be big.

For reasons not understood by me IO Earth were opening band for Panic Room and Heather Findley. Panic Room made their debut in Holland but came without their lead guitarist. This meant a lost match to me, even with Ann-Marie Helder sounding and looking better than her Norwegian counterpart the show so missed the guitar shredding fest we just got used to. I even decided to skip Heather Findley's show altogether going home with yet another great IO Earth show in my memory. Ended up getting their second CD, hope to see them after releasing CD number three for a repeat experience.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Persian Risk - Once a King

In 2012 we got the surprising return of Persian Risk a band raised in NWOBHM years, releasing their first full album only in 1986. Recently I found that I knew one song completely, being Hurt You a B-side from a 1983 single. The return of this band is not so much a surprise, since more bands of the era reformed and some great festivals for teh music are organized nowadays. The biggest surprise is the class of this release, which to me leaves new releases of the great bands of their time far behind. This is a CD you should hear at least once, if you like a mix of melodic rock and NWOBHM.

Asylum is a great opener showing that only original band member vocalist Carl Sentence is still proud owner of a powerful voice. Riding High is a re-recording and a thrill. Opening with Wheels you'd expect a Saxon like song, but the chorus does bring Iron Maiden to mind. Killer has a catchy vocal line and Once a King is the only song over 5 minutes, again already mentioned in the NWOBHM encyclopedia, so a song from the past. Soul Deceiver nicely follows the soft-hard-soft-hard pattern. Battlecry is the opposite to Riding High opening old Maiden style heading for Saxonish territories in the chorus. Spirit in My Dreams is uptempo and Dio comes to mind. Ride the Storm is a power ballad, easily carried by Carl's voice. Fist of Fury after a ballad, guess what headbanging all along. Woman and Rock is another old song, cliche lyrics ideal for the shouting along All I need is a handfull of.... Women and Rock. Wasteland closes this CD in style in mid-tempo with a catchy riff and chorus.

The band is reformed and most striking name is Don Airey on Keyboards. All members seem to be at the top of their game and this band screams for large audiences. The timing of summer festivals always conflicts with holiday plans but I note they are at Headbangers Open Air and Cambridge Rock festival, both with an interesting line-up. Keep it True already confirmed them for the 2014 (!) edition.With Lethal also confirmed, maybe worth a trip as well. I did get this CD through their website and already regret that I did not get the Carl Sentence solo CD as well. What a band

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Deep Machine - Little Devil Tilburg 5 April 2013

Admitted I did not know them 30 years ago. Deep Machine a NWOBHM band who released only demo's at the time and also this evening did not bring any music on CD to sell. Thanks to the internet with myspace and Youtube I could see that I might like to see this band, so a train to Tilburg was an option. By the way I am in good company, since the 800 (!) page Encyclopedia of NWOBHM by Malc Macmillan also missed out on them.

Little Devil was unknown to me as well, like Mario who organizes annual several shows with heavy metal bands from mainly the eighties. Little Devil turned out to be a rock/metal bar, with easily over 25 kinds of beer and great music for warming up. At the back a door leads you to a similar sized venue with a small stage and yet another bar. Perfect location for the bands history forgot to make famous. Mario handed me a folder and I could see that amongst others this year Vicious Rumours, Girlschool, Savage and Avenger shall be playing this venue. Repeat visits lurking around the corner.

First we had Red Dragon to open. Musically OK although not shocking, but still spoiling my evening partially. Starting too late and facing sound problems with a stop of 20? minutes, made me realize that the last train home would leave before Deep Machine would end their show. Also this stop was basically passed in total silence, showing their experience on stage is somewhat rusty. Since Red Dragon is a band from the early eighties fromTilburg they brought many relatives including the next generation. This is good for atmosphere, but telling to the audience to stay for main act Deep Machine and than disappear slowly with all band and fans, lacked some respect I guess.

Than around 22:22 Deep Machine took the stage. Opening with a to me unknown song, the volume seemed to be pretty loud. but guitars were good and I liked the straight forward attitude of no nonsense and play hard. Then followed two songs I do know, Demon Preacher and Wit Child and recognizing songs did help to appreciate the show even more. From here we treated to me unknown territory, but the heavier edge of NWOBHM style was to my liking. I did hear the Asylum pass by, but unfortunately after some 45 minutes into the show I started looking at my phone, keeping last train in mind. I could see the setlist before me on stage showing they would play 17 songs (numbers did help, I did not count upside down) During number 11 of which I forgot the title I had to go to the station, which is very close, so I missed their Anthem Deep Machine.

Ending with not a really packed house, maybe these unknown bands do not attract audiences after all. I did highly appreciate the evening, learning about Little Devil, Mario and his good programming and it proved that British bands have a natural stage act, that Dutch bands too often seem to lack.
For those who might consider similar shows in the future and think crisis. The entrance costs 5 Euro (so the 10 Euro T-shirt was kind of obligatory, support cult bands) and an honest beer is less than 2 Euro's so, what can keep you at home?