There is a nice selection for this week's column with two live reviews and an eclectic selection of heavy music ranging from the rather odd to the oddly named.
Evanescence at the Hammersmith Apollo, London:
Monday night Evanescence played Hammersmith Apollo to a sold out audience who had paid £22.50 plus booking fees to see the band. What they got was less than an hour of Ms Amy Lee on an ego trip, which included the confiscation of cameras even from the press (more on that later), obviously heavily tweaked and enhanced vocals, dire sound with over-emphasized bass, and a couple of fake piano solos which were obviously not played live.
Add to this the complete lack of cohesion of the band, simpatico with the audience, and obvious ego of Ms Lee and you get a lack lustre performance that disappointed quite a few people I spoke with afterwards (and may have cost them a few fans). The paranoia about cameras came direct from Ms Lee; although nothing was done about the masses of people filming the gig with their phone cameras.
I think I might have figured out the problem with Ms Lee being filmed. First, her voice was terrible whenever it popped out of enhancements. Second, it looked as if she was pregnant, which is most interesting considering the band cancelled Tuesday's gig. This might have explained the huge skirt she was wearing as she flounced around the stage.
As you would expect the band's set included all their known songs like "Call Me When You're Sober" from both albums. But with only being on 60 minutes there was nothing in the way of extras. There was no male vs. female interplay on "Going Under" from Fallen. There was clear tension between the band and Ms Lee. It seems that Evanescence is in no way a band anymore, merely Ms Amy Lee and hired hands.
Ms Lee and her band have been usurped by Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Within Temptation and the like. Times have moved on and she has not. I suspect that the kiddies who were at their first gig, and there were quite a few, were too green to realize they had been completely ripped off, but the rest knew they had been sold a lemon.
It was a truly disappointing evening from a once impressive band and artist.
Thunder at the London Forum:
Wednesday saw a far more professional gig in ole' London town. But then again Thunder rarely disappoints live. They may have their off nights, but I have never seen a pants gig from the lads. Here they are touring on the back of their excellent Robert Johnson's Tombstone, which some people seem to have got into, even wearing devil horns to the gig.
The audience was damn near a sell out, with a lot of Harry's fans in attendance. If one considers the amount of bald men, the average age was just a wee bit higher than Mondays night's Evanescence's gig by about a decade or so. And just in case you care the venue had John Smith's Ale on special for the night. Real, well mass produced ale for a real rock band.
The band played the title track to the new album as well as firm fan faves like "Love Walks In," "Backstreet Symphony" (with which they opened), and everything else you would expect. The band was tight and on cracking form. They all had lots of fun with the crowd throughout the gig and gave 100% as always. Thunder really is consummate professionals both on and off stage. There is no better touring band in the UK right now. If you ever get a chance to see the lads, go see 'em and tell 'em Marty sent you.
Electric Eel Shock – You Bastard
This lot of nutty Japanese has produced a remix EP with three tracks that are interesting, intriguing, and completely unclassifiable hard rock. It's groovy, heavy, and completely nutty as hell. Then again Japanese and nutty is not exactly unusual now is it? There are two versions of "You Bastard" with both the single and album version of the track which differ by a few seconds.
Their last tour of the UK sold out and the current is doing rather well I hear. I shall be seeing the band next week for my sins. This EP will be on sale at the gigs for all those who can't get enough of EES. Check the band out and you won't be disappointed. Funk stoner music sounds good to me.
Pillar: The Reckoning
An impressive album this is even without the DVD with over 120 minutes of extra stuff on it. It includes a live gig plus other goodies – like each band member waxing muso and a track by track examination by the band of the album. Now, I didn't take to this lot at first as it was a bit too "modern rock" for me with a bit more screamo vocals than I would have liked. Then, the quality of this band sunk in as I rode around on the tube. This lot are a bunch of great musos with some serious Rush-type bass and drumming in the rhythm section.
There are two tracks here that are catchy as stink "Angel in Disguise" and the truly sublime "Where ever the Wind Blows." I have never heard of this lot and I feel like I have been missing something. This is an excellent example of what modern rock should be. You can be current and still show you can really play. A hidden gem to say the least.
The Sinisters: Terminal Volume
Daft as stink and punky trash rock with lots of attitude and the tongue firmly placed in cheek. There is a perky little number on here called "Sonic Iguana" for example, "Just got Bored" and the rather fun "Snakehead." Is this stuff cutting edge or clever? No, not really but a bit of brain-dead fun goes quite a long way methinks. Toronto based nutters have toured with Backyard Babies and their ilk. Give me this of over the winging tripe on the radio any day.
Vampire Moose: Serenade the Samurai
Besides the extraordinarily daft but terribly amusing name and logo this lot play a rather good type of thrash metal that sounds not unlike a pissed off moose charging at you. Subtlety is not to be found on their 11 track CD which ends with the wonderfully named "Estaban was Eaten." This is the type of metal album that one puts on when one has had just a wee bit too much over-complicated over-orchestrated power metal. "Monstersgotamotherfuckinbomb" – You gotta love it and all this from St Louis. It's well worth the listen.
Well ladies and gentle
moosemen that is your lot for this week. As always check out live music where ever you can, whether or not it's crap you are supporting live music. Keep safe and rocking.