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Music Reviews: Evanescence and Thunder Live and Electric Eel Shock, Pillar, The Sinisters and Vampire Moose

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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.

Live Reviews

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.

CD Reviews

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 gentlemoosemen 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.

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About Marty Dodge

  • Jack

    I disagree

  • Andrew Ian Dodge

    With what do you disagree pray tell?

  • TMurphy

    I must add a few comments about the Evanescence gig review. There was no ‘interplay’ between the male and female vocals on “Going Under” because that is the way the track is supposed to be – it’s the same on the single. Perhaps whoever did this review needs to do some research. “Bring me To Life” has male/female vocal interplay.

    I do agree that there was far too much bass, to a point where is was the dominating sound. I saw the band play in May 2004 in Birmingham and they were far better at that gig. Ms Lee’s voice was pretty poor at the Apollo, although I’m not sure if it was her actual vocals or the general audio set up at the venue which was the problem.

    As for the piano not being played live – are you sure? I heard a few duff notes hit by Ms lee. Do you think they were added deliberately? The piano was played live, no doubt about it.

    Amy lee, pregnant?! Is this relevant?! First of all, I doubt she is, and secondly, if she actually was, so what?! Absolutely irrelevant.

    Clear tension between Amy Lee and the rest of the band?! I, along with several thousand others failed to spot this. Don’t get me wrong, unlike many of the members of evboard, evthread, etc., I am not a fan who defends Evanescence to the death and will be the first to say that Amy Lee is on the brink of becoming a prima donna, but tension I did not see.

    Evanescence unsurped by Nightwish, Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation? You reckon? In what way? Album sales at least would suggest that the reviewer is talking an absolute sack of shit. I am a fan of these bands and I’m sure they would be very grateful of the same kind of success that Evanescence have enjoyed over the last three years.

    It’s a pity that the reviewer went to the Apollo with preconceptions which proved to be detrimental to the review. Too many personal comments and not enough about the actual gig.

  • Marty Dodge

    The piano was not live. My band-mate who has been playing piano since he was five noticed there were notes that she was not playing with her left on the far end of the piano but were still apparant. There were no duff notes.

    Preconceptions? Have you read my reviews of Evanescences albums? I went there expecting a cracking show. I noticed you failed to mention the fact the band were on for less than an hour. Oh yes and I was in the pub near the gig full of fans who were less than impressed with the gig.

    Amy Lee & Co’s latest CD does not hold a candle to Lacuna Coil’s latest release…not even close. That is what I meant. Before you claim I had pre-concieved notions actually read the review and read my reviews of the band’s other material.

  • Rat

    “Personal attacks are not allowed. Please read our comment policy.” I suppose that is unless you’re reviewing Evanescence.
    Amy pregnant lmfao, you just don’t have a clue do you! There were 3000+ satisfied fans at Hammersmith, all of them know why Manchester was cancelled which seems to have escaped you. If you didn’t like the way it sounded,… thats your opinion, but do your homework before attacking individuals next time m8.

  • Pamela Alvarez

    El reportaje anterior deja ver claramente una falta de profesionalismo al dejar que prejuicios e impresiones personales tiñan una nota.
    Don Marty Dodge, le sugiero que trabaje un poco más en sus notas antes de publicarlas, como dicen “por la boca muere el pez”. Periodistas mediocres abundan, hace falta una entrega de información más clara, objetiva y por sobretodo correcta, por parte de ud y sus colegas.

  • Mark

    Whoa, your review was seriously disgusting. Get a job.

  • Paul

    John Smith’s is awful ale in all it’s forms. Real mass-produced ale can be much better than that !

  • Marty Dodge

    I understand Portugese and what that guy wrote definetely is a personal attack…however I am flattered fanbois/girls are attacking me in more than one language.

    How the hell is suggesting someone pregnant a personal attack?

    Yeah John Smiths is pretty vile but there are few mass produced ales that are much better maybe Bass. I am not keen on creme ales in general but anything is better than lager!

  • Christopher Rose

    Marty, you may possibly understand Portuguese but the remarks in #6 are written in Spanish and are not a personal attack at all…

  • Marty Dodge

    It is Spanish…got the wrong end of the stick in the email. Its a load of bollocks however.

    una falta de profesionalismo al dejar que prejuicios

    I just love it when people say I lack professionalism (I don’t get paid for this gig btw.) if they don’t agree with me. That could be taken as a personal attack but I just think its pathetic.

    I had no prejudices going into the gig and my source of the ticket & the person I went with, and my fiancee will all tell you I was rather keen to attend the gig. I think the fact I go on about being disappointed demonstrates that I expected a good gig. It should also be clear from the review and my past writings that I am keen on the genre of female-fronted goth metal.

  • Em

    “Amy Lee & Co’s latest CD does not hold a candle to Lacuna Coil’s latest release…”

    WTF?! Lacuna Coil didn’t even WRITE Enjoy the Silence. At least Evanescence released their OWN music for the first single! But I’m not out to attack LC. I just hate people talking shit like it’s fact!

  • Andrew Ian Dodge

    And the relevance of what is released as a single first? Don’t you know that its the record company who generally decides what single is released first?

  • Mr Tyke

    First point is “Surely there can be room for differences of opinions without degenerating to name calling”.

    to go on: I was there and was seriously underwelmed. For a headline act to only play an hour is a bit pathetic. I am a fan of Evanesence, having bought both albums etc. etc. I spoke to a few fans afterwards in the pub who were also less than impressed at shelling out over twenty quid for a short set with crap sound (its not the Apollo as I have heard other bands sound great there).

    Definately not as good a line up as Fallen but then this now seems more like an Amy Lee solo project (any one know what happened to Guns ‘n’ Roses once Slash left?)

    From what I could see about the piano, from my vantage point to the left of the audience looking almost firectly down the line of the keyboard, there did appear to be something odd going on as her left hand was playing notes that sounded to be coming from a different (lower) part of the keyboard. Now, if it had been a real Grand Piano then it would not have been possible though it could have been a keyboard in a piano body… or may be an invisible long left pinky finger…

    Last point… where did the femail backing vocals come from? Last time I checked the human voice box can only produce one note at a time. Not a critisism per se as Amy really can sing; please listen to “My Immortal” if you don’t beleive me (and heard her live before) just that this is an intersting use of technology (eg Antares Vocal Producer can do this in real time and is a rack mounter device which has been used by others to similar effect)

    I will continue to listento/go to see live Evanesence/Amy Lee in the furture as one less than optimal performance does not reduce my liking for the music.

  • Chris Beaumont

    As enjoyable as this discourse has been, I have to add a correction.
    It’s Vampire Mooose, not Moose.

    Also, good review of all Marty. I have been attacked for having a different opinion of shows other than those in attendance, nothing wrong with having a different opinion, but you knew that.

  • Andrew Ian Dodge

    I wrote it properly…alas I think an editor got to that one. It does happen alas.

  • Chris Beaumont

    Will have to see what happens when I post my review of it….

  • Ashley

    Maybe calling someone “pregnant” isn’t a personal attack…when the person IS pregnant. When they’re not, it’s just a nice way of calling them fat.

    Besides, wtf does her body shape have to do with her performance and the set? Oh, yeah…NOTHING. I think you ran out of things to say and wanted more venom in there to rile people up so you can come on here and read the comments and get your pathetic kicks from it. “OH NOES, people don’t like me!”

    I agree with Mark. You need something more constructive to do with your time.

  • Marty Dodge

    Ashley…do the words pot kettle black mean anything to you?

    I was not the only to think that she looked pregnant; in fact I was convinced of it by wait for it…a woman I spoke to in the pub after the gig.

  • Rat

    As I said before, do your reserch, then you’ll know who is and isn’t pregnant when talking about Evanescence, you might even find out why the Manchester gig was cancelled, Unless you base everything you say on what you overhear in pubs.

  • Marty Dodge

    Well my source of tickets wasn’t told why it was cancelled and he was press. So obviously the band are far more keen to tell their fans than the press…didn’t see anything in the other music press outlets here in the UK either not totalrock, CMU etc etc.

    My pregnancy observation was based on at least four people watching Ms Lee’s performance. It was speculation simple as that. Take it for what you will but calling a personal attack is ludicrous.

    It was a lame arse performance plain and simple…off night or what I know not but to get attacked this way by fanboys and girls says far more about them than either me or the band.

  • rachel

    The show was canceled because the guitarist John has a wife named Shelley who happens to be having a baby. Ms Lee is not expecting.

  • SeVen

    well. you lose. hahahaha!

  • vivusvici

    Unfortunately I didn’t attend the London gig, but I’m certain that the reason the Manchester concert was cancelled was because John’s wife was having a baby and he wanted to be there for the birth.
    Even if Amy Lee is pregnant, it’s not worth pointing out unless it’s been in an official statement from her or the band. To be honest, speculations like this aren’t any of our business until she says it is.
    I have to say, despite being a dedicated fan of the band I can understand why she would use enhancements and refuse to play a live piano solo. For one, she’s had problems with playing piano in the past (which can be found anywhere – youtube, etc. most of the mistakes are just plain funny when she laughs along) and people have pointed out before that her live vocals aren’t usually as strong as the studio recordings. I saw Evanescence live in May 2004 and I noticed that her voice was slightly weak, so she may have just been determined to put on a better performance.

    From all the reviews I’ve read about this particular gig, this is certainly the worst. Not that it’s a bad thing, because it’s tough to express a negative opinion when you know you’re going to get flamed for it by the fans. But from all the other reviews, I’ve gathered that it was an amazing night and everyone thinks Evanescence are well and truly back. I can’t say how good it was myself seeing as I wasn’t there, but I believe everyone has their own thoughts about the band and a few speculations and accusations are not going to change mine.

  • Josh the therapist

    i got amy preggers. She wanted to make some extra bucks so she started turning tricks near my hotel. It was only a booty call, i swear

  • Morrigan

    Dear Mr Dodge,

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!! My deepest suspicions about Amy not playing live piano solos have FINALLY been confirmed! And it seems the fans have noticed it all along! I think it’s a shame that with all the talented female singer-musicians out there, the one who becomes the most successful is the one who can’t even play her instrument well, even though she makes it well known to all that she’s had nine years of classical piano training. I’m so sick of critics calling her the next Tori Amos. Tori plays LIVE, and often two pianos AT ONCE (one hand on each keyboard so she can play different melodies in the same exact octave). When miss Lee finally gets her playing chops up and can FAITHFULLY produce what is recorded on her albums, then I’ll take notice.

    And unless she’s studied with Tibetan monks, there is no way she can sing two meoldies at once. Isn’t her operatic voice supposed to be the one thing going for her? For shame that she feels the need to amp even her main talent.

    And Mr Dodge is right about record companies telling the public what becomes popular, kiddies. Those well-funded fan clubs for new bands don’t just sprout out of the ground. It’s all orchestrated by the record execs.

  • thomas

    I’m half sure the guy who did this review doesn’t like amy lee at all!!!It’s kind of ridiculous how people criticize while they don’t know : How do you know it’s Mrs amy lee who didn’t want cameras? Oh and you saying she’s pregnant only because she doesn’t look like a model is really loud! you suck! Lastly, just keep in mind that in a whole tour you just can’t be perfect every day! You would have done better if you had just made a review of this gig and not told us what is your opinion of “miss amy lee” (as you call her). Your review is scornful and unfair. Oh how I’d love to see you playing live!!!!

  • Andrew Ian Dodge

    Well its not like I havent been reviewing here for a whole. I do believe I reviewed both of the band’s Evanescene’s albums both of which I was positive on.

    I know Ms Lee did not want cameras because the security staff of the venue told me so. I was on the guest-list and known to them as press yet they still banned the camera as per her requests. It is not venue policy as I have used camera (non-phone) in the Hammersmith Apollo before.

  • Ashley

    Amy? Known for operatic vocals? No. She’s an alto, plain and simple. People she’s compared to constantly though they sound nothing alike do operatic vocals, though.

  • Kirsty

    the reiew of the ev gig was shite. you obviously didn’t speak to a wide range of people at the gig. i sopke to many of them when we were waiting around after the gig and bout 90% of them really enjoyed it. i was front row and it was amazing!

    as for amy not playing piano live? thats just complete bull. as i said, i was at the front and could see everything, including the small mistakes. why would amy mime playing for this gig when she can play them near perfectly live.

    as others have said, the pregnant comment was uncalled for.

  • Lilith

    Mr Dodge,

    Is there any way you can get the word out that the piano is indeed recorded and not live?? I think this is a very important factor for potential fans to know. I know if an artist was advertising her piano training and later I found out that her live piano performances were anything but, I would be sorely put off.

  • Chris Beaumont

    TO step away from the Amy speak, my Vampire Mooose review came through with the spelling intact!

  • Marty Dodge

    I hate to tell the fanbois and girls but I had a chat with a senior member of the stage crew of Trivium that worked on an Evanescence tour a few years ago and guess what? Ms Lee neither sings nor plays the piano live. The other band mates but she does not. It was a most amusing chat over breaktfast I can tell you.

  • Frankie

    Ok, if she wasn’t singing live, it would have been fixed so that the vocals were smoothier. I have heard her sing live, and she goes flat and you can obviously hear her taking breaths. Her vocals show all the signs of a live performance.

  • Bob Slayer

    Electric Eel Shock rule!

  • evanangel

    That was a seriousli fucked up and unfair review. If u knew anything sbout the band u’d know that there isno tension, this is merely created by the media, the tuesday gig was cancelled cos johns wife was in labour, that was her singing, she has a good voice and u are totally unfair. I went and was amazed at th performance, maybe not everyone liked it but u exaggerated way too much. Next time be fairer or don’t write!

  • Eliza


    EVER TRIED TO SING AND PLAY THE PIANO LIVE PERFECTLY EVERY SECOND NIGHT FOR 18 MONTHS? UHHH, NO. OF COURSE IT WAS LIVE, DUMB-ASS. She hit a few off notes – both vocally and on the piano, which were clearly not meant to be there, which suggests… ohh, I don’t know – IT WAS LIVE. GET A LIFE. Amy is a beautiful person who has clearly made the point that she would rather cancel a concert than ‘rip off her fans’ with a lame-ass pre-recorded show. Then for you to go and mentally bash her, call the concert crap and her pregnant because she isn’t anorexic is absolute BULL SHIT. GET A LIFE. SERIOUSLY.

  • Marty Dodge

    Your commenting on a post this old and telling me to get a life? It was a crap gig that was a rip-off to her young fans as it was so short.

    And just for the record I know someone who worked on the crew on a previous tour and parts of it are pre-recorded. Stop being such a fan-girl and get a clue.

  • Brittany

    What you have to know is singers can’t be expected to sound like they do on the CD in concert. And they are going to have bad nights where they could be tired or getting over a cold. Amy lee is a magnificent singer, and she can’t be expected to sound amazing in every concert she does.

  • Brittany

    What you have to know is singers can’t be expected to sound like they do on their CD, In concert. They have bad nights like where they could be getting over a cold or they are tired. Amy Lee is a MAGNIFICENT singer and can’t be expected to sound amazing in every concert she does.

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    Amy Lee is a MAGNIFICENT singer and can’t be expected to sound amazing in every concert she does.

    If she was MAGNIFICENT then she could sound amazing every night without hardship! Playing music is a serious job that musicians should love & it should come before everything else especially if you are committed to a recording contract. As a talented professional, you should have no problems recreating the sounds you recorded in the studio. Unless, you’re a hit factory hack that has to use studio magic to create music (like Evanescence) then you need to stay home & release your crap through Myspace!!

    Maybe you fanatics should go see a real show & get off of Marty’s ass!!

    Suggested Viewing (when they come to your neighborhood):
    Dream Theater
    Iced Earth
    Strapping Young Lad
    Spock’s Beard

  • Jordan Richardson

    What Brian said.

    Also, Amy Lee ventures into her higher registry far too often to be MAGNIFICENT. That’s not going to come across very good live because it needs a certain degree of Studio Magic to help it come through on the albums. It also thrashes her voice on a long-term basis, as she almost sings from the back of her throat instead of from her diaphragm. So there’s really no way that a singer doing that can be consistently good in live performances with an extensive tour schedule. If you want to see them do reasonably well, catch them at the beginning of the tour. If you want to see reasonably good music, on the other hand, go see one of the bands Brian listed.

  • AmyLee4Eva

    This is ridiculous, Evanescence is the best, and Amy’s voice was never tweaked in any way. Watch the Anywhere But Home DVD. There are a few parts where she sings when she’s playing around or getting make-up put on. Her voice is as hauntingly beautiful as it always is. Marty Dodge, you can just bite me. This article sucks! >:(

  • AmyLee is AWESOME!

    AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS,AMY LEE ROCKS, and Marty Dodge? Well, he’s a bitter old guy looking for solace in the midst of his mid-life crisis, and he takes comfort in bashing the most talented woman in music cause he knows that he will NEVER IN HIS LIFE be half as talented as she is. You know what we Ev fans call that? We call that jealousy. And don’t even try to say something about me commenting on a article that is three years old, I just found it TODAY cause, like any Amy Lee fan, I want to read about my one and only IDOL, and what pops up? This horrid piece of crap. I love Evanescence, and Amy Lee, and I always will. And just like any other Amy basher, I will laugh at you and pity you cause you don’t know how wonderful and talented she is. She’s not another sell-out pop star, she’s Amy Lee, Queen of rock, and most beautiful woman in the world.
    And now I am done. I will not return to this article ’cause, One, I don’t care if anyone reply’s or not, and two, I can’t bear to have my eyes grace over this piece of crap again. Have a horrid day Marty Dodge.

  • EvFan27

    AmyLee is AWESOME, I couldn’t have put it better myself. Evanescence rocks!

  • MarieSparKs

    This guy’s joking right? Has he HEARD Amy sing? Simply beautiful.

  • Taryyn

    lolz, This is stupid, Evanescence rocks. OMG, did you hear? A new album in 2010! I can’t wait! Me and my boyfriend are gonna be the first two in line to buy it!

  • Cassandra Night

    LMFAO, My two bff’s found this article and sent me a link and I can see they left comments already. Marty Dodge better look out, he pissed off two of the most adamant Ev fans I know! lol, I love Amy and I don’t need a critic to tell me how to feel about her. I think she’s great. She’s a chairwoman on a national Epilepsy board. They campaign to raise awareness and find a cure. Does that not sound like a decent woman to you. Yeah, I thought so. XP

  • Marty Dodge

    Marty Dodge better look out.

    You are seriously threatening me? Not clever and I believe it violates the EULA of this site.

    What exactly does doing something for epilepsy, which is a noble endeavor, have to do with a review of a band performing live? You sad fangirl whose fanaticism blinds you to what you are saying. Threatening me because you don’t like a review is beyond pathetic.