What a week! 3 shows, 2 German ex- Scorpions guitar gods and Anvil the forefathers of thrash metal!
February 15th, 2012
ULI JON ROTH
“21st Century Renaissance Artist“
Legendary guitarist and singer Uli Jon Roth from Germany was an early contributor to neo classical heavy metal and he is the inventor of the Sky Guitar (which has extra frets and a six octave range). He was in the Scorpions 1973-1978 (replaced Michael Schenker), Electric Sun 1979-1985 and since then has been playing solo music.
I went to see him play at El Corazon in Seattle and what a great show it was! The set list was a mix of Uli’s work over his career including: Scorpions – plenty of songs like Sails Of Charon, We’ll Burn The Sky, In Trance and Electric Sun’s Firewind. They even played some Jimi Hendrix like All Along The Watchtower to finish an excellent show (late for a Tuesday night, it finished just before 2am!). Uli is a huge Jimi fan and it was a fitting way to finish a show in his home town of Seattle (interestingly he was romantically involved with Jimi’s last girlfriend Monika Danneman for many years before she took her own life in 1996).
The band members were: Vocals – Piero Leporale (Italy) – a bit of an unknown but has a fantastic range (kind of looks like a long-haired Tom Baker from Dr Who!), Guitarists – David Klosinski and Andre Mertens (Germany) – great young guitarists, both played really well (one funny moment was when Andre had the wrong guitar for a song, Uli stopped the show and politely admonished him…..”he is new”), Bass – Martin Motnik (Germany – but lives in US) and Drums – Michael Ehré (Germany).
Apart from Uli and Piero this was a very young band, but they played brilliantly throughout the night. You could tell they all had a lot of respect for Uli. Prior to this show Uli ran what is known as a Sky Academy session where he conducts guitar workshops and shares his musical knowledge and experiences. What a man to learn from!
February 18th, 2012
Metal on metal
It’s the only way
To hell with tomorrow
Let’s live for today
Anvil are the Canadian band that started to rise in 1982 with their song Metal On Metal and influenced so many then upcoming thrash metal bands (Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax in particular) then they kind of disappeared for 25 years! Suddenly out of nowhere insert their one time teenage roadie from the 1980’s Sacha Gervasi who just happened to have become a famous movie maker (The Terminal) and you get Anvil: The Story Of Anvil (2008)…….overnight the world had discovered these guys never went away and were still making albums and rocking hard (“At fourteen they made a pact to rock together for ever. They meant it.“)! They then toured with AC/DC on some US dates in 2009 (I saw one of these shows in Foxborough, MA). Since then they have regained popularity and have been touring the world ever since.
This is the fourth time I have seen Anvil (last time was in Vancouver, Canada in 2011) and they always put on an enthusiastic and fun show. In fact I like them so much I am even a life member of their Metal Pounders Union – Local 666!
This show at El Corazon in Seattle did not disappoint! It was also a time of change for the band as long time bassist G5 had just left the band before they started the winter leg of the Juggernaut of Justice North American tour (“musical differences” apparently) so we got to see a new lineup: Steve “Lips” Kudlow – lead vocals, lead guitar (1978–present), Robb Reiner – drums (1978–present) and the new member Sal Italiano – bass (2012).
The set list was a classic run through of old favourites and some new songs off their latest album Juggernaut Of Justice. Highlights included 666, School Love, Winged Assassins, This Is Thirteen, Mothra, Metal On Metal, Forged in Fire and an epic drum solo by Robb.
Lips put on an excellent frontman performance including playing guitar with his mouth, then with his famed dildo! Later he was electrocuting his tongue with a guitar cable….a fun night!
After the show I met up with Robb and Sol for some photos and to get some album covers signed. This was the first time Lips didn’t appear after a show which was a bit strange as I have met him a few times in this situation (and once randomly at Rockefeller Center in NYC).
February 19th, 2012
MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP
Michael Schenker is well-known to anyone who has a love of heavy metal or hard rock. He has played lead guitar in some very famous bands: Scorpions 1972-1973 & 1978 with his brother Rudolph Schenker, UFO 1973-1978 , Michael Schenker Group (MSG) 1979-1987, McAuley Schenker Group 1987-1993 (also conveniently MSG) and once again the Michael Schenker Group 1993-present. My all time favourite MSG song is Assault Attack from 1982 featuring Graham Bonnet (who was also in Rainbow)!
Currently Michael Schenker is touring “Temple Of Rock” around he world, but with a twist. He is featuring different line ups for Europe, North America and Asia! The tour started in the US in February 2012 featuring: Vocals – Robin McAuley (no stranger to MSG from 1987-1993 the group was called the McAuley Schenker Group), Bass – Elliott “Dean” Rubinson (owner of Dean Guitars who just happens to make Uli Jon Roth’s Sky Guitar series and a Michael Schenker guitar series too!), Keyboards & Guitar – Wayne Findlay (MSG) and Drums – Pete Holmes (Black ‘n Blue).
Schenker rarely said a word and just let his guitar playing speak for itself. The set list was rich with MSG, Scorpions and UFO songs, which all added up to a great show! Some of the song highlights included the epic guitar intro Into the Arena, Armed and Ready, On and On, Rock Bottom and the second encore finale Doctor Doctor.
The smoke machine and security staff curtailed much photography for the night though. I didn’t realise they were flashing a torch at me, then eventually a security guy tapped me on the shoulder and said if I didn’t turn the flash off they would throw me out……whatever!