Gig Review: Whitesnake – The Purple Tour, 19.11.2015

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The concert started right on time at 8 pm at Vienna’s Gasometer.

The Dead Daisies, an Australian band I admittedly had not heard of before, came in support of the main act, promoting their latest album Revolución.
Judging by the logo, I thought they were up to play some punk music, but what they actually – and rather logically – did was hard rock. Generally, The Dead Daisies are a highly professional musical collective, with lots of musicians linked to bands such as Guns N‘ Roses, The Rolling Stones, Thin Lizzy and many more. So as the lights went off, they were announced by Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love guitar riff, fused with Black Sabbath’s War Pigs lyrics.
This time, they came in a pack of six: singer John Corabi (who also sang in Mötley Crüe) was vocally backed by lead guitarist Richard Fortus (who looks frighteningly similar to Ronnie Wood from The Rolling Stones), an incredibly friendly-looking rhythm guitarist whose name I was not yet able to find out (it was not David Lowy), bassist Marco Mendoza and keyboardist Dizzy Reed. Last but not least there was the insane drummer Brian Tichy, frequently throwing up his drumsticks metres high into the air – catching them again a few seconds later (most of the times, anyway).
They opened their set with Midnight Moses and continued with songs such as Evil, Mexico or Lock’n’Load. In the end, they finished off by covering The BeatlesHelter Skelter…which was of course harder than the original version.
The Dead Daisies are a band that’s really got it together, showing energy and fun while performing, and were thus an ideal motivator for the audience for what was to come up next: Whitesnake.

whitesnake_bandThis time, the announcement’s Led Zeppelin-riff was fused with James Brown’s Sexmachine – indeed an interesting combination.
Having released their latest „Purple Album“ (a compilation of the three Deep Purple albums from the time when David Coverdale was their singer) on May 15th this year, Whitesnake are currently on Purple Tour through Europe.
It is thus self-explaining that there were no new songs to be heard that night. So Whitesnake took a pretty safe path playing all their own evergreens (e.g. Love Ain’t No Stranger, Fool for Your Loving, Here I Go Again and Still of the Night in the encore), but mainly Deep Purple’s old hits, such as Burn, The Gypsy, Mistreated, You Keep On Moving, You Fool No One as well as Soldier of Fortune (played with only one acoustic guitar, or, as Coverdale called it: „a nice piece of wood“), which was the part of the evening where I truly had to hold back by tears, considering this song to be one of my absolute favourites of all bands – all time.
Coverdale certainly is one of the best singers within the hard rock (and partly hair metal) genre, which he proved once again. Even though I would have hoped for a few more of the slower songs, since those are also a strength of his, in contrast to his falsettos and rough parts.

Like on every great and legendary rock concert, you can be sure of hearing extended solos in the form of one-man-shows with nobody else on stage. So, first came guitarist Reb Beach, followed by guitarist Joel Hoekstra, who were „competing“ for the better solo; then came drummer Tommy Aldridge, who first went crazy with his drumsticks, only to throw them into the audience a few minutes later and continue playing without them, banging the drums with his bare hands – amazing! It wasn’t exactly an outstanding solo, I’ve heard more interesting ones, but the way he played it was something I hadn’t seen before. Special credits go to his steady double bass which was flawless even while standing.
The other touring musicians are the Italian Michele Luppi on keys and the rather young (and vocally very talented) bassist Michael Devin.

The atmosphere and musicians‘ vibes of this gig reminded me very much of the AC/DC gig in May: old but gold rockers who know they have achieved everything, yet happily continue doing what they love so much – just for the hell of it…always with a smile on their lips and a bit of madness in their eyes.
Raising awareness of the current happenings around the world, Mr. Coverdale chose the words for that night’s goodbye as follows: „Thank you for having the courage to come here, Vienna; be safe and happy and don’t let anyone make you afraid!“

Further information / photo credits: (The Dead Daisies) © (Whitesnake) ©


Gig Review: Graveyard – Innocence & Decadence Tour, 09.11.2015

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What happened on this year’s November 9th is the best example for a win-win situation: both Swedish bands Backyard Babies and Graveyard released their latest albums in August and September, which means that both of them are currently on tour. Since they were about to come to Vienna on the same day, they simply fused their shows, bringing along three more Swedish support bands. So for the price of one act, you got to see five – how often does that happen? Exactly.

The first of five Swedish bands I saw on the evening of November 9th were three young women in red overalls, who followed JUNKSTARS, a band I unfortunately did not manage to see. They came in support of Backyard Babies.
heavy tigerThe female musicians call themselves Heavy Tiger, a name which at first sounded and looked like heavy metal to me. This assumption was wrong, though (Misleading Band Names, the 1st). What followed was some steady classic rock – or, as the band calls it, „High Voltage Rock ’n‘ Roll“. High voltage can indeed be confirmed, for I cannot recall having seen such energetic female rockers live on stage…ever. I was thus very pleased to see these girls with songs such as Chinatown, Girls Got Balls or Heavy Tiger (short but great guitar solo!), which are all to be found on their debut album Saigon Kiss from 2014.

With Maja Linn’s dynamic guitar and vocal performance, backed by solid bass (Sara Frendin) & drums (Astrid Carsbring), this power trio has what I like to call a good foundation. I approved of the way the musicians presented themselves on stage: no explicit front figure, instead guitarist and bassist chose to arrange themselves slightly in front of the drummer’s left and right side. Switching singers (Carsbring took over for one song) and choreographical elements added quality to the performance. Even though the whole thing would look even better with bassist Sara Frendin being less static. The other thing is that Heavy Tiger played songs that were good, but all similar in style, there was no contrast within their set. I would recommend to always include something that is a bit different from the main idea, no matter how little time there is on stage, to prove yourself versatile, which I definitely trust this group to be.


imperial state electric

This band, formed by Nicke Andersson after the break-up of The Hellacopters in 2008, is a true gem. Imperial State Electric is a band that successfully pursues real rock music. The group came in support of Graveyard.

The group consists of Andersson (vocals, guitar), Dolf de Borst (bass, backing vocals), Tobias Egge (guitar, backing vocals) and Thomas Eriksson (drums), whereby the formation underwent several constellations throughout the gig. Andersson is singing most of the time, for one song, however, Egge became the singer. At first I thought this wasn’t such a good idea, because his backing vocals hadn’t convinced me up until then. I was thus really surprised that he actually did have a powerful voice! For another song, de Borst handed his bass to Egge, and took over the vocals as new „frontman“. De Borst, in contrast to the more melodic and bright Egge, had a rougher sound. Things like switching instruments and singer are so fantastic because they prove how talented and experienced the musicians are, guaranteeing very high quality, especially if everything goes right, which it absolutely did. Fascinating, too, was that all three singers have completely different voices and timbres – so within one setlist, ISE practically created three bands instead of one. Nevertheless, Andersson is the most talented singer of the three, and the best choice for a frontman.

Though I simply could not tell which band or artist exactly ISE reminded me of, there was hardly a rock band it didn’t remind me of. These musicians seem to be taking out all the good bits and pieces of several great rock bands, be it Guns N‘ Roses, The Darkness, The Who: name it and you will find something of it in Imperial State Electric’s music. This does not mean that they simply copied – they do have their own style, but you can hear that they know rock music – and you can see it, too: their performance included perfectly simultaneous twin guitar sequences, a by-the-way Day Tripper riff within a song, and last but not least a great ending, where all three singers fell to their knees at once. Well done!


backyard babies

My expectations for Backyard Babies were high, considering that this band exists for over twenty years, got a Swedish Grammy and supported artists such as Alice Cooper, AC/DC or Motörhead.

Founded in 1987, singer Tobias Fischer was replaced by Nicke Borg after only two years. By Borg’s side are Dregen on lead guitar, who also had several projects with Nicke Andersson from ISE, Johan Blomqvist on bass and Peder Carlsson on drums. The group functions, definitely, the musicians are mostly energetic (especially DregenBlomqvist not so much) and work together – but I expected more. Even though they call their genre rock ’n‘ roll, I think what they do is punk rock. Or did, since it seems their best days are over. The first half of the show did have a rough and punky edge considering the songs, but it all turned shallow toward the end, with songs like Th1rt3en or Nothing, White Light District or Bloody Tears from the latest album Four By Four. Their melodies were nothing special, the lyrics boring. It almost sounded like pop music in the end – some sort of Bon Jovi trying to do punk rock. The track Wasted Years was not an exception – but that one had a catchy tune, I’ll give them that.


Finally, Graveyard made their way onto the stage. Graveyard, too, is a band from Sweden, which formed in Gothenburg in 2006. On September 25th they released their new album Innocence & Decadence, from which (among others) they included the fantastic track Too Much Is Not Enough and The Apple and the Tree in that night’s setlist. There was no greeting, the band started playing right away, and actually kept on – without break – for the rest of the show.

Not knowing too much about Graveyard, I was not sure what exactly to expect (Misleading Band Names, the 2nd) – besides being aware of the band defining itself as a classic heavy rock, blues and psychedelia group I only knew a few songs beforehand, mostly from their second album Hisingen Blues. From that album, released in 2011, Graveyard played the cover title Hisingen Blues, Buying Truth, as well as The Siren in the encore, which is one of their best-known singles – and in my eyes the best song of the gig.

It was interesting to see that while during the first half of the concert guitarist Jonathan Ramm was doing most of the solo-work, it was singer Joakim Nilsson who presented his guitar skills in the second half. I was impressed by the fact that this did not diminish his vocal performance at all – Nilsson has an incredibly strong and uncompromising voice, which he proved throughout the whole show. Moreover, the singer shows great variety in style, that ranges from melancholic blues tunes to high and loud screams. The only thing that puzzled me about him is that on one hand you have this great performance, while on the other Nilsson seemed to be sort of tired or down – but maybe that is just his way, who knows.

Jonathan Ramm as well as bassist Truls Mörck, who replaced past member Rikard Edlund, seemed rather unmotivated to me throughout the set. This was actually the overall-impression I got from Graveyard, even if they played really well. The only exception, in that respect, was drummer Axel Sjöberg, who can doubtlessly be called a living machine. He seemed to be putting his whole self into this show – and I am confident he does so every time. Generally, Graveyard have quite a hard, edgy sound, with a few calm, bluesy parts „sprinkled“ over the songs. Interestingly – and with good reason -, those were exactly the parts the audience loved most. I would have hoped for more, because that is the style which in my eyes fits the band’s sound and strengths best, but it remained exclusive in that night’s setlist.

Further information / photo credits: (JUNKSTARS) © (Heavy Tiger) ©

Gig Review: Psycho Village, 30.10.2015

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Am Abend vor Halloween versammelten sich sechs Bands im Wiener Viper Room zu einem musikalischen Potpourri:

apollon’s return
Still Thinking
Rocky Mc Callister
Pink Moon
Psycho Village
Shade of Illusion



Ich traf zum Beginn der Gruppe Rocky Mc Callister ein, die beim Soundcheck – zu meiner Freude – etwas punkig klangen. Die 2012 gegründete Band aus Strasshof, bestehend aus vier Musikern (Josko – Vocals/Guitar, Bizzy – Vocals/Guitar, Börni – Vocals/Bass/Trumpet & Matuz – Drums) konnte mich allerdings nicht überzeugen. Denn obwohl das Repertoire der Truppe durchaus sing-along Material beinhaltet (was ja zur Fan-Gewinnung kein schlechter Ansatz ist), handelt es sich beim Frontmann um einen der stimmlich wenig begabten Sorte. Töne-Treffen kam hier nur selten vor, gleiches gilt für die Backing Vocals des Bassisten. Die des zweiten Gitarristen waren stimmlich zwar schon eher in der richtigen Gegend, allerdings zu schüchtern.
Abgesehen vom relativ tighten Drummer war die Band instrumental eher bescheiden unterwegs (Taktschwierigkeiten, nicht-simultane twin guitar-Parts, …) – was ich mir bei Punk noch einreden lasse. Dass dann aber so gut wie jeder Song schnulzige Lovesong-Lyrics aufweist, passt wiederum nicht ins Bild.
In meinen Augen muss hier noch viel gemacht werden – eine kleine, aber tüchtig mitsingende Fangemeinde gibt es hier dennoch.



Veränderung erwartete das Publikum bei Pink Moon. Im Vergleich zu vor ein paar Monaten stellt man nun fest: Glockenhosen weg, Mantel weg, Haare ab. Kündigt sich hier ein Imagewechsel an? Im kurzen 30-Minuten-Set präsentierten die vier Musiker u.a. drei brandneue Songs, darunter Fly Away – die beste Nummer des gesamten Abends. Bei einem gut durchdachten Aufbau sowohl stimmlich als auch instrumental durchaus verdient. Besonders positiv: die deutlich hörbare Steigerung des Sängers Alexander Baulesch, der sich nun auch in etwas tieferen Lagen wohlzufühlen scheint.
Vielleicht ist es nach dem Optischen nun auch Zeit für ein paar veränderte Sound-Einstellungen? Vorschlag: Stimme lauter, Gitarre leiser und weniger Bass-Distortion.



Der Headliner des Abends war Psycho Village, eine zuweilen ziemlich erfolgreiche Band: drei Top-10-Singles in den österreichischen Download-Charts, knapp 10.000 verkaufte Tonträger und Auftritte mit u.a. Placebo, Imagine Dragons, Queens of the Stone Age und Korn lassen hohe Erwartungen entstehen.
Tatsächlich hatte man gleich beim energetischen Einstieg den Eindruck, hier ist ein Trio, das weiß, was es tut. Vor allem Sänger Daniel Kremsner darf sich getrost Rampensau nennen. Daumen hoch gibt es auch für die Filmleinwand im Hintergrund. An dieser Stelle endet das Lob allerdings – viel mehr war nämlich nicht dahinter.
Kremsners Stimme ist zwar kräftig, aber nicht präzise. Ohrwurm-Potential mag der ein oder andere Song – beim ein oder anderen Teenie – vielleicht haben, doch spätestens beim Cover von Ushers DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love kam ich mir vor wie im falschen Film. Ohne an dieser Stelle auf die musikalische Fragwürdigkeit des Originals eingehen zu wollen, muss ich doch klar stellen: das war ein eindeutiger Reinfall. Musiker, die sich als Modern Rock / Post-Grunge – Gruppe definieren, und dann sowas? Ich bin der letzte Mensch, der Covers ablehnt, vor allem wenn man dem Original eine persönliche Note verleiht. Sie sind wohl nicht zuletzt der sicherste Weg, das Publikum mitzureißen – ein paar Gedanken zu Titelauswahl und Interpretation sollte man sich dennoch machen.
Vielleicht hatte die Truppe einen schlechten Tag, vielleicht ist aber tatsächlich nicht mehr dahinter – eine Annahme, die durch das Fehlen jeglicher Zugabe-Rufe plausibel erscheint.



Abschließend betraten Shade of Illusion die Bühne. Drei Instrumentalisten (Drummer, Bassist, Gitarrist) und eine Sängerin, alle vier im Grunde in Ordnung. Instrumental hält man sich hier an gängige Rock-Schemen, die zwar keine großen Überraschungen beinhalten, aber solide sind. Training in puncto Sicherheit und Tightness ist aber auch hier sicherlich nicht verkehrt.
Die ersten angestimmten Töne der Frontfrau hatten auf mich einen durchaus positiven Eindruck: mit einem eher tiefen Timbre hört man der energiegeladenen Sängerin gerne zu. Bald aber wurde klar, dass sie sich ausschließlich in tiefen Lagen beweisen konnte. Sobald höhere Tonlagen oder Schleifer nach oben kamen, kippte die Stimme. Das Halten von Tönen erfordert Übung und ist alles andere als einfach – gleichzeitig aber auch unbedingt notwendig.




Zu den beiden ersten Bands apollon’s return (Experimental Rock) und Still Thinking (Alternative / Indie) habe ich es an dem Abend leider nicht geschafft. Aber der nächste Gig kommt bestimmt!


Mehr Infos / Photo Credits: © © © ©

© Still Thinking

© Apollon’s Return