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Review: W.A.S.P. – Live @ Vicar Street (September 25th, 2012)

Posted in Gig Review, INTO-NOISE!, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 27, 2012 by Tickets There

Looking at Blackie Lawless in his thirtieth year of fronting W.A.S.P., it would be slightly forgivable to think the band is officially washed up. A man in the latter half of his mid-fifties still wearing eye liner, very unflatteringly tight get ups and his pre-emo hair sprayed do have all the hallmarks of a band that can’t move on. ….wait a minute, the person who writes those words should be shot!!

W.A.S.P. returned to Ireland tonight in spectacular form, bringing their much anticipated 1982 – 2012 Thirty year celebration tour to Dublin’s Vicar Street! A two hour, three part show that promised to dazzle, delight and rock your socks off, delivered everything a fan could ask for (no, no ‘Animal’ so stop wondering now). With a good two hours of hits and fan favourites to hammer out, the band wasted little time taking the stage and rocketing straight into ‘On Your Knee’s which sprang the audience to life. ‘The Torture Never Stops’, ‘The Real Me’, ‘ L.O.V.E. Machine’ all follow in quick succession with Blackie seemingly determined to prove W.A.S.P. have more than enough material to allow themselves to put some of their best right up front. The iconic ‘Wild Child’blasts through the PA with raw energy and nerve shattering vocals, fuelling the most pit that’s quickly expanding in the centre of the crowd.

Finally taking time to say hello, Blackie indulges in the famous “Irish hospitality’, even going so far as to attempt an Irish accent,  as the band rattle on with a melody of  fan favourites ‘Hellion, I Don’t Need No Doctor’ and ‘Scream Until You Like It’, pauing briefly before ‘Sleeping (In the Fire)’ and ‘Forever Free’.The Headless Children’ and the classic ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’ are performed in full as the main set closers, ending amost an hour of intense, sing along hard rock. With that, band are off and the crowd settles in for one of several short films W.A.S.P. are playing between sets and encores on this tour. When the band return, they celebrate the 20th anniversary of ‘The Crimson Idol’ album with a mini set comprised of material from that album. ‘The Idol’ and ‘Misconceptions of Me’ receive the warmest greeting before another short intermission / short film.

With the audience now completely satisfied by the bands biggest hits and hardcore favourites, WASP have the easy job of finishing us off with some classic closers. Blackie takes the stage again, bandsaw arm bands shinning bright and recounts a tale where iconic W.A.S.P. guitarist Chris Holmes made the mistake of leaving change from $100 on a bar in Ireland after buying a drink. It seems poor Chris was unaware of an auld Irish tradition of using money left of the bar to buy drinks for the house – his security men saved him from likely beating when he tried to get it back. Thanking us for that experience, they kick off the encore. ‘Murders In The New Morgue (Chainsaw Charlie – \,,/)’ explodes out (sadly without the pyros some venues are getting on this tour) and sends the crowd into a frenzy. The sombre  ‘Heaven’s Hung In Black’ gets the powerful performance it deserves before W.A.S.P. finish us off with the anthematic ‘Blind In Texas’. Thanking the crowd, the band leave the stage after delivering one of the best Irish performances of their career. No Elvis, no blood, no pyros and no Animal – but W.A.S.P. don’t need them. After thirty years in the business, Blackie has amassed more than enough material and stage presence to do away with cheap gimmicks and deliver a quality show based on his music alone. Long live W.A.S.P. – see you soon!

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Review: Def Leppard, Alice Cooper, Thin Lizzy – Live @ The O2, Dublin (June 8th, 2011)

Posted in Gig Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 9, 2011 by Tickets There

Back by popular demand, Def Leppard are in Ireland after a two year absence; once again warming up for another headlining  slot at the Download Festival. Two years ago they arrived with Journey and the jaw dropping Whitesnake in tow. Tonight’s line-up is even more astonishing with the legendary Thin Lizzy and Mr. shock-rock / Mr. Rock N’ Roll Hall of famer, the one, the only Alice Cooper, around to beef things up. The crowd in the O2 may not be as impressive as 2009’s show, but that just means a few thousand less Journey fans and I think we can all agree that’s never a bad thing.

Kicking of the proceedings tonight are Thin Lizzy and it has to be said, WOW. Anyone who was at their recent shows around the country can surely agree that the current line up are incredible. Ricky Warwick is definitely a worthy successor to the coveted space left by Phil Lynott. At no point tonight do you feel they’re anything less than the real deal, with original members Scott Gorham (original-ish) and Brian Downey rockin’ as hard as they did forty years ago. New guitarist Richard Fortus; whose last appearance in the O2 ended in near riot last September when he rolled into town with his day band, Guns N’ Roses; is more than capable of replacing John Sykes as he tears away at those rolling dual lead guitar solos with Scott. The only thought about the new line-up is that Scott and Brian will never be afforded the chance to be their age. With Phil in the band, Lizzy would be able to grow older and fans would go with it. Unfortunately, the band need to tear every song to pieces and ram it forcefully down your throat In order to walk away with a satisfied crowd to see them off. Maybe that’s the genius of Lizzy, they were never meant to slow down and this ensures it’ll never happen. Either way, Thin Lizzy have too many incredible songs to just leave idle. They need to be played and this line-up are more than up to the task.

Lizzy finish up their set with a pounding performance of ‘Black Rose’ before the mega Cooper stage show is pieced together. As the giant curtain rises up, fans pack around the stage in eager anticipation for one of rocks finest showmen to begin. The Vincent Price intro booms over the PA as the houselights go black building the spook master’s arrival. As the curtain drops, Alice stands atop a towering pulpit, decked out with spider arms around his waist as the band launches into ‘The Black Widow’; from his most recent album, Along Came A Spider. Discarding the jacket, Alice follows through with ‘Brutal Planet‘ before appeasing the greatest hits fans in attendance with his classic, I’m Eighteen. As canes get flung into the crowd amidst sword waving and exploding gloves, the band carry on with the classic ‘Billion Dollar Babies’ (which of course includes the traditional sharing of the Cooper insignia dollars), ‘No More Mr. Nice Guy’ and the incredible, living snake accompanied ‘Is It My Body’. ‘I’ll Bite Your Face Off’ follows with the crowd being informed the title and the fact that’s it’s a new song via Alice’s jacket and blood soaked shirt.

‘Feed My Frankenstein’ swiftly follows suit and easily stands out as one of the night’s highlights, especially when you factor in the 12 foot Frankenstein donning the Cooper make-up that’s brought to life to sing the last chorus… while walking around the stage Oh God yes, it is that good!. ‘Poison’ and ‘Wicked Young Man’ cause mass hysterics,  followed by the classic ‘Killer’, which ends in the traditional guillotine gorge of death. Alice, wrestled into a headlock by sadistic ghouls meets his end by violent execution. With his decapitated head being displayed by the ghouls, fans are united for a sing along to ‘I Love The Dead’ before the master returns with shiny top hat, coat; with his sword and balloons to boot for a blow out version of ‘Schools Out’, appropriate given the week that’s in it (although any JC/LC students may not agree). With a little break, the band return for one last blaze of glory; ‘Elected’, which Alice dedicates to Dublin while waving the tri-colour and dressed in the Irish jersey. Amazing show from start to finish, time to head ho…oh wait (cheeky)

With the crowd gleaming up to the nines from Cooper’s performance, it’s time for the Mighty Leppard to take the stage and show all the naysayers out there why they can headline above any other act in the world. With a striking new stage setup, Leppard emerge triumphantly to rapturous cheering from the now packed O2 arena. Starting with ‘Undefeated’, one of the three news songs that’ll be on their forthcoming live album, Mirrorball, the band are on fire. Joe Elliott, Phil Collen, Rick Savage, Vivian Campbell and thunder God himself, Mr.Rick Allen are all at the top of their game, adorned by glittering gloves, mike stands, headphones – the works. ‘Action’ and ‘Let’s Get Rocked’ follow, sending the crowd into a sing-along frenzy before older fans are treated to the incredible ‘Foolin’. ‘Make Love Like A Man’ and the iconic ‘Love Bites’ drive the point home that Leppard can damn well do anything they please  because this is a band with more hits per album than most others can achieve over a whole career. Sav’s now standard bass solo/intro for the bands cover of David Essex’sRock On’ has to be noted as a highlight.

A duelling guitar solo between Vivian and Phil follows; before the pace is slowed down for acoustic renditions of ‘Two Steps Behind’ and ‘Bringing on the Heartbreak’. Steve Clark’s incendiary ‘Switch 625′ launches the band back into hard rock mode before and extended performance of ‘Rocket’ is unleashed in all it’s pounding drum glory. ‘Hysteria’, ‘Armageddon It’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’ nail the set down before Leppard brings things near close with the almighty ‘Rock of Ages’. Of course they do return for an obligatory encore, performing one of their biggest Irish hits, ‘When Love and Hate Collide’ which goes down a treat before stunning die-hard fans with a final, hell-raising crack at ‘Wasted’ from On Through The Night.

Easily one of the best shows Ireland will see this year. Three amazing bands in one place, every one of them playing a blinder and not a hint of ‘Don’t Stop Believing’. Value for money in anyone’s books.

Tickets There Likes: Def Leppard – Hysteria

Posted in Album Review, Music, Tickets There Likes: with tags , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2009 by Tickets There

Def_Leppard_Hysteria_Front

OK, ok I have to stop putting this one of and get it out of the way finally. You all knew this was coming and I can’t count how many drafts I’ve written in an attempt to get it done. Def Leppard’s mightiest of mighty accomplishments, the golden goose, the Holy Grail of their collection and one of the highest selling records of all time, Hysteria! It was the second album I ever owned and heard in full and was introduced to me just a few weeks after Adrenalize and made me a solid Leppard fan for life. Like my live review of Springsteen, I find it very difficult to write something about this record that thousands of others haven’t said before.

Let’s start by stating it’s very rare to find an album with so few album tracks like this. Almost every single song is a single or classic with almost no exceptions. On Hysteria, the bands efforts to write perfect pop rock and heavy ballads finally paid off without a hitch. Despite Rick Allen losing his arm, Steve’s continued problems with alcohol and the bands problems in their home country, producers and initial demo’s, Hysteria proved to be a feat very few critics, fans and interested parties thought they could pull off, especially considering the new levels of quality Pyromania set for them. Even 22 years on from its release the quality of the songs and production is infallible. This is the album that artists like Bon Jovi, Van Halen, Skid Row, Europe, Aerosmith and all the other 80’s Hard rock heavyweights wished they could come up with. Although Hard Rock took a different turn when Guns N Roses released Appetite for Destruction, Leppards Hysteria was the peak of the previous sounds perfection.

No song was written or produced on this with anything less than a grand, world changing effort. While some of the song’s lyrics may sound slightly cheesy in hindsight such as Women and Pour Some Sugar on Me, only a total knob end could flaw their energy and perfection. Pop rock rears its head on several of the albums singles  and continue the job Photograph and Foolin’ had started previously. Animal, PSSOM, Armageddon it, Love and Affection and Women set a high bar for any band to reach and deck out the album with its foundations. The easily accessible, fist raising, mass sing along anthems that sealed the deal for Leppard and made them the biggest band on the plant for a couple of years. While more intimate numbers such as Love Bites and Hysteria ensured Leppard secured hordes of young females as lifelong fans.

Not to be overlooked, the guys still got the edge from the likes of Don’t Shoot Shotgun, Gods of War (Leppards one and only foray into the political world), Rocket, the heavier than heavy Run Riot (at least by Leppards standards) and the awesome Excitable. These provided the final master stroke to provide this album with everything it needed to entertain millions of fans around the work for the next two decades. Then again, no matter how serious the songs are, no matter how heavy or light the sound is and no matter what their theme, every song on Hysteria is a catchy rock classic that deserves respect from every rock fan. This is how pop rock is done folks, you won’t find any other album to equal Hysteria’s arsenal.

Nah Sayers will always be nay Sayers and the unfortunate rise of grunge music and its trend setting ideals about fashion, politics, depression, bullying meant bands like Leppard and their back catalogues were severely undermined all throughout the 90’s and early millennium. Fortunately the world is starting its traditional two decade revitalization and The Mighty Lepp are reaping the benefits. A few years ago the band were playing small theatres and state fairs but currently, they’re back in 10,000 + arenas reminding fans why they are a band that should never be forgotten. The years may have been cruel to their legacy but Joe Elliot, Rick Savage, Rick Allen, Phil and Viv are a major force to be reckoned with. They have proven they can take anything and everything the music and personal world can lash on them and still emerge unscathed and ready for the next challenge. From the moment Joe Elliot wrote the band’s name on Sheffield’s town hall’s notice board in the late seventies, the band were destined to become legends and Hysteria is the pinnacle of that legacy.

Here’s a picture of the UK 12″ Vinyl sigles from Hysteria all together.

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