by Brian LeTendre
On Thursday March 23rd, the mighty Saxon once again proved they are a force of nature in concert. I've seen them in a club with less than 200 people. I've seen them in a small venue that was packed to the gills. And now after seeing them in an arena filled with metal fans, I can say conclusively--it does not matter what venue you see them in--when Saxon plays, Saxon slays.
Opening up for Judas priest, Saxon had a bit of a condensed set, but they jammed it full of hits from all voer their catalog. After opening with the title cut off their fantastic new album Thunderbolt, Biff and the boys went back to 1983 for "Power and the Glory," making sure that fans old and new were along for the ride. The rest of the set rolled out a few more songs from the new album, peppered in between classics. And of course, Biff masterfully worked the crowd. By the time they finished with "Heavy Metal Thunder," everyone was basically foaming at the mouth. Here's the full setlist:
Power and the Glory
The Secret of Flight
Nosferatu (The Vampires Waltz)
Dallas 1 PM
They Played Rock and Roll
Denim and Leather
Princess of the Night
Wheels of Steel
Heavy Metal Thunder
It's a good thing that Judas Priest was up right after them, because they are one of the few bands in existence that can follow Saxon live and have it not feel like a letdown. I am so thankful I got to see Saxon with Priest, and even more grateful my son got to see them as well. They are legends, and as always, they delivered.
Perfect Plan - ALL RISE (Frontiers Music) - release date April 20, 2018
I have been excited about this album since I heard the first single, In And Out Of Love. Perfect Plan are a band out of Sweded who have a sound that is very European with a healthy mix of melodic rock like Journey, Foreigner, Guiffria and one of my favorites, Tyketto. ALL RISE contains 11 songs that will not only impress you but move you with the amazing melodies. The band; Ken Hilli (vocals), Rolf Nordstrom (guitar), P-O Sedin (bass), Fredrik Forsberg (drums) and Leif Ehlin (keyboards) play like seasoned vets who have been together for years. Perfect Plan wear the 80's on their sleeves but there is more to them than just making music influenced by the greatest decade ever. There is some amazing music coming out of Sweden... and with the release of ALL RISE, it just got better. The standout tracks Too Late, Gone Too Far, Never Surrender and of course, In And Out Of Love make this one an easy candidate for best album of 2018.
Shadowkeep - SHADOWKEEP (Pure Steel Records) - release date March 30, 2018
Remember the first time you ever heard Queensryche's debut EP? Listening to the latest release from Shadowkeep brought me right back to that magic moment. The songs here are E-P-I-C and full of color, story and rock! Floating between the 'ryche and Iron Maiden on songs like Guardians Of The Sea, Never Forgotten and Flight Against The Sand, Shadowkeep provide more than just an awesome listening experience, they make you think a little bit. Vocalist James Rivera, guitarist Chris Allen & Nikki Robson, bassist Stony Grantham and drummer Omar Hayes may have taken ten years to make another album, but it is well worth the wait! This one soooo rocks in all the right places.
James Christian - CRAVING (Frontiers Music) - release date April 20, 2018
I'm old enough to remember when James Christian was in the Connecticut based band, Eyes and I have been a fan of his voice since then. Since the late 80's, Christian has been the vocalist for House Of Lords, one of my favorite bands ever! On CRAVING, the singer steps away from the epic sounds of HOL and gives us a more stripped down album, showing us a different side of his ability. The thing that I love about this release is the flow the songs have into each other. So far my favorite songs on CRAVING is Jesus Wept with its thoughtful and expressive lyrics and cool drum sound. The other that jumps out is Black Isn't Black, featuring Christian's House of Lords guitarist, Jimi Bell. In all honesty, I loved the song before I realized my buddy played on it.
Black Star Riders may be a fairly new band, but their blood and roots run deep in classic British rock! In 2009, guitarist Scott Gorham put together a version of Thin Lizzy with Irish born Ricky Warwick to keep alive the legacy and music of his former bandmate, Phil Lynott! In 2012 it was decided that any new music would be under the name Black Star Riders... and here we are now!!
Opening for both Saxon and Judas Priest, Black Star Riders had a tough job ahead of them but as they hit the stage with the anthemic All Hell Breaks Loose then jump right into the all time classic, Jailbreak, BSR grabbed the audience and never let go! On stage, Scott Gorham and fellow guitarist Damon Johnson traded riffs and leads and created a sound that was comfortable, familiar and so powerful. Holding it all down was drummer Chad Szeliga and bassist Robbie Crane who kept it tight, but gave everyone a chance to shine. The magic of Thin Lizzy was alive and well on stage here tonight.
When it comes to vocalist Ricky Warwick, he is a rock star! Depending on the mood and the song, Warwick would play guitar or just hold the mike, commanding the stage. His voice and lyrics are very much in the spirit of the Thin Lizzy frontman, but that isn't what he is all about. Warwick is real and sings with a lot of passion and emotion.
Despite the band only playing 8 songs (it's all they were allowed), Black Star Riders took advantage of the opportunity they were given and they delivered. They reminded me of those bands we used to see open up for our favorites and do whatever they had to do to win over the crowd. I can't wait to see them one day do a full set and watch them at their own pace.
How much did I love these guys? So much so... I bought their shirt!!!!
This is part one of three reviews... up next, SAXON!!!
Once again we are so lucky to get some amazing new and incredible music released, some by new bands and others by some well known established groups. Below is four of my picks that week that i think deserve a listen...
Judas Priest - FIREPOWER (Epic Records) - From one of the most beloved bands in metal history comes studio album #18 from Judas Priest. If you are a fan of the old school sound then you will love this album as it crosses between DEFENDERS OF THE FAITH and RAM IT DOWN. The production by Tom Allom and Andy Sneap captures the band at their absolute best with Lightning Strikes and my favorite from the album, No Surrender.
FIREPOWER is out now!!!
see Lightning Strikes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUzcxJNZKC4
Myles Kennedy - YEAR OF THE TIGER (Napalm) - This one is NOT what I expected from one of the best vocalists in the world. The album is an acoustic record that features Myles digging deep into his soul and creating songs that will touch you as well. All the songs deal with the death of Kennedy's father back in 1974 when the singer was only five. each song will touch you and maybe stir up some emotions in you as well.
YEAR OF THE TIGER is out now!!!
see Year Of The Tiger - www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3L9_6aJi2Q
Shiraz Lane - CARNIVAL DAYS (Frontiers Music) - From Finland comes this amazing band that have blown me away with their debut album. Each song is completely unique in its style and paroack and the band wear their influences on their sleeves, especially on the title track which sounds like Hanoi Rocks meets the stray Cats. If you like L.A. Guns, Great White, Slaughter and Aerosmith, this album will appeal to you. It took me thirty seconds to realise this is a special band and a special album.
CARNIVAL DAYS is out now!!!
see Carnival Days - www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV8Fbu1wpIQ
Vega - ONLY HUMAN (Frontiers Music) - As i listened to a few songs from the album I was shocked to find out this is Vega's 5th album. Melodic, heavy and full of harmony, ONLY HUMAN is a near perfect album that has the classic sound we love, but is new fresh and very well produced. The standout track is Last Man Standing. a song that uses keyboards properly, has crisp vocals and just a classic groove. Bon Jovi meets Whitesnake with a visit from Styx.
ONLY HUMAN will be released on May 11, 2018
see Last Man Standing - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsJwetamgXA
George Lynch has always been one of my favorite guitarists, songwriters and hair influences. Since his time in Dokken to his current work including Sweet/Lynch, KXM, solo work and his band, Lynch Mob, George Lynch constantly makes music he and his fans (like me) love. Last year, Lynch Mob released THE BROTHERHOOD, an album written and recorded as a band that brought back all the warm fuzzies that their classic WICKED SENSATION did... but this is when things fell apart.
THE BROTHERHOOD received rave reviews and a tour was planned to bring the unified Lynch Mob on the road. But as George Lynch told me prior to the show (in an interview you will hear very soon on Power Chords), it all fell apart. But this is where the magic and professionalism of George Lynch takes over!
Hitting the stage at the Wolf Den was a version of Lynch Mob that may not have been 'the brotherhood', but was an incredibly entertaining and talented version that gave the audience everything they wanted.
Joining George Lynch on stage was vocalist Robert Mason from Warrant. Mason had a difficult job considering he just joined up for this tour so the set list was modified to give him songs he was comfortable with, ones he performed as a member of Lynch Mob in the past. Mason did an amazing job and he was the slightest bit uncomfortable, it didn't show. Bassist Sean McNabb is a beast!! Not only does he play with passion and talent, he is an excellent showman and brought a lot of fun to the performance. Holding it all down from the back was drummer Scot Coogan who is not only an amazing drummer, but has a very good voice. The four make for a talented and very entertaining band.
And what can you say about George Lynch? Everything!!! He is one of the best out there that still has a style and flair that is so unique and exciting to watch. On stage and off he seemed so relaxed and enjoying what he is doing. His playing and solos are inhuman and full of electricity that made a guitarist I hold in high regards look at me and say..."wow".
Because of Mason just coming aboard, the set list (see below) was very heavy with older material he was comfortable with and songs he has performed on stage before, except for Alone Again... which still kicked it!!! Sure I would have loved to hear some of the newer songs like I'll Take Miami or Main Offender, but I got a lot off the debut album... so that scratched that itch quite nicely.
The only time I saw Lynch Mob in the past was in 1990 (their second show together in New Haven, CT) and they were so good it made me almost forget about the pain of Dokken breaking up. here we are 28 years later... and the band was as good now as they were then.
If Lynch Mob rolls up into your town...you NEED to go and see them for yourself. You owe it to yourself to see a talented band that really is the spirit of Rock and Roll... taking whatever comes and making a show out of it!!!
Set List - Mohegan Sun 3/15/2018
Street Fighting Man
She's Evil But She's Mine
River Of Love
Tangled In Love
All I Want
When Heaven Comes Down
Sweet Sister Mercy
It's Not Love
Tooth And Nail
I have waited to see Michael Schenker since i was 14. Since i'm now 49 years old... that is a real long time! I vowed never to get an MSG shirt unless it was at a concert. As I waited nervously in my seat (in my just bought Michael Schenker Fest shirt) I was thinking what a long ride this has been. As the lights dimmed and Michael hit the stage i and everyone in attendance rose to their feet to welcome Michael Schenker and his trip through his brilliant musical history.
For me the story of the night were the vocalists; Gary Barden, Graham Bonnet, Robin McAuley and Doogie White. Each vocalist came out with the band, performed at least four of their classics and a new onc from the just released album, RESURRECTION. Each singer not only did 'their' songs total justice, but all looked, acted and sounded like they did during their respective era. The coolest moments were when the three singers not doing the lead would come out and back up the other. The unity and chemistry between the four was fun to watch and awesome to hear.
Like the vocalists, the band all have history with Schenker. Bassist Chris Glen was in MSG for the first four MSG albums, drummer Ted McKenna played on two of my favorite MSG albums and guitarist/keyboardist Steve Mann was part of the amazing McAuley Schenker Group. All three were brilliant, keeping the music and show going and giving the singers and Schenker room to just let go.
And now my thoughts on Michael Schenker! Holy Crap!!! Amazing and so worth the wait! He is by far the greatest guitar player to ever live; he plays with heart, soul and total aggression. On stage you can't take your eyes off him as he crouches a bit, locks in and just lets go.
The show lasted about 2 1/2 hours and featured 30 songs from his entire career; UFO, Scorpions, MSG and Temple Of Rock. From the show opener Into The Arena to the finale of Light's Out, the band never lost focus, their energy or their commitment to put on the best show they could, and the best show is what they did. People who know me will know this comment means something... BEST CONCERT I EVER SAW!
Michael Schenker may have had his issues in the past but he is a great place now. For someone of his stature you would think that he would want the focus to be on him and him alone, but I think he understands that this is a show the fans want, need and expect. In a time and era when some musicians are crippled by ego and are afraid to work with anyone as talented as they are, Michael Schenker is doing the opposite. He is surrounding himself with the best and tonight in Boston provided the thousands in attendance the best! - www.michaelschenkerfest.com/
Opening the show was Boston based, Bad Marriage. These guys had a big challenge, trying to win over a crowd waiting for the main event and guess what... they did. Very 70's in their music and stage presence, Bad Marriage reminded me of late 1970's Areosmith, when in my opinion they were at their best. I'm sorry that I didn't give them all my attention when they played, but I will be checking them out next time I can, and so should you. Thank you guys for bringin' back the old school, best school! www.badmarriagemusic.com
Enjoy the pictures and if you get a chance to see Michael Schenker Fest, DO IT!!!
Ghost announces US tour
Armored Saint Announces Symbol of Salvation Tour
Sevendust releasing new album and heading out on tour
Animal Drive--Bite! (2018)
Comin Atcha Live:
Bonus Track: BulletBoys
Check out the title track from BulletBoys’ new album From Out of the Skies, coming March 23rd from Frontiers Music!
Thanks for listening! If you're subscribing on iTunes or Google play, please leave us a review, as it will help spread the word about the show! You can also hit us up on twitter at twitter.com/powerchordspod, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With so much amazing new music being released it is hard to keep up with who did what with the iconic and legendary bands, let alone newer bands that are trying to get noticed. Each week Brian and I will give you a sample of new releases that we think you'll like, so give a read, click on a link and let's discover some new music together!!!!
FM - ATOMIC GENERATION (Frontiers Music) - If you like your music loose and fun with a lot of harmony then the latest album from FM is right up your alley. ATOMIC GENERATION is their 11th release and features the the amazing vocals of Steve Overland who I have been a fan of since his days fronting the band, Wildlife. ATOMIC GENERATION will appeal to fans of Bad Company (especially the Brian Howe era), old Whitesnake and Bryan Adams; melodic rock with a bit of a nod to the old school.
ATOMIC GENERATION will be out March 30th, 2018
Make The Best Of What You Got - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XRZ92YlY_9E
Sainted Sinners - BACK WITH A VENGEANCE (El Puerto Records) - Vocalist David Reece released one album as a member of Accept back in 1989 and spent some times with Bonfire, but now he is the lead singer of Sainted Sinners. On this, their second album, the band continues to give us straight ahead rock n roll with a lot of attitude and some surprises. At face value they are much like KISS, Faster Pussycat or AC/DC, but all of a sudden they turn into Deep Purple or my magic word.... UFO!!!!
BACK WITH A VENGEANCE is available now!!!
Burnin' The Candle - wwww.youtube.com/watch?v=EpOYsZQ3i9w
Little Caesar - EIGHT (Golden Robot) - Back in the day, Little Caesar were the band that only looked tough, but really were tough!!! Their image never quite meshed with their music that was quite smooth and very bluesy. Now on their eighth album, EIGHT, Little Caesar haven't changed at all... just more confident in their music. As a fan of 1970's British punk, Bon Scott AC/DC and 1970's Aerosmith, this album was made for me! I don't know how vocalist Ron Young did it... but his voice is better than ever! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!
EIGHT will be released on March 16, 2018
Nobody Said It Would Be Easy - www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXZ_szV1NN8&list=RDMXZ_szV1NN8&t=3
W.E.T. - EARTHRAGE (Frontiers Music) - Another amazing 'Supergroup' from Frontiers!!! W.E.T. is an album full of the music I love; heavy riffs, melodic harmonies, soaring vocals and perfectly placed keyboards. EARTHRAGE is eleven epic songs that not only showcase the talent in the band, but their ability to write and record as a perfect unit, something not always the case in 'supergroups'. For those music fans that like their music like me... Europe, House Of Lords, Rainbow and ASIA, this album is perfect for you. Believe it or not, there isn't a bad song on the album. Oh..... and Jeff Scott Soto!!!! An early contender for my Album Of The Year!
EARTHRAGE will be released March 23. 2018
Watch The Fire - www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNmTMuQ1tYo
My biggest issue with Michael Schenker's post UFO career is that his vocalists wouldn't stick around very long. We had Gary Barden for a bit followed by Graham Bonnet for a quick second who was replaced by Barden only to be gone just in time for Robin McAuley. Then as Schenker shifted from MSG to Temple Of Rock, to solo albums it began to get even more confusing with even more singers. To bring it all full circle, the Michael Schenker Fest hit the road, celebrating the music of Schenker featuring the singers you wanted to see and hear... Barden, Bonnet, McAuley and Doogie White, all performing the songs they made their own. When it was announced a few months back there would be a new album featuring these four singers my anticipation grew and my expectations began to reach dangerous levels. Could this album, RESURRECTION from Nuclear Blast live up to what I want it to be?
Yes, yes.... friggin' YES!!!
When you put together a lineup with this much talent and legacy you need to be confident that this album will work; the players will gel, the singers will all feel involved and the material will be suited for each voice. Produced by Michael Voss, RESURRECTION is the album fans (especially me) have been hoping for; well crafted songs that showcase Schenker's talents and highlight the players who surround him.
Although the story certainly is the singers coming on board, the band is as star studded and all share history with Schenker. Joining him is drummer Ted McKenna, keyboardist/guitarist Steve Mann and bassist Chris Glen who all turn in powerful and passionate performances, some of the best in their careers. The musicians help create cohesiveness as the album shifts from style to style and singer to singer.
The album contains 12 amazing songs like the ripping Heart And Soul which features McAuley on vocals and Metallica's Kirk Hammett on guitar. Each singer gets a few moments to shine and really capture their era of MSG history. Loving A Life Worth Living sounds like it could have come off MSG, Night Moves fits perfectly with anything off ASSAULT ATTACK and Time Knows When Its Time is as good as anything from McAuley Schenker era. We also get two moments where all the vocalists sing together; the beautiful and haunting Warrior and the dark horse on the album, The Last Supper.
If I had to pick a favorite from the album it would be the Doogie White sung Take Me To The Church. This song is heavy, driving and features some amazing work by Schenker. The solo here is so emotional and White has the snark and snarl of Ian Gillan on this. One of Schenker's best, ever!
RESURRECTION is an amazing album, possibly his best album since the days of MSG. It all starts with the songs and here, no matter who was singing, the song was the most important thing. It's hard to imagine all these guys getting together, sharing the spotlight and make some music that certainly hearkens back to the past, but definitely has an eye to the future. No one here is living in the past which makes RESURRECTION such a perfect title.
MATMAN'S REVIEW - 4.5 out of 5 Flying V's
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=boCx73KaeGs - TAKE ME TO THE CHURCH
www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2VtSdZHKbE - WARRIOR
The Power Chords Podcast is a twice-monthly podcast celebrating rock and metal music of the '70s, '80s, '90s and beyond. The show is co-hosted by Matt Herring and Brian LeTendre.