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Monday, October 23, 2006

New interview with GLENN HUGHES –
http://www.getreadytorock.com/rock_stars/glenn_hughes.htm

Two rumoured possible big tours neat year are BOSTON & REO SPEEDWAGON touring together and YES & ASIA! Also GUNS ‘N’ ROSES are being tipped for Monster of Rock at the MK Bowl next year…

THIN LIZZY join the DEEP PURPLE & STYX tour of the UK next year.

PRESS RELEASES

Postcard from Andy Latimer:
Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to send you a card to tell you I'm now permanently back in England and really chuffed to be back home. I've had lots of reunions with good friends, and am particularly enjoying catching up on old times.

It won't be long now, before my studio is set up again and I can return to the joy of recording.

I'm told that our website and shop will be back in business before xmas, and that we'll have the 1984 concert, Total Pressure, on DVD. Blimey! Was I ever that young?

Hope this message finds you all well. Must dash. It's time to feed the camels.

Cheers,
Andy Lat

GIG NEWS

JOHN WAITE has delayed his UK dates until next March. No explanation of this postponement has yet been offered. Waite's shows were due to take place on November 16, 18 and 19 in London, Bradford and Dudley. They would have been his first British shows for two decades.

VIXEN
December
1 Nurnberg, Germany Avalon
2 Vienna, Austria Planet
4 Ortenberg, Germany Selters
5 Bochum, Germany Zeche
6 Augsburg, Germany Spektrum
8 Dettingen/Erms, Germany Schillerhalle
9 Walldorf, Germany Session Kulturwerk
10 Pratteln, Switzerland CH/Z7
11 Barcelona, Spain Sala Apolo
13 Helsinki, Finland Ice Hall
15 Oulu, Finland Teatria
16 Jyvaskla, Finland Arena

TWISTED SISTER
Dec. 01 - The Myth - Minneapolis, MN
Dec. 05 - Massey Hall, Toronto, Canada
Dec. 07 - House Of Blues - Chicago, IL
Dec. 09 - Pepsi Roadhouse - Burgettstown, PA
Dec. 12 - House Of Blues, Los Angeles, CA
Dec. 14 - House Of Blues - Anaheim, CA
Dec. 17 - Hard Rock - Orlando, FL

REVIEWS

BALTIMOORE
X
BLP 2006-02

A fitting title for this Scandinavian band’s tenth album, and it’s a good hard rock / metal album.
Opener “Cumgum” is heavy with a slight commercial tough, with influences in Johnson ere AC/DC and beefed up Bon Jovi / Skid Row. “Asshole” is raff laden, while “2&2” is a laid back bluesy affair. Vocalist Bjorn Lodin is great throughout, clear and solid. In places, including “Something Going On” there’s a touch of Bruce Dickinson to his tones. Returning lead guitarist Thomas Larsson produces some fine sounds but isn’t too flashy.
A strong straight metal album that’s well worth a listen.

3.5/5
Joe Geesin

KOOPA
The Three In A Bed With Bobby George EP
Juxtaposition / Impact

This young Essex 3-piece produce a happy pop/punk blend, maybe a touch of Blink 182 and NOFX. Guitar pop with Green Day leanings.
“Blag Steal and Borrow” features the expected shouted harmonies in the chorus, while “Erin’s Main Obsession” opens with a more punk metal riff.
Very much at the guitar pop end, but uplifting all the same.

3/5
Joe Geesin

The BEAT POETS
Turn It On (CD Single)
Pronoia Records

Irish band The Beat Poets release this new single, high energy guitar pop with rock and punk leanings. Powerful and distinct vocals. Second track “Shadowlands” is more anthemic with melody, and there’s a touch of 80s hair metal to the vocals.
Guitar driven pop with substance.

3/5
Joe Geesin

The CATHODE RAY
What’s It All About
Pronoia Records

New project from vocalisst Josef K, which features a retro new wave singer/songwriter feel, think Buzzcocks, Talking Heads, MOR Punk Folk from the turn of the 80s. Second track “Mind” is upbeat, think uptempo Madness with more guitar and less ska.
Enjoyable listen if rather poppy.

3/5
Joe Geesin

WOLFUNKIND
The Album Of Maturity (2CD + DVD)

French band Wolfunkind release this triple album to coincide with a new tour. An off the wall blend of punk, funk and rock. Perhaps quite fitting they’re supporting Fishbone on a couple of dates.
A spoken word intro (I recognise the French word for ‘shit’ a couple of times) before we get a riff laden mix of RHCP and RATM.
The inter-song banter plays on their own sense of humour, which is pretty irrelevant if your French is as limited as mine. The music is strong, worth checking out, but the French vocals offputting if you can’t understand what ‘s being said. But if you like it funky it’s worth a listen.
The album completes disc 1, the set is bolstered by a live set and a DVD, which has already proven popular in their native country.

3/5
Joe Geesin

PANDORA’S BOX
Original Sin
Virgin / EMI

The guise for this 1990 album was effectively a solo album by songwriter and Meatloaf collaborator Jim Steinman.
The album continues in the same grandiose big production format you’d expect from Bat Out Of Hell, with orchestration, female choruses, vocal harmonies, operatic hard rock.
The excellent “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now” was also a hit for Celine Dion.
“Twentieth Century Fox” hints at 80s power pop/pretend rock. “Safe Sex” hints at Mike/Mechanics too.
If you like it grandiose and epic, this is the album. Comes with a bonus DVD of videos et al.

4/5
Joe Geesin

SAOSIN
Saosin
EMI

Pronounced Say-O-Sin before we go any further.
Californian post-hardcore with heavy guitar-pop leanings, and with seven million downloads on myspace alone before this, their debut album that’s no mean feat.
For all the brutality, there’s vocal and guitar harmonies too.
Opener “It’s Far Better To Learn” is crunchy, while later on there’s a hint at Iron Maiden in some of the guitar work, in a punk fashion.
Heavy as mental one end, there’s bursts of guitar-pop at the other too.
Should do well.

3.5/5
Joe Geesin

DAWN OF SILENCE
Moment Of Weakness
Metal Heaven 00029

Long awaited debut album from this crew, and it’s straight down the line, heads down guitars up heavy metal of the most enjoyable variety.
There’s a strong Iron Maiden influence in the intricate guitar interplay in opener “Hands Of Fate” without being cliché.
The feeling continues, with strong harmonies and melodies, with power metal style vocals, this is trad British metal with a Euro leaning, retro with a modern feel. There’s a mid 80s Priest feel in places too.
Good stuff with an original modern heavy take.

3.5/5
Joe Geesin

BISS
X-Tension
AOR Heaven 00026

A Polished hard melodic rock set, featuring the vocals of Krokus main man Marc Storace.
“Run For Your Life” kicks off with some great guitar work, and when mixed with Storace’s vocals it sounds like some of Graham Bonnet’s heavier work.
“V Card” opens with a catchy riff, and sounds good with production by Michael Voss (Silver et al).
Punchy and catchy, nothing epic or progressive or really outstanding, just solid throughout and very enjoyable.

4/5
Joe Geesin

RED ORKESTRA
Life With The Machines
Fading Ways Music

Here, for his second album, Johnny Charmers has enlisted The Machines as his backing band, hence the title.
Strong pop/rock with folky / singer-songwriter undertones, a lead guitar is supported by a strumming acoustic for a full enjoyable sound.
There’s a hint of mid 90s brit pop / brit rock with modern production and acoustic feel.
The tribal drums on “Radio Towers” add a slight Spanish feel.
A pretty enjoyable and pleasant set, well worth a listen.

3.5/5
Joe Geesin

PROTEST THE HERO
Heretics And Killers (CD Single)
Vagrant

Taken from the debut album Kezia, this is a brutal thunderous noisy affair with occasional bursts of acoustic. The guitars and shouts (vocals) are a wall of noise, with odd 5-10 seconds of acoustic strumming you’d find in a progressive folk track.
The noise itself is a brutal form of punk/guitar pop that’s popular right now; and interesting mixture. Fun too.

2.5/5

Joe Geesin

The HOLD STEADY
Chips Ahoy (single)
Vagrant

Released as a 7” and taken from their new album Boys And Girls In America, on the surface it sounds like fairly ordinary guitar pop, but a neatly layered (hidden) keyboard does add an extra dimension. When the keyboards break out, it’s a breath of fresh air. A very retro sounding organ, shame the guitar work is just so cliché of the moment.

2.5/5
Joe Geesin

MEAT LOAF
Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell (2CD + DVD)
Virgin

A 3 disc special edition of the classic Meat Loaf set, with the original album bolstered by a disc of live material from both I & II, and a DVD of promo videos.
The original album may have taken 16 years to come to fruition, but it certainly saved Marvin’s career, with the self penned music, although not actually that bad, dying in comparison. Most will be familiar with the Meat Loaf performed and Jim Steinman penned set. Big, grandiose, powerful, commercial, catchy, orchestrated, choir backed, radio friendly operatic hard rock tinged set. The lengthy “I’ll Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” was a major hit, the album hit #1 just about everywhere, it rejuvenated both Meat Loaf’s and Jim Steinman’s careers. And rightly so. Even if you’re not a fan, even if you can’t stand it, you can’t deny it’s appeal nor it’s impact. Both huge.
The bonus discs and extensive sleevenotes make for a great reissue, timely coinciding with Part III of the Bat Out Of Hell set.

4/5
Joe Geesin

Bob DYLAN
Dylan Speaks – The Legendary 1965 Press Conference In San Francisco (DVD)
Eagle Media

1965 was the year the then 24 year old Dylan went electric, and this is the only known press conference to be aired.
Running at a little under an hour, it’s an interesting insight, with a room full of journalists asking a range of questions, on all subjects, on his career and more.
A few amusing quips, stories, the man who made it for being in the right place at the right time comes across as well read and experienced on one hand, and innocent and nervous on others.
The set up is amateurish, sound quality variable, and probably makes no odds that it’s in black and white.
The TV cameras back then looked more like Daleks too.
The short running time and music free angle, it’s of very limited appeal, probably more of interest to fans of Dylan’s philosophy than his music.

2.5/5
Joe Geesin

WETTON/DOWNES ICON ‘Rubicon’ Frontiers (2006) www.frontiers.it

John Wetton and Geoff Downes have been very busy since they teamed up in this Icon project with a studio debut last year, a live acoustic album and a full live album, a single and now the band’s second studio album. All this and they are back in the reformed original Asia line-up currently touring the world. John Mitchell (Arena/Kino/It Bites) and Steve Christey (Jadis) reprise their roles on guitars and drums respectively with ex-ELO/Wizard cellist Hugh McDowell guesting again. The Gathering’s Anneke von Giersbergen sings with Wetton on two tracks as well, namely ‘To Catch A Thief’ and ‘Tears Of Joy’. Both are enhanced by Anneke’s sweet vocals. Elsewhere it is very Asia in sound especially ‘The Die Is Cast’ and ‘Shannon’, both feature trademark keyboards runs by Downes. ‘The Hanging Tree’ and the title track see the band venturing into progressive lands and both tracks work well. Also good to see John Mitchell chip in with some cracking guitar solos as well.
Another fine effort from Wetton & Downes and fellow musicians have again produced another fine album, that will appeal to Asia fans and the wider melodic rock/progressive rock audience.

****
Jason Ritchie

INXS, Shepherds Bush Empire 12th October 2006

I approached this gig not knowing what to expect. I have had a copy of INXS new CD “Switch” for some time and had been impressed by it, however, Michael Hutchence was a great frontman and it was obvious that whoever took his place would have a big pair of shoes to step into- and new vocalist JD Fortune is the right man for the job.
Opening the show with a brilliant rendition of “Suicide Blonde” it was not like the band had had a break, save a few gigs with guest vocalists, of nearly a decade- and the audience loved it. The set mixed massive world-wide hits such as “Need You Tonight”, “New Sensation” and “Mystify” with tracks of the recently released “Switch” such as “Pretty Vegas”, “Devils Party” and “Afterglow” (which, in my opinion, should be released as a single immediately!!!). The big one of the night though was “Never Tear Us Apart”- yes, not one person in that room could not say that JD Fortune is an ideal replacement for Hutchence, this was an outstanding version of what, must be, INXS biggest and best known hit.
The band are back in November for 2 mores shows at The Empire and I would highly recommend trying to get your hands on a ticket- you won’t regret it.
This could be one of the best gigs that I have been to in at least 15 years.

Nikk Gunns

Def Leppard “Hysteria- Deluxe Edition” Mercury Records (Cat no 060249843047(7))

One of the biggest selling rock albums of all time has been remastered and repackaged for it’s 20th anniversary, and it is hard to believe that it has been 20 years since we first heard “Hysteria”. There is nothing here that Def Leppard fans don’t already own, but that is not the point, the original b-sides are on 20 year old vinyl.
The packaging itself is impressive, especially the brilliant booklet which tells the story of the album, and the remastering of the original album really does do it justice. The inclusion of all the b-sides includes live tracks, remixes and legendary Leppard tracks such as “”Tear It Down” and “Ride Into The Sun”.
This is definitely one of the best reissues that I have seen and is well worth a look.

Nikk Gunns 5 out of 5.

Susan Hedges “Faces Without Names” Gold Rush Records (Cat No GOLDCD013)

Susan Hedges has a strong voice that, on opening track “Faces Without Names”, reminded me of a rockier Shania Twain- however, as the album progressed it is fair to say that it is more reminiscent of Annie Lennox, and with a songwriting talent was beyond her 21 years of age I can see it only being a matter of time before she makes her mark on the world.
There are a couple of slower, bluesy numbers “Lately” and “Love In A Minor Key”, the upbeat “River City Girl” and “Guess I Got It Wrong Again”, the calypso feel of “Latin Night at Sunnyland Slims”, the country guitar feel of “Dying Fire” and the outstanding “Pain Of Love”.
Hedges has already opened for acts such as The Magic Numbers, Emmy Lou Harris and The Christians, and we will no doubt be seeing a lot from her.


Tracks to burn? “Faces Without Names”, “Pain Of Love”, “Dying Fire”
Why Buy? A great new album from a great and talented artist

Nikk Gunns 4 out of 5

Vixen “Live & Learn” Demolition Records (Cat No DEMCD156)

Although heavier than the Vixen of old, “Live & Learn” does live up to the Vixen name. The harmony vocals and guitars have that familiar feel. Vixen toured the UK recently and it’s a shame that this CD was not out before that tour, although this does mean, of course, that they may be back soon.
Outstanding tracks here include “Anyway”, “Little Voice”, “Don’t Want It Anymore” and a great reworking of Bowies’ “Suffragette City”.

Tracks to burn? “Little Voice”, “Don’t Want It Anymore” & “Angry”
Why buy? This CD shows that the current Vixen are not just a “nostalgia” band.

Nikk Gunns 3 out of 5

Moistboyz “Moistboyz IV” Schnitzel Records (Cat No SRCD1255216)

The Moistboys will always draw comparisons to Iggy Pop and The Stooges. This is no bad thing as this, their fourth CD, is an adrenalin fuelled, loud rock n’ roll record that keeps you listening from beginning to end.
The best tracks include “I Don’t Give A Fuck Where The Eagle Flies”, “Captain America” and “That’s What Rock And Roll Can Do”.

Tracks to burn? “Uncle Sam and Me”, “Captain America” and “That’s What Rock And Roll Can Do”
Why Buy? Fans of sleaze, lous rockn’ roll and Iggy Pop will love this CD.

Nikk Gunns 3 out of 5.

Rain “Stronger” MTM Music (Cat No CD 085-64632)

“Stronger” is an album full of great hooks and choruses combined with stunning guitar work, Michael Bormanns vocals compliment this nicely.
Best tracks include the Zeppelin like “Do You Like It”, slower number “I’d Die For You”, the acoustic “Love Is By Your Side” and “Flesh & Blood”- but to be fair, there is not a weak song on this 11 track CD.

Tracks to burn? “Do You Like It”, “Get Over It” & “I’d Die For You”
Why Buy? A stunning CD that will please melodic and hard rock fans alike.

Nikk Gunns 5 out of 5

AOR “L.A Concession” MTM Music (Cat No 0681-169)

Originally released in 2000 and featuring some big name guests such as Jeff Porcaro, Tony Franklin and Steve Lukather- this is Frederic Slama project AOR.
It has now been re-mastered and features 4 bonus tracks. However, even though recorded in 2000 this album does sound a little dated and very 1980s. The more upbeat tracks such as “World’s Away”, “Leave Her To Heaven” and “Don’t Let Her Go” are the highlights here.

Tracks to Burn? “World’s Away”, “Leave Her To Heaven” and “Don’t Let Her Go”
Why Buy? Original 2000 release sells on Ebay for 150 Euros.

Nikk Gunns 2 out of 5

“The Passing Show- The Life & Music Of Ronnie Lane” DVD Eagle Vision (EREDV621)

Ex Faces/Small Faces member Ronnie Lane is fondly remembered here by friends, colleagues and peers. It tells the story of his time with the previous mentioned bands, his “The Passing Show” and his long battle against Multiple Sclerosis, the disease that unfortunately took this great and well-loved musician in 1997.
A shortened version of this DVD was recently screened on the BBC but this release really tells the story of Ronnie Lane in all its’ glory. Featuring interviews with music legends such as Pete Townsend, Ian McLagan, Kenny Jones and Eric Clapton, thankfully Ronnie and his music will never be forgotten.

Nikk Gunns 5 out of 5

BUCKCHERRY ‘15’ (2006) www.buckcherry.com

Buckcherry are back with their third album and one that has been selling very nicely in the US, driven partly by the hit single ‘Crazy Bitch’ and accompanying video of err ladies in various states of undress. Buckcherry are best at no frills rock ‘n’ roll – simple guitar riffs, catchy choruses and solid rhythm. In fact on songs like ‘Next 2 You’ and ‘Out Of Line’ they sound not unlike AC/DC. The single ‘Crazy Bitch’ is made for airplay, albeit with the f words beeped out! ‘So Far’ could be another hit in the making and features some brutal guitar riffs, whilst ‘Carousel’ has to be one of their catchiest tunes to date, with more neat guitar riffing. They do a very good ‘lighters in the air’ ballad with ‘Sorry’ which steers away from being to cheesy.
Who needs tired old Guns ‘n’ Roses when you have Buckcherry who still have a beating rock ‘n’ roll heart. A must have for any collection.

****
Jason Ritchie.

DEMON ‘Time Has Come – The Very Best Of’ Spaced Out Music (2006 double CD) www.the-demon.com

Now if ever there was a band that deserved the ‘underrated’ tag it is this band. From their NWOBHM early days when singer Dave Hill arose from a coffin at gigs through to the progressive leanings of albums such as ‘The Plague’ and ‘British Standard Approved’, right up to their most recent album ‘Better The Devil You Know’ they have kept up their musical standards. They have had many a line up change but through it all Dave Hill has remained the constant focus and his voice has kept its power down the years.
With a two disc set they can only just tap into the band’s back catalogue and I am sure some fans would have wished for their particular favourites to be included. But as a primer for the band’s music you can’t go wrong. From the early days ‘Night Of The Demon’ and ‘One Helluva Night’ still sound fresh all these years later, whilst ‘The Plague’ and ‘Blackheath’ are the pick of ‘The Plague album. Some great head down rockers here like ‘Commercial Dynamite’ and ‘Hurricane’, whilst the epic ‘Remembrance Day’ stands as one of the band’s finest epic songs (another good epic number ‘The Time Has Come’ closes the album). Two remixes on here, ‘Better The Devil You Know’ and ‘Standing On The Edge’ both from their last studio album, sound much sharper than the original versions.
If you are new to Demon by this CD now (and then get their studio albums as I am sure you will become a fan!) and for existing fans like myself it a good chance to update the old vinyl/cassettes copies of the band’s output. Truly one of the best hard rock/meta; bands the UK has ever produced.

*****
Jason Ritchie

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