Friday, 25 March 2011

Epica & ReVamp - Corporation March 12th 2011

March has been packed with so many good gigs that there have been far too many for us to go to.  Sadly, 'day jobs', children and other commitments, mean that it isn't always possible to go to as many gigs as we'd really like.  After looking at the various gigs we might fancy in March Doozr and I finally settled on 3 in succession.   The Levellers supported by The Wonder Stuff for some old school reminising, The Decemberists supported by Blind Pilot for some American folk and Epica supported by ReVamp for some femetal awesomeness.

Epica are one of my favourite symphonic metal bands at the moment.  This fact combined with a support band such as Floor Jansen's ReVamp and a venue such as Corporation meant the night was much anticipated.

I wasn't sure what to expect with ReVamp.  I had had a quick listen to their album and to be honest I wasn't that blown away.  When the band walked onto the stage that night though the place went mental.  I have never been in such an electrifying crowd before.  Floor has the most powerful of voices mixing operatic styles with a deeper growl.  The band were energetic, enthusiastic and above all else awesome.

Floor has had a long career in metal performing previously with After Forever, Ayreon and Star One.  Her presence on stage was captivating and her voice was stunning.  Sadly, this seemed wasted on the chumps standing to my left who decided that her performance required something a little extra.  Soon after the band came on stage they started shouting 'Get em out' continuously for the rest of the performance demonstrating a complete lack of respect for both Floor and the band's performance.  

When Epica took to the stage, the place went wild.  The voice, the guitars, the rotating keyboard, the drums it was a non-stop barrage of complete awesomeness.  I can't even begin to articulate how amazing it felt to stand in a crowd and feel the excitement and the energy quite so vividly. Simone wore a stunning black dress with interesting detailing around the neck.  She looked like a beautiful porcelain doll, that was of course until she started windmilling like a loon.

For Epica's encore, Floor returned to the stage and her and Simone sang, windmilled and generally rocked together.   It was a truly stunning sight.

The gig was a non-stop roller coaster and I left Corporation covered in sweat, heart pounding and proudly sporting a massive grin.

Floor recently posted a Tour Report online which you can view below.  If you look closely (and know what Doozr and I look like) you should see us at about 2 minutes 30 seconds.  :D

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Classic Rock Society Best of The Year Awards with Tinyfish & Pallas - 5th March 2011

On Saturday 5th March myself and Tanzeelat headed to Wath Upon Dearne for the annual Classic Rock Society Best of The Year (BOTY) 2010 Awards.  Headliners this year were Pallas, supported by Tinyfish.  Sadly Doozr had to miss the event due to being double booked.

After taking yet another route from Sheffield to Wath we finally arrived part way through Tinyfish's acoustic set.  Tinyfish bill themselves as the worlds smallest progressive rock band but there was something about their music that had us hooked.  It could have been the fabulous latin inspired percussion or it could have just been the love and passion this band clearly have for their music.  Either way it was a beautiful set filled with exquisite progressive rock qualities and laced heavily with humour and fun.  Tanzeelat was straight to the merc stand for a copy of their debut self titled album once their set was over.

The next part of the evening was the presentation of the CRS BOTY Awards.  The special guest presenter was Sonja Kristina of Curved Air fame.  The evenings categories included Best Track, Best Live Act, Best Band, Best Album, Best Female Vocalist and Best Male Vocalist, plus a new award for Best Personality of the Year,

Anne-Marie Helder was up and down all evening for various awards for her work with Mostly Autumn, Panic Room and Parade.  Mostly Autumn were flavour of the year with numerous awards including Best Live Act, Best Band and Best Album.  Olivia Sparnenn won Best Female Vocalist which must have been a real boost for her having stepped into the massive boots of Heather Findlay last year.

The winners were:

Best Male Vocalist: Peter Nicholls
Best Female Vocalist: Olivia Sparnenn
Best Bass Player: John Jowitt
Best Drummer: Gavin Griffiths
Best Keyboard Player: Clive Nolan
Best Guitarist: Bryan Josh
Best Album: Go Well Diamond Heart - Mostly Autumn
Best Track: Satellite - Panic Room
Best Band: Mostly Autumn
Best New Band: Parade
Best CRS Live Act: Mostly Autumn
CRS Personality: Anne Marie Helder

With the presentations and photographs over and with our unsuccessful raffle tickets thrown in the bin, the main act took to the stage.

Both Doozr and Tanzeelat are big fans of Pallas and have told me on a number of occasions that I should take a listen to their stuff.  When I heard that they would be headlining I decided to opt for a 'surprise' and resisted a sneaky listen to their existing albums or the free download of new material from their website.

The gig was much anticipated for many reasons but mainly because it was the first time Tanzeelat had seen the band perform with their new lead singer Paul Mackie after long serving lead singer Alan Reed left the band in January 2010. The other reason was of course to hear their new material.

They played a fair mix of old and new tracks with Paul even admitting at times that he didn't even know which album the song he was about to sing was from.  The new material seems to have a much edgier sound to it than previous releases and even feels somewhat prog metal at times.  We both approved and I was soon bopping along with what was an exceptional stage performance from the old hands and their new front man.

Thanks to the power of the Internet here is a video taken from that evening of Pallas performing 'Sanctuary'.

The tracks that really stood out for me on the night were new tracks Monster, XXV Part 1 and Violet Sky.  Paul's stage costume change to perform The Alien Messiah was an unexpected event with him vanishing for a short while before coming back on stage wearing an alien mask.

Pallas performed for 2 hours including their encore.  I couldn't even begin to give you a full set list because I was too busy lost in the moment to take notes.  It was a spectacular evening and a real contender for my best gig of 2011.

One slight disappointment for us was the running out of beer!  Montgomery Hall usually stock a host of local Wentworth Brewery real ales but ran out half way through the evening.  This left poor Tanzeelat to drink Newcastle Brown!  Still, it was an awesome night! ;)

If you want to get involved with CRS they are always looking for new members.  Visit their site and have a look at what they do, how important their work is and what gigs and events they have coming up.