Birch Trees & V.I.P!

Hey Folk’s! I’m going to be taking a bit of a Blogcation! Need to do some recharging and just some chill is needed as well! Fret not though I will be back in a few weeks and just to get the hype machine pumping I will be doing a few double posts of a couple of albums with a fellow blogger when I return!  Who knows I may redo or well clean up a few posts from a ways back and repost em….dunno, kinda like a Greatest Hits Blog Post! Watch yer inbox….

Dateline…..July 2013!

Ok so the price of  the three-day   Thunder Bay Blues Festival ran for two VIP packages about $330 bucks  back in 2013 when myself and my wife Suzi decided to go all three days!

Some of the acts over three days were Great Big Sea/Collective Soul/Kim Mitchell/Steepwater Band/Los Lobos/Los Lonely Boys/Family Stone and the band of the weekend that wins coolest name Too Slim & The Taildraggers.

Nothing wrong with the lineup that’s for sure as on my bucket list I always wanted to see Los Lobos and here they be… Now I am no where the big Lobos fan but these dudes have been around for a ton of years so they deserve respect and Steve Berlin produced a couple of Tragically Hip albums so there’s the CanCon…..

The Lineup was fine but it’s everything else that is associated with this Festival is wrong. Is it all fixed? Who knows as I haven’t attended since 2013 but this year I’m giving it  another GO so I will report back…well I’m not doing the VIP Package that’s for sure!

Let’s break this down into a few parts… Here’s what was promised from their page….

Limited Quantaties available! VIP Packages include: VIP Laminate pass with schedule and lanyard, Access to VIP Tent Complimentary Snacks, Food Vendor located right inside the VIP Area, Private Washroom Area, Private Bar. *

By the way my spelling is atrocious  on this site but I love the fact that they can’t spell Quantities and there an actual  professional website!

Yeah all that is true but it’s kinda funny as this was the 12th year running for this Festival(back in 2013) so everything should flow.

Lets start with the Friday Night shall we?

I basically rushed home after work that day as the Festival was starting at 5pm. The organisers did allow us since we bought a weekend pass to ride the Transit System Free which is a great idea so we could drink some Adult Pops.

So by the time we arrived we shot right into the VIP area which was fenced off at which time we decided to find a spot to sit! In the VIP area was two Huge ass Birch trees obstructing the view to the stage. For the record these Birch Trees would become pretty good company as the weekend rolled on…

The pic posted above is the stage that the Blues Festival is used! Low to the ground is my issue with this stage. On the left side of the picture those are indeed the Birch Trees that I got fairly acquainted with back in 2013 and Yup,the trees  are still there!

Since it was nice out on the Friday. Suzi and moi decided to watch he show from the front of the stage. Back in 2013 the VIP section was on the left side of the stage. Anyhoo we watched this band from Chicago called The Steepwater Band which basically blew off Headliners Collective Soul by a mile. Collective Soul phoned it in.

At 11pm show was over and we hoped the Transit Home….

DAY 2/Saturday….

Rain or should I say a ton of it was in the forecast for this day and the Weather Gods delivered upon their promise as by the time Los Lonely boys played it was a crazy steady downpour and the field became a huge muck pit. We hunkered down in the VIP tent so we were dry our feet were soaked but no biggie its July for Gods sake! By the time the  headliners Los Lobos hit the stage it was a straight downpour of rain as many in the general audience had split as getting pounded with rain for 3 straight hours at that point can wear on ya….Lobos were cool to see and even local boy Paul Schaffer jammed with them at the beginning of the show…

DAY 3/Sunday…

Rain was still in the forecast and here’s where my bitchin soars, So we get there and well Hello again Birch Trees. For this day we decided to make a straight go of it in the VIP section. Here’s my list of squabbles…

1- The volunteers were hung out to dry as there was no snacks! None! The story I was given was the Chip Truck no showed. This was brutal how the Organizers handled this as they weren’t around and the snacks were just little chip bags….Joke!

2- The Birch Tree blocked our view all weekend. It was a running joke between me and Suzi. Now your may be thinking to yourself “Deke’s why didn’t you just move !” Sure I could but out of respect to people already there I would block there view….

3- We were in the VIP when a bunch of hot meals showed up and someone asked “Is this for the VIPs?” Nope came the reply it’s for the Local business that was the main sponsor!” Wrong on all accounts… Do the greasing of the palms somewhere else!

4-Obstructed Stage View! Ok,so we pay for the VIP and not only are the birch trees blocking my view but now there’s stage gear as well blocking it. Put it this way. When Kim Mitchell was playing if I moved my chair to the left I could see Kim but not see the drummer. If I moved to the right I could see the drummer but not Kim! Make sense? But if I was out in front I could see the whole band but I’m in the Fuckin VIP and I can only see half the show…EPIC FAIL! By the way Kim’s voice was shot and he did not sing anything as Bassist Peter Fredette sang all the songs as Akimbo wailed on his 6 string…

Fast Forward to 2014 and when the Tix go on sale I send an email to the Organizers and one fellow who shall go nameless responded and man I wish I would have kept them as he blew so much smoke up my ass it made me cough!

All those points above that  I had mentioned how disappointed I was in how they handled the VIP…

Here’s what MR Nameless told me…along with my responses in about 4 or 5 emails that were sent between us…

1-They had no idea they ran out of chips(yeah ok!) and that would not be an issue moving forward.

2-The city cemented the stage(which it is) and basically the Birch Trees are staying. HAHAHA….

3- Hot Meals were indeed provided for the sponsors which I retorted with a do it somewhere else. No need to flaunt in front of everyone. Do it somewhere else on site! Do your schmoozing elsewhere!

4- Mr Nameless also told me that it was the bands that played that had more gear added and blah blah blah…Ok Pal….Figure this stuff out beforehand!

5-THIS FOLKS IS MY FAVOURITE ONE….I asked how come VIP seats usually mean at the front of the stage not on the side? I told him he should loosen his tie along with the other stooges and take a drive down to the States and see how a real VIP Section is run!

Mr Nameless totally ignored that last sentence but he did tell me that “People prefer to show up early wait in line and get the best seat possible!”

This has to be the dumbest comment I had ever read or heard..seriously show up 4 hours early when you have VIP and wait with everyone?? Not happening I’ll take my chances with the Birch Tree thanks….

6-Told me that since I’m a music fan that I would probably enjoy the show out in the General Audience. In other words he was politely telling me to Fuck Off! HAHAHAHA….

So this year I’m going back for the first time since 2013! I really don’t want to but I like the acts this year like Kim Mitchell/Big Sugar/Sam Roberts/Alan Doyle/BNL/Randy Bachman.

I’m going with an open mind and I may ask a few people who did pay for the VIP is it worth it? Investigative Reporting here friends!

I know with this show being down by the Waterfront it draws huge business to the local bars/pubs and clubs like Frank who owns/operates Crocks! (see Frank another plug for ya!)

My beef is with the Suits that runs this thing. INSTEAD OF BRAGGING ABOUT HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE PASSED THROUGH THE GATE AND HOW ATTENDANCE RECORDS ARE BROKEN PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL IN YOUR BACKYARD!

MEANING THE PEOPLE WHO PAID FOR THE VIP….

Good luck to those this year that are paying for it!

Technically the Organisers of this event are having the last laugh as I’m handing over $ to go and see this festival. Even when we went to get my tickets Suzi Q said “Are you still sure you want to do this?!” Haha…

The real organised cool run Fort Fest is a no go which is a shame as The Cult/Tom Keifer and others were a real score for this town last year. Fort Fest is run like a professional Show! Great view/Cheap Tickets/Cheap Beers/Ton of Shitters and a Huge Bar! Fort Fest is the reason I hadn’t gone to any Blues Fest’s in this town but now I’m Left with no choice! Fort Fest will be missed and I’ve had a few of my Readers here in TBay ask me about Fort Fest….

I did hear that the VIP at Bluesfest has fenced off seating in the front of the stage now….HAHAHAHA……

I shall report with followup Post!

Stay Tuned!

 

Brother Cane/Brother Cane(1993)

Brother Cane put out a real solid debut album and it gained a bit of traction but the big problem for this album was the year of its release which was 1993!

Growing up a Hard Rock Fan in the 80s and by the time the Grunge Tidal Wave hit in 1991 Music had changed. We all know the culprits from the Pacific Northwest that basically took the whole Hard Rock/Metal Scene and flushed it down the toilet for a few years.

What did I do you ask? Hey! Thanks for asking! When Maiden/Leppard put out there releases at this time I still purchased but as a whole the millions that did in the 80s went the other way.

In certain circumstances though some albums would trickle out on a Major Label of all things and really catch my ear. The debut from Brother Cane was one of those albums!

Before we go any further….

The Dudes…

Damon Johnson – lead vocals, guitar
Roman Glick – guitar
Glenn Maxey – bass guitar
Scott Collier – drums

The Tune’s Of Cane!

“Got No Shame” – 4:34
“Hard Act to Follow” – 4:35
“How Long” – 4:55
“Don’t Turn Your Back on Me” – 4:54
“Woman” – 5:32
“Pressure” – 4:27
“The Last Time” – 5:41
“The Road” – 4:41
“That Don’t Satisfy Me” – 4:42
“Stone’s Throw Away” – 4:38
“Make Your Play” – 7:11

Got No Shame the opening track cooks from the get go and its a ramped up romper stomper of a track! Tons of loud rock guitar mashed up with a distorted harmonica along  with driving drums and a rock solid drum beat blast this song right out of the gates! Damon Johnson has a tailor-made rock throat that has an edge of super coolness to it. Hell toss in some cowbell during the chorus and Woop Woop we got a Winner! I suggest you watch the video of Got No Shame below and be prepared to have your ass kicked by a great tune!

Damon Johnson who wrote all these tracks himself shifts gears on this album and its apparent by the second song in that Damon didn’t write 11 Tracks of Got No Shame. Hard Act To Follow has that 1990’s early Black Crowes like vibe and as the harmonica is put down out comes a Hammond like organ with a nice mix of acoustic and electric mixed in. Great chorus as well. No,make that catchy as Heck!

That’s the great thing about this album as Damon shows up as a huge songwriter who doesn’t pigeonhole himself as one kind of songwriter. Give this man credit he definitely was not following the ‘Trend” so to speak.

The rest of the album follows the same like vibe. Bluesy swampy rock at times followed by tunes with added textures of keys and  acoustic sounds that enhance the songs not detract.

The album doesn’t let up with tracks like That Don’t Satisfy Me in which Johnson has a real knack from hard rock blues swamp rock!

Give B.C credit though as they gave it a shot in Kurt Cobain County Circa 1993…

Great album still….

 

 

Todd & dEKe’S Boneyard…

So a few weeks back along with my Brother Todd we headed down to the States to catch Iron Maiden!

To get to Minneapolis from Tbay is approx 6 hours by vehicle. When Mr 1537 (who lives in England) asked me how far of a drive it was and I answered 6 hours(no biggie I said) Mr 1537 laughed( at the no biggie comment) as he said he could drive across his little island in that time.

Our Listening music on the way down to see Maiden was well….Maiden!

Book of Souls/Live Envivo/Live After Death were all played on the drive down! Basically 3 full double albums were played to reach our destination!

On the drive back home to Thunder Bay the next morning  it was time for Sirius Satellite Radio. After Todd got his morning fix of the NFL station. After a few minutes he dialled up Ozzy’s Boneyard which had a Fathers Day Special in which the Host played Rock Tracks by Rocker Dads like Ozzy/Tommy Lee/ Dave Mustaine/Bruce Dickinson/Gene Simmons. Basically the Host would talk about the Rock Dad’s and then play a tune by them.

When Megadeth was played Todd mentioned how Deth’s Rust In Peace impacted him as a 13-year-old learning guitar  back in 1990. I replied with how it was with Countdown To Extinction that I really gravitated more to. Todd said maybe it was time for me to have  a revisit with Rust In Peace.

I laughed when the Host (can’t remember her name) talked about AC/DC’s Brian Johnson being a father so up next was an AC/DC track and they played Shot Down In Flames. 

Umm Ding Dong, Brian Johnson was not in AC/DC at this time as the singer! The late great Bon Scott sang Shot Down In Flames! Yeah I’m being picky but c’mon man do your homework!

After a while Todd put on Hair Nation and here’s Ratt (Lovin You’s A Dirty Job) Def Leppard(Photograph) Skid Row (I Remember You/Gah!) But it was two tracks well maybe three tracks that brought out some chatter between us.

Conversation went like this….

Motley Crue/Jailhouse Rock(Live)

Deke- “Man! I can’t believe how much of a dumb ass I was back in 1987!”

Todd- (laughs)-” Why?”

Deke-” I actually liked this back than. But let’s just cut another studio track, Slap a live audience on it and drag this end of the album tune out by 5 minutes….! Fuckin Sixx!”

Dokken/Breaking The Chains(song)

Todd-” George Lynch was a real great guitar player back than” What are they doing now? Lynch Mob?”

Deke- “Yeah that and a bunch of guitar clinics and a Dokken reunion last year where Don looked and sounded shot!”

Todd-” No Way!!?”

Deke-” One of the few bands that did not stick out a dud album in the 80’s but man George looked like a friggin banana on that Tooth and Nail Tour when half his hair was blonde and the other half was black!”

Poison/Look What The Cat Dragged In…

Exactly at the 48 second mark of the song Look What The Cat Dragged In, Lead Singer Bret Micheal’s finishes the chorus where he sings the line  “Look What The Cat Dragged IN…RRRRRRRAAAR!

Deke and Todd- HAHAHAHAHAHA(For about 15 seconds after) as Micheals sings the second verse were still mocking the RRRRRRRRRAAAR part like a couple of teenage boys yet here is my bro who just turned 40 and myself who will be hitting 50 and  30 years after this albums release I finally hear the RRRRRRRRAAAR part? That is even funnier….Must have been Poisoned listening to this album back than. Yeah That’s it….

Here’s the video posted so you can hear it for yourself…

Todd likes to try and  stump me and he did on this next one. I should have waited til the chorus but I wanted to look cool and look like a Banger know it all but instead I was tagged out at the plate. The song you ask? Black N Blue/Miss Mystery.  Of course which leads to me explaining how Bruce Fairbairn got the Jovi Producers hat after hearing this Black N Blue album. Basically I was trying to save face which leads too…

Bon Jovi/In And Out Of Love

Deke-” Wish Jon would play this tune now especially when he sings the  “Bring your Girlfriend/Bring your Mom line” hahaha

Another track came on after the Jovi and this lead singer just wailed with a screech so bad, so annoying that Todd was trying to set me up with another strike out or stump the Deke as if you were…but I wasn’t biting…

Todd-” Hahahaha…this is brutal who are these guys?”

Deke-“Have no idea? This guy sounds like Tom Keifer all snapped up and inhaling helium….”

The band- Britny Fox. The song-Long Way To Love.

I did tell Todd that these guys went Gold on this album back in 1989. Than again everything went Gold back than as Record Companies were signing anything Hair Metal like good or bad and in this case Bad!

There ya have it ….It was a great way to kill some time and have a few laughs…..

 

Stats/Stats/Stats

 

Rockin Roberts/BMellis and Deke’s rocking out to Tom Keifer!

Hey Friends ….

Once again thanks to YOU the readers of this Blog who continually show up/read/comment around these parts and enjoy my Scribbles of Rawk!

Some Rando Info …Up to this point I have reviewed 452 albums/books/live shows…

I had a couple of guests as well to add to the total which were Tbone with a Hip and Van Halen review and my sister who reviewed Def Leppard recently! Tbone and Kristin did a fantastic job!

A total of 455 Posts and over 27,000 views in three years along with 8,525 comments!  Holy Crap! Thanks everyone!

I thought it would be cool to show u the Most Viewed Blogs from June 24th  2016 to June 24th 2017 (that’s when this Post was typed)…

dEke’s Top 10 Most Viewed Rambling’s are….

1-Sebastian Bach/18 & LIfe On Skid Row- Yup Ladies and Gents in the past year a Book takes the top spot. Mikey Ladano posted my review on his Twitter page in which Baz seen and retweeted it to his Twitter and posted it to his Facebook Page. Thanks Mikey….and just goes to show you  that people are watching what you post even coming from a  rock schmuck sitting at his computer in Tbay!

2-Toque-Is the all star Canuck only group featuring Todd Kerns/Cory Churko and Brent Fitz who released a fun Canuck only cover album featuring a bunch of cool cover tunes with an updated sound! Thanks to Cory who posted my review on the Toque Facebook homepage!

3-Stephen Pearcy/Smash-  Stevie-o totally stepped up on this album and kicked out the jams in superb 80’s sleazeball rock that totally blew me away. Blown away that Stephen plastered my review on his Twitter and Facebook page and sent me a thanks via messenger!

4-Rock The Fort Day 2/The Cult/Cinderfella…- This was the ass kicking festival that showed up in Tbay and was a two day affair with Day2 headlined by Wolfchild and Duffy who basically ruled the weekend with there performance(check out current release Hidden City folk’s) Must also mention that Tommy Keifer showed up and played a wicked set of Cinderella tunes and solo stuff. Ol Tommy almost stole the weekend….Trews/Helix and Doucette also played this day as well! Great day of Live Rock!

5-Helix/Wild In The Streets-This review was written a few years back and Helix bassist Daryl Gray  graciously posted my review at the time. Daryl a few months ago reposted it via his memories on Facebook and this review picked up a bunch of steam again. Why not! Its a great album and ‘Whacha Bringing To The Party?”

6-Age of Electric/Live at Crocks,April 7th 2017- AOE showed up played Tbay and blew myself and Tbone out of the water with an airtight show filled with a ton of cool tunes. Met the dudes afterwards and they signed my discs and were all cool to chat with.

7th (Tie)- Metal Heart/Aiming High With Accept- Author Martin Popoff wrote a wicked good read on Accept that is well worth the dough. I am by no means a huge Accept fan but Martin delved in a band that really wasn’t written about much even back in the day so it’s these kind of Rock Books that peak my interest level. Martin interviews all these Accept dudes so it’s not some bullshit read. Check out  Popoff’s site.

7th(Tie)-Age of Electric/The Pretty Ep-AOE comes in with there second Top 10 entry and for Todd Kerns it’s 2 Top Tens here with AOE along with Toque. Dude is everywhere. AOE after a ton of years had passed put out this little ass kicker of an EP that is worth your time friends. Do check out!

8-The Tragically Hip-Roxy & Elsewhere- A bunch of fellow writers decided to do a 200 word only review and I choose to do this great soundboard bootleg of The Hip that was recorded back in 1991! They are on fire on this release. Highway Girl and Killer Whale Tank are so good as singer Gord Downie is looped and in another time zone but is so good at telling stories with the Hips riding shotgun and blasting off a ton of riffs underneath! Pure Brilliance and Geoff Stephen would and will be proud to see this entry of his hometown homey’s!

9-KISS Rocks Vegas- Is the audio portion from KISS’s Vegas performance that Mikey Ladano sent me! (Thanks Mikey) How could KISS not crack the Top 10.  These old Geezers are a part of my Musical DNA so to speak and say what you will. Whether you like em or hate em Kiss are a great discussion …..

10-Swords And Tequila/Riots Classic First Decade-Martin Popoff scores a second book here in the Top 10 and Riot is a band I love that stuck out great albums but for some reason never lifted off. Martin did his homework here, Tons of interviews/pics/the real story of which took me right back to over 3 decades ago.  Riot had even less written about them than Accept! Martin fixed that problem and wrote what I feel is one of his best written works!

Well,there you have it. Kinda wild that 3 books cracked the Top 10! Some Cancon is included withThe Hip, AOE,Helix & Toque.  Kinda of a neat mix really….

Thanks for reading….

 

Aldo Nova/Aldo Nova(1982)

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My buddy Muc jumped all over this as soon as the lead off single Fantasy  was released back in early 1982 on the  album from which it came from simply titled  Aldo Nova. This debut sold huge amounts not just here in Canada but went Platinum in the United States as well!

Aldo was a solo artist he wrote and produced all the tunes here and basically does all the instruments himself!

Super Duper Nova!

Aldo Nova: vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, bass guitar, keyboards, synthesizers
Dennis Chartrand: acoustic piano
Michel Pelo, Roberto Biagioni: bass guitar
Michael LaChapelle, Terry Martel: drums, percussion
Daniel Barbe, Dwight Druck: backing vocals

Not only that but along with the  Producers Hat. Aldo also had a hand  in mixing and engineering the album as well! That’s keeping costs down in the  roaring 80’s!

Oh yeah here are the song’s and if you’re wondering Aldo wrote these all by his Lonesome!

“Fantasy” – 5:05
“Hot Love” – 3:54
“It’s Too Late” – 3:23
“Ball and Chain” – 4:01
“Heart to Heart” – 3:42
“Foolin’ Yourself” – 3:35
“Under the Gun” – 3:47
“You’re My Love” – 3:33
“Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” – 3:57
“See the Light” –3:56

Fantasy is a Classic Rock delight! Props to Aldo as he not only opens this album with a great track it was his lead off single as well and clocking in at over 5 Minutes must have made Radio DJ’s back than happy as they could tack on a few extra minutes where they could grab a Coffee or a Coke(AHEM!). Speaking of Coke. How about these lyrics.

Outta site, buy your kicks from the man in the white
Feels alright, powder pleasure in your nose tonight
See the men paint their faces and cry
Like some girl it makes you wonder why
City life, sure is cool but it cuts like a knife, it’s your life

Fantasy I will say hooks me with that piano/synth pace as soon as Aldo’s voice kicks in! There I said it! Basically its like the Piano on the studio version of Christine Sixteen but Aldo cranks it up to 78 rpm’s! Great guitar driven track…Love it. Posted a live clip of it below from 1982!

The rest of the album is a Hard Rock delight where at times I can hear Tom Scholz from Boston  in some of Aldo’s playing. Songcraft is huge on this album and Side 1 is huge!  Track after winning track.

Great Hard Rock Songs follow Fantasy and Aldo pulls no punches in rocking but I will go on record and say that Fantasy is the heaviest track on Side 1.  

Side 2 is still pretty solid  especially with the opener Fooling Yourself but it dips a bit towards the end but overall it’s a real good debut as Aldo was not only selling records but he scored the opening slot on Sam Hagar’s Three Lock Box Tour and I recall reading in Circus Magazine a monthly column written by Lou O Neil Jr where he wrote that he was giving Sam a run for his money! Whether that’s the case or not.  Aldo was making strides…

 

Iron Maiden/Ghost-June 16th 2017/St Paul Mn.

 

So my Brother Todd back in January of this year received an email saying that Iron Maiden  would be playing the Xcel Energy Center in downtown St Paul Minnesota on June 16th.

Todd was working up in the area of Hudson’s Bay(Manitoba) back in January when the pre sale happened so with crappy WiFi where he was working he drove 60 miles to get a decent signal and viola grabbed us two tickets which was good as all 15,000 tickets sold out in less than a few hours!

Todd was pumped that not only Maiden was showing up but they were bringing Ghost as an opener. Todd vouched for them but I was on the fence with Ghost as I tried watching some of their live stuff on YouTube but for some reason I could not grasp the concept of the whole Ghost shtick! Would they convert me?

Keep Reading…

So the day of the show we took off bright n early and headed to St Paul Minnesota which is right next door to Minneapolis Minnesota(Twin Cities the locals call it) and Todd was on the ball and got us a hotel within a 10 minute walk to the Xcel Center.

So about 3 hours before show time we headed towards the Xcel Center (where there was a bunch of Maiden fanatics hanging out by the doors a good 3 hours before door’s would open. We realised later why as the floor was general admission)which has a bunch of Burger N Booze establishments so we picked one and had a few beers and you knew Maiden was in town as there were a ton of Maiden shirts everywhere. Let me clarify that. A ton of dudes wearing Maiden T’s with a handful of woman wearing some as well…Kinda like being at a Rush show!

It was funny as once as we headed back to the Xcel Center on  the entrance side of the building that  we were going to enter into I  counted 7 poh poh cars and one K-9 Unit sitting right beside the Arena. Ha! Guess they were calling in extra’s for the Maiden show thinking there was going to be trouble! Strong Arm Of The Law!

Once inside and tickets scanned it was off for me to the Merchandise tables and there must have been about 12-14 different Maiden T’s (One T was an Xcel exclusive in which we snagged a few of those stat) There was another table set up that was selling a bunch of silk screen covers of albums. All the bases were covered! Todd was talking to a guy who drove in from Des Moines Iowa for the show and he bought a couple of these Maiden only Minneapolis T’s and told Todd that he puts a couple up on eBay and gets about $150 U.S per shirt as Maiden fanatics will pay for rare shirts!

At 730 pm sharp Ghost hit the stage opening with Square Hammer and I was hooked! What a great opening song and let’s for a second talk about these guys.

Ghost consists of 6 members with the  Lead Singer going by the name of Papa Emeritus while the 5 other fella’s names or well they call em Nameless Ghouls. Papa looks like during the first three numbers an anti Pope. Seriously but I will say he has a wickedly good voice that with an excellent band of musicians around him whoever the Ghouls in real life are. Opening number Square Hammer is a great track but it was the tune Absolution  that made me really take notice. This tune blends heavy and melodic rock with a smattering of Alice Cooper vocally mashed with the Keys of Deep Purple. The two Ghouls on guitars are a show upon themselves getting the crowd into it with their demonic like silver masks. Papa after awhile ditches the Anti Pope deal and goes for Think Andrew Loyd Weber with a mix of  Phantom Of The Opera. He even has quite a bit of humour at times between songs when addressing the crowd. Good to see these guys don’t take themselves that seriously except when it comes to the music its taken very seriously! I posted a clip of Ghost from St Paul playing the track Cirice. You can see how they have that edge throughout but can snap into a real melodic bit and snap right out of it. Great stuff.

I don’t think I have ever seen an opening act get this much stage space and a real good use of lights(purple and green dominated the set ) from a headliner. Than again it’s Maiden!

The crowd was stoked as this was Maidens first appearance in the St Paul/Minneapolis area in 17 years!

At 8:55 pm the opening keys of  UFO’s Doctor Doctor filled the arena and you knew once this song was over it was time for Maiden.

I have to say the whole Mayan like themed stage is very slick-looking and as it filled with smoke out appears Lead Singer Bruce Dickinson perched  above Drummer Nicko McBrain’s Drums and does his Capella opening to the first song of the night If Eternity Should Fail for a few minutes than   the rest of the Maidens hit the stage amidst a blast of pyro it is definitely show time.

It’s official I lose my shit!

Speed Of Light is up second and everyone is at the front of the  stage with Bruce handling his mic stand like a Fencer swinging his sword. Guitarist Janick Gers is a show upon himself.  Doing a bunch  of wind mill’s on his guitar like Townsend. The dude is a throwback to the late 70’s early 80s look complete with the bullet belt around his waist. Flinging his guitar around his neck/back,legs stretched out over the PA and at times tossing in a solo for good measure. Must mention I dig Bruce’s stage attire for this show. Cargo pants/Hoodie and Boots. The dude is hanging with Mayan’s!

Great to hear Nicko and Bassist Steve Harris lock in at the start of  Wrathchild.  Bruce lets off his patent Air Raid Siren scream and wow man the guy is so good! Childern of The Damned is played this night and right before Children, Bruce addressed the crowd and asked how many people at the show where born after 1982.  (The year COTD was released) The response was pretty loud as this is what Maiden wants to hear. Kids getting into Maiden from their parents and plus it keeps Maiden themselves from becoming a straight nostalgia act! Case in point there was Dad sitting beside me with his two young teenage son’s.

Death or Glory and The Red And Black from the current album Book of Souls are front and centre and Death And Glory is a great track with Bruce “Climbing Like A Monkey” as he gets the crowd into it(watch the video below) and Adrian Smith plays some real slick slide guitar during the solo. The Red And The Black is epic and clocks in at over 10 minutes with spectacular lights and a boatload of guitar solo’s!

1983’s classic The Trooper complete with Bruce in a red war jacket jostling a Union Jack Flag cranked up the crowds even more as this is one of those tracks that you will always be played. My brother who plays guitar says that Dave Murray is one of the smoothest Soloists out there as you don’t hear his picking and he flawlessly goes up and down the fret board during his solo’s. Todd also mentioned on the drive home between Ghost and Maiden we heard probably over 60 guitar solo’s between the act’s. An exhibition in axemanship I would say!

Powerslave encompasses everything I love about Maiden. Ripping verse’s huge chorus/total chill out in the  midsection of the tune and the solos of Smith/Murray bring the song back up and Nicko does those crazy rolls right before the song goes back into its final verse! Told Todd that this track takes me right back to when I first bought Powerslave the day upon its release back in 1984! Must mention as well the huge wall of fire upon Bruce’s entrance…Impact!

The Great Unknown with its melodic opening and  ramps up and ends with an extended melodic jam with all three guitarists getting there shot at playing some bluesy like riffs while Bruce works the crowd( all night Bruce was pointing to the front/back/upper deck’s all sections were acknowledged throughout the show)

Bruce soars vocally on the track Book of Souls and   basically is  a 13 minute Maiden Metal Masterpiece especially when  Nicko lifts the tune off into a crazy tempo during the solo and  here comes at least a 12 foot Eddie swinging at Janick before Bruce takes Eddie’s heart out and chucks it into the crowd! Steve Harris has written many classic tracks but this tune is one my fav’s. Like Powerlsave (song) it encompasses everything I love about Maiden!

Fear of The Dark has Bruce running back and forth behind Nicko on  and not missing a line  vocally. Endurance the man has! Janick throws down a great solo on FOTD. Love the last verse as the band just rip it up and just like that it’s time for …

Iron Maiden! The classic tune from the self titled 1980 release is performed and there’s Eddie behind Nicko rising up and Bam out comes the fire/pyro off of Ed’s noggin and just like that …the show is over!

Kinda….Encore please…

The stage goes red and The Number of The Beast is dialled up and you want a ton of fire set off look no further than this track complete with another round of Bruce’s Air Raid Siren wail at the start of the track. Love Smith/Murray’s solo’s and Harris when he razzle dazzles with that bass riffing after the guitar solo’s…

Blood Brothers is next and I’m going to post the video and Bruce actually thanks Dekes and Todd for showing up(kinda thanks us..check it out it’s at the beginning of the song about the minute and half mark)

Wasted Years closes the show and it’s a great Adrian Smith track complete with A Plus solo. Maiden end things on a high!

First of thanks to Todd for making this trip happen! Maiden is still the best live act around and considering Nicko just turned 65 it’s crazy that these guys are still playing at this level! The solo’s/vocal’s it’s like its 1985 again! No dip in anything folks!

Bruce mentioned that there putting this show to bed at the end of July and they will go away for a bit but will be back. So it’s not quite the end yet.

Umm… yeah when they come back…..Myself and Todd will be there again!

Long Live Maiden!

 

Iron Maiden/ Book Of Souls(2015)

Yes folks today I’m cheating with a repost of this review from April 2016! The reason? Well  I’m off to see Maiden Live in Minneapolis tonight(June 16th) and that’s thanks to my brother Todd who got us tickets on a presale as the show sold out in 2 days back in January! So thanx to Todd I’m outta here but fret not…Full Live Review….ASAP!

It wasn’t for the fact that Maiden after 35 years of albums would release a double studio album too psyche me out! Nope! It also wasn’t for the fact that Maiden as per protocol would have some tunes that clock in at 13 minutes and one at over 17 minutes! Nope…

It was the fact that in the credits as it listed the bands  names  their’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson credited with both vocals and piano!

Scccccreeeeeeech…..HALT! Yep my fine readers at Stick It In My Ear that is the difference between Maiden 2015 and Maiden 1985!

If you’re looking for Maiden speed metal  in Aces High from yesteryear just keep on trucking. They can still hold down the Metal Fort thank you very much but their sound has advanced proggy,epic in spots,a different kind of recording beast in 2015!

Just like how Rush stepped up and delivered a classic in Clockworks Angels back in 2012. Iron Maiden step up and deliver what I would say is there best album since Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son(1988)

Rush and Maiden have nothing left to prove but how they managed to step up and release such majestic epic recordings pushing  the age of 60 years young  is mind-boggling but yet for us Lovers of Hard Rock its a win win…..

Bruce Dickinson(vocals) Dave Murray,Janick Gers,Adrian Smith (all guitars) Steve Harris(bass) and Nicko McBrain (drums) are still alive and kicking into The Final Frontier(Ha!) ….No slouching around at Maiden HQ when Commander Harris is at the controls!

IF ETERNITY SHOULD FAIL- Ahhh so the proceedings begin with Bruce and some Voodoo Hoodoo Mayan like vibes. Yep all is fine with the Air Raid Siren and at age 57 his vocal pipes are as strong as ever  and why wouldn’t they be? Before too long the rest of Maiden shoots out of the gate and I like the production courtesy of Kevin Shirley who keeps things dry in other words he doesn’t overproduce  Maiden he keeps things sonically balanced. First thing is that I notice is Harris bass is mixed  down and not that twangy vibe like some sonic beef was added to the grill. Great chorus and Bruce’s vocals just sail over and Frigg his voice is outstanding. Dig how the song shifts into a Steve/Nicko mashup before the solos are launched by the Three Amigos on guitar. What a powerhouse opener as Maiden always deliver on the first song on each of their albums! Stand up and take notice Fokkers! Must also mention that I dig Bruces old creeper voice at the end of this song where he talks…”Good Day My Name Is Necropolis…….” Love it! Also a round of Hip Hooray for a close to 9 minute opener!

SPEED OF LIGHT- When I preordered this album from iTunes they dropped this tune Into my iPod! Read how at the age of 48 I still go Bonkers over these guys! …https://superdekes.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/iron-maidenspeed-of-light/

FYI- I posted a live clip of this tune from Mexico a few weeks back! Check out the crowd at the beginning as you see now nutty the crowd is with beer flinging through the air people just flat-out Rockin! Well done people of Mexico! Plus you see how a frontman aged 57 named Bruce has not lost a step like the frontman  he was at the age 27!

THE GREAT UNKNOWN- It starts off chill with some nice electric picking along with Bruce’s voice and then builds up into a heavy kick of Maiden Prog as Nicko sets the tempo with his driving Sonor drums and the chorus here is the money shot. Bruce soars vocally (Shocker! Not!!) and lifts the song as only he can do. Nice guitar work and as the song wraps up its back to where it began with some nice electric picking and Bruce’s voice!

THE RED AND THE BLACK- How about a 13 minute plus Maiden Attack as Bruce and Steve lead the charge from the get go and now about that guitar that cruises along with Bruce’s vocals during the verses. The Red And The Black has a bunch of music and it gets heavy proggy at the end and when you think it ends it keeps going and why not? Stop? Naaaa when the riffs are rolling keep em rolling! Nice interplay between all three guitars and I’m sure this song will go down a storm  when played live! As per protocol the song ends as it started!

WHEN THE RIVER RUNS DEEP-Kinda could have been on the Somewhere In Time album from 1986 me thinks! The song super charges ahead and theirs Nicko riding that Paiste Cymbal like no ones business. When the song crashes into the verse Maiden slip gears and crank it up with a slower doomed pace with some slick backing vocals perhaps Bruce doubling up but regardless When The River Runs Deep is a great track! Freight Train Maiden Full Steam Ahead!

THE BOOK OF SOULS- 10 minutes of the title track and if you want tempo change look no further! This track sweeps through all kinds of musical landscapes meshed with the Maiden Synth firmly entrenched in the background but not overstepping the boundaries of the guitars of Dave,Adrian and Janick. One of the things I love about  Maiden is right around the 5 minute mark the song does indeed shift gears and that’s thanks to Nicko as he does his smooth as silk drum n tom rolls and Maiden go into the zone and blast off with solos and its back to the Prog but Maiden Heavy Prog!

DEATH OR GLORY-A nice little ditty that kicks ass! It launches right out of the Maiden Gate with all hands on deck! Nicko is smashing the cymbals while the guitars play off each other and man oh man there’s the Air Raid Siren stretching his tonsils and laying down a great vocal. Believe it or not it’s a Maiden tune under 6 minutes! Video is posted so play it please!

SHADOWS OF THE VALLEY- The beginning riff is straight outta Wasted Years kinda and this tune would have fit nice and snug on side 1 of Somewhere In Time! Tons of Maiden synth fill the backspace along with Maiden ensemble! Great tune and better solos. Nice pace as well!

TEARS OF A CLOWN- A song inspired by Robin Williams (RIP)and its a fabulous piece of musicianship,lyrics and voice! It’s all here. Love the  Crispy Crunch sound of the guitars and the amped up Maiden Synth during the chorus. One great track but I have been saying that all along this review haven’t I!?

MAN OF SORROW-A mid tempo track that is paced once again by Nicko and the features a ton of Maiden triple guitar combo attacks and also features some real slick bass playing by one Mr Harris! Nice Cymbal riding at the end of this tune!

EMPIRE OF THE CLOUDS-And Here It Is …Piano! Ha! But well done and played by Bruce(what can the guy not do!) Cellos sweep across the backing of Bruce’s Piano playing and it’s a great hook! Nicko does his marching snare to Bruce’s vocals! Amazing that Bruce composed this tune about a Military Airship ( to understand the scope of this the Titanic could have fit in this Airship!)pre Hindenburg and can keep the song and more importantly us the listener interested as the song clocks in at 18 minutes! Yep 18 minutes! It’s a journey it’s not Metal but Maiden keep it moving as for the first time ever in Maiden History the piano drives the tune!  Epic comes to mind! I know people were going on about Bruce only writing a couple of tracks for Book Of Souls. This qualifies as about 3 plus tunes! Give the guy a break! Ha! Fantastic song! It ends how it started with Bruce at the piano!

Holy Heck Maiden show up yet again and knock me on my ass! A double bubble epic album release. If you’re a reader at Mikeys site you know this was my Numero Uno #1 of album releases in 2015! No one came close!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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