with ANDRE MATOS and H.E.A.T.
Islington Academy, London
10th January 2009
Review and live pics by HannTu
Can we get a ‘Hell Yeah’ for cheesy 80s rock slash power metal? You bet we can, and when German schlockmeisters Edguy come to town, you KNOW you’re in for a rockin’ good time.
The Swedish band H.E.A.T. kick things off, and immediately you’re reminded of great 80s hard rock – and I can’t help but be reminded of a few early Malmsteen albums. The bassist Jimmy Jay even looks like the Swedish shred god, down to the flouncy hair and flamboyant stage presence! In spite of the wacky costumes, this band is seriously good, and singer Kenny Leckremo has a wonderfully emotional voice that soars and bursts during ballads, while retaining awesome range when screaming on high. With cheesy keyboards and twin guitars playing over-the-top solos, it’s just a great singalong good time to be had by all. Check them out!
Think Brazilian metal, and instantly you get (usually) Sepultura and Angra. One of Brazil’s most successful metal exports, Angra showed that Brazil is not all about death metal and samba. Ex-singer Andre Matos has struck off on his own, releasing his debut album TIME TO BE FREE in 2007, and with appearances in the first two Avantasia albums (as Elderane the Elf) and on the second Luca Turilli (Rhapsody of Fire) solo album, he’s doing pretty well on his own.
He’s got an amazing voice, rich and full even at higher registers, and he holds his own in terms of vocal range compared to other power metal singers. I believe that this came through during the live performance, however a lot of people I spoke to after the gig were adamant that Andre gave a bad performance – they claimed that his singing was weak and his voice was on the verge of cracking several times. I can’t vouch for that, but for myself, he gave a superb performance, and was unfortunate to come on between H.E.A.T. and Edguy, who both eclipsed even the mighty Andre.
Of course, their famous voice is only one facet of this band, and Andre really excelled in terms of showmanship, performing acrobatics with his mike stand while constantly thanking the crowd for coming out to watch them. With a good mix of Angra songs and his own solo stuff (and even a cover of a Journey song), there was enough in it to keep everyone happy. When they closed with Angra’s ‘Carry On’, the band members whipped out their digital cameras to take photos of the crowd. A good performance, IMHO.
Nothing to Say (Angra)
How Long (Unleashed Away)
Separate Ways (Journey cover)
Unfinished Allegro/Carry On (Angra)
Edguy took a lot of stick for 2006’s ROCKET RIDE, such was its departure from their normal symphonic power metal sound. To be fair, it wasn’t a bad album, it was just totally unexpected and fans were taken aback. 2008’s TINNITUS SANCTUS is a move along the same direction, but according to the band, is a more focused and solid album.
That was reflected in the setlist, which had five songs from the new album. While it was a bit weird not to hear old favourites like ‘Mysteria’, ‘Tears of a Mandrake’ or even ‘Vain Glory Opera’, it was nevertheless a demonstration of how firmly the band believes in their new album. Kicking off with the defiant ‘Dead or Rock’, the riproaring ‘Speedhoven’ and the heavy-as-fuck ‘Nine Lives’, Tobi and co. were in fine form!
Tobi was on fire, with a mix of awesome showmanship, incredible singing and tongue-in-cheek humour. He introduced their fourth song, “This is for the people who thought our last album sucked, who thought we had become too slow, this one’s for you” before launching into ‘Until We Rise Again’ from VAIN GLORY OPERA. Arse-kicking song!
‘The Pharaoh’ was another major surprise, from my favourite Edguy album MANDRAKE in 2001 (when I first got into them). The five minute long interlude in the middle of the song allowed a little noodling from Eggi, who played his bass parts sitting down, cross legged on stage. The song got a fantastic reception from the crowd, and Tobi quipped “That’s like an Iron Maiden song!” referring to the length and epic nature of the track.
More fun and games ensued, “Now please shut up, I’m serious. Now I’m going to do the ‘oh-oh’ of my life”, which he did. With his ironic wit, he said “Right, you know how it goes. I’m gonna split you up to right and left, and you on my left, you’re gonna yell your hearts out, and I’m gonna say ‘that was the best noise I’ve ever heard’, even though I say it every night to every crowd, and then you on the right will try and make them look like pussies. Okay?” Typically, he responded to the first round of roars with “That was the best, biggest load of okay-ness I’ve ever heard.”
‘Ministry of Saints’ gave the crowd a chance to sing along again, before Felix took his five minutes in the limelight with a drum solo. Interestingly, he started off drumming to the percussion in the theme of The Pirates of the Carribbean, and did a good job of it too! ‘Pride of Creation’ was the last TINNITUS SANCTUS song, and Tobi introduced ‘The Headless Game’ as being from THEATRE OF SALVATION, “great album, fucking ugly cover, but fuck it, heavy metal isn’t meant to be pretty.”
Tobi asked for all the lighters and mobile phones to be raised in anticipation of “the obligatory pussy ballad”, which was ROCKET RIDE’s ‘Save Me’, which also got a rousing rendition from the crowd. It’s a pity, there are better Edguy ballads out there, but oh well…’Superheroes’ left the crowd jumping and wanting more, but the band half-heartedly left the stage, also to set up the obligatory encore.
Barely 15 seconds later, they were back out for ‘Out of Control’. ‘Lavatory Love Machine’ and ‘King of Fools’ ended the night on an upbeat mood. I desperately wished that Andre would have come out and done at least one of the Avantasia songs, but alas, it was not to be. In spite of that, Edguy kept the pace and energy up from the very first song to the last, and they are genuine about making good music for themselves and for the fans. Wonderful musicians, great people and superlative performers, you can’t ask for anything more. It’s an auspicious start to 2009!
Dead or Rock
Until We Rise Again
Ministry of Saints
Pride of Creation
The Headless Game
Out of Control (Encore)
Lavatory Love Machine (Encore)
King of Fools (Encore)
Thanks to Adam Sagir at The Noise Cartel for the photo pass!