Gus G We Are The Fire Sweden Tour 2015 – European leg w/ guest vocalists Tara Teresa, Jeff Scott Soto w/ support at Kulturbolaget Malmo, Sweden

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Gus G. – We Are The Fire Sweden Tour 2015

European leg with guest vocalists Tara Teresa, Jeff Scott Soto
Eclipse – Special guest
Reach – Support act

Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
5/3 – 2015

Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall

Gus G released his first solo album titled I AM THE FIRE last year and it contained a string of well known guest appearances from singers like Mats Levén, Tom S Englund, Jeff Scott Soto and Michael Star to mention a few. Gus began the tour last year but canceled his Swedish performances in Gothenburg and Malmo. He has been joined by several various musicians on the tour, but on this particular night he was joined by singer Henning Basse (ex- Metalium, Uli Jon Roth), drummer John Nunez (Firewind) and bass player Strutter. As guest vocalist, he brought in Jeff Scott Soto and Tara; just for us here in Sweden. The debut album was released as an expanded edition this year and the disc contained four bonus tracks and a bonus DVD with four videos. The European tour began in Britain at the end of February and the tour ends with three shows in Italy.

On the day of the show, Gus made a visit at one of the music stores called 4Sounds in Malmo where fans could hook up with him, take pictures and have chat and also win some of his branded gear. The meet and greet took place between 13.30-15.00 and to my surprise were there pretty few people attending the event. Gus is a famous guitar player, and a really skilled one, so I thought that many more would have come and see him. Gus arrived to the shop about 50 minutes late and even though there were so few there he smiled and seemed happy to meet the ones that had shown up. The staff didn’t seem to know what to do or to plan the meet and greet. Fans got their stuff signed and Gus took pictures with them and posed with guitars. He spoke to everyone there and he sure is a very humble and down to earth rock star. My friend walked up to Gus and since my friends wife is from Greece, just like Gus, the two shared a few words in Greek. Overall it was nice to meet him and the fans really appreciated the event.

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The Swedish acts Eclipse and Reach supported Gus on the Swedish shows and the brand new Eclipse album BLEED AND SCREAM was released on February. The band is led by singer Erik Mårtensson who also is a member of W.E.T. with Jeff Scott Soto. Reach is a new band formed by drummer Marcus Johansson and guitarist Ludvig Turner. Turner has competed in the 2014 Swedish version of the talent show called Idol and the band debut album is due to be released soon. The single “You Called My Name” was released around Christmas last year and was a sneak peak of what we can expect from the debut album.

Since the show took place on a Thursday, there were no night club afterwords. The club opened its doors at 7 and the show was scheduled to end at 11.30. As usual, I was at the club a little while before it opened and a small line had formed outside. The first thing I checked out was if there were a photo pit this night and luckily it was. I took a look at the merchandise and the t-shirt with the tour dates on the back and album cover on the front I had planned to buy which was the one he made PR for at his facebook wasn’t available. The people in the club hung out at the bar in wait for the first band to enter the stage and after 30 minutes was it finally time for the night to start.

Reach

Reach is a four piece that kicked off the show right away. After two songs, the singer thanked the crowd and introduced the band. The band plays straight forward heavy metal, but since the band only had one guitarist, it left me wishing for more. If felt like the members was a bit nervous and they would have gained a lot by taking a second round in the rehearsal room before taking on a crowd. The band played pretty loud and in Sweden it’s only allowed to play up to a certain decibel, however it felt like the band was close to the line when it came to the sound and many of the visitors in the club left the floor and headed to the bar. The singer urged people to clap their hands, not many did as they were told. “Tell Me” taken from the debut album followed but by now it felt like most of the people had gotten tired of the listening to the band. “Reach Out” was the last song for Reach and it ended the 30 minute show.

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Reach’s music didn’t appeal to me, and by judging of the people at the bar I wasn’t alone. The sound was too loud and too poorly mixed. It felt like the band wasn’t ready to face the crowd at Kulturbolaget. The same gear was used by Eclipse. The crew only changed a few cymbals and the backdrop, and as the crew prepared the stage, more people arrived to the venue. At 8.30 the stage lit up and the music silenced, so was it time for Eclipse to enter the stage for the first in Malmo.

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Eclipse

“I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry” marked the beginning of the show and was instantly followed by “Stand On Your Feet”. The band was given a warm welcome by the fans and singer Mårtensson moved around across the stage looking really happy to face the fans in Malmo. Even though Mårtensson worked really hard to get the crowd warmed up, most of the people in front of the stage stood solid on their spot only clapping their hands. “Wake Me Up” followed and Eclipse consists of:

Erik Mårtensson – lead vocals
Magnus Henriksson – guitar
Robban Bäck – drums
Magnus Ulfstedt – bass

Mårtensson asked if the fans was ready for Gus G and followed up with asking if they were ready to hear some more rock from Eclipse. “The Storm” and “Battlegrounds” continued the show and the band was really solid and skilled. There is no doubt that the band are talented musicians. Henriksson, Ulfstedt and Mårtensson especially impressed me. Someone that really blew me away was the brilliant drummer Bäck. He played drums effortlessly and it was so nice to see him in action. Mårtensson grabbed an acoustic guitar saying that it now was time for a ballad, that maybe a few thought was a boring choice of song; nevertheless it was time to slow things down. Mårtensson and Henriksson did a guitar duel and Mårtensson held on to his acoustic guitar in the next song which was “Ain’t Dead Yet”. Once the song was over it was time for Bäck to do a drum solo and everyone else left the stage. After a mediocre solo it was time for the show to continue and Mårtensson introduced Bäck. Mårtensson said that the band released their brand new album just two weeks ago and that it was time for a song from the disc in “Bleed And Scream”.

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Mårtensson said that when he wrote the next song, back in 2008, he felt instantly that it was an Eclipse song and it was “To Mend A Broken Heart”. He said the song has also been made into a cover. And now some of the people in the crowd woke up, unfortunately the people woke up too late because that was the last song for the show and the band thanked the fans and went off the stage.

The 60 minute show was in my opinion pretty good and Eclipse’s Malmo debut went really well. The band is solid as a unit and it felt like the guys had a good time on stage. Mårtensson is a brilliant lead singer and excellent front man and especially drummer Bäck is worth recognizing!

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Set list: (Not in order)

I Don’t Wanna Say I’m Sorry
Stand On Your Feet
Wake Me Up
The Storm
Battlegrounds
Blood Enemies
Wide Open
Ain’t Dead Yet
Breaking My Heart Again
Bleed And Scream
To Mend A Broken Heart

I thought that more people should have turned up to see Gus G because to be honest, the club wasn’t even semi full. The backdrop that hung behind the drums portrayed the cover art work from the new album but beside the backdrop there wasn’t much stuff on stage so the band members had a lot of space to move around on. At 10 o clock it was time for the headline act to kick off the show.

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Gus G

“My Will Be Done” marked the beginning of the show and as soon as the intro was over singer Henning Basse entered the stage. “Eyes Wide Open” and “Blame It On Me” continued the show and Gus G stood at the right on the stage firing off heavy razor sharp guitar riffs. Gus took the mic asking if there were any aspiring young guitarists in the crowd, he dedicated the instrumental “Vengeance” to all the up and coming guitarists that struggle.

Henning Basse – lead vocals
Gus G – guitar
John Nunez – drums
Strutter – bass

The band played really loud and even though I’ve been to countless shows throughout the years, I thought the band played quite loud. The drums and guitar was put too high up in the mix and the rest too low. Gus thanked the fans in Swedish and he said that Sweden had meant a lot to him because it was in Sweden that his career kicked off in the band Dream Evil. He said it was time to play a Dream Evil song and fired off “Break The Chains”. Basse tried to get the fans to sing the chorus but they weren’t keen on helping him out. The audience was really calm and mostly stood put listening while politely clapping their hands. Basse asked if everyone was doing OK and said that he was a session singer for Firewind back in 2006 and that it now was time to play a Firewind song in “World On Fire”. Both Basse and Gus used the entire stage to move around on and it was no doubt that those two was the pillars that the show was resting on. The rest of the band did their job well, but nothing more. However, Gus was the star of the night and when he walked out on the ramp the fans reached to touch him. Basse’s voice didn’t impress me much and he sounded pretty week and he hardly had any power or pressure. I’m used to hearing the album where the songs are sung by much greater singers than Basse and live it was pretty obvious that Basse couldn’t handle the pressure. “The Fire And The Fury” followed and Basse went off stage while Gus took on a long guitar solo.

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“Terrified” continued the show and it was another instrumental piece taken from the new album I AM THE FIRE. There’s no doubt that Gus already at his young age can be considered a living legend as there are not many guitarists that are as technical and fast as Gus. He also manages to throw out some really cool guitar poses and often used the ramp to come closer to the fans. Gus said that he brought in a bunch of vocalists to help him out on the new album and one of them are Michael Starr who usually sings about women and fucking women but for the first time on my album, Gus continued, he sings a song that concerns a greater topic than women in the song “Redemption” which Gus now kicked off. Basse tried to get the fans to scream but the people were really not in the mood to scream and clapped their hands while looking at the show. Basse asked if the crowd had a good time and if they wanted to hear more which they clapped their hands for. He said that it now was time to hear another Dream Evil song in “Children Of The Night” which is a personal favorite song of mine. Basse tried to get the crowd to sing the chorus which didn’t go so well. It was a long time since I last saw such a lame crowd as this. Why go to a show if you’re not prepared to show some support for the artist?

While Basse was pretty weak, frontman Gus on the other hand saved the show with his charisma. He was really the big star this night and he alone saved the show from a total meltdown. Nunez is also worth mentioning because he was solid as a rock behind his drums. “I Am the Fire” now followed with Gus showing off on guitar. Gus said a few more sentences in Swedish which best can be translated to “Drink more beer” and something about “big breasts”.

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So was it time to make room for the first guest singer for the night which was a dear friend to Gus whom which he had written songs together with and he wanted us to give a warm hand for Tara Teresa. She helped out on the Firewind hit song “Breaking The Silence” which was now played. She looked really nervous being on stage and even though Basse tried to make her feel more comfortable she couldn’t erase the constant nervous expression off her face. Her mic was put way lower in the mix than Basse’s so the song sounded quite strange. Sadly, it wasn’t a good duet at all. Basse couldn’t manage to keep up the high standard that original singer Apollo Papathanasio put into the song and Tara only seemed nervous, not a good combination. This version of an otherwise excellent song made me sad and it was not a good at all.

Gus said that his solo album had been re-released as an expanded edition with more songs featured and the album was sold at the show. The next song Gus wrote with Tara who still was on the stage and together they did “Hesitate”. Tara looked as nervous as before when she sang “Hesitate” and she hardly looked at the crowd while she sang. She stood in front of the drums with her hair in her face not looking comfortable at all. Tara thanked the fans when the song was over and Gus asked why the fans were so quiet, and isn’t Sweden a rock country. He made a comment on Sweden’s curfew when it comes to playing too loud at concerts and said he didn’t understand why he couldn’t play as loud as he wanted. Sweden has a law against how high the decibel are allowed to be at shows.

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The next singer made the fans clap a little harder and more enthusiastic. It was time for the legendary Jeff Scott Soto to take on the stage with the song “Summer Days”. The order was back to normal because now a really experienced singer showed the fans how things should be handled. Soto moved around and wasn’t afraid to come close to the fans. Soto said that when Gus asked if he wanted to sing on Gus album Soto asked if Gus wanted to make a guest appearance on Sotos album and so he did and now was it time to play a song from Sotos solo album in “Wrath”. The sound system worked much better now and Soto’s mic was put perfect in the mix. Soto said it had been 10 years since he last visited Malmo and that he was really glad to be here tonight. Soto said he wanted everyone in the club to clap their hands because now was it time for the fans to sing a long in the song “I’ll Be There” which made the people show some emotions for the first time this night. It was a bit unexpected that Soto treated fans with a  Talisman song, but everybody seemed to like it, including me, as I really love the song. Soto gave proof on how a proper front man should act and I hope that Basse took a close look. Soto totally ran over the other vocalists and in my opinion could, and should, have stayed on the stage for the entire show. The band and Soto did a brilliant version of the song, maybe it was a little more heavy metal than the original but that didn’t hurt.

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It was nice to see the two stars work together on the stage and the fans did their best to support the two front men. “I’ll Be There” ended the show that had lasted for about 80 minutes. But now the crowd had woken up and wanted to hear more from the guitar wizard and shouted for encores. Soto and Gus re-entered the stage together and Soto said that everyone should be on board for the “Crazy Train”. The two and the band did a stunning version of the old Ozzy classic and Soto once again invited the fans to sing a long with him. Soto thanked for his time in the spotlight and Gus introduced his band and then the show was over. It was a quick but sweet encore and in my opinion should Soto tag along and sing lead vocals on all the live shows. Maybe the show was a little too short with 85 minutes. I think that one or two more songs would have been nice. Again, I think when you’re a headline act you have to play at least 90 min with encores which not was done.

Not so good
The lasting impression of the show was that it was an OK night, but not more. In the not so good category we can put the Tara Teresa songs, she was too nervous to do a good job and Basse and she totally butchered the excellent “Breaking The Silence”. Basse didn’t dazzle on lead vocals either and he didn’t give a lasting impression. The sound system wasn’t working well and the sound was too loud and the mix was crap. It was also very sad that we weren’t allowed to take pictures of Jeff Scott Soto or Tara Teresa in action.

BEST
The great songs “My Will Be Done” and “Summer Days”. The set list was great and I loved the Dream Evil and Firewind songs Gus had snuck in. The band was tight and solid and with that I especially mean the brilliant Gus G and the solid work by Nunez. It would really nice to see Gus G doing his live thing once again but then I hope he brings Mats Levén or Jeff Scott Soto as vocalist.

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Set list
My Will Be Done
Eyes Wide Open
Blame It On Me
Vengeance
Break the Chains
World On Fire
The Fire And The Fury – with guitar solo
Terrified
Redemption
Children Of The Night
I Am The Fire
Breaking The Silence
Hesitate
Summer Days
Wrath
I’ll Be Waiting
Encore
Crazy Train

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Thanks to head of kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help with press/photo pass to the show.
www.kulturbolaget.se
Facebook page
www.facebook.com/pages/Malmo-Sweden/Kulturbolaget/134912500486

Thanks to the security/staff for a nice treatment.

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