Age Of The Joker European Tour
Kottak – Special Guest
Fullforce – Support Act
Kulturbolaget, Malmoe, Sweden
September 23, 2011
Reviewed and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Edguy launched their European tour at Kulturbolaget in Malmoe Sweden. I was there and saw the world premier of the new tour and it was amazing. Along with Edguy were special guests Kottak and the support act Fullforce. Read below and see what happened during the show.
Age Of The Joker is the name of the brand new studio album from the German power/heavy metal act Edguy. The last studio album by Edguy came back in 2008 and in between releases vocalist Tobias Sammet was preoccupied with his own grand project Avantasia. This particular show marked the start of the tour for Edguy with Kottak who are special guests. Kottak is led by the Scorpions drummer James Kottak. On three shows in Sweden and three in Germany the Swedish act Fullforce was on the tour. What better way to kick off a tour than at the best hardrock/rock club in Malmoe – Kulturbolaget.
About 20 minutes after scheduled time the doors to the venue opened and well inside we could hear and see Fullforce do their line check. Time moved by quickly and more people arrived to the club. While I was waiting for the show to start me and the rest of the photographers were told by the crew that we were not allowed to take pictures of the first two acts in the pit but only during Edguy. At about 8pm it was time for Fullforce to enter stage and the band has got some well known members.
The stage was a little crowded when the entire band came on and kicked off the evening with the first songs “Oblivion”, “Open Your Eyes” and “Rain”. Even though the space was limited, the band used it carefully and did their best to get the crowd going. Fullforce band members are:
Mike Anderson (Cloudscape) – lead vocals
Stefan Elmgren (ex- Hammerfall) – guitar
CJ Grimmark (ex- Narnia) – guitar
Tommy Larsson (ex- Heed) – bass
Anders Johansson (Hammerfall, ex- Yngwie Malmsteen) – drums
It was full speed ahead from the very start and the audience really loved the bands music and screamed and cheered when the guys showed up on stage. That can maybe depend on the fact that the core of the band lives just outside Malmoe and that a lot of their families and friends was at the club supporting them. Andersson said that their debut album was released at the beginning of this summer and continued with saying that the band really had been looking forward to play in Malmoe and that he hoped that we all had a good time and drank beer. Andersson said that it was lucky for us that the show was held on a Friday so that everyone could have a few beers instead of the poor audience in Stockholm to whom they were going to play for two days later who couldn’t drink because it was a Sunday which means work on Monday.
The next song was the one they recently shot a video for and its called “Walls Of Secrets”. The sound worked great but the lighting didn’t work at all. But the band delivered solid metal that sounded heavier live compared to the album and Anderson along with the rest of the members are skilled musicians that know exactly what to do on stage. A bonus was that Johansson sat really close to the stage, almost in the lap of the audience, so you actually could see him play which is a bit unusual from where he sits when he plays with Hammerfall. Andersson closed the show with saying that they currently was working on new material to the next album and then announced the final song in “Heart And Soul”.
As soon as the band had gone off stage work began to prepare the stage for Kottak. 35 minutes with Fullforce felt too short and I really look forward to hear and see more from this super group. It was fun to see Elmgren on stage again. I didn’t think he would play live ever again. He earlier proclaimed that he was going to focus on his "civil" life and never perform again. A smaller drum kit was placed on stage and after 30 minutes of waiting it was then time to make way for Kottak.
Kottak came wobbling in on stage and with Kottak in the middle, Smith on his left side and Wandrey on the right began the show instantly with the song “Teenage Kix”. It all felt really unbalanced and unfocused from the very beginning to say the least. Three more songs was played until Kottak took off his guitar and focused on singing which didn’t work out well either because he dropped his mic several times and each time he did that he said "Do you hear me Sweden?" The crowd stood only and watched the mess on stage and his behavior felt really awkward to say the least. Kottak seemed really confused during the entire show and said that the band had a new album out called KOTTAK ATTACK and said that a lot of songs this night was going to played form that album. He was a disaster on guitar and he was saved by Smith on guitar that backed him up more than once.
Members in the band are:
James Kottak – lead vocals, guitar
Stephanie Smith – lead guitar, b-vox
Nils Wandrey – bass, b-vox
Francis Ruiz – drums
In the middle of the set, Kottak asked if we wanted to hear Smith sing and everyone who actually watched the show screamed Yes and Kottak took over the drums and it can be said that Kottak did a much better job playing the drums rather than singing! In “Sexy Motherfucker” he managed to get tangled up in Smith’s wire to the mic and he almost unplugged her totally. Kottak’s music can best be described as American light punk/rock and he was totally misplaced amongst both Fullforce and Edguy’s music. When the old Scorpions song “Holiday” began it woke up a few people in the crowd who enjoyed the song. “Time To Say Goodbye” was luckily the last song and I think that everyone in the venue was happy about that. 50 minutes of confusion was finally over. It was fortunate that Kottak had skilled musicians with him because they were the ones who saved the show from a complete disaster.
Now was it time for the main act to go on stage and everyone in the club looked forward to see and hear one of the biggest metal acts from Germany kick off their show. After 20 minutes we could hear the intro music coming out from the amps and it was time to hear some power/heavy metal.
As soon as the members came on stage the crew let us photographers into the pit and the show kicked off. “Nobodys Hero” was the first song out and when Sammet arrived on stage screamed the fans like their was no tomorrow.
Tobias Sammet – lead vocals
Jens Ludwig – guitar, b-vox
Dirk Sauer – guitar, b-vox
Felix Bohnke – drums
Tobias Eggi Exxel – bass, b-vox
Sammet had on a high hat and a long coat and looked really cool out in his outfit. Sammet moved constantly on stage and he worked really hard connecting with the audience. It was quite obvious that the band was eager to play because they ran around and joked around with each other. It’s nice to see bands that don’t take themselves too seriously and it’s clear that Edguy play because they love their music and they love what they do. The crowd hadn’t time to catch their breath from the first song when the second one came instantly and it was “The Arcane Guild” taken from the brand new album. Sammet then said it was nice to be back in Malmoe again and that it was quite a while since their last visit over here. Edguy has a very special bond to Sweden because Sweden was one of the first countries that discovered the band and took them to heart. “Tears Of Mandrake” continued the show and it was followed by “Pandora’s Box”. Sammet said that this show marked the start of the official European tour and fired of the song “Rock The Casbel” in which the fans sang a long in.
Sammet divided the crowd into to parts, one a the left and one at the right and wanted them to sing towards each other. When the exercise was over, Sammet and the guys kicked off the highly loved party song “Lavatory Love Machine” and the already crazy fan-base went even more crazy and danced and sang along once more with Sammet. It was a limited version of the stage gear that the band had brought along this night and Sammet said that it was too bad that they couldn’t put up all of the gear at Kulturbolaget because the venue was too small but in the show the next day in Gothenburg should all of the stuff be on stage. Sammet said that only because of that, the band was going to play a little bit longer for the audience in Malmoe. “Behind The Gates To Midnight World” and “Superheroes” followed and I couldn’t but be impressed by Sammet and the band because they did an amazing job on stage and you could tell that they all thought that the show was really fun to do. After the “Robin Hood” song it was time for drummer Bohnke to show his skills on drums and while he did that his band mates went off stage. As soon as Bohnke’s solo was over he began to play the song “Ministry Of Saints” and the band ran up on stage again. Sammet said that Sweden has some very pretty girls and that the next song had gotten critic because people said that it had some elements taken from one of the Swedish 80’s act Europe songs. It was “Vain Glory” and that was the last song on the ordinary set list.
A very sweaty band returned after a few minutes to do encores for the screaming maniacs in the crowd and the first encore said Sammet was a pussy ballad called “Land Of The Miracle”, well pussy or not the crowd loved it (or maybe it was because of that they loved it). I’m not a huge fan of ballads but I quite like this one. “King Of Fools” was the final song out from the band and I bet that both fans and band were really satisfied when everything was over. The band played for almost 2 hours and it was a very sweaty crowd that began to leave the club. The lighting was perfect as well as the sound and the entire lighting gear was definitely used.
It was overall an amazing show and it’s fun to see that Edguy still has their hunger, their humor and their sense of making great songs intact. Sammet was born to be a frontman and even on a bad day is it hard to beat him at his game. Maybe I wanted to have some more stuff from the older albums and I thought that it was too much focus on AGE OF THE JOKER especially when the album has been out for a only a few months. The audience also loved the older songs more and it felt like the fans hadn’t have time to learn the new songs. But besides that was this another amazing show in Edguy land. It was really great that the booking managers was able to bring Edguy to Sweden and then especially the start of the world tour.
The Arcane Guild
Tears Of A Mandrake
Fire On The Downline
Rock The Casbel
Lavatory Love Machine
Behind The Gates To Midnight World
Ministry Of Saints
Vain Glory Opera
Land Of The Miracle
King Of Fools
Thanks to Totte Lundgren general of Kulturbolaget for help with press/photo pass to the show and also a big thanks to Kristian Kornhage head of press at Kb.
More info about the band