Decadent European Tour 2015
Sister Sin – special guest
Garagedays – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
26/4 – 2015
Review and live pictures by: Anders Sandvall
DECADENT is the name of the 15th U.D.O. album that came out in January of this year. The band went trough some line-up changes back in 2013 when two new guitarists entered the band. Last year, drummer Francesco Jovino left and in February this year it was unveiled that Udo’s son, Sven Dirkschneider, was the bands new drummer. Harrison Young on keyboard also joined the band, so in other words, it been a busy past few years for the band. The tour began at the beginning of March in Germany and continued until the 10th of May when it all ended in Finland. The Swedish act Sister Sin and the band Garagedays were the support acts. Garagedays released their debut album PASSION OF DIRT last year. Sister Sin’s fifth album, BLACK LOTUS, was released in October last year and I was quiet impressed by the album. Sister Sin was supposed to do a festival tour in Europe this coming summer, but canceled all dates and joined the Rockstar Mayhem Festival in USA instead.
The tour landed in Malmo on a Sunday at what is of course at the best club in town – Kulturbolaget. I hadn’t seen U.D.O. for while, so I was really eager to see the new line-up in action and of course hear how the new songs would be greeted by fans. Udo is 63 years old, and should have all the cred for staying active and having the patience and dedication to tour so heavily as he does.
The doors opened about 15 minutes after scheduled and it was a long line waiting outside the club when I got there. Luckily, the line moved pretty fast because when I got inside, Garagedays had already began their show. To my satisfaction, I could see a photo pit and headed over there in order to see and photograph the first band out.
The band had already run through two songs when I got into the pit and singer/guitarist Kern thanked everyone for their support and fired off the third song when I finally got my gear ready. The sound system was quite good but not the lights. The members stood mostly solid on their spot headbanging through the show. The band members are:
Marco Kern – lead vocals, guitar
Dominik Eder – bass
Matthias Mai – drums
Rene Auer – guitar
The band didn’t worry that not many people had come into the club yet, instead they gave it all they had trying to set the mood for the night. The lead singer tried to get the small crowd going but not many seemed to be interested in the band. Most of the people in the club were busy putting away their coats or running to the bar grabbing some alcohol. The Austrian four piece played straight up heavy metal with hints of thrash, however, the band needs to work on their live performance. They didn’t feel like a unit and their show left a little more to wish for. When Kern announced that the last song was about to be played, he also said that the band was going to come out to sell some merchandise and of course wanted to drink beer with the people in the club. The last song for the night was “Piece Of Shit” and that ended the 45 minute show.
Well, Garagedays didn’t leave any lasting impression on me. It was heavy metal music that felt in-cohesive and quite boring. The lead vocals didn’t sound good at all and the stage presence was lame.
Luckily the show was over and it was time for the crew to prepare the stage for a band that knows how take on a crowd. Even though the bands’ music, and especially the lead vocals, has a tendency to be a bit monotonous and scream-ish on their album, it sounds better live. More people had come to the club and it felt like the evening started now instead of with Garagedays. It took about 20 minutes to prepare the stage and when the lights went out everyone in the club cheered for Sister Sin.
The members all walked out to the sound by for the intro and got ready on stage. The fans all cheered and clapped their hands and the first song out was “Food For Worms”. Singer Jagrell held her mic-stand and headbanged like a maniac and all through the show she was everywhere on stage seemingly at the same time. The fans were with the band from the very start and sang and clapped their hands during the entire show. The band went out with a bang and managed to continue their speed throughout the show. “Outrage” followed and the fans nearly had time to catch their breath. The line-up in the band is:
Liv Jagrell – vocals
Jimmy Hiltula – guitar
Strandh – bass
Dave Sundberg – drums
“Heading For Hell” taken from the album TRUE SOUND OF THE OUNDERGROUND from 2010 followed. Jagrell took off her hat and took a sip of water before she kicked off the song. The music of Sister Sin sounded much more punk than it does on album, which is a good thing. The bands music benefits from playing live because then both her vocals and the bands more edgier/punk influenced side is brought more into the light. In “Desert Queen”, Jagrell wanted everyone to hold their hands in the air and it felt like the fans embraced the current songs as much as much as the older ones. Jagrell is a brilliant front woman and the energy she has on stage is hard to find in any other frontperson. Strandh took the mic and thanked the fans for the support and he asked if we were ready to see U.D.O.
“Fight Song” followed which is one of my personal favorites amongst the Sister Sin songs. Jagrell let the fans sing the chorus, and this song, as well as most of the others, was played faster than on album. Hiltula said it now was time for a song from the new album and it was “Sail North” where the lead vocals are shared by Jagrell and Hiltula. The song contains a sampled part by a, now dead, Swedish, not so household name…a clean Swedish entertainer called Eddie Meduza which is really fun if you know what he’s talking about. For others, bare with us 🙂 however those parts wasn’t featured live instead Jagrell jumped down in the photo pit and stood on the fence while singing together with the fans on the front row. The song is a crowd-pleaser and the entire club sang along in it. Jagrell wanted to take a selfie with the audience and she turned around took her phone and took a shot of her and the crowd.
“On Parole” was played next, and the temp dropped a bit and Jagrell stood on her knees on the ramp while singing parts of the song. “Hearts Of Gold” was the last song for the night for Sister Sin and the band thanked the fans for the support. The show lasted for 40 minutes and the show was pure excellence. Sister Sin demonstrated how to put on a proper show and how to integrate the fans into the fun. Garagedays has a lot to learn, I hope they took a look at Sister Sin in action.
Food For Worms
Heading For Hell
Hearts Of Gold
I could hear that a lot of Danes had made their way to Malmo this night in order to see U.D.O. because the band didn’t pay Denmark a visit this time around. A huge backdrop was unveiled on stage portraying the cover of the latest U.D.O. album and below it stood a massive drum kit. Beside it, to the right, stood the keyboard and at the front of the stage there were three mic stands. And of course, when it comes to U.D.O., almost the entire stage is covered in camouflage net. It took a while for the crew to prep the stage and a bit of anxiousness started to rise in the venue. Even though it was a Sunday, most of the people drank beer and the temperature started to rise as it got closer to the start of the show. Most of the fans in the club consisted of middle aged men that probably were around when Accept first started out, but I could also see younger kids standing in front of the stage shouting for U.D.O. to come out.
It took almost 30 minutes for the crew to get the stage ready, but finally the music silenced, and it was time for me and the rest of the photographers to get into the photo pit. There were a few Danish photographers there to shoot U.D.O., and one of them, whom I spoke with, said it was too bad that the band didn’t come to Denmark this time. The intro music this time was the Beastie Boys classic “(You Gotta Fight) For Your Right (To Party)”. It was the sign that the show was about to kick off really soon.
A second intro was heard and the lead singer was the last one up on the stage and was greeted by the fans with a roar. The first song was taken from the new album which was “Speeder” which is an excellent song to begin a show with. It set the pace immediately and the equally furious “Blitz of Lighting” continued right away. The fans were given no time to catch their breath and the show rapidly moved on with “King Of Mean” and Udo looked really happy with the warm welcome he and the band was given. Udo walked around a bit on stage but as we all know, he’s not a man of grand gestures and instead the focus was on the two guitarists and bass player Wienhold who all seemed to be having an excellent time on stage. They joked around with each other and looked really happy to be up there playing the music. The line-up in today’s U.D.O. is:
Udo Dirkschneider – lead vocals
Fitty Wienhold – bass
Sven Dirkschneider – drums
Harrison Young – keyboards
Kasperi Heikkinen – guitar
Andrey Smirnov – guitar
Udo thanked us for the applause and the fans answered him with even more massive applause. He said it was fun to be in Malmo again. The next song taken from the new DECADENT album was the title song. While the intro played Udo urged everyone to clap their hands and he seemed to like it on stage, he smiled and laughed while the rest of the band joked around switching positions with each other. Even though DECADENT is a new album, fans had no problems with singing a long in the songs. “Independence Day” followed in which the fans screamed the chorus together with Udo. The song is taken from the older album, SOLID , from 1997. “Black Widow” continued the show and it was shortly followed by “Never Cross My Way”. If you have seen U.D.O. live, you know he doesn’t talk much in between the songs and this night was no exception. He let the music talk, and the majestic “Bullet And The Bomb” was the next song on the list.
The lights worked in favor of the band and were perfect from a photographer’s point of view. The band had lights on them during the entire show and no one had to stand in the dark and play. Wienhold and Heikkinen leaned towards each other while they were playing and laughed and joked around. The entire band seemed to be in harmony with each other and the new line-up seemed to bring another level of energy and vitality that the band might have lacked before. Udo said it was time to play another new track in “Under Your Skin” and the fans greeted the song with open arms and sang a long as loud as ever. After that everyone walked off the stage and a roadie came up and placed two acoustical guitars where the guitarists were standing. Heikkinen, Smirnov, and Young, each came up and started to play. When Udo came up they fired off “Tears Of A Clown” totally acoustic. The song really fit acoustically, but the song might drag down the tempo of the show. The acoustical set continued with one more song which was “Secrets In Paradise” which started out acoustic and then Wienhold and Sven Dirkschneider joined in. The fans seemed to like it, but in my opinion it slowed the show a bit. But maybe Udo needed to have a little calmer part where he could “rest” a bit.
“Faceless World” got the party started again and the song really woke up the club again. Both Smirnov and Heikkinen handled their instruments perfectly and they both are amazing guitarists. They both have passion and fire, the same goes for the hard-hitting Dirkschneider behind the drums. He really put some spark and strength into the music this night and he was fun to watch when he sang a long in the songs and twirled the drum sticks. Young didn’t leave any lasting impression but he smiled and looked glad, so I guess he was satisfied with his part. And what about Wienhold then, well he’s the second piece in the dynamic duo that is Udo. He’s been in the band since 1997 and has then been a solid piece in the line-up. He ran around joking with the rest of the band and the crowd. There was no doubt that he loved every single minute on the stage and his humor and spirit really rubbed off on the crowd. He can never leave the band!!
Udo asked if the fans were ready to feel some pain which of course was the name of the next song “Pain”. It was immediately followed by another new song – “Untouchable”, taken from DECADENT. One person that really seemed to love U.D.O. was the guy in front of me who consistently kept on singing a long in every single song and played air-drums. He began in the first song and didn’t stop until the last note was played, he was the hero of the night! Besides him, I could see several 50-ish guys who played air-guitar so I guess U.D.O. brought out the best in everyone! haha. In “Let Me Out” all of the frontmen went to the edge of the stage playing the intro, it looked really cool, and it was just what the guys in the band that Udo used to be a part of did back in the days – I think I don’t have to say what band it was? 😉
“You have been good tonight” Udo said, and asked if the fans were ready for the “Metal Machine”. Wienhold ran around on stage joking with Young, and Young came down on the stage singing with Wienhold in his mic. “Metal Eater” followed instantly and that was also the last song in the ordinary show. 85 minutes of metal was far too little for the fans and the entire club shouted for encores. The band came back and fired off “Break The Rules” taken from the MEAN MACHINE album from 1988. Udo asked if we wanted to hear more and of course all of the fans shouted for more. “Break The Rules” had woken up the older fans and they all shouted for encores and were in heaven when the band played the intro to “Princess Of The Dawn”. The usual sing a long part took place where the fans sang a long in the chorus and Wienhold ran up to Sven behind the drums leaning over him and covered him with his long hair. Maybe Wienhold wanted to cool down a bit with the help of the fan that Sven had beside him. It looked really fun when Wienhold’s long hair covered Sven and they both laughed really hard. The band did a brilliant version of the song and Udo’s voice sounded as good as it did back in the days when the song first came out. The song is a personal favorite, and I’m glad that Udo still plays songs from his days in Accept.
Udo asked us if we wanted to hear more from the band, smiled, and sang a few of the notes to the well known intro to “Fast As A Shark”. The song made all of the fans go crazy and the sing a long in that song was the loudest of all the sing a longs I heard in the club that night. He sang the intro first and then he let the fans sing the rest. That went on for a while and then he screamed just like in the original song and it sounded just as it did back then. Every single fan stood up and shouted of the top of their lungs when they sang with Udo. The band played a really good and solid version of the old classic song. When the song ended, Udo asked if the fans were ready for one more song. The fans naturally shouted yes and the monumental “Balls to The Wall” followed. Udo again had everyone singing by his command and the fans were in total bliss. Just like “Princess Of the Dawn”, this song was extended with all the singing and extra guitar parts. Wienhold and Heikkinen leaned towards each other and played on each other’s instruments. When the song was over, the band all came at the edge of the stage facing the cheers and applause from the fans. They waved and threw out drums sticks and guitar picks to the fans and left the stage. As soon as the stage was clear, the crew began to dismantle the stage. The band gave us almost 2 hours of fun. The set list was close to perfect and it was fun that Udo had the guts to incorporate current songs rather than just focus on his old deeds. U.D.O. was solid as a tank on stage and both guitarists and drummer Dirkschneider is worth an extra mention. The new lineup did great work on stage, but the only one I missed was guitarist Stefan Kaufmann, after all he was part of Accept and later on also U.D.O.
The acoustic part could have been left behind, but I guess the man maybe needed to slow things down. Maybe I could have wished for a little more Accept songs as well as a few more U.D.O. classics but overall I think it was a pretty great set list. This was just another brilliant night at Kulturbolaget and make sure you see U.D.O. if you have the chance this summer. U.D.O. sure ran over both Sister Sin and Garagedays with his show, but again, there are not many bands or artists out there that have the live-experience of Udo.