Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock
Spirit On A Mission World Tour 2015/2016 – European leg –
Coldspell – support act
Kulturbolaget – Malmo, Sweden
3/2 – 2016
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
The Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock tour kicked off its European leg at the end of October last year in Germany and ended in Norway on the 6th of February. The show in Malmo Sweden was the second to last one, while the band was still out supporting their latest album SPIRIT ON A MISSION which came in March 2015. This was probably the last run on the album’s tour in Europe. Coldspell is a band from the northern parts of Sweden and their third album FROZEN PARADISE was unleashed back in 2013. The band plays melodic heavy metal and doesn’t normally tour so far south in Sweden which made me really eager to see how they were going to handle their great music live. The show took place on a Friday which meant the club was hosting a nightclub straight after; because of that the show had to be over at about 11 pm.
I saw Michael Schenker and his Temple perform at the Vasby Rock Festival last summer and they impressed me big time. The man is known to be kind of moody but that summer night he was happy and I really hoped that was also going to be the case this night. The doors opened at 7 and I arrived there about 20 minutes later. Luckily, since the line outside was pretty short it didn’t take long to get inside. The first thing I checked was if there was a photo pit and there wasn’t. When I checked out the merch it was pretty obvious the tour had reached its end because the only thing left was two different kinds of t-shirts, both in size xl and two different kinds of signed promo pics by Schenker. That was nothing if you compared the hoard of things that Backyard Babies brought with them only a few weeks ago.
A huge silver drumkit was on stage and on each side smaller backdrops were hung with the band’s name on them. Promptly at 7.45 the music silenced and it was time to kick off the night with Coldspell.
The band kicked off the night with “Heroes” and based on the crowd’s response, they really loved what they heard. “Angel of the World” followed and lead singer Swedentorp thanked the fans and said it was nice to be in Malmo warming up for Michael Schenker before “On The Run” continued the show. The sound system was working great, however the lights were less so. It was clear that Swedentorp knew how to take on a crowd and is used to being on stage. He made eye contact with the fans and he showed charisma as well as some amazing vocals that made it hard not to listen to the man. Coldspell is:
Niclas Swedentorp – lead vocals
Micke Larsson – guitar
Chris Goldsmith – bass
Perra Johansson – drums
Swedentorp thank everyone for the applause and said it was nice to be performing for so many dedicated followers of harder music. The next song was taken from the debut album, “Infinite Stargaze”, and I was struck by how skilled and experienced the musicians in the band are. It’s one thing to hear it on album but a totally different thing to experience it live and these guys sure know how to handle their instruments. Even though the crowd was pretty calm they encouraged the band with claps and cheers. It must be more fun for bands to have a little more lively audience. Swedentorp tried to have the fans sing on his command but that didn’t work at all. “Time” and “Night Falls” followed and Swedentorp took a bottle and said cheers to the fans. A short guitar solo followed and the solo transcended into “Straight Thing” in which the singer managed to have the crowd scream and clap their hands. He introduced the band and “Straight Thing” continued. The song was a bit extended and then Swedentorp said they had only one more song to play and urged the fans to buy their album at the merch stand before they went home. With “Paradise” the band closed their show and I have to say the Coldspell was the perfect warm up act for Michael Schenker.
I had really wanted to hear more than only 45 minutes but I’m really glad I was one of the lucky ones who were able to see Coldspell live. The band’s melodic heavy metal worked perfectly at the club this night and the members had attitude, feelings, nerves and the capability to handle a crowd. The show was pretty much amazing! Coldspell have got the potential to go really far in the future and I really hope they do. It’s time for the band to release a new album really soon.
Set list (not in order)
Angel Of the World
On the Run
Now it was time for the crew to go to work and prepare the stage for the German guitar wizard and his gang. During the Coldspell show more people had come to the club but it wasn’t nearly sold out. Most people at the club were probably in their 50’s or over and were probably listening the first time Schenker played guitar. It took about 30 minutes to prep the stage and at about 9pm the intro to the AC/DC song “Highway To Hell” played, marking the beginning of the headline show. Then the second intro started and it was time for:
Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock
Of course, the last one out on the stage was Schenker himself, and the show fired off right away with the magnificent classic “Doctor Doctor”. Needless to say, the fans sang along and shouted at the top of their lungs from the start of the song to the end. What bold way to kick off the night with one of the strongest songs ever made! “Live and Let Die”, taken from the new album SPIRIT ON A MISSION, followed and the fans raised hell, especially those right at the front of the stage. Just like at Vasby Rock festival, Schenker seemed to be in a great mood, he smiled and looked genuine happy to be on stage. The line-up in the band is:
Michael Schenker – guitar
Doogie White – lead vocals
Francis Bucholz – bass
Herman Rarebell – drums
Wayne Findlay – keyboard, guitar
We nearly didn’t have time to catch our breath until it was time for “Lights Out” which is yet another epic track in the song book of Schenker. They used to change out the name of the city in the song to whichever city they were playing in but this time they stuck to the original version and White invited the fans to sing a long with him. The band pulled off a great version of the old UFO song and the evening continued with “Where the Wild Winds Blow”. The tempo was fast from the start and the band showed no sign of slowing down as White thanked the fans and said “good evening Malmo, nice to be here”. He said he had a cold and wanted the fans to help him out, but he didn’t need any help on the next song, “Natural Thing”. All of the members seemed to be having a good time together. White said the band dedicated the next song to Ronnie James Dio, Jimmy Bain, Jon Lord and all the other rockers that have left us: “Before The Devil Knows Your Dead”. White said that “if Stockholm is the capitol of Sweden, then Malmo is the capitol of rock right?!” The fans all shouted yes and the band fired off “Victim of Illusion” and the MSG song really woke up the club.
Besides the hardcore fans raising hell in front of the stage, the rest of the audience were pretty calm and stood still singing along to the songs. On the other hand, most of the audience were 50+, so at that age you might focus on the music instead of jumping up and down. “Lovedrive” made the Scorpions fans happy as White let the fans sing the chorus. White said thanks again and said this next one you can sing along as he left the stage. It was time for the instrumental Scorpions piece “Coast To Coast” in which all of the three frontmen stood at the middle of the stage swinging their instruments, looking quite cool. White said the band was going to play MSG, UFO and Scorpions material during the night after which he left the stage again to let the musicians do their thing. All of the members are extremely skilled musicians and they sure knew how to please a crowd. They all seemed to be having a great time together smiling and laughing. When White returned it was time for the second single taken from the new album. A track “about vagabonds and bandits that today are equal with CEO’s and bank investors”, said White and “Vigilante Man” followed.
I could hear that White was struggling with hitting the right notes due to his cold and he relied on Findlay to help him out with the back up vocals. While the intro to “Savior Machine” was played White asked to see some hands in the air and the fans had no time to catch their breath because “Too Hot To Handle” followed instantly. White introduced “Good Times” by saying that this was a song that everyone who had been out drinking could relate to. “Lord of the Lost And Lonely” followed. Both songs were taken from the SPIRIT ON A MISSION album. Even though the new songs worked pretty well, it was the older pieces that woke the crowd up. White laughed when he said “there was a real athlete on bass”, in Bucholz, while on drums they had “a dirty German”. “Are you ready Malmo?, he asked as the band broke into the monumental Scorpions song “Rock You Like A Hurricane”. The fans went crazy and sang the entire song with White. In the middle only bass and drums played and Rarebell took a mic, stood up and shouted “Here I am”, and the crowd answered “Rock you like a hurricane”. It was done a few times until Rarebell was satisfied and the song could continue. The last song was “Rock Bottom” and just like in the previous song the fans sang along and shouted at the top of their lungs. A long guitar solo in the middle by Schenker was added and then the song ended. White thanked the fans and Schenker took pictures of the fans and then they all went off the stage.
The fans weren’t happy with the 90 minute show and wanted to hear and see more. The band returned and White said the band had time for a few more songs. White said the band had some great fun and that they wouldn’t forget the support they got from the fans. “Attack of the Mad Axeman” was the first encore, followed shortly followed by “Communion” where White had the fans clap their hands in the middle of the song. The absolute last song for the night was the crowd pleaser “Blackout”. The fans sang along and White invited the crowd to sing the chorus with him. When the song was over the members took off their instruments and thank the fans and said they hoped to see the fans in Malmo again soon. The encore added another 20 minutes and I was really impressed by how solid the band were. All of the members are really skilled and it looked like they all had a great time together. White is an excellent singer and showed that he could pull of a great show despite his cold.
What could go wrong when they opened with the magnificent “Doctor Doctor” and then increased the tempo? Maybe a few less Scorpions songs could have been featured and they could have excluded the boring “Coast To Coast”, Schenker could also think about performing more of his own solo material as well as UFO songs, but otherwise the set list was flawless. It was a brilliant evening at Kulturbolaget and I do think that everyone in the club was as happy as I was when they walked home. It was the perfect night with a great opening act as well as a brilliant headline act. I really hope that Michael Schenker’s Temple Of Rock releases a brand new album soon so that they can come back to Malmo and play live again.
Intro 1 – Highway To Hell (Ac/Dc)
Doctor Doctor (UFO)
Live And Let Live
Lights Out (UFO)
Where The Wild Winds Blow
Natural Thing (UFO)
Before The Devil Knows
Victim Of Illusion (MSG)
Coast To Coast – instrumental (Scorpions)
Too Hot To Handle (UFO)
Lord Of The Lost and Lonely
Rock You Like A Hurricane (Scorpions)
Rock Bottom (UFO)
Attack of The Mad Axeman (MSG)
Thanks to the head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help with press/photo pass.
Thanks to the always friendly staff and security at the club.