Dying Is Easy European Tour 2018
Gus G. – special guest
13/4 – 2018
Live pictures and review by: Anders Sandvall
In November 2017, Jesper Binzer unleashed his first solo album, DYING IS EASY. Although he’s best known as the front man/guitarist in Danish hard rock band D.A.D, he’s decided to to a short break as a solo artist. This tour took him to Denmark, Sweden, and Germany and included Gus G.. as special guest on some dates. Just days after the Swedish shows, Gus G.. released his brand new solo album, FEARLESS which is his fourth solo album. Last year he and his band Firewind unleashed their IMMORTALS album as well. On the FEARLESS album, it’s Gus with Will Hunt (Evanescence) on drums and Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Place Vendome, Unisonic) on bass and lead vocals. On previous albums, Gus G. brought in several different singers on his albums but not this time. He’s also got a new label backing him up, switching to AFM Records from Century Media.
Gus G. and Binzer already performed a few shows together before the Malmo show and the place to be if you wanted to see the guys live in action was of course the best club in town – Kulturbolaget. The show took place on Friday the 13th and since it was a weekend, the nightclub would be starting straight after the show. Felix Bohnke (Edguy) was helping out on drums for the tour. My friends and I had a chance to meet up with all of the guys in the band earlier during the day. The show wasn’t sold out which was a bit strange since it was both Gus G. and Binzer and both are very loved in Sweden.
About 10 minutes after the scheduled time, the doors opened and the few people waiting outside entered. Unfortunately there wasn’t a photo pit and I could only hope for the crowd to be acting civilized during the show so I could get a few good shots. I took a peak at the merchandise; Binzer sold some shirts and the solo album on CD and vinyl, but the prices was very steep. Gus G.’s items were sold in a more modest price range. On stage Gus G.’s gear was ready and waiting and when it was about 15 minutes left for the show to start people started to arrive. Finally the clock struck 8 and it was time for Gus G. to start off the night.
Gus G. urged the fans to come closer to the stage and fired off the instrumental “Fearless” as the first song, which transformed straight into “My Will Be Done”. The song is taken from the first solo album titled I AM THE FIRE. The lights worked pretty well but something was wrong with the sound because the vocals were too low in the mix while the guitar was too high up. The live line-up consisted:
Gus G. – guitar
Dennis Ward – lead vocals, bass
Felix Bohnke – drums
Ward thanked the crowd and said it was time for “Burn”. The audience was pretty calm and it seemed like they didn’t know what to expect from the band. The majority stood still and watched the band while the few hardcore fans stood beneath the stage clapping their hands. Gus G. took all the chances he got to go to the center of the stage to show off, which happened quite a lot. Ward stayed put behind his mic during the show and didn’t move around at all. The sound never improved and the guitar drowned the vocals constantly. A few of the fans shouted to Ward they couldn’t hear the vocals but he didn’t hear them and said it was time for “Brand New Revolution”. The show felt a bit shaky and very much like a Gus G. show, not a band show. It was his moment to shine and show off on guitar, and yes, he’s a great guitarist, but this time he wasn’t alone on stage. I think that the rest of the guys also should have been recognized. It felt like Gus G. behaved like Yngwie Malmsteen in terms of showing off on stage.
Ward thanked the fans saying it was great to be playing in Malmo. “The next song is taken from our new album and we have shot a video to it, it’s “Letting Go”. Melodic heavy metal is a good description of the music and it felt like the fans liked what they heard. One can think that it’s a bit strange of the band to play songs from albums that haven’t been released yet, however the fans seemed to like the new songs and Gus G. thanked the crowd for being so nice. He said, “For those of you who don’t know it, I’m Gus G. and this is my band with Dennis and Felix. We’re going to release an album the 20th of April. Don’t worry, we have copies of the album with us if you want to buy it after the show. The title of the album is FEARLESS and now it’s time for us to play a song from it in and the singel/video “Mr. Manson”. It’s hard to judge a song when you haven’t heard it before but I thought it sounded promising.
Ward said it was now time for the band to do a cover that many would recognized in “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits. I have to say the band did a solid version of the song and made it to their own. It was too bad about the mix; it was hard to hear anything. Even though all of the members are all experienced musicians and have toured many miles in their careers, only Gus took on the crowd and showed off. Nothing much happened on stage beyond him and it was strange to see that Ward didn’t take more space. Gus said it was time to say good bye and that it soon was time for Binzer to do his thing. “We’re going to leave you with “I Am The Fire” – the title track from his 2014 album. Ward had the audience clap their hands which was followed with a solo part of Gus G. and a try to sing a long. A long outro in which Gus G. was laying down on the stage floor ended the show. The three members teamed up at the edge of the stage and bowed and thanked for the support and 40 minutes of music was over.
Well, the show was OK. I loved hearing Gus G.’s guitar parts, after all despite his young age he is a living guitar legend. The rest of the guys did a good job backing him up but again, why the poor sound? The show also lacked a little action on stage; why didn’t Ward take a bigger place on stage? I have seen Gus G. live since his days with Dream Evil and have to say that this show doesn’t make the top 10 list of his performances. It felt a bit tired and not cohesive; the band didn’t feel on fire at all. The next time Gus G. comes to Malmo I hope he brings Firewind with him. Maybe it is time for him to take the band to Scandinavia because it was a long time since they last were here.
Fearless – instrumental
My Will Be Done
Brand New Revolution
Money 4 Nothing
I Am The Fire
It took the crew about 40 minutes to get the stage ready for Jesper Binzer but besides the backdrop showing the cover of the solo album, there wasn’t much gear on stage. At 9.20 the pause music went silence and the stage lit up, it was time for the night’s headline act.
The members walked out on stage, with Binzer himself being the last. The first song out was “Dying is Easy (Rock n’ Roll is Hard)” and it was the perfect way of opening the night. Binzer, without his guitar, walked around on stage wearing a fringed suede jacket. At the end of the song he said it was fun to be in Malmo but he was not going to play any D.A.D songs this night. Binzer introduced his drummer and fired off “The Space She’s In”. Contrary to the Gus G. show, Binzer had a lot better lighting and as the band clapped at the end of the song he took on a guitar to kick off “Planet Blue”. The audience was pretty calm and to be honest I don’t think the solo album is a jackpot. Sure, it has its golden moments but as a whole it’s missing a solid row of songs. I think it sounds like he’s put left over material from D.A.D.’s 2000 era (EVERYTHING GLOWS or SOFT DOGS) on the album. I had wished for a solo album that sounded a little further from what he’s doing in his band.
Binzer thanked and asked if we understood what he was saying (he was speaking Scandinavian) like he always asks when D.A.D performs in Sweden. Here come “Real Love” he said and he held on to his acoustic guitar. It seemed like he crowd had listened to the album because several sang along. Binzer is always a brilliant front man that jokes around with both the band and the crowd. Compared to the album, the live versions of the songs were acoustic which suited them well. I wished he had done the songs like that on the album too. “Rock On Rock On” followed, in which Binzer introduced his second guitarist who then played a solo. “Today it’s Friday the 13th and nothing terrible has happened yet, so this has been a nice night. I think I’m going to name my next album NICE NIGHT”, he said and laughed. “Until I wrote a song about my kids, I never thought I was going to record a solo album. Here comes the first song I wrote for the album, “I See It In You”. If the show started out a bit hesitant it grew stronger and stronger with each song and it felt like it was about to peak about now. Binzer’s semi-acoustic rock worked really well amongst the fans and it felt like he had a good time on stage. He also sang much better and clearer this night than what he does in D.A.D. Maybe he relies on help from the fans to sing along in D.A.D.? “Now boys and girls, clap your hands because something special is happening on Saturday, it’s Record Store Day, and I have recorded two songs especially for that event. Here is one new song in “Undecided”. The song was again semi-acoustic and sounded really promising.
Binzer took off his guitar and took the mic saying he wanted everyone to clap their hands in “Saint Fantasia”. One of the guitarists threw a really long solo in the middle which really extended it. “The Bumpy Road” followed in which another long guitar solo took place and it started to feel like when you’re attending a D.A.D show and Binzer takes one of his long solos. “Tell Myself to be Kind” was next and by now the band didn’t have many songs left to play from the album. Another long outro took place; it felt like they were dragging out the time a bit. Finally, the last song for the night came in the excellent “The Future is Now” and the hardcore fans at the front of the stage started to sing along with Binzer in the song. Binzer and the band thanked for the support and the 75 minute show was over.
However it didn’t take long until the fans started to shout for encores and the band returned. The first encore was the second song Binzer wrote for Record Store Day. When one fan shouted for him to play “Laugh n’ a Half” he silenced the crowd saying here comes “Dream Big”. Again, it’s hard to say anything about a song you haven’t heard before but “Dream Big” also sounded really promising. “Now boys and girls, listen to me”, he said. and got a bit irritating when people in the crowd over powered his voice. “I decided to sing the following classical Danish piece because I love it; here is “Wild Child”. It was a cover of the Danish act The Savage Rose’s song “Wild Child” which is very popular in Denmark. The band started out 1967 and last year the band released a new studio album to celebrate their 50 years in the business. That song ended the night and all together the show lasted for about 90 minutes.
As a huge fan of D.A.D., I really liked Binzer’s performance, he showed he is just as a good front man solo as he is in the band. I really liked the fact the songs sounded more acoustic live compared to on album, if felt like they grew a bit. I really liked his vocals this time, he didn’t moan and squeeze his voice like he does in D.A.D. and it sounded really great when he approached a more clean vocal style. The only negative thing regarding the show was that the songs had a tendency of sounding a lot like each other. It felt like the band included those long solos in order to extend the showtime a little. It wouldn’t have hurt to incorporate a little more uptempo songs. It also took a while until the band and Binzer felt comfortable on stage and could relax, I think it took until the middle of the show until the band felt loose and relaxed and could joke around a bit more.
Otherwise it was a cozy evening with Binzer listening to his solo efforts and I’m eager to see if he’s going to continue releasing solo stuff in the future. The band is busy this summer touring with the Green Concert in Denmark and after that I hope they’re heading into the studio recording a new D.A.D album so I guess another solo album isn’t a top priority for Binzer at the moment.