Vicious Rumors w. Hazzerd, Osyron, Dextress and Niviane!
Sunday, September 9th, 2018
The Blind Beggar Pub
Story by JP
Photos courtesy of Pamela Porosky
Over the years I’ve talked to many, many musicians and on occasion the topic of a small crowd will arise. I can imagine that a performer is always mildly disappointed when not many people attend a concert, not only for financial reasons but just for the ego as well. In my opinion the most well-adjusted professional bands shake it off and put on a great gig regardless if they are playing for 10 people or 10,000 people.
There is no escaping the fact that when this tour hit town it was a small crowd. There were any number of excuses for the poor turnout; a venue change, a dreary, cool night, the gig was on a Sunday etc, but I was very pleased to see that to a man, all the bands brought 100% to the stage. My anticipation was very high so the small crowd didn’t bother me and it didn’t bother the bands. If it did, at least they didn’t show it outwardly. The stage was small, the crowd was small but the gig was larger than life.
Behind the scenes….
When this tour was first announced I was disappointed that Niviane from Sacramento was not on the Canadian leg. So I was very pleased to learn some months later that they now were a last minute addition and were to open the gig. I really enjoyed their debut album THE DRUID KING and have been a fan of vocalist, Norman Skinner (ex-Imagika) for many years so it was awesome to see them.
It was the bands second-ever gig in Canada and they did not disappoint me. They ripped through five songs, four from their debut album and a brand new song called ‘Fire In The Sky’. This USPM band had it all; powerful vocals, speed and harmonized twin-lead guitar solos, it was wonderful. I only expect this band to grow in stature.
Up next was Edmonton’s Dextress They were by far the lightest band on the bill but also perhaps the most rocking (in the traditional sense of the word) as well. This bluesy Hard Rock quartet are always so solid. They seem to be able to channel the spirit of Little Caesar and The Four Horsemen with ease, even though the young band weren’t around when those bands were in the spotlight. In fact, in the early 90’s there was a brief period when big mainstream record labels flirted with and signed several bands that drew upon bands like Led Zeppelin, UFO, SRV and more. I’m thinking of bands like Junkyard, Sea Hags, Quireboys, Black Crowes hell even Poison went in that direction for a while.
What I’m getting at is that Dextress have this sound so perfected it hurts. Led by the charismatic and rail-thin frontman, he pulled out all the rock moves, having the guitarist ride on his shoulders, dancing on the bar and more. The band played a rocking set and showcased a new track called ‘Teenage Wasteland’. They even did a ripping cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Refugee’! In a night filled with Power Metal, these guys stood out and were a mini-highlight of the night.
Osyron is an up and coming classic Metal band and a nice match to the nights bill. Always classy and professional it seems the crowd was at it’s peak when they hit the stage. They played a good selection of cuts from their excellent most recent album KINGSBANE. Their excellent bend of melody, speed and power always hits the sweet spot and I always enjoy seeing them. Progressive Power Metal at it’s finest I could see them playing in Atlanta on PowerProg one year soon!
Where as Dextress was the lightest band, local thrash heroes Hazzerd were the heaviest. Hazzerd never fail to disappoint as they play classic, old-school thrash with all the great familiar touchstones of Slayer, Megadeth etc… I don’t want to call it a novelty but a band with a singing drummer is always cool to see. These local band are growing in stature with great performances and great song-writing. Ripping and skull-frying, and leaving bodies in their wake they blazed through a no-nonsense set. They were the only band to get a pit going that night!
Finally it was time for the headliner. I had waited almost 30 years to see them play and it was worth the wait. My perspective is one influenced by heavy nostalgia but I really enjoyed seeing the band for the first time. The tour is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Digital Dictator album, which I bought on cassette when it came out (and still have it) and they treated the fans to the whole album in it’s entirety.
I must admit I was…not skeptical, that is too strong a word, but curious to see how the new vocalist, Nick Courtney could handle the classic material. Let’s face it Vicious Rumors has been plagued with singer problems forever. By my count they have had at least 10 singers now over the 40 years. Luckily for all of us the remaining founding members Larry Howe and Geoff Thorpe have a keen ear for talented vocalists and Courtney handled all the material with ease!
The band finished off with five songs, mostly old stuff which suits me just fine but I do love the last four VR albums, they are on a huge ‘comeback’ roll right now. We were only treated on one newer era song, ‘Razorback Killers’. Among old hits we heard, ‘Don’t Wait For Me’, ‘Down To The Temple’ and ‘Hellraiser’. Great stuff. As Cliché as it sounds, Vicious Rumors stands as one of the longest running, most prolific US Power Metal bands in history and are still under-rated and under-appreciated. Don’t miss this tour!