Revolution Calling

Well I can’t really say the last 48 hours have been the best. I’ve been laid up for a few days prior and on Wednesday night I had some indigestion issues before going to bed and I had about two hours sleep before I stupidly went into work for 5am.

Yesterday day at work was a hard slog and I ended up pulling over the car on the way home to throw up. Lovely! I eventually got home and went to bed, well I attempted to, but after an hour I was awoken by a shooting pain in my back. Last night I just couldn’t get comfortable enough to sleep or even sit. When my wife came home it was straight on the phone to the 111 line (the NHS’s phone line that can be used before wasting a 999 call).

I’m still actually waiting for an out of hours doctor to get back to me after 16 hours! My pain ended up easing enough to get to sleep and after 12 hours straight in bed I’m feeling much better. What a way to spend my 45th birthday. And needless to say I ended up missing the Incite gig.

As it stands now, I’ve managed to eat a bit and have a few drinks that weren’t water and feeling much better and luckily I had already booked today and tomorrow off work as holidays any way. I’m still a bit snotty but much more human (unlike my wife at the moment).

My second gig of this year was Operation: Mindcrime, Geoff Tate’s post Queensryche vehicle, in Manchester back in January. As he appeared to come to the stage very late and I was tied to the last train leaving I spent most of the set clock watching and ultimately had to leave after eight songs.

Tonight is gig 64 of the year and he plays a little over a mile away at Eleven and there are no worries about timing issues today. I can drive up if I fancy avoiding alcohol, or if I feel more human in the next 10 hours and fancy a belated celebratory birthday scoop or three I also have the taxi option available.

This run is apparently the last time that the band are doing the full run through of the classic album celebrating its 30 year anniversary. For me, Operation: Mindcrime is one of the most complete albums released. There is no weak track over the hour run time and I could happily listen to this album everyday without getting bored of it, and I happily play it regularly. After this run any future shows seem to be his Queensryche output prior to this album, if I understood the blurb correctly.


Dyers Eve

Thirty years ago (somewhere in the world) …And Justice For All was unleashed upon the world. In yet another quirky slice of coincidence tonight I should be seeing a Metallica tribute band in Stoke. Sometimes you think I plan these things.

Although this wasn’t purchased on the day of its release, it was the “newest” album by the band that I had from nearest to its release date, until the self titled album surfaced almost three years later. And as I have no doubt said in a previous Metallica blog, this was the album that kick stared my collecting obsession.

I saw Metal Militia last year sandwiched in between four Metallica shows. It was quite ironic that they performed Spit Out The Bone live before Metallica. When they announced ii they said it was a song Metallica don’t play but we will. About a month later I saw Metallica perform it live twice.

It’s going to be interesting to see how many are in attendance compared to last year. The room was pretty packed for them, but for reasons unknown there are two Metallica tribute bands playing within 5 miles of each other tonight. Moretallica have been announced for the Rigger, but I only learnt about this gig three or four days ago. I don’t think it’s a late booking, probably just poor advertising and social media skills from the venue. I always seem to see posts about their shows 24 hours prior to the event or even the same morning. Oh well, more elbow room for me later. Maybe?

This live version of Dyers Eve is from the bands Français Pour une Nuit live DVD released in 2009. They played the stunning looking Arena of Nîmes in France. The stage was set up in a Roman amphitheater, which dates back to AD70. It’s definitely a place I’d like to have a look around if I ever venture back to France.

Edge Of A Broken Heart

I have one day left at work and then it’s a three day weekend in the UK. The weather is going to be reasonable and hopefully I’ll get chance to venture out if the house. There’s a jazz and blues festival on locally, no acts I’m familiar with apart from Peter Frampton, and that’s only a solitary track of his I know. But there is a record fare happening on Sunday and weather permitting, as it’s held out doors, I’ll go and have a peruse if the boxes of records and make lots of weird sounds that usually translate into “how much!”

Saturday could bring yet another trip to Manchester to another new venue for me. There are two bands playing that I’m intrigued to see. It’s being held in Factory or FAC251, which I think was the head offices for Factory Records, a label synonymous with Joy Division, New Order and Happy Mondays.

Opening up the show is West Midlands band Sister Shotgun. I’ve not had chance to see them live and I’ve heard a few of their tracks. I’m interested to see them off the back of a recommendation from a customer of mine. The guitarist of Crewe based band Fallen used to work in a shop I delivered to and we used to have a chat about music and stuff. His band played with them locally and he said how good they were live. They’ve been getting around a lot just lately and have a new guitarist in the fold.

Headlining is Janet Gardner Page, not exactly a household name, but for people, especially guys, of my age and into rock during the same era she was the front woman and guitarist with the big hair in Vixen. They’re a band I first heard on the Friday Rock Show hosted by Timmy Vance on Radio 1. I think it was the Edge if a Broken Heart single that was played late on the Friday night and by Saturday afternoon I had the 7” vinyl in my hands.

They’d been together since the early 70’s surprisingly, but didn’t gain any mainstream recognition until 1988’s eponymous debut and their sophomore release Rev It Up in 1990. I never heard past that second album and I do t think I’ve ever heard Tangerine.

Richard Marx coproduced the debut album and wrote Edge of a Broken Heart. At the same time the band were getting some big opening slots on tours with the likes of Bon Jovi, Scorpions and KISS. Musical differences lead to a split and there have been several reunions over the years.

I remember watching something on VH1 called bands reunited where they attempted to bring bands back together. The idea was to a specific line up in the same room and it was deemed a success if they performed. I saw odd episodes here and there. A Flock of Seagulls and Berlin were successful. Holly Johnson refused to perform with Frankie Goes to Hollywood and at the time Extreme was a failure. Vixen put aside their differences and did play.

In 2012 a classic reunion was on the cards, but guitarist Jan Kuehnemund was diagnosed with cancer and passed away towards the end of 2013. The three remains classic members have carried on as a tribute to her and an album is planned.

Vixen have been playing live sporadically over the last four years, mainly in the States and a few dates in Canada and Europe. They played Hard Rock Hell in 2016, an event I unfortunately didn’t attend. There was a tour in 2006 for some version of the band which apparently stopped off in Crewe. They played the Limelight and it took me a dozen years to find out. It’s closed now and looking rather dilapidated, but it was one of those venues that never seemed to bother with too much promotion and hoped for word of mouth from regular barflies.

1991 saw them supporting Deep Purple over here. The year before saw some of their own dates and a few supporting Scorpions and on the bill for the prestigious Bon Jovi soirée at the Milton Keynes Bowl.

In all my time I’ve never had chance to see Vixen, and to date Saturday will be the closest I have been. Janet plays some stuff from her self named debut solo album from last year with a smattering of Vixen hits thrown in. They’re due to play the Rockingham event in Nottingham in October with some other AOR and hair bands mainly from yesteryear, but for what I’d have to pay to get in and what I’d get from the weekend it’s currently out of reach of my budget. But never say never.

Smooth Up In Ya

Time to slow things down a bit and subject my ears to something where, as my mum would say, you can understand what they’re saying.

On Tuesday a trip up the road to Eleven is more than likely on the cards to partake in some late 80’s hard rockin’ all the way from Los Angeles. Marq Torien (the only constant member since the bands inception in 1986) brings the BulletBoys to Stoke on Trent.

I’m not the biggest fan of the band by a long shot, but they’re playing less than 2 miles up the road and and I’ve never seen them so it’s an opportunity I can’t really pass up. Some bands I’d considering travelling a decent distance to see, unfortunately some pretty much have to be on my doorstep to tempt me out.

I remember listening to the eponymous album and the follow record Freakshow back in my college days. Even though they rubbed shoulders with the hair bands that frequented the iconic Hollywood venues like the Rainbow Bar and Grill, Whisky A Go Go and the Troubador, the band probably owe more of their sound to Van Halen than Mötley Crüe.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t listen to anything again until I stumbled on their sixth album 10¢ Billionaire some time ago and I know I haven’t listened to any of their three albums released within the last decade. This evening has involved some binge listening of their back catalogue and the solitary track on Spotify that will be featured on their From Out of the Skies album that should be released anytime now via Frontiers Records.

They haven’t frequented these shores too often during their career. Their 2018 dates are the first in ten years, and if you had seen them on their first visit you’d have been waiting almost twenty years to see them second time around. I’m not really sure how popular they were over here. I’m guessing they got swallowed up by most of their more popular contemporaries, and odd songs here and there rose to the top in the rock clubs.

For a ticket price pushing nearly £20 I hope there is a decent crowd in the venue. Considering they’re sharing the stage with Enuff Z’Enuff, another band from the glam metal heyday, it’s pretty decent value for money in my eyes, and especially when you compare it to what I could’ve paid to see Skid Row last week. I’ve read a few negative comments online about poor crowds leading to an inferior performance and a seemingly shortened set. Let’s see what Tuesday brings.

From the self titled debut album, Smooth Up In Ya is one of the bands most well know tracks.

Welcome Home

Today marks the 29th anniversary, somewhere in the world, of King Diamond’s third opus “Them” hitting record stores, the first of two conceptual releases about “King’s” mentally ill grandmother. 

“Them” in this case are the voices that a young King hears around the house, and “they” are controlling King and Missy’s mother. It all ends up in death, mayhem and incarceration, then concluded (in a fashion) with the following release Conspiracy. 

Besides the mini post I’d featured a few weeks ago for the 31 songs in 31 days project I can’t comprehend that it’s taken me so long to post a second King Diamond track properly. December 2015 was my last foray in to the psyche of Kim Bendix Petersen, which really shocked me and that was only posted because it was a Christmas influenced piece of music. 

The Great Dane most definitely has a marmite sound. You either love his vocal delivery or hate it. I know a few people who like it for the musicianship, then their  interest dissipates as soon as Mr Petersen let’s rip. I enjoy that kind of vocal delivery and range  and I like the intricate tales that he weaves with his lyrics. It’d be interesting to view if any Hollywood moguls got involved in a reimagining if the two albums.  Failing that I’d like to see a “Them” tour. Over the last few years the band have been playing the seminal Abigail album in full and a concert DVD is in the pipeline, I’d really like to see that trend carried on with the following pair it albums. 

I got a bit confused with what track I was posting when I started tapping away as I initially looked for the Sleepless Nights promotional video, then I realised that was on the following album. My hopes were briefly dashed then I came across a video for Welcome Home, which I had never seen until this afternoon.  You’re never too old to learn something new! 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 31/31

Day 31 – A song about insanity. 

Annihilator – Alison Hell 

And now, the end is near; 

And so I face the final curtain.

My friend, I’ll say it clear, 

I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain.

Regrets, I’ve had a few; 

But then again, too few to mention.

I did what I had to do

And saw it through without exemption.

I planned each charted course; 

Each careful step along the byway, 

And more, much more than this, 

I did it my way.

I’ve had fun with these 31 tracks and I think Ol’ Blue Eyes sums up the last month where I’ve managed to post something everyday for a whole month (and some). It’s the first time that’s happened, and originally the plan for this blog. Maybe I’ll incorporate more short blocks of text in the future. 

Nineteen bands have been from the United States, four from England, three Germans and one each from Switzerland, Canada, Denmark and Finland, and only one band repeated. Maybe a bit lopsided towards the thrash metal genre and the 1980’s, but it’s the ones I like most. I could have easily done all 28 with Metallica tracks, with some slight interpretations of the original questions. There were so many bands I wanted to do and I could do all 31 questions multiple times without repeating tracks or bands – apart from the specific artist questions. 

Thanks for reading everyday for a month. 

Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 15/31

Day 15 – Song with ‘blood’ in the title.

Forbidden – Chalice of Blood 

At first it was going to be Bonded by Blood. Then I remembered this!

Before the advent of iPods and track shuffling options this song was on a good 90% of mix CDs I used to make for the car. Passengers must’ve rolled their eyes in despair at this song again.