Suite Sister Mary

Welcome to the morning after where hindsight is a fantastic thing! Last night I ended up in Manchester for my second show of the year at what could’ve been a third or fourth.

Friday night should’ve seen me seeing Stoke punks and UK-82 stalwarts Discharge play the Rebellion Club. Unfortunately I woke up ill at 1:30am on Friday morning and by the time I got home from work 14 hours later with very little sleep, I was shattered and went for a power nap. When I eventually rose from my slumber I’d missed the train to get me there in decent time.

Yesterday could’ve seen me catch snippets of bands in three different locations. There was an all day event going on with a more DIY punk and hardcore ethic going on and I fancied popping in to catch the 30 minute set by French hardcore band Youth Avoiders. In the end I didn’t see the value in money in seeing 1,800 seconds of a band for a tenner.

Performing at the Ruby Lounge was a Judas Priest tribute (Priest Unleashed) with support from the W.A.S.P. tribute band Electric Circus who I really like. When the stage times were released by the venue they left the stage at the exact same time as Geoff Tate began his rendition of one of my favourite albums in a venue nearly a mile away. In the end I opted for a slightly later train and one that’d get me to Rebellion in time for Till Death Do Us Part.

I was there in plenty of time to see them as the venue or promoter had crowded four bands on to the bill where all other shows I knew about only had a pair of bands, I’m thinking Till Death Do Us Part were late additions and they didn’t want to let down the other two? But they still insisted on opening the doors at 7pm with an 11pm curfew. Inevitably things would run behind.

The dark alt rock band looked the part and front woman Emily had the mainly male crowd captivated, but their sound engineer really messed up and cranked up the volume to 12 as if they were performing in an ginormous arena rather than a small club. The sound was ridiculously distorted and the vocals struggled to make an impact. Definitely a band for me to check out via Spotify at a later date.

Now for the “in hindsight” choices for the night! I had the choice of three Operation: Mindcrime shows within an hours drive (traffic allowing) from home. I plumped in Manchester as it was a Saturday and with the 11pm curfew I knew I had to miss a song or two to make the train but I’d have seen 90% of the show.

Instead of hitting the stage at 9:30 to play an album just shy of an hour by 46 seconds, Tate eventually came out of the dressing room just after 10pm and I know this as the fedora clad frontman brushed past me on the way to the stage. In the end I got about 45 minutes of Operation: Mindcrime the album and the band but had to bolt out of the door pretty much as soon as Suite Sister Mary finished. It’s the centre piece of the album, and my favourite song, so it wasn’t too much if a hardship (well so I’m still telling myself).

If I had known I’d miss almost 50% of his performance I’d have opted for Bilston earlier in the week or Buckley tonight. For someone who spends more than a full day of each week behind a steering wheel and this venue being a pain in the derrière to navigate to through the cities multitude of road works, driving there was never an option for me. As the Youth Avoiders set was dismissed as no value for money the Geoff Tate performance was ultimately even worse value. When a venue or promoter indicates a curfew time, and usually prefaces it with the statement “strict” you’d expect it to be close to that time and people can make arrangements based on the information supplied. I’m sure quite a few others had to cut their evening of entertainment short for similar reasons.

Reflecting on the show itself the sound eventually cleared up and Tate and his band did the material justice. I saw him with his former paymasters perform the album in full a decade ago so it’s not as if tonight was something unique and never done before, which in a bittersweet way didn’t make leaving too much if a hardship. Emily Tate from the previous band (yes, it’s Geoff’s daughter) donned a blonde wig to to reprise Pamela Moore’s iconic persona of Sister Mary. She gave it a good go and yet again suffered from a low vocal mix through the PA, but the power of the original vocal track just wasn’t there.

Taken from one of my favourite live releases that originally surfaced in 1991 in a long box with a CD and a VHS tape, Operation: Livecrime was a superb document of one metal’s finest concept albums. Tate’s vocal delivery 26 years after this release is still pretty decent, but the video below really does bring home just how majestic he was.

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Heavy Metal Month Listening Challenge 11/31

Day 11 – An ANTI love song. 

Queensryche – I Don’t Believe in Love 

I’ve tried to use as many of my favourite bands through out this 31 day challenge and this Seattle band is one I couldn’t overlook. 

Eyes Of A Stranger

  
 
Since my last (outdoor) festival of 2016 is now a long forgotten memory – it was only a week ago but it seems like so much longer – and my ageing and aching body has semi recovered its now time to get to work on this blog again and start to look forward to a slew of shows in the lead up to Christmas – all with a roof over my head!!

I’ve already done one since Bloodstock turned off the lights. Vektor in the intimate sweat box of Manchester’s Star & Garter were absolutely sublime for the second time in four days. It could so have easily been three, I decided against young British thrash upstarts Detoxen and regretfully Ministry. Both in Manchester on consecutive evenings. I say Ministry regretfully as I’ve since seen their set list and it included a lot of the earlier stuff I’d like to have witnessed again. Maybe next time?

My next gig is going to be Seattle prog metalers Queensryche, probably in Bilston – one of the more unlikely towns to host a metal show. The Robin 2 has had a fair few decent shows over the years, but I haven’t been here as much as I’d have liked. Usually the gigs I want to attend seem to be on a school night and they often have a later curfew than I’d like, or the bands are playing other shows marginally further away but seemingly much easier to get to rather than enduring the M6 southbound – my biggest concern for this, a southern show on a Friday! 

Their West Midlands appearance is one of three UK shows for the band, take London out of the equation and I’m 50 miles away from the remaining pair. Sheffield on the Saturday is a nice drive through parts of the Peak District during daylight hours, but those winding roads on cliff edges are a bit unnerving in the dark if you’ve not experienced them for a while and I’ve not been to the Steel City for a long time now. 

I’ve been a fan of Queensryche since I picked up Operation: Mindcrime maybe a year after its 1988 release. Since then it’s been a firm favourite of mine along with follow up album Empire. I remember buying the Operation: Livecrime box set when I was in college. I must have worn out the VHS cassette in the first few months, I just couldn’t get enough of it. I was so thankful when a reissue surfaced on a shiny DVD disc!
  

I’ve only seen the band half a dozen times over the years, the last couple of times with Geoff Tate were pretty painful if I’m being honest – the set lists were just filled with odd choices and with massive omissions to the show and generally an air of not really wanting to be there and just going through the motions – but we know how that ended. The “new guy” Todd La Torre has rejuvenated the band to no end. And for those fans who can let go of the past, he has most definitely reinvigorated the fan base. 

I’ve seen a review from a recent Swiss show. There was an air of disdain about a 14 song, 70 minute set. I’d guess that most of their shows before and after this UK run are due to be on festival stages where they’ve got 45 minutes to an hour, so there provably isn’t the necessity to rehearse for a two hour extravaganza for a handful of shows. I could be wrong though. Plus there’s the usual “why play this song, I much prefer this one” in the comments – a band with fourteen releases is never going to keep 100% of the crowd happy. 

Here’s a classic cut from the aforementioned Operation: Mindcrime release and one of those songs a band just can’t drop from a set list. Without looking in depth at the set lists available on the internet I don’t think there are many concerts goers that have gone home without hearing Eyes Of A Stranger in 27 years. It’d be interesting to know if the talk during band meetings ever considered the idea? 

  

Guardian

With a few days of this year left and today being another boring Sunday I thought I’d take a look at some of my favourite releases from they previous 360 days.  They’re not in any kind of order, just how I’ll come across them or what takes my fancy as I sit here with my new Iron Maiden Onkyo headphones on.

 

First up is the reinvigorated Queensrÿche with Condition Hüman. A welcome return to that classic Queensrÿche sound with Todd La Torre’s second release with the band.  When tracks from this album or the previously released self titled album come up on shuffle I always have to check which release it is to see who’s singing!  As I may have said previously Queensrÿche now sound a lot more like Queensrÿche than the last few albums they released with Geoff Tate.

I ended up buying this CD via the bands pledge / Kickstarter campaign.  To me these campaigns are a great way to feel like you’re involved with the bands and depending on how flush you are with the cash you can contribute as much as you can and receive some superb rewards.  2015 was a barren year for seeing the band as their three UK dates this year clashed with the Bloodstock Festival.  Hopefully next year?

 

Empire

IMG_7316

Queensrÿche are one of my all time favourite bands and “Operation: Mindcrime” and “Empire” are two of my favourite albums EVER!

So why wait till track 93 to post them? Well their official videos were on You Tube just before we started this, then all of a sudden they vanished. Once in a while I check it again for the band and today I found this – so make the most of it before it gets taken away again! And I’ve found more, so expect a Queensrÿche fest soon!!!!!

Just crank up the volume and enjoy!

originally posted on Jukebox20 November 19th 2007.

 

I thought with all this time on my hands I’ll have a look through the ol’ Jukebox20 and see if we posted anything on this day, and indeed we did.

 

Queensrÿche are still up there as a personal favourite of mine.  They’ve gone through a slight change in recent years – original vocalist Geoff Tate has left the band and gone on to form Operation: Mindcrime after releasing an album under the Queensrÿche name (Frequency Unknown).  In his place for the last three years has been ex Crimson Glory frontman Todd La Torre.  At times he hasn’t been too popular a guy with some ‘Rÿche fans, but having seen him perform live a few times Queensrÿche 2015 sounds more like Queensrÿche than they have done for a long time.  Latest record Condition Hüman is a fantastic release a welcome return to form.

 

Empire was the original video posted and so it shall still be the one on offer here again, but there wont be too long to wait until Seattle’s finest sons return.