Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: © Adrian Hextall
A three band bill at the Academy tonight gives us two up and coming new acts, both supporting their début albums and also a bona fide rock legend in the form of one Sebastian Bach, a man with a 25 year career in the business already and currently experiencing something of a resurgence in popularity thanks to recent albums ‘Angel Down’, ‘Kicking & Screaming’ and current release ‘Give Em Hell’. On stage first to a reasonable sized crowd is Sweden’s Mia Klose.
Touring with some high profile acts at the moment, Mia and band play in support of Mia’s début album ‘London’ , the name of the city where she currently lives. The songs aired tonight are mostly from said début and translate very well to the live stage. Songs like ‘Open Your Eyes’ , ‘Living for Love’ and ‘Never Too Late’ sound stronger and deeper live and the added harmonies from the band on the choruses (something I’d commented was lacking in a previous review) really flesh out the great 80’s vibe of the music. Musically, Jon Evans and Karl Arheden provide some great 80’s styled licks and Connor Meighan’s basslines are as ever supported by Henry Rogers on drums
Mia clearly has a good stage presence, works the crowd well and has an amazing knack for promotion which sees her throwing baseball caps into the crowd to help spread the word about the band long after the gig is over. It’s only a short 6 song set (the afore mentioned songs plus ‘Mama’ and ‘Memory Lane’) and includes a great cover at the end of Guns ‘n’ Roses’ ‘You Could be Mine’ which goes down very well with the crowd.
If you are or were ever a fan of Lita Ford, Blondie, Lee Aaron, Phantom Blue and Vixen then you’ll know what to expect from Mia and that’s no bad thing.
Steadily playing more and more gigs and building a solid reputation as a live act, Toseland take to the stage next. Fronted by James Toseland, the double world superbikes champion (Yes you read that right!) we have a band with a lead singer that shows as much determination to succeed in the music business as he clearly has done on the track. It’s certainly some career move for James but one that is paying off as he’s got quite a set of pipes on him and he and his band produce some solid hard rock that fits perfectly on the bill tonight.
His stage gear is considerably understated, being a simple black t-shirt and jeans combo but he makes up for the (almost Springsteen like) look with a great stage presence that makes it seem as if he’s been doing this all of his life rather than as someone on their début album.
The album ‘Renegade’ has been produced by Toby Jepson of Little Angels fame and the songs played tonight show his influences for catchy hook led tracks. The added grit in the songs also reflects James’ former career on 2 wheels so all in all it’s a great combination.
Gotta Be a Better Way
Burning the System
Singer in a Band
Life Is Beautiful
And so to the main event. When you look at the last 25 years of Sebastian Bach’s career you get a sense of just what he’s accomplished. As the original voice of Skid Row, producing 3 albums with the band he then went on to a succession of Broadway musicals including: Jekyll & Hyde: The Musical and the Rocky Horror Show as well as Jesus Christ Superstar across the US, all of which were critically acclaimed for his performances. He’s done reality TV with VH1: Supergroup and I Married Sebastian Bach but in recent years, he’s made a real impact back on the rock and metal scene with some very very solid releases culminating in the current ‘Give Em Hell’ which is the reason we see him her in London tonight.
Energetic does not describe the man sufficiently as he bounds on stage and immediately starts head banging to the music, his long blonde mane flying everywhere. He maintains that level of energy throughout the show and it’s pleasing to see and hear a man with as much grit, determination, energy and vocal prowess even after 25 years in the business. This is not a man living on past glories as would be so easy to do, he’s clearly here and playing tonight because he’s very much still relevant to the current rock and metal scene.
The set therefore blends comfortably the older material (the crowd pleasers) and the newer material and everything gets received equally well by the crowd. ‘Slave to the Grind’ from the 2nd Skid Row album kicks off the set and it’s great to hear THE voice that should sing these songs. ‘Temptation’ follows from ‘Give Em Hell’ and shows a artist still very much in touch with modern rock music.
His banter with the crowd is great fun and the grin never leaves his face for the entire show, again proving just how much he is genuinely enjoying this phase of his career. An indication of his current appeal is shown with the age span of people in the crowd. The front few rows are crammed with 20-something girls that look no different to the 20-somethings that were in the front rows when Skid Row’s early albums were released. As you move further back through the crowd, the male fans here get gradually older with many matching Sebastian’s age and who probably did seem him first time around in the late 80’s early 90’s. It’s great to see such a wide mix of people and is proof positive that this type of music is never a fad and is here for the long haul.
The crowd sing ’18 and Life’ back to the stage word for word and repeat the process for ‘I Remember You’ which clearly moves Sebastian who affirms his appreciation for coming out to see him tonight. Odds are the venue might have even been fuller had both Extreme and Vain not been playing the same night in London. Whoever schedules these tours should consider who else is playing as many people are fans of all three bands and would have been torn as to which to see tonight.
The set finishes with “that song”. It’s one of those tracks like Doro’s ‘All We Are’, Tyketto’s ‘Forever Young’, Meat Loaf’s ‘Bat Out of Hell’ etc.. that will survive long after the bands and artists are no more. The cheer that greets ‘Youth Gone Wild’ is immense and sees the crowd as you might expect at their most energetic.
A great show from a great front man. Long may he continue.
Slave to the Grind (Skid Row song)
Temptation The Threat (Skid Row song)
Big Guns (Skid Row song)
Piece of Me (Skid Row song)
18 and Life (Skid Row song)
American Metalhead (PainmuseuM cover)
Taking Back Tomorrow
In a Darkened Room (Skid Row song)
Monkey Business (Skid Row song)
I Remember You (Skid Row song)
All My Friends Are Dead
Youth Gone Wild (Skid Row song)