Released by: Frontiers Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Melodic Rock
Harry Hess: vocals, guitar
Pete Lesperance; lead guitar, vocals
Stan Miczek: bass guitar
Darren Smith: drums, vocals
CD1Garden Of Eden; Hard To Love; Saviors Never Cry; Dagger; Distant Memory; The Midnight Hours; Mandy; Killing Me; Slowly Slipping Away; Troubled Times.
CD2 Sentimental Blvd.; Turn Around; Stranger Than Love; All I Need; Saints And Sinners; So Blind; Human Nature; Voice Of Reason; Change Comes Around; No Justice.
I have been with the MGM family a long time now- several years actually. Anyone else that has been around any length of time and reads my reviews knows that there are two bands that, frankly, I have reviewed the most and am a complete and total fan boy for. They are Pretty Maids and Harem Scarem. I have championed both of these bands every chance I got (MGM and otherwise.)
Both bands are terribly under appreciated in the music world. Yes, both do exceedingly well outside the US, in particular in their home countries and Japan. Why the United States hasn’t fully caught on to these two tremendously talented bands is beyond me. I will never stop trying to convert people over. Much like the last live offering from Pretty Maids, I said that I don’t usually do reviews for live albums. Most of the time they’re nothing more than contractual obligations or, worse yet, something to tide people over with while the band struggles to write new material. And just like with the Pretty Maids live album, I was so blown away by Live At The Phoenix from Harem Scarem, I decided to toss some words their way again.
Taken from a show in their home town of Toronto, Ontario at a place called The Phoenix (hence the album title) and after returning strong after an 8 year hiatus, the band recorded the album Thirteen (their 13th regular release, duh) and toured in support of it. One of those shows was recorded for a DVD/CD release celebrating the bands return to where they belong: recording and playing live the best AOR music…ever! This isn’t their first live release (far from it,) but this one for me was much more special. Not only did they add material from their newest album, but they dug deep into their catalog and played stuff from their debut album. In a day and age where bands try to avoid their past, Harem Scarem embrace it and are proud of it (as they should be.) They even seemed to take requests, stating as such just prior to playing “The Midnight Hours,” in fact. When a band has so much incredible material to choose from it’s got to be tough to cut down and create a setlist. This one is one that would’ve been amazing to witness. Having never managed to catch them live before it is through these albums and dvd’s that I get a glimpse of how good they are. They have shown me every time that they’re just as good live as they are on record.
If you’re a Harem Scarem fan, I don’t need to tell you what’s up, because you already know and will buy this anyway. If you’ve always been curious, this is as good a place to start as any. If you love AOR and never heard of them…how is that even possible? Buy it, show the guys some love, you won’t be disappointed! I give Live At The Phoenix it 9 out of 10
Written by: Chris Martin