© Jay Hawkins
Photos by Jay Hawkins
Live Gig Review Credit: Jay Hawkins (Journalist/Writer/Photographer) (Myglobalmind Webzine)
This past Sunday, I got the opportunity to go see three classic hard rock bands playing Rock City in Nottingham, quite a fitting venue, giving it’s status. The event was the brain child of non other than Myke Barker and featured Wraith and Snake Charmer supporting the headliners Bonfire (This being their only UK show of 2013)
On a rare summers evening, it was a warm night, with more than the temperature rising. I must give a big thank you to the box office girl and manager of Rock City for sorting my pass out and getting me in!
Wraith are well known to me, as I’ve been fortunate enough to have seen them perform on more than one occasion. The line up tonight was slightly different from the last time I saw them play, at the Victoria Inn, in Derby, as they now have a new drummer. The line up now reads Myke Barker – Vocals. Gregg Russell – Guitars/ Vocals. Andy Gamble – Guitars/Vocals. Ian Wright – Drums. Ian Scruffykid – Bass / Vocals. Still no Lemmy Kilmister on backing vocals though! For those that don’t know Wraith have been around since 1987, but split in 1998, after several years off they reformed around 2007 and produced new material in 2012. with a signature dual lead guitar sound, being made popular again by the likes of Snakecharmer and Black Star Riders both touring again, this gig is well timed.
© Jay Hawkins
After kicking off proceedings, Myke turns to the crowd and says, is anyone else stressed, cause I am! I can only assume organizing this event has been stressful, but he’s hard work has paid off. Tonight’s set was the best I’ve heard these guys play to date, the whole band seemed very tight and the drummer has fitted into the fold very well. Ian even managed a little drum solo, much to Myke’s amusement. Their set got given an extra bit of excitement when two very gorgeous dancers came onto the stage, which certainly helped lift the crowds spirits!
Set List consists of:
Never been BetterE
Get What I Want
Into the Fire
You Got it Comin’
Crazy (with “hell on high heels” )
After a short change over and Wraith’s gear removed from the stage, which saw all three drum kits on it at the start. More room was made for Snakecharmer. Consisting of six of the UK’s best in the business, we have Original Whitesnake members Micky Moody and Neil Murray teaming up with Laurie Wisefield (Wishbone Ash), Harry James (Thunder), Adam Wakeman (Ozzy Osbourne) and Chris Ousey (Heartland).
Snakecharmer formed back in 2011 and have produced a stellar self titled album, which was featured a lot in tonight’s set, in fact, the set is split pretty evenly between stuff off the new album and Whitesnake covers. The greatest applause came when Here I Go Again started though, everyone, myself included thoroughly enjoyed hearing that track.
© Jay Hawkins
Tonight saw some great face pulling and banter between Micky Moody and Laurie Wisefield especially. Halfway through the set Micky goes into an awe-inspiring guitar solo, which see’s him doing the metal slider on his little finger, which he used famous during his time with Whitesnake. Billed as Micky’s Solo, Harry James on drums decided to join in and have a talent contest between the two, both showing us their skills in their respective instruments, it sure was a pleasure to see and hear.
I was very impressed with lead vocalist Chris Ousey tonight, not only has he got a great blues/rock voice, but he produced a very professional performance. With several more UK dates to come this year, including Steelhouse Festival, Clumber Park Festival, Wayfest, The Brook and Hard Rock Hell, finishing off the year in style, their is still plenty of opportunities to catch a glimpse of these classic musicians, who are still doing the business with their new incarnation, Snakecharmer.
Set list consisted of:
Guilty as Charged
Ready an’ Willing (Cover)
Walking in the Shadows of the Blues (Cover)
Nothing to Lose
Moody’s Blues (Micky’s guitar solo)
Slow an’ Easy (Cover)
Here I Go Again (Cover)
Take Me With You (Cover)
Fool For Loving You (Cover)
After the final change over, the stage was set for the Headliners, German hard rock band, Bonfire. As stated earlier, Myke managed to secure them for this slot, their only UK performance of 2013. As vocalist Claus Lessmann stated after the first track, Myke went over and saw Bonfire perform in their home town of Ingolstadt, Germany last year and asked them to come back to Nottingham, 25 years after their first ever performance to play tonight’s show. This fact might help to explain why the press pit was so busy, along with a near capacity crowd we all looked forward to watching these 25+ year veterans and arguably the hard rock genre founders, they are certainly worthy contributors. Spanning their 25+ years, these guys have been busy, with nearly as many albums as years going, they have performed all over the world. With over 1200 gigs played and 6 million albums sold world wide these guys know a thing or two about music.
Whilst doing my research, I came across Bonfires official website http://www.bonfire.de, which is one of the best websites I’ve come across in a while, well worth checking it out.
© Jay Hawkins
Bonfire, now consisting of Claus Lessmann – Lead Vocals, Hans Ziller – Lead Guitar Chris “Yps“ Limburg – Rhythm Guitar, Uwe Köhler – Bass, Harry Reischmann – Drums graced the stage, Claus in his stars and stripes waist coat, and a Union Jack or is that Union Flag draped over him. Later he gives us an educated account regarding the difference between the the Union Jack/Flag, which I thought was brave coming from a German. He also played on this fact, saying, and I quote “we lost the war, I can say what I want, know one cares about what Germans think anyway…….I must admit, he did it well, he even suggested the royal family were watching up on the balcony. I think Claus was very excited about playing in the UK again and did his best to come up with jokes between tracks, which I admire him for. He did waffle on a bit too long at times, which prevented the crowd from really getting into the music, but when they did manage to string a couple of tracks together, I got a real sense of the true Bonfire experience.
In one of his speeches, he mentioned that one of the dancers had spoken to him previously, stating her first ever gig was seeing Bonfire when they played in Nottingham, some 25 years ago. The fact he brought that up gave the dancer an excuse to grace the stage, which Claus, the rest of the band and the crowd thoroughly enjoyed.
These guys gave a sterling rock and roll performance tonight and I was suitable impressed with Mr. Hans Ziller on lead guitar, who’s skills on the axe out shone Claus’s jokes. Keep the Bonfire burning guys!
Set list consisted of:
1. Tony’s Roulette
2. But We Still Rock
3. Never Mind
4. Hot to Rock / Don’t Touch the Light
6. Just Follow the Rainbow
7. Drum Solo
8. Under Blue Skies
9. You Make Me Feel
11. Guitar Solo
12. Sweet Obsession
13. Ready 4 Reaction
14. Give It a Try
15. American Nights [The Band started Champion before stopping and starting American Night]