Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
Billed as the Guitar Universe Tour, the O2 Academy in Islington, London tonight plays host to two guitar greats, Gus G and Marty Friedman. Being afforded the luxury of joint headline status, the two acts allow for lengthy sets from both. As such, opening act, Primitai, hit the stage earlier than hoped and play to a half full room.
The British band have spent many months locked away creating the songs that forms latest album ‘Rise Again’. Their brand of energetic heavy metal is a great warm up for the headliners but timing meant that it was only possible to catch the last song in full. Guy Miller does possess a strong set of pipes and is able to blend powerful metal vocals with a keen sense of melody as well. No sooner do we get into the groove of ‘Scream When You See Us’ than the band depart to make way for Gus G.
Fortune Favours the Brave
The Line of Fire
Scream When You See Us
Vocals: Guy Miller
Lead Guitar: Srdjan Bilic
Lead Guitar: Tom Draper
Bass: Jamie LordCastle
Drums: Chris Chilcott
GUS G feat : MATS LEVEN
For many, Gus G. ( Kostas Karamitroudis born on September 12, 1980 , in Thessaloniki , Greece ) rose to prominence as Ozzy Osbourne’s new guitarist, contributing to the well-received ‘Scream’ album. For those of us in the know however, Gus has a resume that includes stints at Arch Enemy , Nightrage , Mystic Prophecy , Dream Evil and of course , the highly successful Firewind.
He plays with his band in support of latest album ‘I am the Fire’, developed in a similar fashion to Slash’s first solo release. A mixture of guest vocalists and a mainstay that will also support you on tour. The mainstay in this case is Mats Levén (Swedish Erotica, Treat, At Vance and recently Ludor..) a powerhouse of a vocalist and every bit the quality front man that acts as the perfect complement to Gus’s frenetic guitar work.
The rhythm section tonight of Or Lubianiker (bass) and Johan Nunez (drums) will remain on stage for both headliners and get the opportunity to provide a solid foundation for the tour, performing for the best part of 2 hours tonight.
Obviously a significant proportion of the show is focussed on ‘I Am The Fire’ and the material stands out as fresh, hard and proves that the Levén and Gus G pairing has the opportunity to become just as renowned as the Slash / Kennedy combo that they’ve modelled on this album.
We get the odd cover thrown in tonight as well, showcasing the heroes from Gus’s past, including Thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath tracks ‘Hollywood’ and ‘Into The Void’ respectively. Firewind fans are treated to a couple of tracks as well and are definitely well received tonight. The t-shirts on display certainly indicate the dual headline status is well deserved with Gus getting as many fans through the door as Marty Friedman.
They finish the set with a storming rendition of ‘Crazy Train’ and put in a performance that makes the song their own.
If Gus can hang onto Mats for future albums and tours then this will definitely turn into something big.
My Will Be Done
Eyes Wide Open
Blame It on Me
Just Can’t Let Go
Hollywood (Down on Your Luck) (Thin Lizzy cover)
World on Fire (Firewind song)
The Fire and the Fury (Firewind song)
Into the Void (Black Sabbath cover)
I Am the Fire
Crazy Train (Ozzy Osbourne cover)
Gus G (Lead Guitar)
Mats Levén (Vocals)
Or Lubianiker (Bass)
Johan Nunez (Drums)
Amassing worldwide acclaim as a guitar superstar, Marty of course has helped sell millions of records with Megadeth. He has also continued to record solo records, often embarking on adventurous musical forays far removed from his work with Megadeth, including an album with Golden Globe winner Kitaro.
Now residing in Tokyo, having appeared on well over 300 TV programs Friedman has become a staple on mainstream media in Japan. As such, the UK does not get the opportunity to see him play very often so the fans press towards the front of the stage to see this guitar virtuoso let rip and spend the next hour trading licks with his touring band partner Takayoshi Ohmura.
As noted, Or Lubianiker and Johan Nunez put in a second shift ably supporting Friedman as he powers through an energised set of guitar driven rock.
It’s initially difficult to work out when one track ends and the next begins as Marty does not draw breath before launching into the next tune. As such there is confusion around the usual 3 song limit rule for the photographers tonight who seem to get something between 3 and 5 songs before leaving the pit. When Marty does take a breather it’s to pass thanks on to the crowd for coming to see him and Gus tonight and then off he goes with another ripping track.
Touring in support of latest album ‘Inferno’ he also runs through a classic selection of his back catalogue including some unusual choices like a mash up between Rammstein and Slade.
Black Sabbath’s ‘Symptom of the Universe’ closes Marty Friedman’s set and also sees Gus G, Mats Levén return to the stage as well (I believe) as Herman Li from Dragonforce. A treat indeed, for all of the guitar aficionados in the crowd tonight.
If it’s technically perfect guitar driven rock then this was the show to see tonight. A good balance between modern hard rock from Gus G and his band that will hopefully go on to create a long lasting partnership between him and Levéns and then the technical wizardry from a long respected guitarist like Marty Friedman.
Asche Zu Asche / My Oh My (Mutation Medley) (Rammstein / Slade covers)
Tornado of Souls (Megadeth song)
Ripped (including Takayoshi Ohmura guitar solo)
Devil Take Tomorrow
Ballad of the Barbie Bandits
Symptom of the Universe (Black Sabbath cover) (w/Gus G, Mats Levén & Herman Li)
Marty Friedman (Lead Guitar)
Or Lubianiker (Bass)
Johan Nunez (Drums)
Takayoshi Ohmura (Guitar)