Photo credit and live review: Adrian Hextall
The last time I saw Edguy play in London it was supporting Gamma Ray at The Underworld club in old Camden Town. That venue holds significantly less than a packed O2 Academy does tonight and it’s very reassuring to see that the band in addition to tonight’s show, have also sold out their Manchester and Nuneaton dates in the UK. For those that think rock music is dead, they only have to see how these venues are currently thriving with many bands that a few years ago would have struggled to fill a venue half the capacity.
A three band bill helps and first up are The Wild Lies whose brand of 80’s infused hard rock is an ideal warm up to start the evening. Unfortunately an interview with members of the headliners prevents me seeing the set other than the last song but they leave the stage to a solid response and as regulars on the London club circuit where I have witnessed them many times before, I can guarantee they put in the effort and will have delivered to an already full venue.
Main support comes from Skarlett Riott, promoting their début album ‘Tear Me Down’. The band have a wonderfully charismatic guitarist in Danny and he and lead singer Skarlett make for the perfect front of stage combo, flying around working the crowd and getting an excellent response back.
Their music comes across like a blend of solid hard rock with a modern twist that should appeal to fans of the headliners and more. Clearly having a blast the smile rarely leaves Skarlett’s face as she throws in a handful of clichéd call outs to the crowd to join in, have fun, can’t hear you etc.. It does however work and the crowd clearly start to dig the enthusiasm this young band, formed in 2010, project.
‘Tear Me Down’ has already received rave reviews across the rock press, including 4K’s in Kerrang, 4/5 in Big Cheese, 9/10 in Powerplay, amongst others and their first single ‘Faded Memory’ and the latest ‘House of Cards’ both get aired tonight.
Solos abound from Danny whilst the rhythm section of Luke \ Martin keep everything nice and tight allowing the front two to drive the songs home. Skarlett adds a guitar of her own to the mix in the latter half of the set which gives the sound extra depth. With ten songs being aired tonight, the crowd gets the opportunity to get into the band, something that is all too lacking with short thirty minute or less support slots that are often affording to acts these days. Credit due then to the headliners for allowing us to hear and appreciate what this young band has to offer.
Skarlett – Vox/Guitars
Danny – Guitars/Backing Vox
Martin Shepherd – Bass/Backing Vox
Luke – Drums
Links: Official Site
What We’ve Become
Rock N Roll Queen
House of Cards
Take It All
Tear Me Down
By now the venue is hot and heaving. It’s always refreshing to see a band have a sell out tour and the members of Edguy are clearly very happy to be head lining what I believe is their most successful UK tour to date. It’s no real surprise that they continue to gain more and more fans as their musical output is always consistently good, diverse enough to keep the listener coming back for more and certainly never disappoints.
Playing in support of their latest release ‘Space Police: Defenders of the Crown’ and album that fits into no particular genre as it contains a mix of power metal, hard rock, whimsical comedy and tributes to other hard rock bands as well.
One the intro tape is out of the way, the band launch into ‘Love Tyger’ from the latest album, an excellent hard rock anthem that immediately sets the tone for the night, energetic, loud and above all entertaining. ‘Space Police’ follows and is played out in full which the mid song progressive elements played as well highlighting just how well the five members can shape a song together. A real treat for the fans then follows with ‘Out of Vogue’ from the ‘Rocket ride’ release which I don’t believe has been played live before.
Tobias Sammet is a whirlwind of energy, hitting the top of his vocal range on a regular basis, pushing himself and flying all over the stage looking (with an almost maniacal glare) into the crowd and clearly relishing every moment of being on stage. His humorous interludes and comments match perfectly with the comedy elements that can be found on their albums and this is showcased when the band get to a bonus track off ‘Space Police’ called ‘England’. Written to take an almost Bill Bryson like approach to looking at our fair land, the song gently pokes fun at all the things we are known for including those where German and English sporting rivalries come head to head;
“Mostly you’re jolly, At times you’re frustrated, England Then rest assured: I also think penalty shootouts……are highly overrated”
To perform the track, an old (and boy it does look old) upright piano is wheeled to the front of the stage and Tobias takes his position behind it like a “modern day Mozart” as he describes himself. Reminding us that he’s more used to a keyboard, he hunts around for the pedals before then starting to play. Echoes of the Scorpions and Klaus Meine ordering his lighting team to “turn ze spotlight on ze people“ as Tobias immediately stops playing the piano to have crew members come on stage to move the piano around so that he can face the audience. One cheeky grin later and the song continues with a perfect sing along provided by the crowd who know only to well that England have indeed “got Steve Harris“.
As Tobias introduces the band, he only gets as far as Felix Bohnke with “and on the drums, the drummer…” who then proceeds to play a drum solo. Now typically the drum solo can send 50% of the crowd to the bar but not so tonight as Felix mixes up a traditional drum, cheer, drum approach with a great playing along rendition of the Imperial Theme from the original Star Wars trilogy. They should put him and Buckethead (known for his great guitar solo of the main theme tune) together and let them score the soundtrack for Episode VII.
Naturally all of the old German \ English clichés are dished out and as such we get Tobias in full on Basil Fawlty mode reminding us “don’t mention the war” before then picking up on the fact that the next song is by an Austrian so it all comes together and we get a great cover of Falco’s ‘Rock Me Amadeus’.
Finishing with ‘Tears of a Mandrake’, the band quickly return to the stage with “you didn’t really think we were going did you…?” and play three more for a very receptive crowd including ‘Lavatory Love Machine’ which gets one of the biggest cheers of the night.
‘King of Fools’ brings the night to an end and a fantastic set from an excellent band. Great fun, great songs and great energy. what more can we ask for?
Felix Bohnke – Drums
Tobias Exxel – Bass
Jens Ludwig – Guitar
Tobias Sammet – vocals \ piano
Dirk Sauer – Guitar
Links: Official Site
Out of Vogue
Defenders of the Crown
Vain Glory Opera
Ministry of Saints
Tears of a Mandrake
Lavatory Love Machine
King of Fools