Saturday,May 10, 2014
MEESTERLIJK METAAL 19
De Meester, Almere, The Netherlands
When we heard about the headliners on Meesterlijk Metaal 19, we grabbed our agenda and marked the date right away, so we wouldn’t miss it. The last editions of this festival were so cool, that we always love to go back to Almere. JAMESON RAID is a great NWOBHM band led by singer Terry Dark, who lives in our country just for the lovely Dutch girls. At least, that’s what he says on the double live album, that the band has just released. ERAZER announced their comeback and in Almere we would see them again after many years. SPEEDCHASER is a new name in our book, but we would soon find out that this band has a very familiar face in their line-up.
On this particular Saturday evening, the Eurovision song contest also took place in Kopenhagen, Denmark, but we are about to witness a much higher level of musical entertainment. Holland seemed to be totally euphoric about their second place. While in fact they can’t even compete with the level of a transgender with a beard from Austria, who actually won this year’s contest. For us, there’s only one absolute winner, but first we were treated to two other fantastic bands. SPEEDCHASER is first on the bill tonight. When we arrived in the hall at about eight, the band was already on stage. Right from the start I recognized the band’s bass player, William Ros, who we saw many years ago with his band QUEST in Hoogeveen. To my big surprise, SPEEDCHASER started their set with “Rising Force”, a nice cover of the well-known YNGWIE MALMSTEEN song. The most important moment was of course, when guitar player Harry Loisios would play the solo in this track. And the Greek maestro did a fine job here and reminded me of the six-armed viking with his supernatural fingers, made to fly over the neck of his guitar. The band continues with “Speedchaser”, another fast track with some marvelous guitar work and the thundering bulldozer bass sound by William, that is unbeatable and ultra-loud. What are you saying?? Yep, that loud!! So far, so good and after a short introduction, the band continues with a song from the solo CD of Harry, which is called “Burn Out”, introduced by the master himself by means of a guitar solo. Another surprise comes right up with “Spotlight Kid”, which has been the opener of RAINBOW for many years, when JOE LYNN TURNER was still behind the mike back in those days. You may guess which song I played on a lazy Sunday afternoon the next day? Man, that really brought back some good ol’ memories, when RITCHIE BLACKMORE still tortured his white Fender. The loud sound of William’s bass overruled almost everything and Harry’s solos sounded more MALMSTEEN than BLACKMORE, but the song is definitely in my mind again after this. “Metal Queen” has been a self-penned song, which was followed by “Mountain Of The Gods”, another great song from Harry’s solo album. William takes the lead in “Children Rule The World”, which is based on an old song, that was sung by children. William re-arranged it and turned it to a metal song, in which his pedal set received a major role. You can say whatever you want, but this man is a rocking genius. I think, that his musical preferences are on next, because the SPEEDCHASER version of MOTÖRHEAD’s “Ace Of Spades” is next on the list. A wild version, in which the guitar solo drowned a bit, because of the thundering bass sound of William. This was definitely the odd one out here, but obviously, the band likes to play that one. There’s still some time left for one more song and the band decided to pick another YNGWIE MALMSTEEN cover. They chose the instrumental “Trilogy Suite” to close their set of tonight. The public just kept on screaming for one more encore and after a short chat between Harry and William, the verdict came, that RAINBOW’s “Spotlight Kid” would be played a second time. Then it was time to clear the stage and to witness the comeback of ERAZER.
Before I will introduce ERAZER to you, I’d like to go back to 2005, when Walter Siepman organized the much talked about three days festival, called Ragnarock in Goes (Zeeland). Bands such as VIRGIN STEELE, GODDESS OF DESIRE, WITCHFYNDE, DEMON and DEATH SS were on the bill and for what we experienced, things were pretty well arranged. ERAZER was on this bill too and at the time they took the stage, there were about ten (!!) paying visitors. When DEATH SS did their headlining show, there were about forty-five visitors or so or am I too optimistic now? I can’t remember it that well, but I know that we had plenty of space to wander around on the empty festival site, that was built for about 40,000 visitors. I’m not kiddin’, really! This is a true story, that happened almost ten years ago. That was the first and last time, that we saw ERAZER perform live. I loved their gig very much back then and when I heard that the band was back in business after a long absence, I was very curious how they would sound today. Yep, they actually played at this festival, so they can prove that I’m right about this amazing story. The band has some familiar faces, like Walter Dirkx on drums and Angelique de Jager on vocals, who recently joined the band again. When the band jumped on stage, I knew that I had to stay away from the bass player. His axe shaped bass guitar looked very vicious and after the show I was glad he only killed some people with his tight sound. No blood has flooded and I must admit, that the band proved to be hotter than ever. They start their set with “Phoenix” and like a real phoenix, the band also rises from the ashes. Their set is a nice mix of old and new stuff, that matches rather well together. After “Cries In The Night”, “Self Chosen Destiny” and “Nevertell”, I can say that the two guitar players convinced me the most. Some moments, they used twin guitar work, while at other moments they changed their lead parts. One band name, that comes to mind here is definitely IRON MAIDEN, but with a female singer then. “Self Chosen Destiny” is one of the new songs, that we already heard before as raw mix mp3 song, courtesy of drummer Walter. We made the honest remark, that we didn’t really like the grunt vocals of Angelique in that song. We are not too fond of grunting in general, so we probably would have made this remark to every other band as well. In a live situation though, it’s not bothering us at all, but the clear vocal parts of Angelique are still the best. Anyway, after “Well Midnight”, the mighty “Conquistador” and the also amazing “Tomorrow’s Here”, it shows that the band is really enjoying what they are doing and that they are very skilled as well. There is nothing to complain about and ERAZER are just a good live band and we can be proud of them. “Return To Nothing” is another crowd pleaser. Then it’s time for a nice little ballad. “When Love Ends” sounds very emotional and Angelique is at her best here. She has such a good voice. “Fight For It” is one of my personal live songs and when the band closes their set with “In The Desert”, we know that it’s good to have ERAZER back. And this time, they played for more people than on those three days of Ragnarock together. I’m sorry, I could have left out this comment, but you know that reviewers always have something to piss about. I guess, that this remark was just for the fun of it. The incredible guitar work, the sharp bass playing, totally insane drum parts and good singing and good looking front lady leave nothing to complain about. ERAZER rocked my world tonight and warmed me up very well for the headliners, who are already waiting to jump on stage. But stop, not so fast gentlemen, let me come to my senses first! It’s always nice to spend some time with friends during the breaks in between the bands. You always bump into people you don’t see that often and an evening is too short to have a decent talk with everybody. However, these evenings are always so cozy, that the time seems to fly. But it was good to see Rudo, Ben, Henny, Bernard, Inge, Fred, Henry, Marcel, Hans, Jeroen, Kevin, Maurice, Myriam and the guys of JACKAL again.
We already saw JAMESON RAID live at the Heavy Metal Maniacs Festival and we also met singer Terry Dark and bass player Pete Green at the Keep It True festival in 2012. That we also would see them at Meesterlijk Metaal was a very big surprise and we can’t wait to meet up with these nice people again. German band members Kalli Kaldtschmidt on guitar and Andreas ‘Neudi’ Neuderth on drums (ROXXCALIBUR) have left the RAID in the meantime and last year November the band found a suitable replacement in Dave Rothan on guitar and Lars Wickett on drums. When the band opens with “Uninvited Guests”, I know that the winners have entered the arena. The tight rhythm section sounds like they have been playing together for many years and Dave impressed me right from the start, when it’s his turn to pull them strings in the guitar solo of this great opener. And Terry…….. Well, Terry is the ultimate frontman and there’s no doubt about that. His voice is his image. He doesn’t need to jump around or paint his hair green to look cool. In my eyes, he is Mr. Cool. Just a nice man with a helluva voice, who sometimes grabs an air guitar (like me) to pull them invisible strings, while the band plays an instrumental part. What else would you expect? “Nine Reasons” is the new single of the band and it was recorded, when Kalli and Neudi were still part of the band. It catapulted itself to one of the highlights in the set right away and we are only two songs away. It describes the euphoria, that goes on in my mind, to explain the greatness of this band. Their energy has got a natural flow and it’s really amazing to witness the easy way, that they won over the audience. “Titanic” is being played next, almost directly followed by “Breaking Point”. The crowd goes wild and this reflects back to the band members and vice versa. “Metal People” is a real crowd pleaser and the band almost seems to fly over the stage. They run from here to there and it’s a shame, that Lars won’t be able to leave his drum kit, otherwise he definitely would have joined this awesome party. You have to see it to believe it. Pete is being put in the spotlights afterwards and he will let out some sweat during his amazing bass solo, in which he plays a short part of BEETHOVEN’s “Für Elise”. Is there a hidden message in here and did he play this song for the old school Dutch metal band ELISE????? I guess not, but this joke was too nice not to write it down in this review.
That brings me to the fact, that Pete is one of the very few bass players in this scene, who dares to play a real bass solo. There aren’t too many who care to have a go, but Pete is not afraid of anyone and he just gave it a hit. And a damn good one too, because the audience responds very well to it. The man looks like GLENN HUGHES and he sometimes sounds like him as well. In the few years, that he is with the band right now, he became a nice character who knows exactly what the band and the fans expect from him. He’s not the invisible bass player, that most bands have. Instead, he is constantly in the front ranks to make sure that he can be in contact with the crowd in every possible way. He is real show guy, together with his partner in crime Dave. “Red Moon” and “Catcher” are on next and every now and then Terry is saying a few words, sometimes in Dutch, during his introductions. The songs are nicely stretched out and there is a lot of space left for Dave to show his skills. Not that he is a guitar exorcist or something like that, but he’s just a powerful and very energetic guitar player, who likes to fool around with Pete. Laughing, pulling strange faces, jumping, running, nothing is mad enough for these guys. They regularly put on a private party in front of the stage. Terry sometimes joins in, but he doesn’t really care about it and let them have their fun. The set continues with “Truth & Heresy” and when you think that things simply can’t get any better, they raise the roof with the song, everybody has been waiting for: “Seven Days Of Splendor”. Pete has found a personal light show and regular people wouldn’t even dare to think about wearing glasses like that. It’s a reflection of the fact, that the band is having a great time as well. Yep dear readers, it’s a real madhouse! The audience sings along with this classic tune, word for word, which gives me the shivers running down my spine. The stage is also being invaded by a handful of heavy metal maniacs. The seven days have started right here, right now. The show is over after this, but you can imagine that they won’t let us go home without playing an encore. So when the band returns to the stage, the crowd goes crazy. It’s a fun fair from now on and I really ripped up my panties during “Getting Hotter”. The temperature was definitely rising during this hot rocker and the band transcended above all limits. Terry just lets it all happen and gives two hundred percent until the very last second of this gig. He lets the youngsters do the running and joking and like a real pro, he keeps concentrating on his vocal parts. He will party afterwards for sure, but he visually has a great time with the success, that his band has achieved tonight. After that, the gig is over. But tonight there is magic in the air and when Pete shows his face after a minute or two, the audience explodes and shouts for more. And that’s what we get, a well-deserved knock-out punch by this killer outfit, that easily can match with the bigger names in the premier league of the rock scene. The band takes the time to thank the other two bands of tonight and they choose to play “Metal People” as the very last encore of tonight. Another invasion of rockers with air guitars is a fact and the band simply adores all the positive reactions that they get from all their Dutch metal friends. When the last notes have been fading away, the band returns to their dressing room and leave me alone, standing in a corner with an open mouth. Parts of slobber are hanging out, I lost my voice and I think that I’ve just broken my neck, but I’m in rock and roll heaven and nobody can wipe the grin off my face. They won't take away this night from me. What started very well with SPEEDCHASER and ERAZER, ended up in an amazing finale (it’s time for some dry underpants now!) and a thunderous closure. Get this band back to Holland anytime, anyplace, anywhere, if you want to celebrate a real heavy metal party. They deliver the goods and they won’t let you down. Believe me, I’ve seen it with my own two eyes!!
I almost never go to the dressing room of a band after the show, but this time I made an exception. I simply needed to thank the guys for a wonderful evening and compliment them with this awesome show. I really hope to see them again soon. Our thanks go out to Jeroen and Hans for another great night at the Meester in Almere. And of course a big thanks to all the performing bands. ‘Nine Reasons’ to like JAMESON RAID, I could give you about hundred reasons. Get back soon guys, we LOVE you. Not bad for an always complaining reviewer - hum?? \m/ \m/.
*Written by: Toine van Poorten/June 2014
*Photos by: Rita van Poorten/www.metalmaidens.com
Rising Force (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE)
Spotlight Kid (RAINBOW)
Mountain Of The Gods
Children Rule The World
Ace Of Spades (MOTORHEAD cover)
Trilogy Suite (YNGWIE MALMSTEEN'S RISING FORCE)
Spotlight Kid (RAINBOW)
Cries In The Night
Self Chosen Destiny
Return To Nothing
When Love Ends
Fight For It
In The Desert
Setlist JAMESON RAID:
Truth & Heresy
Seven Days Of Splendor