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Messages : 5254
Date d'inscription : 20/05/2012
Localisation : saint céré

MessageSujet: HELLOWEEN, KROKUS, POWERWOLF, BONFIRE & BRAINSTORM - Mama Said Knock...   Ven 21 Déc - 18:11


Six bands, one night, all but the Swiss Blitz natives of
Deutschland! On paper, IN EXTREMO, HELLOWEEN and KROKUS (billing from
the top down) pales in comparison to last year's upper trio of BLIND
and STRATOVARIUS (Hell, the bottom half of the 2011 bill
might have even been stronger than this year), not to mention '09, when
EDGUY, HAMMERFALL and U.D.O. inhabited the top of the ticket. That
said, five thousand fans came to Karlsruhe's indoor sports arena
(Europahalle) on Dec.15th, demonstrating the German tradition of
attendance supercedes the event's actual line-up. As the region's
largest indoor festival, it's proof the Knockout Festival has arrived
and a 2013 edition (December 14, with DORO) has already been assured.

BRAINSTORM opened the evening, squeezing five songs into their
allotted half hour. From the area, plenty of friends and fans arrived by
their 5pm start. On a sparse stage (just a pair of scrims with skull
and band logo) their mobile frontman Andy B. Franck worked the crowd,
not just perched on the monitors down front, but painstakingly trying to
get those who paid a few Euros more, to have a seat ("sitzplaz"),
involved as well. A pounding 'Worlds Are Comin Through' kicked things
off. Lots of reds, pink and yellow lights, such is the plight of the
opening act. 'Shiver' was followed by 'Shiva's Tears', Franck
accentuating the nearly a cappella final note, to the delight of all.
Pity poor Antonio Leva. Already vertically challenged, when the lanky
vocalist (standing atop a stage-front monitor) put his arm around the
bassist's shoulder, it was like a basketball player and one of Santa's
elves! Hey, tis the season! The 'Highs Without Lows' finale saw the
audience take over the vocals, at times without musical accompaniment.
Always good to see/hear these guys live (even this abbreviated stint),
been too long. Now, about a new album?

Funny enough, was my second time seeing BONFIRE in six months, not
that I consider myself much of a fan (sorry Herr Begai). Well, I was
definitely "outnumbered" in Karlsruhe, as the 80s hair rockers (closer
to BON JOVI than MOTLEY CRUE) still have tons of fans at home, all quite
content to sing along to old faves, regradless of what current act was
plastered on their T-shirt, or on back of the denim/leather jacket.
Still with a good mane, singer Claus Lessmann (didn't pick up on it
earlier, but he bears a bit of a resemblance to DECEASED/ OCTOBER 31
drummer/frontman King Fowley), in leather stars & bars vest, led the
crowd through pop-metal callisthenics/ aerobics, while the the
short-haired guitar tandem behind him laid down favorites like the
opening 'Under Blue Skies' and the pairing of 'Hot To Rock' with 'Don't
Touch The Light', both off their '86 debut for RCA. This was not,
however, exclusively an oldies set, many choices were reprised from
Branded, the 2011 live album and different from earlier this year, down
the road at the Bang Your Head festival. As throughout the night, all
the stage banter was in their native tongue. The ballad 'You Make Me
Feel' was played on a pair of acoustic guitars, and for the closing
'Sweet Obsession', everyone but the drummer was center stage, en masse.

Not that many North Americans are familiar with POWERWOLF
(pronounced domestically with two Vs: pow-ver-volf), but they are a
frequent festival act, which has earned them a large following amongst
the young (many of whom dress up). One long-time insider compared their
rise to that of SABATON (via a frenetic live show and relentless
touring), which is high praise. Their secret? An infectious blend of
tongue-in-cheek power metal anthems (everyone saying "Hallelujah" for
'Resurrection By Erection'), with black metal aesthetics. Corpse-painted
and priestly vestments, nothing sells quicker than a catchy tune and
mocking the church, especially overseas! One of the founding brothers,
guitarist Matthew Greywolf has an electrical fan blowing his hair
skyward, as he mugs for the the young ladies at the barricade (some
ashen faced, in pancake make-up and nun's habit, clutching stuffed toy
"wolves"), while mutton-chop sideburns/Fu Manchu sporting frontman
Attila Dorn works off those extra beers by repeatedly criss-crossing the
stage in a shot out of the cannon fit of activity! 'Sanctified With
Dynamite' is not only a fitting opening salvo, but sort of a truth in
advertising calling card for what's to follow: a firestorm of lights,
including strobes in rapid succession, and for 'Saturday Satan', ominous
oranges. When not adding liturgical undercurrents, keyboardist Falk
Maria Schlegel runs to the front of the stage to unfurl flags or exhort
the faithful (faithless?). This year, after four studio efforts, they
released their first live album: Alive In The Night, which might be the
best place to start investigating these relative newcomers.

Well, if the Wolves were the new kids on the block, then KROKUS are
the elder statesmen. So old school in fact, it was Marshall stacks to
the sky and no wirless units, they needed 30+ feet of cable to move
towards the front of the stage. Knowing the audience was thousands of
vintage loving Germans, most of the set came from their pre-MTV
albums! In fact, after beginning the ten selections with a rousing 'Long
Stick Goes Boom'
, only the world premiere of 'Rattlesnake Blues' (from
the forthcoming Dirty Dynamite), and recent tracks 'Hoodoo Woman' and
'Fire', plus a head-scratching, closing cover, would be considered
outside the classic material. Far too many cover tunes throughout their
career, and some would say their 80s success was defined by THE SWEET's
'Ballroom Blitz'
and GRAND FUNK's 'American Woman', amongst others, So
why end tonight with yet another, an audience sung 'The Mighty Quinn'
(BOB DYLAN). Certainly not a major rocker, especially having just
returned to the classic triple guitar line-up: Mandy Meyer joining Chris
Von Rohr-Fernando Von Arb, cohorts in an on and off tandem since '77!
Marc Storace still needs to work on his stage raps ("We're going to take
you back to the Hoodoo album..." OK, How long ago was that? Take us
back to Pay In Metal or Metal Rendezvous. Hoodoo? No way!) Nit-picking?
Maybe, but still great to hear Storace (no longer with untamed mane of
grey hair, instead, pulled backed, beneath a ball cap) screaming in the
night (no not that one in particular) on 'Winning Man' (good portion of
the crowd wasn't even alive when it was originally recorded),
'Heatstrokes' and 'Headhunter'. He lost his leather coat after the first
song. On the more commercial end were the likes of 'Bedside Radio' and
'Easy Rocker', which I'll take over the blatant attempts to cash in that
filled the 80s airwaves. The last four mentioned titles were strung
together, in succession. Killer set apart from that closing thud of a
cover. Ah, what might have been!

The announced running order had a cryptically entitled LADY'S VOICE
listed for just 10 minutes, after Krokus. Once inside the venue, their
merch stall revealed a bunch of women, in white T-shirts, on some sort
of charity drive. Later, many of the same flocked the stage, to sing
alongside VOODOO CIRCLE / PINK CREAM 69 vocalist David Readman. VIPs on
the guestlist were each asked to donate 5 Euros and promoter Bottom Row
matched the total, ultimately giving nearly $4000 (USD) to the cause, in
this case, Children's Cancer Karlsruhe.

I'm always surprised how ineffective European bands are, when it
comes to making money off their merchandise. How many bands come to
North America, especially for one off shows, without any shirts? Now I
don't know what percentage the promoter and/or venue takes overseas, nor
how intertwined merch rights are with record labels, but it would seem
that HELLOWEEN, on the verge of releasing Straight Out Of Hell (the
artwork already announced) could have printed 500 to a thousand
exclusive shirts, emblazoned with something like "Straight Out Of Hell,
Right Into Karlsruhe" or worked the name of the festival in, say
"Knocked Out Of Hell". They did have a pretty pathetic Burning Sun Ep
artwork shirt, but certainly not a one-of-a-kind. Opportunity missed.

The Weenies took the stage to 'Are You Metal?" with Andi Deris in
black, Gene Simmons face T-shirt beneath a matching colored overcoat
(buttons on both sides), only to be out done by the overdressed Michael
Weikath, a cigarette dangling from his lips, yet splendid in a formal
outfit that most people don't even wear to church anymore. Weikath
played the guitar from different angles, balancing himself precariously
at times, but without breaking the lengthening ash on his cig. By
contrast, bassist Markus Grosskopf was the picture of metal musician
personified, wearing a sleeveless, patched leather vest, his tattoos
plainly visible. A speedy 'Eagles Fly Free' gave way to 'Where The
Sinners Go', Weiki switching to a blue, almost day-glo, guitar that upon
further inspection replicated the band's pumpkin
cartoon character. While they opted to debut a pair from the forthcoming
album (OK, 'Burning Sun' is also the title of the pre-release Ep),
neither are amongst the strongest tracks. Bathed in blue/aqua
spotlights, 'Who Is Mr. Madman?' coming on the heels of 'I'm Alive' was
almost an afterthought for the audience and surely not a showcase
position in the running order. They would have been better served (once
again, free promotion) introducing the crowd to the likes of 'Far From
The Stars', 'World Of War' or the title track. Check those out! 'Steel
Tormentor' was an unexpected surprise, Deris, still in his knee length
coat, positioned on the drum riser. Sascha Gerstner 's guitar solo led
into 'Future World', then the proper set closing 'I Want Out'. That's a
great triple-play and you've not heard anything until witnessing a
German crowd clap in unison (after all precision is a national
obsession). With a set of four vertical lights either side of the drums,
Helloween returned for the 'Dr. Stein' encore, which sent many home/to
the bar happy.

IN EXTREMO are definitely a German phenomenon. Like countrymen
(although possessing none of the latter's musical tendencies)
they are really a visual spectacle, tough to explain and something that
makes much more sense live, than on record. Imagine folk influenced
metal, through elongated (nearly five foot) Middle Ages horns, played by
gents with odd haircuts and period style tunics, as they sing in any of
multiple pre-Teutonic languages. Oh yeah, and there's plenty of pyro!
Somehow it works, infectious as hell, albeit only for short periods of
time to these Anglo ears. Funny enough, Metal Blade released a few of
their albums domestically!
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Messages : 5254
Date d'inscription : 20/05/2012
Localisation : saint céré

MessageSujet: Re: HELLOWEEN, KROKUS, POWERWOLF, BONFIRE & BRAINSTORM - Mama Said Knock...   Ven 21 Déc - 18:13

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Messages : 5254
Date d'inscription : 20/05/2012
Localisation : saint céré

MessageSujet: Re: HELLOWEEN, KROKUS, POWERWOLF, BONFIRE & BRAINSTORM - Mama Said Knock...   Ven 21 Déc - 18:13

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