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Concerts I've seen


4/5 Liquid Sky The Unicorn, Camden
2/5 Schist 13th December 2008
2.5/5 Avenge Thee
1/5 Greg(o)rian
???/5 Serotonal
???/5 Dragnerve

Review to follow.


4/5 Apocalyptica The Astoria
2/5 Swallow The Sun 12th December 2008
Apocalyptica ticket

Review to follow.


Finnish Fire Islington Academy
3.5/5 Korpiklaani 4th December 2008
3.5/5 Battlelore
3.5/5 Kivimetsän Druidi
???/5 Falchion
Korpiklaani advert Korpiklaani ticket

Review to follow.


4.5/5 Sabaton The Purple Turtle
4/5 Grail Knights 5th November 2008
3/5 Intense
Sabaton advert Sabaton ticket

Review to follow.


4/5 Metalloid The Horn
3/5 Neonfly 4th November 2008
2/5 Munition
1/5 Theoretical Downfall
Metalloid advert

Review to follow.


4/5 Liquid Sky The Peel
3.5/5 Into The Woods 25th October 2008
???/5 Daddy's Little Secret
Liquid Sky advert Into The Woods photo Into The Woods photo Into The Woods photo Liquid Sky photo Liquid Sky photo Photos

Review to follow.


4/5 Scorpions Hammersmith Apollo
3.5/5 Uli John Roth 19th October 2008
Scorpions ticket

Review to follow.


2.5/5 Metalworks The Monarch
3.5/5 Metalloid 12th October 2008
Metalworks advert Metalloid photo Metalloid photo Photos

Review to follow.


3/5 The Angry Pirates Steeple Aston
11th October 2008
The Angry Pirates photo Photos

Review to follow.


3.5/5 Raven The Underworld
2/5 Lost In Vegas 8th October 2008
3.5/5 The More I See
Raven ticket The More I See photo The More I See photo Lost In Vegas photo Lost In Vegas photo Raven photo Raven photo Photos

Review to follow.


4/5 Heaven's Basement The Metro
3.5/5 Wired Desire 30th September 2008
3.5/5 Tequila Rockin' Bird
Heaven's Basement advert Heaven's Basement ticket Tequila Rockin' Bird photo Wired Desire photo Heaven's Basement photo Photos

Review to follow.


???/5 Amberian Dawn The Underworld
3/5 Pythia 26th September 2008
4/5 Hanging Doll
Amberian Dawn advert Amberian Dawn ticket Hanging Doll photo Hanging Doll photo Pythia photo Pythia photo Photos

Review to follow.


3.5/5 Firewind The Scala
4/5 Kiuas 25th September 2008
2.5/5 Dear Superstar
Firewind ticket

Review to follow.


4/5 Turisas Barfly
2.5/5 Raven's Creed 20th August 2008
2.5/5 Witchsorrow
Turisas ticket

Review to follow.


Bloodstock Open Air Catton Hall
3/5 Nightwish 17th August 2008
4/5 Liquid Sky
2/5 At The Gates
3/5 Adam Bomb
3/5 Tesseract
3.5/5 Overkill
??/5 Silent Descent
1.5/5 Breedapart
2.5/5 As I Lay Dying
3/5 Musta Talvi
1.5/5 Ted Maul
1.5/5 Heaven's Gate
3/5 Kataklysm
3/5 Esoterica
2.5/5 Raven's Creed
??/5 Necrosadistic Goat Torture
3.5/5 Celtic Legacy
3/5 Mob Rules
3.5/5 Grand Magus
2.5/5 Ravenage
3/5 Alestorm
3/5 Serotonal
2/5 De Profundis
4/5 Crowning Glory
??/5 Blasphemous Creation
4.5/5 Heaven's Basement
2.5/5 Cursed As Angels
Bloodstock ticket Cursed As Angels photo Heaven's Basement photo Crowning Glory photo De Profundis photo Serotonal photo Alestorm photo Ravenage photo Grand Magus photo Mob Rules photo Celtic Legacy photo Raven's Creed photo Esoterica photo Kataklysm photo Heaven's Gate photo Ted Maul photo Musta Talvi photo As I Lay Dying photo Breedapart photo Overkill photo Tesseract photo Adam Bomb photo At The Gates photo Liquid Sky photo Nightwish photo Photos

Review to follow.


Bloodstock Open Air Catton Hall
4/5 Dimmu Borgir 16th August 2008
4/5 Iced Earth
2.5/5 Warpath
1/5 The Berzerker
3.5/5 Sondura
1.5/5 RSJ
4/5 Soilwork
4/5 Fury UK
4/5 Metalloid
1/5 Napalm Death
3/5 Concept Of Time
2.5/5 Seven Years Dead
4/5 Hellfighter
4/5 Moonsorrow
4/5 Pro-jekt
3/5 Keltic Jihad
??/5 The Defiled
3.5/5 Nine Days Down
4/5 Communic
??/5 Blood Island Raiders
3/5 Swallow The Sun
2.5/5 The Dirty Youth
4/5 Mantra
4/5 Eluveitie
3/5 Empyreal Destroyer
2/5 Rise To Remain
1/5 Witchsorrow
3.5/5 Cloudscape
2/5 Denounce
??/5 Evil Scarecrow
Bloodstock ticket Denounce photo Cloudscape photo Witchsorrow photo Rise To Remain photo Empyreal Destroyer photo Eluveitie photo Mantra photo The Dirty Youth photo Swallow The Sun photo Communic photo Nine Days Down photo Keltic Jihad photo Pro-jekt photo Moonsorrow photo Hellfighter photo Seven Years Dead photo Concept Of Time photo Napalm Death photo Metalloid photo Fury UK photo Soilwork photo RSJ photo Sondura photo The Berzerker photo Warpath photo Iced Earth photo Dimmu Borgir photo Photos

Review to follow.


Bloodstock Open Air Catton Hall
1.5/5 Opeth 15th August 2008
2.5/5 The Inbreds
??/5 Invasion
4/5 Helloween
2.5/5 Outcryfire
1.5/5 From The Ashes
1.5/5 Soulfly
3.5/5 Sorcerer's Spell
??/5 The Dead Lay Waiting
3.5/5 Primal Fear
2/5 Anger Management
4/5 Destruction
2.5/5 Firebrand Super Rock
2.5/5 Son Of Science
0.5/5 Akercocke
2/5 Obsessive Compulsive
3.5/5 Týr
4/5 Hospital Of Death
2/5 Broken Faith
2.5/5 Praying Mantis
2.5/5 A470
4/5 Evile
2.5/5 Deadfilmstar
??/5 Saint Deamon
Bloodstock ticket Deadfilmstar photo Evile photo A470 photo Praying Mantis photo Broken Faith photo Hospital Of Death photo Týr photo Obsessive Compulsive photo Akercocke photo Son Of Science photo Firebrand Super Rock photo Destruction photo Anger Management photo Primal Fear photo Sorcerer's Spell photo Soulfly photo From the ashes photo Outcry Fire photo Helloween photo The Inbreds photo Opeth photo Photos

Review to follow.


3/5 Yngwie J. Malmsteen Shepherds Bush Empire
11th July 2008

No support for this one, just Yngwie. I'd pretty much given up on seeing him live again, as I'd felt the quality of his live shows hadn't been what it once was. But the presence of former Judas Priest and Iced Earth vocalist Ripper Owens persuaded me it might be worth giving him another shot. Sadly, I think I should have stuck to my guns. The sound was horribly muddy, and the whole thing just seemed to be going through the motions, rather than doing it with any real passion. "Gates of Babylon", "Rising force", "You don't remember" and "Dreaming" were all OK. But ultimately, the evening wasn't a success for me. At the end of the show, Yngwie brought out Jim Marshall on stage.


3.5/5 Iron Maiden Twickenham Stadium
3/5 Avenged Sevenfold 5th July 2008
3/5 Within Temptation
???/5 Lauren Harris
Iron Maiden advert Iron Maiden ticket

This was my first show at Twickenham, and given the dearth of public transport options, I'd decided to go in on the bike. That turned out to be a great move, as I could ride right up to the stadium, and park in the bike park nestling in its shadow. I'd been let down twice for this show, and so had a spare ticket to try and sell. But sadly, none of the touts were remotely interested in buying anything other than standing tickets. I had seating tickets, and from the seating plan, it looked like I'd be in a reasonable position. Sadly not. The stage was much further forward than it was on the plan, and so I was nearly sideways on to the stage, and couldn't see any of the backdrops. A flying speaker rig was hanging in front of the video screen, too, so I was going to have a very limited view for this show.

I'd arrived too late to see Lauren Harris. Within Temptation suffered from poor sound, something that would hamper all three bands that I saw. I know stadium shows are never great on that front, but even by those standards, it wasn't great. "Mother earth" and "Ice queen" were both pretty good, but overall, they've been much better in the past. Next up were Avenged Sevenfold. Close but no cigar. They had the twin guitars, but didn't seem to make use of them. There was none of the guitar harmonies that the thousands of Maiden fans present would have lapped up, and the band just came across as being bland and average. On to Maiden, then. Despite some great studio albums, I've never found them to be a particularly good live band, and after the horrors of their last Earls Court show, their set lists are just too variable to be worth taking a chance on. However, this time they were playing a selection of songs from the '80s, which sounded like a winner to me. But the combination of the limited view and the poor sound meant that it really wasn't doing much for me. Sure, there were highlights like "Rime of the ancient mariner" (which apparently had an impressive backdrop, but I couldn't see it from my seat), "Fear of the dark" (the only post-'80s track they played) and "Moonchild". But mostly a disappointing show. I suspect this was my last Maiden show.


4/5 Queensrÿche IndigO2
22nd June 2008
Queensrÿche advert Queensr├┐che advert Queensrÿche ticket

No support for this one. Just Queensrÿche bringing their full stage show over to the UK, and performing "Operation:Mindcrime" 1 and 2. We were sold that before their last show, but they only played selected tracks from the albums then. This time, they did indeed play both albums in their entirety. So what is there to say? Mindcrime is one of the greatest albums of all time. They could do little wrong on that score. Geoff Tate was this time playing the parts of both Nicky and Dr. X at various points throughout the set. Mike Stone was wearing a black face mask of the type worn by protesters at public events. The highlights for me were "Speak" and "The needle lies", but that's not to say it was perfect. I felt that "Anarchy-X" was a bit lacking in intensity, and the change from soft to aggressive in "My empty room" was botched and lost much of the impact that is has on the album. But those are naturally minor gripes.

So on to the second album. They are always going to struggle when doing a show like this. The second album simply doesn't stand up to the quality of the first, and the crowd was noticably more subdued for it. There were certainly some well performed songs like "I'm American". But overall, the second half of the set was always going to be disappointing when compared to the first, and so proved here. The encore, on the other hand, unexpectedly turned out to be my highlight of the evening, seeing "Best I can", "Jet city woman" and "Empire", all of which were outstanding.


3/5 Celtic Pride Santa Pod Raceway
2.5/5 Angry Pirates 15th June 2008

Review to follow.


3.5/5 Dream Evil The Underworld
3.5/5 Conquest Of Steel 29th May 2008
Dream Evil advert Dream Evil ticket

Review to follow.


4.5/5 Dio The Astoria
2.5/5 Girlschool 28th May 2008
Dio advert Dio ticket

Review to follow.


4.5/5 Blaze Bailey The Underworld
4/5 Voodoo Six 16th May 2008
Blaze Bailey ticket

Review to follow.


4/5 Blitzkrieg The Underworld
3.5/5 Intense 30th April 2008
1.5/5 Zenithal
Blitzkrieg ticket

Review to follow.


4.5/5 Rage The Underworld
3/5 Edenbridge 27th April 2008
???/5 Freakozaks
Rage ticket Rage ticket

Review to follow.


4/5 Sonata Arctica Islington Academy
2.5/5 Pagan's Mind 21st April 2008
Sonata Arctica advert Sonata Arctica advert Sonata Arctica ticket

Review to follow.


3.5/5 Emilie Autumn Islington Academy
2/5 Sieben 19th April 2008
???/5 Helalyn Flowers
Emilie Autumn advert Emilie Autumn advert Emilie Autumn ticket

Review to follow.


3/5 Ace Frehley The Astoria
3.5/5 Tigertailz 11th April 2008
Ace Frehley ticket

Review to follow.


2.5/5 Octavia Sperati Barfly
2.5/5 Danny Cavanagh 9th April 2008
4/5 Liquid Sky
3.5/5 Adastreia
Octavia Sperati ticket

Review to follow.


Paganfest Koko
4/5 Ensiferum 6th April 2008
4/5 Korpiklaani
3.5/5 Moonsorrow
4/5 Eluveitie
4/5 Týr
Paganfest advert Paganfest advert Paganfest ticket

Review to follow.


3.5/5 Kamelot Islington Academy
4/5 Firewind 4th April 2008
???/5 Forever Slave
Kamelot advert Kamelot advert Kamelot ticket

Review to follow.


3.5/5 Nightwish The Astoria
4.5/5 Pain 25th March 2008
Nightwish advert Nightwish advert Nightwish ticket

Pain were something of a surprise. I'd heard a few tracks, and thought they were pretty reasonable. But I was completely unprepared for just how good they'd be live. Opening up with a solid slab of industrial metal in the form of "Same old song", they followed that up with an outstandingly heavy cover of "Eleanor Rigby", For some reason, the crowd seemed somewhat indifferent, but to my ears, they sounded great, and I'll definitely try and see them again the next time they play in these parts.

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from Nightwish. While I hadn't got the new album yet, I'd heard a few tracks from it, and I wasn't 100% convinced that Anette was going to be a suitable replacement for Tarja. In truth, though, she did a pretty reasonable job with the older material. The problem for me was there there wasn't enough of it. The set list was heavily biased towards the "Dark passion play" material, and perhaps in part simply because I'm not familiar with it, it just didn't work for me. Anette was interacting well with the crowd, and looked more comfortable with the rest of the band than Tarja ever did, but the magic was gone. There were certainly highlights, such as opener "Bye bye beautiful", and encore performances of "Wishmaster" and "Wish I had an angel". "Wishmaster" in particular saw the front row holding up the "Hamster", "A dentist" and so on misheard lyrics cards, which amused the band. But it wasn't enough, and sadly, I think this was the worst Nightwish performance I've seen.


4/5 Helloween Shepherds Bush Empire
3.5/5 Gamma Ray 8th January 2008
3/5 Axxis
Helloween advert Helloween ticket Axxis photo Axxis photo Axxis photo Gamma Ray photo Gamma Ray photo Gamma Ray photo Helloween photo Helloween photo Helloween photo Helloween photo Gamma Ray / Helloween photo Photos

Axxis were pretty decent the last time I'd seen them, so I was hopeful for more of the same. Once again, they put on a decent show, but perhaps not quite as strong as before. This time, they had Ana Mladinovici from Magica adding some female vocals, which seemed to work well. Lead singer Bernhard Weiß had plenty of... unconventional movement on stage. Dave Ling described it as "embarassing dad dancing", which is pretty apt. A reasonable set, but nothing outstanding.

Gamma Ray had put on some stunning shows in the past, so I was hoping for good things. Sadly, this wasn't to be one of them. I had no complaints about the setlist, but from my position at the front, I simply couldn't hear Kai's vocals, and the whole sound overall was muddy. That's not to say there weren't highlights -- "New world order" and "Valley of the kings" were both good, and the inclusion of "Ride the sky" before the obligatory "Somewhere out in space" was a nice touch. But they've definitely been better in the past.

As for Helloween? They've been living on past glories for a while now, but with each album and each live tour, they've done just enough to stay relevant in my eyes. Although I hadn't heard it before the show, I'd heard from others that their new album was much stronger, and the tracks they played tonight seemed to bear that out. The stage was dressed as a near identical copy of the cover of that album. Unsurprisingly, the Kiske-era material went down best with the crowd, but "If I could fly" and "King for 1000 years" were both good. There was also a bizarre section where Dani's drum solo was interrupted by Deris, Gerstner and Grosskopf dressed as dwarves in a Punch and Judy style booth. They said he was all well and good, but he couldn't play music. He proceeded to prove them wrong by playing "Smoke on the water" on his drums, which triggered the three of them to do the same, with Deris singing though a squeaky voice effects box, until Weike returned to the stage with a toy machine gun, and shot them, allowing the drum solo to continue. Strange. That said, despite some high points, this was not an outstanding show by any means.

So with all three bands performing at levels below what I know they're capable of, it wasn't looking like a great evening. But the ending was to change all that. The first encore saw a medley consisting of "I can", "Where the rain grows", "Perfect gentleman", "Power" and "Keeper of the seven keys". I'm not generally a huge fan of medleys, but in this case, each part of it was head and shoulders above what had been played in the main set. And then came the second encore, which saw Kai Hanson and the rest of Gamma Ray return to the stage to play "Future world" and "I want out" alongside Helloween, which was simply stunning. Ultimately, then, a great end to a less than fulfilling evening.


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