Thou Shalt Not Fall - MadHouse - Friday 30th May 2008

Thanks to all the members of the band for the invitation to attend this gig, appreciate it.

Lengthy set was promised before they took the stage and so it proved clocking in at 1 hour 35 mins. Could you have a chat with Alter Bridge and The Sword please (amongst others) about playing for a reasonable time? Ambitious to have a crack at a set this long and fair play to you.

Considering they played 18 tracks plus an encore, I'm not going to do a song by song analysis, but pick out highlights. With the exception of a couple of superb solos I have to say the first half a dozen songs, whilst being well played, got very samey culminating in the truly dreadful Beast In Me which either needs beefing up or preferably scrapping immediately. Go Down Fighting saw the lead vocalist leave the stage and the rhythm guitarist taking on the vocal duties, so they played as a three piece plus vocalist. Oddly enough this worked well and the sound was still full. One Last Time has a Pink Floyd feel and builds progressively, it also incorporates the best solo unleashed so far. I Don't Need You Anymore is a faster and crunchier song which surprise,surprise worked well for me. The self-titled Thou Shall Not Fall is a cracker, love the opening riff which sets the song up nicely. Pyromania (thankfully not the Def Leppard version!) also worked for me (what a shock! It's also faster and crunchier...). The encore It's My World has a great opening and I was trying very hard not to apply extreme metal vocals from my vantage point propping up the bar! The set got better as it went on and ended strongly.

And so to the band. Gareth is the standout. Very clean guitar style and one of the best shredders I've seen so far this year. Some truly explosive soloing. Jamie plays rhythm guitar for most of the set and supplies the occasional solo. Wasn't too convinced with his backing vocals, although he sounded ok when taking on the lead vocal duties. Solid enough performance. The rhythm section of Jon on bass and Ian on drums were tight all night, although I would like to see Ian with a kicker or second bass shell to add extra oomph to the faster songs. Musically sound and well-timed throughout. Vickie didn't have the best of nights with her lead vocals; it transpires she'd been trying to shift a heavy cold all week, so I'll reserve judgement until I see you again when you are feeling 100%.

Overall impressions? Have to say from the word go that approximately two thirds of the set was a little too subdued for me, but then again I am going through a hardcore and death metal phase at the moment! I've seen a lot of very extreme bands lately playing at a ferocious tempo and intensity, so it's difficult for me to be too objective about this performance. Musically sound just not vicious enough for my ear. There are some great songs in your repertoire and your set was reasonably varied, overall it lacked a certain punchiness. Have to admire you for playing a set that long in the sauna-heat environment though!

Thanks once more for putting on a lengthy and entertaining show. Look forward to seeing you in the not too distant future!

For the sake of completeness the full setlist was... "Amber Alert", "Aggression Obsession", "Love Lost Tragedy", "Fly By Night" (not a Rush cover!), "Set Me Free", "Beast In Me", "What Are You Waiting For?", "Hide & Seek", "Won't Take Me Alive", "Go Down Fighting", "One Last Time", "Storm Trooper", "I Don't Need You Anymore", "Hold On", "Necromancer", "Take Me Higher", "Thou Shalt Not Fall", "Pyromania" and the encore "It's My World".



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