// The Rock Service Gig Reviews
Recent Gigs We've Attended
As Night Falls @ Drink Bar Ole, Katowice - PL, 12th May 2018
"The band's first gig since the UK shows. I wasn't expecting an al-fresco show, but that's what I got !!! A lovely Spring evening in Katowice was the backdrop to a rather unusual show from ANF. I never imagined I'd see them play outside !
The band delivered their usual mixture of powerful riffs and haunting piano tunes, which was made all the more exciting due to the rather unusual setting. The sun had set before they started the show but the impending twilight made the evening all the more special (some shots of something strong also helped - thanks to some of the locals for that, who made me feel especially welcome).
The band played a very similar set to London and Leicester, but without 'han solo' :).
What was particularly impressive was the level of support the band have in their home-town. For a Saturday evening in a relatively rural beer garden, it was a great turn-out from the fans. The band played for around 45 minutes, had a short break, and then came back for another 45 minutes and a short encore - busy show !!!
Thoroughly enjoyable (as was the vodka and Polish food at the after-show, courtesy of Slawek) :) :)
'Atmospheric' version of Final Destination :)
18th May 2018
Leaves' Eyes + Mayan @ The Dome, London, 28th April 2018
"Leaves' Eyes always put on a great show and tonight was no exception. This is certainly a band that get better with time and although this is only the 2nd time we've seen them live, there was a noticeable enhancement in their overall performance compared to last time. Elina is clearly a busy lady, touring the World with Leaves' eyes and also keeping Angel Nation going - you wouldn't think so though, as tonight her performance was pretty much perfection vocally.
We've not been to The Dome before (although it is the upstairs area to the Boston Music Room and owned by the same people apparently). The venue was actually very good and the sound was also pretty good too.
The surprise of the night was Mayan, the main support. We've not seen them before or heard much of their material online and so we were pleasantly surprised. When I heard they had members of Epica and the ex-singer of Stream of Passion, it sounded like a proper symphonic supergroup. When I also heard that they had no less than 5 people doing vocals, not always at the same time we should add, PJ was intrigued to say the least. How to describe them ? Take death metal, speed metal, hardcore, symphonic and throw in a few keyboard and synth riffs, combined with 2 male singers, 2 female singers and another male singer who came and went, and you've got something unique - and unique it was. Check out this example of their work !!!!
In many ways totally bonkers but in other ways totally brilliant !!! A band we definitely want to see again, soon !!!!
PJ @ The Rock Service
28th April 2018"
Angelwings @ Rock on the Rock club, Gibraltar, 6th April 2018
"Quite a last minute decision to come down to Gib for this one. It's been 20+ years since PJ was first here (for work) and it's fair to say it's changed significantly. Certainly one thing that is new is the fact that Rock clubs feature 'symphonic metal' and various sub-genres !!!!
Angelwings are a relatively new band to come to the attention of TRS and we couldn't miss the opportunity to come and see them on their home soil, playing their new (and first) album in its entirety.
The Rock on the Rock club is a rather small venue located in the centre of town and is quite 'basic' in terms of its facilities and opening hours (just one or two evenings a week from what we can work out). There were around 40 locals in the venue + myself, which made it feel quite full.
There was only a single band on the bill, Angelwings, and they took to the stage just after mid-night CET. Not knowing their material too well, they completely threw me off track by not playing the album tracks in order !!! However, during the 90 minutes or so they were on stage, they did get through all 9 tracks + had time for a short 'technical' break and 2 other songs, one of which has become our favourite 'Embracing Fantasy'. Other highlights for us @ TRS are 'Legend and the Myth' and 'Wonderland'.
In a very similar manner to As Night Falls, Angelwings' music is extremely listenable and easy on the ear and within 2-3 listens of the full album, all their material sounds and feels very familiar to PJ.
A very enjoyable evening / early morning !!!
Angelwings take their music to Germany in April/May as part of a small festival and so be sure to check them out if you get the chance.
PJ hopes they'll arrive on UK shores sometime soon (hopefully before Brexit, as it will be significantly more difficult for them afterwards no doubt).
Check out our YT channel for 5 videos from their set, including this one -
PJ @ The Rock Service
7th April 2018
As Night Falls + Serpentyne @ The Musician, Leicester - 4th March 2018
"Putting on an unknown foreign band in Leicester, on a Sunday night, was always going to be risky. The weather also had one last twist in the form of torrential rain and flooding, but the show went ahead.
During the evening, we received many positive comments such as 'these guys are so damn tight', 'these guys have something special', 'these guys are ready for the big time'. Lets hope these positive comments grow into something tangible.
Doors opened at 20.00 and both bands had successfully sound-checked in-time. Massive thanks to Malcolm who surely has to be one of the best Sound Engineers there is. Both bands were very impressed with their on-stage sound and front of house sounded pretty tasty too.
Advance ticket sales had been slow, which was predictable. What was interesting was the fact that the first 3 people to be queuing outside at 20.00 didn't have tickets and were happy to pay on the door. This pattern repeated for about 1 hour and although the final crowd wasn't huge, and really didn't do justice to the 2 excellent bands on the bill, it was encouraging that so many people had decided on the day to come along. Also thanks to the few Polish supporters who came along - you were noticed :).
Thanks also to the people who bought CDs of both bands - they were really appreciative.
Serpentyne delivered another flawless performance and just like London, clearly won several new fans this evening. As a result of the fact that the sound was just so damn good, the band were visibly enjoying their time on-stage, and this transferred to the crowd, who likewise seemed to be really appreciating what they were hearing and seeing. We decided to reduce their set to 45 minutes for the Leicester show as they are headlining Darker Days at the same venue at the end of March, and so it was decided to just give Leicester a teaser for what they can expect later this month :).
22.00 approached and with glasses refilled, the crowd were getting restless, and were ready for more entertainment. As Night Falls took to the stage during their traditional backing track and unlike London, and in fact every other show PJ has seen them play, Ania appeared from the rear of stage and started the opening vocals to Eternal Dance. What was obvious right from the start was the fact that technically, this was going to be the best show we've seen them do, and we weren't wrong. The front of house sound was impeccable and this gave the band the confidence to really push everything to the max and give it their all !!!
With an electric fan positioned between two of the on-stage monitor speakers, Pawel's and Ania's hair was blowing around in a photoshoot-esque manner, which did look rather good on video :)
As Night Falls delivered a flawless set and Slawek even put a new twist on his drum solo with a rendition of the opening bars of War Pigs :). By this point in the set, the crowd had moved forwards and were dancing towards front of stage, which was really nice to see. If only the size of the crowd could have been multiplied by 10 or 100 or some figure that would do justice to the brilliance of the band - the promoter takes full responsibility for this - live and learn. Despite this, the people who were there appeared to really enjoy themselves, and calls for 'more, more' were evident as the band finished 'Stronger'. The band then did their cover of Lana Del Rey's 'Summertime Sadness', which was a smart move because everyone who was in the crowd clearly knew this song, and really got into it.
Sadly, it was approaching 23.30, and it was time to end the set. The band took their bows and people started to prepare to go home. Before that, we received so many positive comments about both bands, which was nice to hear.
With that completed, the mini-tour was done, it was over. All that remained was after-show drinks and celebrations and then the long drive to the airport the next day.
Despite the promoter's comment above regarding the size of the crowd, this was the only negative. The people who were there really enjoyed themselves. Both bands made new friends and new fans. Both bands really enjoyed the evening, more so than London in some respects. The sound was impeccable and luckily, The Rockservice has evidence of this :). Both bands sold many tickets on the door and also sold some merch. We recorded both bands from 5 angles in 4K UHD, and new 'live' videos will be posted on YouTube shortly.
All in all, the 'tour' was a success, despite many challenges, and despite many people saying we were crazy to even try. Hopefully, we'll be able to do it all again one day, on a larger scale, with crowd sizes and venue sizes that really do justice to the brilliance of both of these bands."
PJ @ The Rock Service
11th March 2018
As Night Falls + Serpentyne @ Venue 229, London - 1st March 2018
"A week before the first date of the As Night Fall's mini UK tour, the media were already talking about 'the worst weather for 10 years', the Country is going to shut down, roads will be closed, trains wont run, people will stay indoors. As the 1st March approached, although we were resolute in our belief that the shows would go ahead, the predictions of chaos were becoming more prevalant, and harder to ignore.
The first challenge was actually getting the band to London !! With that completed, and everyone installed at the hotel base in West London, things were looking up. Thursday 1st March arrived really quickly, and with it came the weather. The gig would go ahead, but from 9am in the morning, the cancellations were coming in, and at least 20 people on the guest list bailed on us (totally understandably). At one point, it looked as if there would be a room with lots of photographers and people involved in the show, and not many others. As it turned out, we were totally wrong :)
We arrived at the venue on time, on schedule. Load-in was completed quickly and the bands began the setup process. Sound-checks were completed and at 7pm on the dot, the doors were opened. With cancellations still coming in, although we were all there, the scene was set, the bar was open, there was a real risk that nobody was going to show up.
By 8pm, show-time, we had a good 40-50 strong audience; some were expected, but many just turned up on the day to see what was on (and they stayed until curfew). All of us at The Rock Service were relieved at this point, and the fun could begin.
Serpentyne took to the stage in their trademark majestic style, kilts and real bagpipes in tow !!! From the first note of the opening song, the audience were involved. After the 2nd song, one of the audience members who had purchased a ticket in advance commented 'this is the best £6 I've ever spent', and we were only 2 songs into the support band !!! The positive comments continued to flow and despite some minor technical issues on-stage, Serpentyne delivered a brilliant performance, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. Even people who we suspected might not be 'into' their style of music actually really enjoyed it. Serpentyne gained many new fans today. Thank You guys !!!!
Now it was time for As Night Falls to take to the stage. Their trademark entrance is rather different to Serpentyne's :), but equally as dramatic and effective. With the band on stage, the backing track coming to an end, Pawel S, Pawel D, Slawek and Siwy played the opening notes of 'Eternal Dance', and the show was on !!! In her trademark style, Ania appeared from the back of the room and joined her bandmates on stage singing the opening song as she travelled. As Night Fall's show was not without its own technical hitches, but nobody cared, everyone was enjoying the show so much, and the band had already connected with the audience. The band played many tracks from their latest LP 'Embrace the Journey', together with a smattering of songs from 'From Grace To Oblivion' and also included one new song 'Burn'. In traditional fashion, the band finished their set with 'Stronger', which is quite appropriate considering the challenges we faced just getting the show to go-ahead. The band took the applause of the audience, took their bows, and that was it, the show was done.
With curfew time approaching, the evening was coming to an end. The photos had been taken, some merch had been sold, and new friendships had been forged. People began to make their journeys home, and we sincerely hope everyone arrived home safely.
We cannot end this review without making a mention of a certain Birthday 'Boy' :). Ania and the band serenaded the lucky chap with a rendition of Happy Birthday (which they learnt to play while backstage before the show). Happy Birthday young sir !!!!
The tour now rolls on to Leicester tomorrow night (4th March) @ The Musician. Tickets are still available and we'd love to see as many people there as possible. The weather remains challenging but it looks as if there is light at the end of the tunnel (literally light :)).
We'll be doing an interview with the band backstage before the show and this will be posted on our YouTube channel and on The Rock Service web-site.
PJ @ The Rock Service
3rd March 2018
Lacuna Coil @ The Forum, London - 19th January 2018
"It's 20 years since Lacuna Coil first made their debut, and what a show they put on at the Forum. It was billed as a 'unique extravaganza', and whilst that may have been a slight exaggeration, it was certainly a brilliant show, and a real 'performance'. Aside from playing for over 2 hours, including all of their 'hits', the show was littered with numerous on-stage guests and visual acts, which all combined to make it a truly special and enjoyable evening. A good night was had by all. The gig was recorded for a special live DVD/Blu-Ray, which will supposedly be released sometime soon. Well worth a look.
Here's a couple of tracks recorded by us:-
PJ @ The Rock Service
21st January 2018