// The Rock Service Gig Reviews
Recent Gigs We've Attended
Reviews of Raging Speedhorn and As Night Falls @ Wroclaw coming soon (when we have time !).......
Check out this video from As Night Falls -
Serpentyne @ Robin 2, 2nd Sepember 2018
"We really have run out of superlatives to describe Serpentyne !!! Every show is a 'performance' and they always give 100%. This show was rather different though as it was the first time we've seen them do a full 1 hour + set. It was certainly an opportunity to discover some of their slightly older material, which in many respects is very different to what we've come to love about them, but none the less exciting and enjoyable to witness.
One point of note was that Mark was back on the Hurdy Gurdy and there was no sign of the violinist who we saw several times in London during the Metal 2 The Masses finals. In many respects it was great to see Mark make a return but at the same time, the lady on the violin definitely did bring something positive to their sound.
The band are off on a European tour with Tarja (yes, I know....!!!!) later in October. We wish them all the best.
There was talk of them meeting up with As Night Falls in Poland towards the end of the month and joining them on stage once again but alas it looks like that isn't going to come off - until next time"
PJ, 1st October 2018
Serenity @ The Underworld, London, 5th September 2018
"This review was supposed to be about Serenity, but we're not even going to review their show. There was nothing bad or wrong with it, but it just wasn't what we were expecting.
Temperance stole the show !!!! Wow, what a band. The combination of male and female vocals, with harmonies from the rest of the band, really worked well. This is one of those bands who have a bit of everything in their sound - something for everyone. Check out some of our live videos on the 'Video' page or just go to our Youtube page directly.
All three of us attending were blown away by this band and we cannot wait to see them again.
On our 'news' page we got very excited and posted a link to one of their tracks 'We are Free' - this is most certainly a blinding example of how good they are. The whole album is awesome though (it's called 'Of Jupiter and Moons', which we like too). The full album is available for download on our 'audio' page for a limited time (probably means forever).
And here's a link to one of the band's own videos - PJ also likes this track a lot.
All in all, a thoroughly brilliant band, and we cannot wait to see them again. It seems there might not be long to wait as they are back in London before the end of 2018, at least that's what the guitarist told me after the show!"
PJ, 1st October 2018
Al Stewart @ Nell's Jazz & Blues club, London, UK - 9th August 2018
"Al Stewart is one of those legendary British folk rock musicians that you either know, or you don't know, there seems to be no middle ground. Some people would say he's obscure and underrated, others would say he's just under-stated, although that doesn't seem like a fair description based on his live performances. We've seem him play before at a very similar venue to Nell's in West Kensington and the atmosphere was very familiar.
Firstly, about the venue. Cute little place but they really need to allow more standing areas versus seating. Yes, we'd all like to sit down and enjoy a laid back performance from Al in the comfort of a chair, but when you sell premium tickets to sit on what looked like really uncomfy chairs, questions were being asked. We would have course have taken a seat if there had been enough for everyone, but the people with standing only tickets were forced to cram into a small area either side of the stage and although the kind of audience at an Al Stewart gig are unlikely to start fist fighting because of people standing in their way, it could actually have happened :). Anyway, minor point. The sound was good and the atmosphere was good too.
The show started with a number of songs from Al's touring partner and Guitar supremo Dave Nachmanoff. He wasn't so well known to the audience (we didn't know him either) before Al joined him on stage. Wearing his usual business-looking attire, he got straight down to it. Al is a very engaging performer, not so different to Steve Harley in some respects. Both are good story tellers and both have written countless songs during their careers that are story/tale based - we like that of course.
Just before the interval Al played one of his most well-known songs, Time Passages. This album was one of the ones produced by the equally venerable Alan Parsons and the songs from that period of Al's career do have a distinctive sound. You can check out a video of this song on our YouTube page.
After the interval it was 'hits all the way' culminating in a very good rendition of Year of the Cat.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening.
Al moves onto the festival stage now and will be featuring at the Cropredy folk festival the weekend of the 10-12th August.
PJ, 10th August 2018
Iron Maiden @ The Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK - 7th August 2018
"The fact that it was Bruce's 60th birthday meant that this was already going to be a special night. Just how special it would be, I had no idea.
The set list for the Legacy of The Beast tour has been well publicised and it seems that they've stuck to it throughout the tour across Europe. So, everyone knew what they were going to get, to a certain extent. We all knew in advance for example that they would play Flight of Icarus, which is the first time it's been in the set since 1986 !!! There were other additions that haven't been heard for years such as The Clansman and Sign of the Cross, which both sounded awesome on the night.
The full set-list in all it's beauty and glory is here -
We should also mention that before starting the set, they played the whole of 'Doctor Doctor' with the house lights turned on, which really got the crowd going. This was followed by a regular insert into recent Maiden sets in the form of Winston Churchill's famous speech, accompanied by the throbbing and pulsating sound of Spitfire Merlin engines, followed by the appearance of a full size Spitfire over the stage as they began Aces High.
Where Eagles Dare and 2 minutes to midnight came in quick succession and by this point PJ had noticed something very different was going on. Here we were watching a band of 60+ year olds, sounding THE BEST they ever have done !!!! There was no lacking of energy, even though this was towards the end of the tour, and there was no lethargy associated with playing the same songs day in, day out, it was like watching the band in all their raw and hungry splendour from 30 years ago.
But, there was something else. The sound. Personally, PJ has never heard the band sound this good. Of course, they were tight, that's a given, but the quality of the sound, for an indoor arena, was simply divine. It would appear that the band have been using a new front of house sound Engineer on the tour and the sound mix and balance that he created was truly something special. It turns out that this has been a feature of all the dates on the tour and this guy has worked his magic throughout - so big respect to Ken 'Pooch' - we'll forgive you for previously doing sound-Engineering for Justin Bieber !!!!
Before starting The Clansman, Bruce made a really emotive speech, about his age, the fact that he was overwhelmed with all the greetings and wishes he'd received, but the most poignant moment was when he talked about the fact that men and women 1/3 of his age gave their lives for us in the War......
From this moment onwards, the set takes on a slightly darker tone, with tracks such as Revelations, For the Greater Good, The Wicker Man and then culminating with the unmistakable Number of The Beast.
Despite the fact we knew they would play 'Iron Maiden', to actually hear it, and witness it, was something to behold. The last time we saw that it was being performed by the original singer (Mr Di'anno) but Bruce certainly does it justice.
The encore was a familiar trio of songs, and the night was capped off with 'Always look on the bright side of life'.
Lots to think about here.
In summary, this was probably the best show PJ has been to in years, many years in fact. And to think, it's a group of musicians who started off at the Ruskin' Arms in East Ham in the late 1970s, went through several lead singers, but finally went back to what was without doubt their best line-up. Iron Maiden has become a huge Global machine and it's bigger than ever, but it's also better than ever, and we wish for it to continue for many more years. We really need to cherish these bands while they are still around, because they wont be around forever, nothing ever is.
Happy Birthday Bruce !!!!
PJ, 8th August 2018
R.I.P Nigel - you are sadly missed my friend.
Angel Nation @ Met Lounge, Peterborough, UK - 23rd May 2018
"Peterborough isn't the first location that comes to mind when you think of live music and certainly this was our first visit there for a gig. The Met Lounge is a rather inconspicuous venue located close to the railway station on the end of what appears to be a 'high street'. It was a Wednesday night and despite the fact that we think Angel Nation are totally awesome, we weren't hopeful for a big turnout. As is always the case when this happens, it's great for fans like us, who appreciate seeing live music up close and personal, without rows of people to look over or push out of the way, but for a band playing to a small audience, it must be quite draining and tough motivationally time to time. As it turned out, our fears were acknowledged and this rather small venue looked rather empty, which was very sad to see. The venue itself was very reasonable and had friendly staff and good sound - definitely a place we'll check out again in future.
As for the show. There were 2 support bands. The first of which isn't really very noteworthy, and so on this occasion, we wont bother. Their set kind of passed us by and so to comment on it would be misplaced and unfair - it didn't set the venue on fire, lets leave it at that.
The second support band were far more interesting - Winters Edge. This band are in the running for a Bloodstock set and playing in the M2TM semis alongside Serpentyne. Well worth checking out, particularly if you like growling women :) (not exactly our cup of tea, but it seemed to work).
Angel Nation took the stage and immediately, you knew you were in the presence of something special and far superior to everything that had come before them that evening. They opened the set with Burn the Witch from their latest album Aeon, which we have to say is a fine piece of work - extremely well written and very listenable - not so different to As Night Falls in fact.
Check out the opening track in Peterborough here -
We've grown particularly fond of the lead guitarist Sonny Antoniou - not only is he a top musician, but he's also a great guy to hang out with and his on-stage persona and movements are totally awesome !!!
The band played most of the Aeon album during their set, interspersed with a smattering of songs from Tears of Lust. What became very clear is that this band can most definitely translate their studio material onto the stage in a very impressive manner. Check out this track (one of our faves) from Peterborough - an almost perfect reproduction of the studio version, without any of the post-production etc. - very impressive !!!
You can check out all our vids from the evening on our Facebook channel and also on 666bern666's channel as well.
We really cannot wait to see Angel Nation again, and if the Rock Service all-day fest happens in 2019, we'd certainly like Angel Nation to be on the lineup !!!
Truly awesome band and like so many others, they deserve a break, and to get wider recognition."
PJ the DJ
27th May 2018
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