BEST METAL MOMENT: Being Iron Maiden's 'Lady In White'.
GIG: Monster Magnet, London Koko.
ALBUM: Leslie West: 'Unusual Suspects'.
BAND: Black Country Communion.
NEW BAND: Rival Sons.
BAND FOR 2012: The Mercy House.
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What a great year for Metal and rock! Fantastic to join the team at MetalTalk.net. Great to see the differences between now and the early 90s when I worked for Metal Hammer and discover that Metal is still alive and strong and thriving and totally unbeatable!
So many good moments this year - bumping into old friends at gigs, some I hadn't seen for thirty years. But there was one moment above all others this year that hit this old journo right there! Having known IRON MAIDEN on or off for thirty years, this was the first year for decades I really had a chance to talk indepth to a very old friend, DAVE MURRAY, at both 02 aftershow parties in August. What a lovely guy (see column) - he even made sure a bunch of my friends got in for the second night, including a young Maiden fan who was totally rapt about meeting Dave. Read my 'Iron Maiden: Thirty Years On The Edge' feature here: http://www.metaltalk.net/columns/20101113.php
On the second night, after the first Mexican wave fell apart miserably, Bruce pointed to me and said 'You! Lady In White!' and told me to start another one. Which I did, and not a bad wave, I have to say. Here it is, around 3:30, in the middle of 'Running Free':
Choosing my Best Gig wasn't too hard, though it was still a toss-up between Maiden, THIN LIZZY and BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION at High Voltage and my final choice, MONSTER MAGNET. Because I'm still doing my music degree, I didn't go to as many gigs as I'd liked to've done, but every one of those I did go to were memorable in their own way.
Poignantly, having known Thin Lizzy's PHIL LYNOTT so many years ago, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the RICKY WARWICK-fronted line-up at High Voltage - but, my God, it was like a wonderful catharsis watching them. Ricky is so well suited to the job. Yes, I cried, as I haven't seen Lizzy since Phil was in the band. But I have to say BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION's set was awesome, which is why they have to be my Band of the Year. Considering GLENN HUGHES has taken himself to hell and back over the past couple of decades, this springboard back to form - and beyond - with BCC is remarkable.
Obviously, Maiden's gigs at the 02 were superb - I always enjoy the whole Maiden performance extravaganza - they do know how to push the boat out! But I've seen them so many times, plus they get my Best Moment. So, without question, it has to be MONSTER MAGNET for Best Gig. I hadn't seen them since 'Dopes To Infinity' came out - and bumping into the same peeps I saw them with then was kinda spooky, but totally appropriate. Read the review here: http://www.metaltalk.net/columns/20101124.php.
For Best Album, well I'm an old cow so I thought I'd pick an old bastard, LESLIE WEST, with his all-star album, 'Unusual Suspects', featuring Slash, Joe Bonamassa, Zakk Wylde and the rest - absolutely sublime. 'A unique twist of blues from a unique twisted soul...' with a little help from his friends.
RIVAL SONS as Best New Band goes without saying - they worked so hard this year, topping it with a blinding performance at Earache Records' Christmas Party. And, finally, watch out for THE MERCY HOUSE, Alice In Chains-meets-industrial in a very exciting union!
Disappointment this year? Jane's Addiction's 'The Great Escape Artist'...