Ivory Blacks, Glasgow
Monday 19th May 2014
Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid.
Ivory Blacks is packed by the time the house lights dim and as the intro music of headliners, melodic Metal band Eden's Curse, plays over the PA, a huge roar goes up signaling their imminent arrival.
Dry ice filters onstage as the band arrive one by one with the biggest reception being left for last as new vocalist Nikola Mijic finally makes it onstage before the band bursts into 'Symphony Of Sin', the title track of their latest album.
There's a surge to the front as the audience hold their camera phones aloft, trying to get a good picture while those with larger cameras barge their way to the front trying to capture the first moments of the band's performance.
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Having not toured the UK and especially Glasgow for nearly five years, it's obvious that everyone is out to make the best of the night and as promised by Mijic, what follows is a healthy selection of tracks from the new album as well as a bumper set of older tracks too, in a set list that spans some seventeen songs.
There's a small lull early in the set as bass player Paul Logue has some issues with his guitar but Mijic tries his best to entertain the crowd stopping short of telling any jokes. "It had to happen to me, eh? 'Cos I'm from Glasgow is like a curse!" jokes Logue before the issue is finally resolved and the band power on with another new track, 'Break The Silence'. Even though it's a relatively new song, the audience are more than happy to sing along to every word before guitar player, Thorsten Koehne, plays a great if short solo which has those down the front thrusting their fists in the air.
'Great Unknown' has the audience clapping along as the band are bathed in red and green lights but as the song quickens its pace, the head bangers finally move towards the stage and join in the fun. 'Turn The Page' is another well received track with its keyboard laden intro despite the fact that keyboard player Steve Williams is obscured from some of the fans due to the small stage. Mijic has a helping hand on the choruses by those down the front much to his amusement and the song receives a huge roar of approval from the audience signaling that this may be a future standard in the Eden's Curse set list.
Logue steps up to dedicate 'Rock Bottom' to the Glasgow crowd who "never fail to deliver" before he explains that the song's actually a very personal one about how the band felt at times with the fans really kept them going through all the hard times. A great sentiment, and a great song too and one that had the audience roaring with approval at its conclusion.
To balance out the wealth of new material, there was also a good number of older tracks in the set too, including 'Trinity' which has the audience clapping along as Mijic shows what an incredible voice he has, as he really stretches it during the choruses proving that he's every part the consummate front man in image, voice and stagecraft, and a worthy addition to the lineup.
'Fly Away', a favourite of mine, has Mijic getting the very best from the crowd as he gets them energized before Koehne throws out a great riff followed quickly by an incredibbly fast solo, which is met with a generous round of applause as he returns to the central guitar riff.
Before 'Wings To Fly', Mijic gives a heartfelt thank you to the band and audience but it's not long till he has the crowd jumping up and down and singing along once again as the band give another of the best performances of the night, and the audience let the band know it as the applause goes on for sometime after the song ended.
With the gig running late and the venue curfew approaching, the band run through 'No Holy Man' and Judgement Day' before wrapping up their set with a double bill of 'Evil & Divine' and 'Angels & Demons'. For every vantage point in the venue, it's clear that this has been a great night for both band and audience.
With the band's line up more cohesive than ever, let's hope that the band really achieve the success that they deserve.
Eden's Curse Set List:
Symphony of Sin
Break the Silence
Just Like Judas
Turn The Page
Time To Breathe
Fallen From Grace
Wings To Fly
No Holy Man
Evil & Divine
Angels & Demons
Eden's Curse are:
Nikola Mijic – Vocals
Thorsten Koehne – Lead Guitar
Paul Logue – Bass Guitar
Steve Williams – Keyboards
John Clelland – Drums
Eden's Curse Online:
Official Website: http://www.edenscurse.com
Special guests to Eden's Curse were Estrella who already have a solid fan base in Glasgow and after a two month tour of Europe supporting the likes of House of Lords and Robin Beck, they were welcomed back to Ivory Blacks with open arms.
The band waste no time as they get things underway with 'Shout (I Wanna Hear You)' and it's clear from the first few bars that the bands tour of Europe has made them into an even slicker rock n' roll machine. Vocalist Paul Gunn stands atop a stage monitor ensuring that everyone can see him and asks "Glasgow how are we doing tonight?" to which he gets a huge response from the crowd packed down the front of the stage.
'She's Got It' slows the pace slightly and has quite a lot of the crowd (mostly women, let's be honest!) dancing or have their mobile phones hoisted stage wards as they happily sing along to 'One Love' without any encouragement needed from the band at all.
Drummer Leo McPherson kicks off 'Rocker Lily' as he pounds out the solid drum beat before Nathan Gunn on bass guitar provides the solid bass lines proving what a solid and dependable rhythm section these two guys make. We're also treated to a rendition of 'Come Out To Play', the title track of the bands 2012 debut album which is greeted enthusiastically by the crowd.
'Whatever It Is' has the band handing out some complimentary beers to the faithful down the front before the community sing-along starts and the audience are more than willing to join in. Lead guitarist Luke Gunn has his time to shine too, as he lets rip on his white Jackson guitar taking his guitar solo up close and personal right into the heart of the venue, much to the delight of the audience as he shows that every member of this band is a vital cog in the Estrella wheel because they work so well together.
After their final song 'Party' the band are greeted with booing from some sections of the audience who, it seems, don't want the band to leave the stage just yet but with time ticking on, it's a quick thank you from the band to the audience as they disappear off to the backstage area, but hopefully it won't be too long before they make a return visit to Glasgow for another headline show of their own.
Estrella Set List:
Shout (I Wanna Hear You)
She's Got It
Come Out To Play
Whatever It Is
Paul Gunn – Vocals
Luke Gunn – Lead Guitar
Nathan Gunn – Bass Guitar
Leo McPherson – Drums
Official Website: http://estrellarocks.com
Fahran are a five piece based in Breaston (mid-way between Derby and Nottingham) who I'd heard of before but hadn't actually seen them live and I didn't seem to be the only one but the band managed to pull a very respectable crowd for their debut Glasgow gig.
They kick things off with 'Silver Scene' from their self-titled debut album which has the bass player Joshua Ballantyne and guitarist Chris Byrne head banging in unison as do some of the crowd down the front. Their performance is actually book-ended with 'Ashes' the only other track from their debut album and gets a good round of applause as the band close off their set.
In an unusual move, all the other songs in the bands set are from their second album, 'Chasing Hours' which is set for release in August 2014. Amongst the best songs aired were 'Take This City Alive' during which Byrne becomes a bundle of energy as he jumps up and down trying to get a reaction from the crowd before sharing the mic with vocalist Matt Black before managing to slip in another great guitar solo before the end of the number.
Mid-paced number 'Cased In Steel' is well received and has drummer JR Windsor taking the lead with some inventive drum fills whilst Black puts in a good performance too. 'Long Gone' which follows, has guitarist Jake Graham taking centre stage and the song has a slow mid-section which gives all those onstage a little breathing space before the pace ramps up once again with Byrne playing what could well be his most accomplished solo of the night.
'Some Kind Of Family' has Black admitting that the songs are so new that he has to read the lyrics off a sheet of paper - I'm not entirely sure if this was a joke or not but it's still a great song, with Windsor puts his drum kit through its paces as he batters out the beat before some great twin lead guitar work from Byrne and Graham makes this a firm favourite of mine already and judging by the reaction from the audience, I'm not the only one who liked it either!
Fahran Set List:
Take This City Alive
I Heard This Joke Once
Cased In Steel
Some Kind of Family
You Could Be Mine
A Thousand Nights
Matt Black – Vocals
Jake Graham – Guitar
Chris Byrne – Guitar
Joshua Ballantyne – Bass
JR Windsor – Drums
Official Website: http://www.fahran.com/