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Friday, November 18, 2011

Bret Michaels live at the Emerald Theatre, Mt. Clemens, Michigan

Bret Michaels live at the Emerald Theatre, Mt. Clemens, Michigan
Date: Saturday 12th November 2011

 Custom Built

If you've followed Bret Michaels career path, you'll know that he’s proven himself out as a successful lead singer in the band Poison, to a TV personality popping up here and there, as well as having his own TV reality show, ‘Rock of Love’ – Which made many rock fans lose a lot of respect for the guy. – and a solo career too that has seen him put out three solo albums.
The solo albums gave the guy a chance to flex a little, to his love of country music, a far cry from the glam and sleaze that has been Poison’s direction.

With the solo career in mind, I was kind of apprehensive about review a Bret Michaels solo gig, being the rocker I am but I needn’t have worried … It was a good night, of loud … I mean LOUD rock ‘n’ roll!

Michaels was preceded by three other acts, which tended to indicate it could be a short set from the Poison frontman.
Side note: Checking out Michaels historic setlists also indicated he does not like to play for too long solo.

All three acts were from the local Detroit talent pool, opening with Monkey Grinder, who played a mix of rock / rap and popular rock covers.
The crowd was OK with them, but nothing to write home about to be honest.

Then there was Artificial Agent who seemed to come across perhaps as a little awkward, with a singer who looked the part but whose voice really wasn’t grabbing most people. Maybe he was having a bad night?
They pretty much played a set of original material and a Kiss cover in 'Come on and Love Me.'

JoCaine were the third and final support act and Jo Caine the man seems to have enough clout locally – As he knows Uncle Kracker, Kid Rock, etc. – that probably explains how he got the top support slot. As they say, it’s ‘who you know …’

They have a hint of country, southern kind of rock about them and Jo Caine tends to write songs about Detroit and America, so he was starting well there and then he threw cans of beer out to the crowd, so that guaranteed he got on the right side of the crowd from the start.
The lead player I must say was pretty good, but could've done with being a little louder perhaps.
 They weren’t bad, a little clich├ęd but there you go …

Bret Michaels made us wait an hour after the support acts were done and by now, if you wanted a good spot on the dance floor area, if you hadn’t got there earlier, you were now out of luck!
No question about the audience split either of approximately 60 / 40 split, women to guys …

As the announcement goes out to the crowd to please welcome … Bret Michaels, we still have to wait through AC/DC’s ‘You Shook Me All Night Long’ and Guns 'n' Roses ‘Welcome To the Jungle’ over the PA, before ‘Talk Dirty To Me’ open proceedings proper!

 (Bret Michaels live in Michigan - Photo: Alun Williams©)

He does like to talk to the crowd too, which clearly makes the set appear as he’s playing a longer set, as he first speaks about coming through Detroit with Poison and how well the fans have always been to the band, etc and then it’s ‘Look What The Cat Dragged In.’
I have to say, the band is tight, they rock hard and well and Michael’s voice sounds good. No complaints here!

Bret’s band features, Pete Evick – Guitar, Chuck Fanslau – Drums, Ray Scheuring – Bass and Rob Jozwiak – Keyboards and they’ve really got a good overall result.

It’s back to the chat again and he talks about his ‘Rock of Love’ series before then introducing ‘Go That Far’ as the theme song from the series. His only solo career song of the night …

Chat continues with praise of a band that he’s always admired and he wants to dedicate next song ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ to the great guys that wrote it, ‘Let’s hear it for Lynyrd Skynyrd!’
It really does all sound good so far great guitar work from Pete Evick and the rhythm section is tight!

(Pete Evick, guitarist in Bret Michaels band - Photo: Alun Williams©)

When Bret grabs an acoustic next, it’s a kind of a 50 / 50 guess in everyone’s mind …, will it be ‘Every Rose …’ or ‘Something To Believe In,’ and it’s the latter.
Just as he’s done on each occasion that I’ve seen Poison do this number Michaels has always made a point of dedicating the song to all the troops out there and those who protect our country, as they are always laying down their lives on the line for us all.
Well said that man!
The man shows his clear control over a live audience, as he stops the song just prior to the last verse and asks the crowd to sway their arms from side to side and the audience duly oblige.

 (Bret Michaels photo by Alun Williams©)

It’s ‘Unskinny Bop’ up next and during this, the guys all get a chance to throw a few fun licks around first with bassist Ray Scheuring as he runs the bass line for ‘Play That Funky Music’ a few times, then Pete Evick plays around with some tasty lead work and finally it’s time for drummer Chuck Fanslau to play his part in the activities, before everyone gets back into the song and they wrap it up. All good fun stuff!

(Chuck Fanslau above - Photo: Alun Williams©)

(Ray Scheuring above. Photo: Alun Williams©)

It’s definitely party time in the big ‘D’ as Michaels then leads the band into ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll All Night’ from Kiss, before Michaels gives us a little harmonica to start ‘Your Mama Don’t Dance’ next and the crowd is just lapping this up!

Michaels then announces that he’d like to, ‘grab the acoustic guitar again for this next number …’ and he then starts telling us about the old days again and says, ‘you know I remember coming through Detroit playing at Harpo’s, Blondies, Pine Knob which it will always be and not the corporate name of DTE …,’ which then leads us into ‘Every Rose Has it’s Thorn’ and full praise to the band, as you could close your eyes and you’d think Poison was here. Spot on guys!

Wasting no time, it’s straight into ‘Fallen Angel’ next and it’s the last number of the main set and as the band leaves the stage, just one hour after arriving, Bret shouts out, ‘Thank you for twenty five awesome years Detroit!’

The crowd is too pumped for Michaels to leave it there and sure enough, the band returns for ‘Nothin’ but a Good Time’ and the show is over.

It was a really good, fun show and perhaps it was shorter than many bands of this genre play, but it was a very well played set indeed.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Official artist website:

Quick note for Friday November 18th, 2011

Hi folks, yes, it's been kind of quiet here I know ...
This week has been another crazy one, kids fighting sickness and I guess lack of sleep catching up with me!
Yes, there's news out there but my primary focus right now is trying to get some updated reviews to you all, hope to post a new live review from last weekend later today or tonight at the latest.

CD reviews I am way behind on and perhaps I need to start doing 'mini review's' since there are so many to keep up with ... Hmm, we'll see ...

Meantime, I digress and recommend to you to keep track of one Andrew McNiece at who seems to be getting some great scoops lately and it seems my contacts are not coming through for me, so I tend at those times to default to scouring the web for what stories I can for you.
Anyway, lunchtime is up and I must run. Later, Al

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Brief News Update for Tuesday 15th November, 2011

Hey folks, so where does all the time go huh? Halfway through November already and just six weeks until Christmas, good grief Charlie Brown?! LOL!

So many rumours flying around about so many things, you name, Van Halen, Survivor, the John Sykes / Mike Portnoy project, Triumph talk again, with their recent radio interviews and acoustic numbers on there too, UFO and more. Some of these rumours are great, some just frustrating ...

Anyway, lets see what I can share with you for sure, cheers, Al

Lukather to join Vai and Satriani on G3 Tour!

I have say, when I checked Steve Lukather's site and saw this I was completely buzzed, but here's the downer, right now it's only happening Down Under.

Yes, the G3 tour is planned for March / April 2012 in New Zealand and Australia ... You lucky people!
This posted at the man's site:

Lukather doing G3 2012 with Satriani and Vai

Joe Satriani and Steve Vai have asked Steve Lukather to join them on the G3 2012 tour in New Zealand and Australia in March and April of next year.

Lukather: "I'm honored that Joe and Steve wanted ME to do this. They are very dear friends and wanted me and my band along for the ride. I HOPE people like what I do. I am just gonna be ME cause those guys are really SO good...

It is nice cause I get to go to OZ and I have never been there solo so ... I guess Joe and Steve wanted a different flavor to their musical gumbo ... I am excited and in the SHED cause I gotta bring the 'A game' - no shit!!! Hahaha.

Check out the tour and ticket information at the tour & tickets info section!

Wow indeed, I only hope the guys ask Luke to join them in the US when the G3 tour comes over, now then I'd be one happy man!

Bruce takes Maiden fans on their next step!

Bruce Dickinson, lead singer of IRON MAIDEN has a huge passion for flying -- so much so that he is a Commercial Airline Captain and a talented originator -- devising an ingenious method of converting a Boeing 757 to allow him, the band, their crew and tons of equipment to tour three times around the world in their customised plane 'Ed Force One', call sign 'Flight 666'.

Not content with just entertaining fans on the ground, Bruce then instigated a series of highly acclaimed 'Bruce Air Flight 666' excursions, filling the plane with fans and personally flying them to and from various IRON MAIDEN concerts around Europe.

Having recently set up his own professional Aviation Training Business, Bruce is now giving his fans first call on the opportunity of experiencing the skills and thrills of flying first hand by joining him for a training session in a state of the art Boeing 737 flight simulator based at London's Heathrow Airport!

Announcing that members of the Iron Maiden Fan Club will get first access to this unique opportunity, Bruce commented, "I can't wait to sit in the simulator with fans and share the buzz of what it is really like to fly a modern passenger jet such as Flight 666 and all the challenges that entails".
For more information to go

Van Halen's signing with Interscope records

You know, this Van Halen news is being posted all over the web, from Billboard to major ISP's home news pages to major rock sites, even to the 'official' Van Halen fans own site, but here's the thing, the bands own official site still remain idle ...? Why ...?

This is the reason I have not posted this coverage more in full, simply because it's really NOT yet official, right?
See where I'm coming from? Chances are, Ed Van Halen will turn around again and say, he's still not happy with the album!
If you want to read the Billboard piece, go ahead, over to:

I will post a more detailed piece myself, with my thoughts, once more is revealed including the tour dates, fair enough folks?

Newman announces first of 2012 European tour date

Following on the achievement of two successive appearances at the UK premier melodic rock festival Firefest, not to mention his latest studio album 'Under Southern Skies' and the live album 'Another Step Closer,' Newman are pleased to announce details of their first European Festival date in 2012.

Steve Newman posted this through his Facebook page:

Hi folks,
Just a quick update to say thank you so much for all your support over the Firefest weekend, totally blown away by the response !! We had such a great time as I think a lot of the pics that are emerging have shown !! Great to have
Pete Fry along for the ride as well !

 We're also pleased to announce that we're playing the Rosewood Festival in Greece on 17th March 2012, so if you're in that neck of the woods please come and say Hi, it's going to be a great weekend of ROCK !!!
Further updates on
We'll be announcing more dates very soon, thanks again for all your support !!!
Steve x

I think that many people will be surprised by the number of live dates from Newman next year, we hope!
Steve, good for you mate!

Germany’s Heavy Metal finest PRIMAL FEAR to release their anticipated ninth studio album, 'Unbreakable.'

After a sensational tour through South America in spring 2011 for Primal Fear, more dates in Europe plus an outstanding appearance on the 2011 edition of the Wacken Open Air, the band was fired up to enter the recording studio to start tracking their ninth studio album. The target was crystal clear - producer and bassist Mat Sinner: “After touring for two years without breaks, the guys realized the fan favourites very well and we wrote an untamed, powerful and crushing album together”.

“Unbreakable” combines the skills of the strongest Primal Fear line-up ever, with a well-balanced “back to the roots” vibe and an ambitious learning process during their longest tour so far. Classic and ultra-fresh Primal Fear riff-rockers like “Strike”, “Give Em Hell” or the high speed track “And There Was Silence” will hit the bulls-eye, like the rhythm paced metal anthem, first single and new video clip “Bad Guys Wear Black”. Less experiments, more rock! But there will be a nine-minute epic journey with a lot prog approach named “Where Angels Die”, a classic wonderful ballad “Born Again” and the melodic power bomb “Metal Nation”. Singer Ralf Scheepers adds: “the plan was to record an album for the fans with rough metal riffs, screaming vocals and good melodies ...... and finally it became a monster – a tough 'bang-your-head' metal album called “Unbreakable”.

Magnus Karlsson and Alex Beyrodt are worldwide respected guitarists – together they are unbeatable!
Ralf Scheepers vocal performance shines bright on a new level on all new songs. And what can go wrong if you’re backed by one of the best rhythm sections in metal with Randy Black and Mat Sinner? Plus backing vocals by the “Fantastic Four”: Ralf Scheepers, Mat Sinner, Erik Martensson (Eclipse, W.E.T.) and Oliver Hartmann (Hartmann, Avantasia, At Vance).
You can hear the result on Primal Fears new statement called “Unbreakable”!

“Unbreakable” was produced by Mat Sinner, engineered and mixed by Achim Koehler and the House Of Music studios and some more studios in Germany and Sweden between summer and autumn 2011 and will include the following tracks: Unbreakable (Part1); Strike; Give 'Em Hell; Bad Guys Wear Black; And There Was Silence; Metal Nation; Where Angels Die; Unbreakable (Part 2); Marching Again; Born Again; Blaze Of Glory; Conviction; Night Of The Jumps (Bonus Track)*; Bad Guys Wear Black (Video)*
* Only available in the first pressing in digipak

“Unbreakable” will be anticipated by the digital only release of the single “Bad Guys Wear Black” which will be available for download and streaming on December 5th 2011. The single will also include “Metal Nation” in an exclusive single mix.
Don’t miss the German Metal Commando when they’re coming to your town!

Primal Fear is:
Ralf Scheepers – Vocals
Alex Beyrodt – Guitars
Magnus Karlsson – Guitar, Keyboards
Randy Black – Guitars
Mat Sinner – Bass & Vocals

Official weblinks:

Monday, November 14, 2011

Quick Note for Monday 14th November, 2011

Hey folks, well WOW, what a weekend that was, saw a couple of really good gigs.
Perhaps many visitors here may not be fans of Bret Michaels or even Poison for that matter, but I have to tell you that this past Saturday night, he and his solo band DID put on a good show. For rockers, it was loud, for rock critics, the band got the numbers down well and for a show, well no pyros there but Michaels certainly know how to entertain, even if the set was only an hour long. - Full review coming soon!

Last night though, finally I got to catch up with seeing the rejuvenated, inspired current line up of Thin Lizzy at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, as opening act for Judas Priest ... You really wouldn't know they were an opening act, as they take things way more seriously out on stage. They want the punters to go home remembering, that Lizzy rocked the house and they did, yes, they really did.
Rhonda and I were also fortunate enough to spent just over an hour with Lizzy too and this allowed me to ask a whole bunch of current questions, not just on Lizzy, but to Marco Mendoza on what he's up to when Lizzy takes a breather and Darren Wharton on Dare's activities and some other interesting stuff and of course, of Scott Gorham too.
Since we did this, we did not catch any of Black Label Society's set, we lost track of time while we were there and before we knew it, time had flown!

One thing I will share right now, is that I spoke with all of the other guys too, Brian Downey, Ricky Warwick and Damon Johnson as well and what is seriously promising is that it seems certain, that we will see a new Thin Lizzy album!
They are working through ideas now on the road, that they are getting buzzed about and with - so it seems - more and more of Lizzy older fans acceptance of this line up. I have to say, I was very impressed. - Full review to follow, along with Priest too.

Judas Priest's stage show just seems to get more and more impressive, unfortunately my photo pass only allowed me to shoot the support acts, NOT Priest, so what I got from our seats was sadly as good as I could get.
They were likewise impressive and Rob Halford never ceases to amaze me - And everyone else! - with those bloody high notes he can hit and hold! Incredible! Again, a full review to follow ...

No big news update right now, the weekend was all rush, rush ... Of course though no doubt everyone that's a rock fan has heard this past weekend that Black Sabbath are reuniting to headline at the UK's Download Festival on one of the three days. Metallica on another ...

Also word is out that Robin McAuley (Ex-Grand Prix, Far Corporation, M.S.G.) is no longer with Survivor, after five years there. Perhaps he gave up waiting to record an album.
My hope is that he will hook up with Michael Schenker again, I think it would do them both good.
More to follow later.  
Cheers for now folks,