2011 ... the year
of a Royal Wedding, the Japan nuclear disaster, the hacking scandal, and economic meltdown.
But was it any good for music?
intrepid GRTR! reviewers have been giving their view and
their selection as ever reflects wide-ranging tastes and critical
analysis with healthy differences and agreements emerging.
You can cast
your own vote (below) to influence the final selection of Top 5
"The Best of 2011" is featured on Get Ready to ROCK!
Radio on Sunday 25 December, 22:00 (Part 1, repeated Friday 30 December,
22:00) and Monday 26 December at 22:00 (Part 2, repeated Saturday 31 December,
2011 in Pictures
Tip: You can use the direction keys on your keyboard to flip easily from one photo to another
Get Ready to ROCK! Best of 2011
(Final positions were determined by popular vote)
Top Live Acts
Photo: Steve Goudie
1. PAUL RODGERS
...that voice is in tremendous shape, arguably better than it was
in the heyday. David Randall
2. NIGHT RANGER
Night Ranger, like Styx, know how to have fun live and Journey should perhaps
take note and loosen up a bit. Jason Ritchie
...a band not only moving forward on their own terms but sounding
better than ever live. Andy Nathan
From the opening number 'Hammer Of The Gods' ...the band were as
blistering as the crowd's response. Joe Geesin
4. TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA
TSO deftly mix rock and classical music, something others have
tried in the past but not as successfully... Jason
5. JUDAS PRIEST
...on this form Judas Priest are untouchable. David Wilson
Next Big Thing
One of the best
female voices in British rock Andrew Lock
Jason Ritchie (Reviews Editor)
1. NIGHT RANGER Somewhere in California
It's been a long wait but well worth it, as the band return to top
2. FOO FIGHTERS Wasting Light
One of the best, if not the best, album by the Foos
3. GLYDER Backroads To Byzantium
New vocalist and new band members make for rich and varied album
full of quality rock tunes.
4. PAGAN'S MIND Heavenly Ecstasy
New band to me and what a glorious collection of melodic/power metal
5 = NEAL MORSE Testimony 2
Every time he keeps topping his last album, no mean feat given the
quality of music Neal Morse & co. keep producing. My favourite prog
rock release of the year along with Credo.
5 = CREDO Against Reason
Their masterpiece where all their musiical marvels fall into place.
If you like IQ, Arena, Fish do try this album pronto.
White Widdow 'Serenade'
Mr. Big 'What if'
Newman 'Under Southern Skies'
The Answer 'Revival'
House Of Lords 'Big Money'
Eden's Curse 'Trinity'
Within Temptation 'The Unforgiving'
Uriah Heep 'Into The Wild'
Photo: Noel Buckley
NIGHT RANGER/Airrace Islington Academy
Been waiting many a year to see Night Ranger and they were superb.
Now can we have Survivor and Boston over next?
BIG COUNTRY Shepherd's Bush Empire
Mike Peters is a perfect fit for Big Country and the whole band seem
to have a blast on stage.
POWER QUEST/Neon Fly The Purple Turtle
Sadly the only time I saw Chitty Sompala fronting the mighty PQ but
at least I discovered the delights of Neonfly
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Hammersmith Apollo
Simply stunning, from the music through to the stage show. Really
hope they come back soon and be nice to see the Christmas show on UK
YES Hammersmith Apollo
Benoit David looks comfortable on stage and fingers crossed this
line-up can record another new album & tour again very soon.
FREEDOM CALL Live In Hellvettia
Only just discovered them this year and what a band!
Heard many good things about them and they have
delivered an excellent album
A solid album but could have been so much
No Van Halen album but there is always next year...
Next Big Thing
Could well be the next big thing in power/melodic metal
Where are the next
set of arena sized bands? The Answer, Airbourne etc can just about
fill the Apollo's of this world but in 5-10 years who will take over
from the classic bands who are winding down like Judas Priest, the
David Randall (Managing Editor)
EDEN'S CURSE Trinity
It's one of the great modern tragedies that EC haven't been able to capture a
much wider audience. Their third album was filled with engaging and frequently anthemic songwriting and should have marked the
zenith of their
year history. The loss of founder-member and singer Michael Eden further
complicated their career trajectory.
CHRIS OUSEY Rhyme And Reason
Best known for his work with Heartland, this could be the album to break the
mould and get Chris out to a wider audience. One of the better melodic hard rock
albums, consistent and always with a sense of purpose plus sterling work from
Mike Slamer and Tommy Denander.
CHANTEL McGREGOR Like No Other
Chantel is an attractive young girl and it seems a shame that she might get
saddled with well meaning if somewhat beer-bellied stalkers like me in the
audience. Perhaps her debut subtly recognised that as she aimed at a more
This was a surprise album, because it straddles not just blues (for which she
has earned her spurs on the Festival circuit) but commercial pop/rock. A
performer certainly deserving of wider acclaim and a great and perhaps
EARTHPRAYER Nine Days
One of those rare albums that grabs you immediately. Superior organic bluesy
rock and a band that - if there is any justice - should be a contender in 2012.
Certainly Saint Jude should be nervously looking over their collective shoulders
although judging by early live reviews a little more is needed in the stagecraft
MAGNUM The Visitation
Magnum's last couple of albums haven't always been immediate - not that it's a
bad thing - but their latest studio offering demands and repays repeated visits
rather than a quick fix. There's more depth and some great moments, a fitting
siren for their marvellous 40 year achievement. And they are our Ambassadors in
Top reissueTODD RUNDGREN Various (Edsel)
Rundgren's back catalogue has been consistently recycled but the
Edsel reissues attempted to restore some purpose to the packaging
and with bonus tracks where possible. Sometimes patchy in
musical content but a worthy exercise nevertheless.
Edsel also did a good re-packaging job on
the Doobie Brothers seventies albums whilst US label Cleopatra
released several exquisite box sets including Nektar and
Hawkwinf complete with poster and badges. EMI continued
their excellent multi-CD box sets including Be Bop Deluxe, Edgar
Broughton Band and Hawkwind which make excellent (and comprehensive)
introductions to back catalogue.
1. PAUL RODGERS Manchester Apollo
40 years on and the classic songs - and Rodgers' voice - sound better than
2. FOREIGNER, Manchester MEN
A back catalogue to die for and played with real energy, any doubts
about the band's renaissance and the almost endless recycling of old
material were put to rest with a simply fantastic and polished show.
3. STEVE LUKATHER, Club Academy, Manchester
Smallest of the Academy venues, creating the intimacy of a small
jazz club. Topped with a sublime version of 'Song For Jeff'/'Don't
Say It's Over'.
4. MAGNUM, Tivoli, Buckley, N.Wales
Magnum reminded me just why I became obsessive about the band in the
1990s. A 40 year history of some magic moments, not least Bob
Catley's vocals and Tony Clarkin's songwriting and an energised
'Brand New Morning' from their 2004 album reiterating why they are
still so relevant, and durable. And they are our ambassadors
5. LOVE AND MONEY, The Met, Bury
I have always been an admirer of James Grant and have followed his
solo career since the 1990s. With the almost-original line-up
reconstituted this was a superb and evocative trawl through two
seminal albums: 'Strange Kind Of Love' and 'Dogs In the Traffic'.
Wonderfully executed and songs played and sounding better than back
in the day.
Missing The Zombies on their 50th anniversary tour, and finding out
that because of public sector strike action affecting the venue it
had been moved forward a few days.
Not getting to any of the Whitesnake gigs, and the apparent lack of
press passes. With Coverdale's voice in hiatus, makes you
wonder whether this band has now run its course.
There's too much recycling going on both of back catalogues and
bands, not all of it bad of course but a great chasm will be opening
up as rock gets old. The lack of budgets or tour support is
not helping new bands gain a foothold and the larger labels play
safe recycling back catalogue and 'heritage' rock.
On the same theme, the incessant repackaging of old music and
re-recording/re-mixing of previous tracks. Good work for
Steven Wilson, though.
Next Big Thing
TOUCHSTONE (Featured artist, September 2011)
This band have been delighting their audiences this year and are
growing in confidence.
TOXIC FEDERATION (Featured artist, July 2011)
'Distance' confirmed this band as contenders, an infectious blend of
hard, anthemic rock. A change of vocalist shouldn't deter them
from further progress in 2012.
CODE OF SILENCE
Produced by Paul Logue of Eden's Curse, this band could be the new
heroes/saviours of melodic/hard rock with a debut album due in 2012.
You can hear David on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Tuesdays at 16:00
with new releases and Sundays 22:00 with a mix of new and classic
1. SAXON Call To Arms
Classic Saxon with an equal mix of the modern epic slightly proggy metal with a
nod back to the punky NWoBHM roots. British metal at its very very best and no
argument. I dare you to defy this call to arms.
2. RHAPSODY OF FIRE From Chaos To Eternity
Latest and last in the series and features Christopher Lee; is just the most
brutal operatic power metal that focuses more on the guitar but still with the
baroque structures and a touch of choir / orchestra.
Mindblowingly shit fucking good. Why Classic Rock and the general public haven't
cottoned on to this band is just criminal
3. FREEDOM CALL Live In Helluctia
Melodic power metal that's big on vocal harmonies. This live album celebrates
their best material with energy and power.
4. NIGHTWISH Imaginaerum
Gothic, operatic female fronted power metal that's more accessible than most
5. TRANS SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA new album
Overblown orchestrated prog rock that make Pink Floyd look like a half powered
tea party, featuring Megadeth's Al Pitrelli and members of Savatage.
6. GIRLSCHOOL Hit And Run revisited
A great new take on the classic Hit And Run album with the new line-up
recreating the classics of old with the new modern sound. Features Doro Pesch
too - all as gorgeous to listen to as to look at.
1. WHITESNAKE Box O Snakes
11 disc of classic Ol’ Cov that makes you realise just how ignorable the recent
Whitesnake are. Almost everything you need from 78-82. Now if only they’d treat
Slide It In the same way and I’d be happy.
2. JUDAS PRIEST Single Cuts (20CD box)
Deliberately aimed at the fan - ie me - and what a fantastic package! All their
20 UK CBS singles in replica card sleeves with a booklet and box. Now if only I
could afford it
3. NAZARETH The Nazbox
4CDs of hits, live and unreleased rarities, BBC tracks and demos. A lot missing
but it’s still great stuff from Salvo / Union Square who have done such great
catalogue work from these much overlooked Scots
4. BLACK SABBATH Born Again
My fave Sabbath LP given the full and well deserved remasted with bonuses that
include the ’83 Reading set.
Photo: Steve Goudie
SAXON Shepherd’s Bush
TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Hammersmith Apollo
PETER FRAMPTON Hammersmith Apollo
TOTO Hammersmith Apollo
BLONDIE Kew Gardens
JUDAS PRIEST/ Michael Monroe (High Voltage)
Next big thing
Interviewing Rhapsody Love this band
Seeing Toto play a fantastic version of Africa first hand
Interviewing Girlschool, Nightwish, James May (Top Gear), Michael
Monroe, Steve Davis (the snooker player) and Lamb Of God, who’s
Randy Blythe is just a lovely guy
Getting my Steppenwolf feature / interview published with John Kay
liking the article
Getting a preview of the Pink Floyd remasters, a listen on David
Gilmour’s studio house-boat.
Reports that the Freedom Call gig at the Underworld was half empty
Thin Lizzy’s sound at High Voltage
The Metal Hammer Stage at High Voltage
The cost of beer/food at High Voltage
Dream Theatre headlining the main stage at High Voltage, when you
consider who hasn’t played at the festival.
Classic Rock’s self serving repetition, hence ignoring so
much good music such as Freedom Call and Rhapsody.
Find out more about Joe at
1 CHRIS OUSEY Rhyme and Reason
The Heartland and Snakecharmer singer gets the big songs and production his
talent deserves thanks to melodic rock legends Mike Slamer and Tommy Denander.
quarter of a century, Chris Ousey has been one of the UK's
unheralded vocal talents, his distinctive, breathy style
gracing a series of quality releases with Virginia Wolf and
Heartland, but only now has he released a solo album.
respect to long-time Heartland collaborator Steve Morris,
this release has Premier League resources put behind him.
Two almost God like figures in cult AOR circles, ex City Boy
and Mike Slamer and Tommy Denander, share the guitar and
keyboards, with the former producing and the latter
co-writing all the songs.
stellar line up is rounded out by veteran and Snakecharmer
bandmate Neil Murray on bass and master drummer Gregg
Bissonette. Sometimes all-star collaborations can be less
than the sum of their parts, but this is a thrilling album
of melodic rock with a sense of adventure without losing the
production sounds great, even though Chris' vocal diction
could be a bit clearer and it takes a glance at the inlay
card to fully appreciate some interesting lyrics.
opening duo The Mother of Invention and Motivation could be
missing Steelhouse Lane songs with that big beefy sound
Slamer patented on their classic Slaves of the New World
album. Only five songs in does the urgency drop with
Chemical High, which has a more spacious, hi-tech feel
almost going back to Virginia Wolf days.
Other Day has a chorus with hooks bigger than those on
Meatloaf's coat rail, Don't Wanna Dance almost emulates it,
and By Any Other Name has a relentless chorus and is another
with a real Steelhouse Lane feel. Natural Law closes the
album closes on a more downbeat, yet still stirring, note.
Ousey now teaming up with established figures like Micky
Moody and Harry James in Snakecharmer, the moment is right
for his secret to be out, and this album rightly puts him in
the spotlight. **** 1/2
by Andy Nathan
2. ALFONZETTI Here Comes the Night
Good songs turned into special ones by the now Red White and Blues man, one of
the best singers in the business.
3. AIRRACE Back from the Start
A triumphant if short lived return with a mix of massive AOR hooks and
surprisingly meaty riffs topped off by Keith Murrell's ever superb vocals.
The Danes unexpectedly back to their best with an album full of great
keyboard/guitar duels and crystal clear vocals.
5. BLACK STONE CHERRY Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea
Rising southern metallers move into mainstream Nickelback or Shinedown territory
with stunning results
Toby Hitchcock - Mercurys Down
Whitesnake - Forevermore
Journey - Eclipse
Work of Art - In Progress
Night Ranger - Somewhere in California
With two exceptional USA festivals in Summerfest and Moondance, plus Firefest
being the mecca for melodic rock as usual, it has been a vintage year and almost
impossible to chose but here goes-
1. PAUL RODGERS Moondance Jam, USA
The voice of rock has a back catalogue to die for and has vastly improved his
stage act over the years - his gig at Southend was great enough, but this one on
a hot full moon night as darkness fell in the Minnesota countryside was extra
2. NIGHT RANGER O2 Islington Academy
Their first UK show in 26 years nearly didn't happen after delays at customs,
but they rocked the Academy with an exuberant performance and a set chock full
of American classics - don't leave it so long next time!
3. DOWNLOAD Saturday (second stage)
One gem after another with DIO DISCIPLES paying worthy tribute to the master, MR
BIG's exquisite musicianship, some classics in a mercurial set by CHEAP) TRICK,
TWISTED SISTER's incredible energy, topped off by one of the most enjoyable
shows I've ever seen Alice Cooper put on, all in front of an old school
atmosphere on the second stage.
4. THIN LIZZY Hammersmith Apollo
I was worried whether the new line up would further tarnish the Lizzy legacy,
but Ricky Warwick was a revelation, and Scott Gorham's rejuvenation and Brian
Downey's return all did justice to one of rock's best back catalogues
5. URIAH HEEP and Martin Turner's Wishbone Ash- Brighton Centre
Classic rock doesn't come much more classic than this and Heep, with a well
balanced set, have never sounded better or heavier.
Coney Hatch, Jimi Jamison, Mitch Malloy - Firefest; 38 Special and the Outlaws -
Moondance; REO Speedwagon, Styx, Peter Frampton, Kansas and America - Summerfest
Milwaukee; Bon Jovi - Bristol City FC; Y and T- Relentless Garage; Air Supply -
Jazz Cafe; Keel - Camden Underworld; The Darkness- Hammersmith; Stray -
Borderline; Big Country - O2 Academy Islington; Journey, Styx, REO Speedwagon -
Next big thing
An unadventurous choice as they have major label backing, but I was blown away
by the talent and old school swagger of the young Cambridge-based band
1. WHITESNAKE Forevermore
The guitars seem to have finally found a happy medium, and are
reined in much more than on "Good To Be Bad". The production is also warmer, and
the whole record hangs together really well.
2. DEMON'S EYE The Stranger Within
An album that has more than a passing resemblance to "Stranger In
Us All" era Rainbow! Well, I suppose it's a change from impersonating Deep
3. REBEKAH FINDLAY Northern Skies
More of a contemporary folk singer than a trad. arr, with nods to
the seventies singer-songwriter movement, but even the most ardent Arran clad
folkie will find something to love here.
4. JOHN PARR Letter To America
A 2CD electric / acoustic offering, with Mr Parr in fine voice,
as he takes on the classics and not so classic.
5. NICOLE ATKINS Mondo Amore
She touches on folk, blues, country, soul and pop, and there are
some riproaring tunes dotted in amongst the angst, with the meat and potatoes of
'You Come To Me', as straightforward and thrusting as they come.
TRAFFIC John Barleycorn Must Die
Deluxe Edition - the kind of record that only seemed to be made
in the seventies when you could mix up jazz, blues, folk and even the odd bit of
prog, and have a hit album
MOTORHEAD The Wörld Is Ours - Vol 1
Everywhere Further Than Everyplace Else - it's Motorhead, fool!
Next big thing
After a few releases, "Real" should be the album that pushes her
mix of blues, soul, funk and some swampy vibes to the next level.
You can hear Stuart on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Thursdays at
20:00 with 'Rockin The Blues' and weekends with his Profiles series.
Pete Feenstra (Features Editor)
VIRGIL & THE
ACCELERATORS The Radium
Mystic Records MYSCD205
It's so rare for any band
to work up the kind of intensity levels that make this album such a fire
cracker. The licks, the grooves, the songs and a lively but classy mix allied
with Virgil's tough vocal are all that you could ever want from a rock/blues
album like this.
2. BEN WATERS Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute To Ian Stewart Eagle Records EAGCD 441
From the choice of music
and guests (including Jagger/Richard, PJ Harvey) right through to Peter Blake's
art work, which at first glance looks like cross between Stu and Ben, 'Boogie 4
Stu' is the perfect tribute to Ian Stewart.
As Keith Richard once said
of him; 'To me the real Stones sound was gone after Stu'. 'Boogie 4 Stu' is a
superbly conceptualized and well played album by Ben Waters, who as Stu's
natural successor excitingly brings to life both the man and his music.
3. HENRIK FREISCHLADER Still Frame Replay Cable Car Records CCR 0311-35
effortlessly recalls the Peter Green of yester-year and he is a vocalist with a
deep affinity to both JJ Cale and Steve Miller. He is also a songwriter unafraid
to delve into his own psyche.
And as a German musician
playing his own brand of understated blues rock grooves, this new album puts him
in an unassailable position to banish any potential mischievous questions such
as 'can Germans sing the blues?'
4) WARREN HAYNES Man In Motion Provogue PRD7340
If like me you didn't always get the over extended jamming intensity of
Gov't Mule then, 'Man In Motion' is Warren Haynes in a more accessible vein
marrying classic soul with deep blues, three part harmony singing and the kind
of inspirational jamming that only comes from a cooking band.
5. = DAVE JACKSON BAND
DJB Gig Oil Records BOR CD01
Just like a horse that wins a race on the blind side, the Dave Jackson band
steal a place in my 2011 top ten with an album that transports you back to the
early 70’s in power trio mode.
Dave Jackson is a born
again blues man, a former New Orleans based UK expat who took up the guitar with
his bass playing partner Jan (think Andy Fraser).
The end result is Paul
Kossoff reborn with Winwood meets Paul Rodgers vocals. Then there’s his guitar
playing, a heavy toned, but fluid style given to jamming a tune or two, lovely
5. = STONEY CURTIS BAND Cosmic Connection Provogue PRD 7232 2
'Cosmic Connection' is that rare thing, a studio album full of pulverising
psychedelic tinged rock blues The twelve tracks rarely waste a note as Stoney
rocks out with a deeply ingrained intensity and makes his guitar talk through a
mixture of wah wah inflected, whammy bar mangled notes that rarely lose sight of
feel and personal expression.
1. HIGH VOLTAGE FESTIVAL 2011 Victoria Park, London E8 24 July
Great weather, well run festival with excellent turns by Thunder, Schenker
and Black Country Communion, also enjoyed Curved Air, Tull with Bonamassa and St
2. JJ GREY & MOFRO/Marcus Bonfanti @ The Boom Boom Club,
Sutton 14 May 2011
This was an organic 'feel good' ecstasy party for blues and soul fans. All
the traditional elements of rock, r&b, funk, blues and soul seeped from every
pore of a band for whom the heartfelt outpouring of songs like 'Lochlooser'
transposed the heart of soul from the 60's to 2011.
Photo: Adrian Gee
3. HENRIK FREISCHLADER BAND @ The Boom Boom Club, Sutton 16
Henrik Freischlader and his band play the kind of retro tinged, groove laden
rock-blues that recalls everyone from Robin Trower to Gary Moore while in his
quieter moments he evokes the subtleties of Peter Green.
4. ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA @ The Brighton Dome 1 December 2011
ZPZ topped and tailed things as per Frank's early 80’s shows, limbering up
with the instrumental 'Heavy Duty Judy' and climaxing on 'Muffin Man' with the
final stellar solo left to Frank on the big screen. This wasn’t so much a
collective flashback as a brilliant on going musical celebration of Frank’s
enduring 80 album legacy. A magical night.
5) CARAVAN/ CURVED AIR @ The Shepherds Bush Empire 8 October 2011
Magnificent return to form by both bands. This double helping of
Caravan and Curved Air was a musical triumph with both hope and anticipation
fully realised and at times exuberantly surpassed.
And on a night when the passing of time apparently stood still
for three and quarter blissful hours, both bands stepped up to the plate.
MAN The Live Adventures of Man Retroworld MAN 1009
This is a 7 cd box set of presumably desk tapes will satisfy the
palate of most Man fans in spite of the occasional technical glitch. Both
mainstay guitarists Deke Leonard and Micky Jones are at their best, and they are
joined by John Cipollina on recordings from both sides of the pond.
More significantly the band appeared to have updated their style
and moved with the times on the evidence of songs like ‘What A Night’, ‘Even
Visionaries Go Blind’ and ‘Perfect Strangers’ from the abortive German album.
That said, as bass player Martin Ace quips, ‘we thought we’d throw a private
party’, which suggests the band were a little ahead of their fans at the time.
RORY GALLAGHER Notes From San Francisco Capo
If you ever had to explain the reason for the enduring legend of
Rory Gallagher, and why he was revered by Hendrix himself, look no further than
this live set.
For while the studio album finds Rory in a state of flux against
a shifting musical backdrop, 'Live at The Old Waldorf' finds him in his element
as one of the great rock- blues performers of his time.
THE DOOBIE BROTHERS Live At The Greek Theatre 1982 Eagle
From circa 1976 onwards, the one time biker boogie band became
transformed into a middle of the road, chart topping white boy soul outfit. This
DVD covers that transformation with a great ‘farewell show’.
SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY & THE ASBURY DUKES ‘All I Want Is Everything’ Eagle Rock
Compare & contrast Southside and his band, as raw post
Springsteen starlets in 79 and the road hardened real deal in 92, both recorded
for Rockpalast in Germany. Fun filed Interviews too
Next big thing
VIRGIL & THE ACCELERATORS
Discovered by Otis Grand at 12 years old, championed by Joe
Bonamassa and encouraged by Kim Wilson, the impossibly young Virgil & The
Accelerators are an incredibly talented young band.
Virgil is the most intense young guitarist I’ve seen all year and
his brother is Keith Moon reborn on drums. VATA have already impressed on
festivals, toured with the likes of Joanne Shaw Taylor, Robin Trower and Wilko,
but have really made an impact with their debut CD ‘The Radium' on Mystic.
Zappa Plays Zappa. I could have thought of several reasons
not to go to this show, from the fact that all other Zappa projects seemed to
dry up before this band hit the circuit, to the fact that the project smacks of
a tribute band.
In actual fact incredible musicianship won the day as the sheer
brilliance of this octet overcame any reservations, be they Ben Thomas’s vocals
or Dweezil’s laid back countenance. By the time of ‘Black Napkins’, a brilliant
‘Cheepnis’, ‘Carolina Hardcore Ecstacy’ and a dance Contest on ‘Dancing Fool' we
were all hooked.
The multi instrumentalist/keyboard player Sceila Gonzales is a
star in the making and the climactic ‘Muffin Man’ was the perfect finale with
Frank on the big screen and Dweezil beaming on. Nostalgic maybe, but very much a
case of keeping the Zappa legacy alive.
Also the unexpected return of Roy Harper who sold out London’s South Bank
on Bonfire night with Jimmy Page in attendance. His revival has come on the back
of a new generation of roots rockers of which Scotland’s Brothers Reid harmony
driven album just missed my top 5 CD’s of the year.
Also Nashville Stacie Collins the harp blowing hell cat. If there is a
discernible parallel rock & roll universe bubbling under in the old 'Music City'
then it's surely epitomised by the kick ass rock & roll band that is Stacie
Collins & The Slim Vicious Boys.
Great and unexpected return to form with Biff Byford and Saxon
on the ‘Call To Arms’ album, while Alter Bridge have finally found their
own organics riff driven style and powerful vocal outside of the predictable
Stonking New York singer song writer Willie Nile who proves there
is room for a strong emotionally charged singer sing writer in the Springsteen
vein but with an original lyrical twist.
Finally producer Kevin Shirley’s ability to move from the
post Zeppelin sound he gave Bonamassa to his impressive sense of presence on the
excellent John Hiatt CD 'Dirty Jeans And Mudslide Hymns' (New West NWA3055
(2011) and the Beth Hart/Joe Bonamassa soul project Don't Explain (Provogue).
Despite the above, my biggest disappointment about rock in general has been the
way the genre has become very lazy.
Too many bands have stopped producing and are relying on
‘re-interpreting’ their back catalogue.
In the case of McCartney you can forgive listening to one of
rock’s great back catalogues, but there’s an increasing thin line to be drawn
between rock bands and tribute bands.
Joe Bonamassa fits the bill perfectly of course in terms of
reinventing firstly the Brit blues-rock invasion and now he’s turned his hands
to soul with Beth Hart. A case of give the people what they want perhaps?
Also astronomic ticket prices, as well as West End venues that treat music fans
like cattle, with a complete lack of ‘customer care’.
Musically speaking Kenny Wayne Shepherd returned with scintillating chops but a
lack of charisma.
1. STATUS QUO Quid Pro Quo
Best album the band have done in years...
2. WHITESNAKE Forevermore
Real return to the bands 80s pomp.
3. JOE BONAMASSA Dust Bowl
Blues Rock at its very best.
4. LESLIE WEST Unusual Suspects...
All star line up....every track a winner.
5. EUROPE Live At Shepherds Bush
Easy, I was there, and had a great night.
1. GIRLSCHOOL Hit & Run
Classic album reworked plus a couple of bonus tracks including Dio.
Photo: Noel Buckley
1. JAMES TAYLOR 02 London
Given a ticket in a box by a certain Mr Bromham.
Taylor was so good and intimate, that he turned the 02 into a small pub
2. = RINGO STARR Hampton Court
2. = BB KING Royal Albert Hall
Just to see two living legends that close.
3. EUROPE Shepherds Bush
Amazing night, think it was the atmosphere that made this gig, or was it one
two many tipples...
4. STATUS QUO Greenwich
Back on the bands home turf,Quo were on fire,warm summer evening with the pimms
5. MICHAEL MONROE High Voltage
First act on and just blew everyone away.
You would never know they have been away so long, hit the
For me it has to be The Standard in Walthamstow closing. It was my local
gig, just a bus ride away, been there for years some great acts have played
there...A real shame...
Next Best Thing
Great band, think they have to make serious inroads this year.
BETH HART ...great songs, a real star in waiting.
THE PIERCES You & I
With their career at a dead end, Coldplay's Guy Berryman brings the very best
out of sisters Allison and Catherine, and in the process crafts the retro pop /
rock album of the year.
ELEANOR McEVOY Alone
Unscheduled solo practice sessions reveal the McEvoy X Factor - the songs, and a
voice that could make the telephone directory sound like the best song ever
WITHIN TEMPTATION The Unforgiving
The Dutch symphonic rock masters take a massive step to towards the mainstream
and kick the door down. Female fronted rock par excellence.
KATY LIED Winter Lightning
Soft rock doesn't get any better, and vocalist Kate Hartnett is in stunning
BLAME SALLY Speeding Ticket And A Valentine
4 albums in, and the 4 singer songwriters shift gear and move into the country /
rock fast lane.
Amy Lashley - Travels Of A Homebody - restrained, understated and
enthralling folk / country / Americana.
Hydrogyn - Judgement Julie Westlake and Co continue to play to their
strengths and go for bust.
Whitesnake - Forevermore - a fitting swansong should this be prove to be the
'snake's final offerring.
Eden's Curse - Trinity - 3 albums, 3 classics, but the departure of Michael
Eden makes a fourth uncertain.
Tina Dico - Welcome Back Colour re-interpretations and new material
from a peerless singer songwriter.
Photo: Steve Goudie
ALICE COOPER Manchester Apollo
Sometimes the theatrics mask the Coop's songwriting skills, but this was a
masterclass in delivering classic, after classic. A living legend.
Next Big Thing
If her broody Phoenix Suite EP is anything to go by, the ex Mostly Autumn
vocalist is set for a bigger stage.
1. BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION 2
The Bonamassa Hughes understanding has taken on a new dimension with this
second offering by the supergroup that defies extinction through a team ethic
and two songwriters that feed off each other's strengths.
2. BLACK STONE CHERRY Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
It just aint fair boy! A southern rock band that followed up the modern
classic, Folklore and Superstition with yet another set of home baked humdingers
that resonate through international boundaries.
3. STEVE HACKETT Beyond the Shrouded Horizon
Steve Hackett's evocative travelogue continues with a journey through people
and places you've been in your mind's eye.
4. PHILIP SAYCE Ruby Electric
You wouldn't set fire to your Trower and Hendrix collection, but Sayce
definitely takes rock n' blues to the stratosphere.
5. NICKELBACK Here and Now
Like Black Stone Cherry this is a another top band who understand that the
groove is a rare species to be fed and watered.
NICK CAVE Let Love In
Part of a series of four simultaneous re-issues, Let Love In catapulted Cave
to the icon he is now. Not every rockers' cup of tea but a lesson in great
songwriting and a passion for the craft. Poms who whinge at illegal downloading
should view the packaging on all four of these reissues.
1. BLACK COUNTRY
COMMUNION Manchester O2 Academy
2. TANGERINE DREAM The
Lowry Theatre Salford Quays
3. DEEP PURPLE Manchester
Evening News Arena
4. MAGNUM Hard Rock Hell,
5. THE QUIREBOYS Hard Rock Hell,
Prestatyn and at Cambridge Rock
BCC have been a live revelation each time I have seen them play (three this
year). Tangerine Dream show that electronic does not have to be robotic. Froese
has a fine combination of eye candy and the more familiar wall of sound. Yes you
read this right. Tan Dream is in my top five live performances. DP may have
taken the key down a notch but the addition of the orchestra makes for an
emotional night out.
DEEP PURPLE Phoenix Rising
By far the most intriguing was this object lesson in packaging during these
days of illegal downloading. For £9.99 you would simply want the original
product due to the book that comes with it, the CD, the repackaging of the
previously ropey footage, the newly discovered material and the interviews with
Hughes and Lord. Faultless and a seasonal must for any rock fan whatever their T
GLENN HUGHES The Autobiography
You guessed it! Glenn Hughes's life story. Confession, I'd like of have
written this one, but all credit to Joel McIvor for a well crafted insight into
the mind of one of the world's most passionate performers, self confessed flaws
Next big thing
LIMEHAWK are on the verge. They're doing all the right things with social
media, but the important thing is that they have the material to boast.
Led by former Nightwing singer, Tony Reid, these are songs in the
Hendrix, Purple, Free and Cream song writing tradition. Spouses beware of sexy
hook lines that accompany you to bed.
Look out too for The Amorettes. Wreck, The Clan, Dear Superstar
and the resurgent Voodoo Six.
Ace Frehley headlines Hard Rock Hell. Is this the moment when Space Ace
finally rewards his UK Army with a gig outside London to support the Anomaly
Nope. Ace Frehley injures wrist shocker.
Black Sabbath reunion. Speaking to Krusher in the Sabbath
camp he revealed that they won't do an album unless it's better than anything
they have done before. That's a mission statement! Need I say more?
A word for John Otway at Cambridge Rock too who proved
that you can be funny and still maintain integrity.
Jon Anderson showed that he cares by contacting me to
explain a lyric that I had frowned over. Another gent,
Steve Vai should get out more. We appreciate the point of
Guitar TV but we prefer Steve Vai in our cities!
"Rock n Roll will never die"
1. STEVE HACKETT Beyond The Shrouded Horizon
Possibly the best album he's ever recorded.
2. ROGER HODGSON Classics Live
The name says it all. Emotive and timeless.
3. NEIL YOUNG Treasure
Excellent live album recorded with the International Harvesters from
PINK FLOYD Animals
The Sheep still have teeth even after all these years. My favourite Floyd
Photo: Lee Millward
1. RUSH, LG Arena
The best live band on the planet without a doubt.
2. ROGER HODGSON Liverpool Philharmonic
Grown men crying tears of joy, myself included
3. STEVE HACKETT Gloucester Guildhall
The prog legend re-invigorated and back with possibly the best album of his
career, and a band that can do it, and the older stuff, onstage.
4. BLACKMORE'S NIGHT Buxton Opera House
A joyous three hour medieval rock romp.
5. ROGER WATERS Birmingham NIA
The Wall live is something every rock fan should see once...Awe inspiring stuff
RUSH Time Machine
Next Big Thing
JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR
Surely destined for bigger things. A powerhouse onstage.
1. AKIN The Way Things End
An absolute gem of an album - top notch progressive rock from France of all
places. You don't have to be a prog-head to love this either – if you love great
rock music peerlessly played, have a listen to this.
2. BETH HART & JOE BONAMASSA Don't Explain
Whoever thought of putting these two together should be awarded some sort of
medal. Although mostly covers, Beth and Joe stamp their own personalities on
every track to stunning effect.
3. BLACKFIELD Welcome To My DNA
Is there any stopping Steven Wilson? This is his third collaboration with
Aviv Geffen as Blackfield and they just go from strength to strength. As
Zeppelin once said - to be a rock and not to roll. Sums them up perfectly.
4. MEGAN HENWOOD Making Waves
Absolutely staggering debut album from an English singer/songwriter of the
highest calibre. In turns powerful, expressive and hauntingly beautiful, the CD
is seldom far away from my CD player, and with 'The Honest Song' my vote for
song of the year!
5. PENDRAGON Passion
Pendragon are back with a bang. As good as their two previous albums were
('Believe' and 'Pure'), 'Passion' takes the band to a new level. All the usual
things we love about them are still here, but they've pushed on - and the result
JETHRO TULL Aqualung - 40th Anniversary Special Edition
Yes, I know, this is the umpteenth re-issue of this iconic album, but the
ubiquitous Steven Wilson has conjured something a bit special from the original
master tapes and made the whole album come alive with staggering clarity. Tracks
I thought I knew intimately I now realise I didn't and with a bonus disc of
remastered early gems and new stereo mixes of early favourites, it's surely been
pushed into the ‘must buy' category.
Next big thing
The aforementioned Megan Henwood. If she can push on from her stunning debut
album on her next outing, she'll be joining the likes of Thea Gilmore, Martha
Tilston and even Kate Rusby at the top of the English singer/songwriter tree.
Not so much an artist as a country. Poland has been producing some of the
most amazing progressive rock over the past year or so. The likes of Riverside,
Believe and After have been joined by upcoming bands such as Xanadu, Millenium
and Disperse carrying the torch of prog onwards and upwards with outstanding
songwriting wedded to peerless musicianship.
1. TOUCHSTONE The City Sleeps
This fantastic band have done the close to impossible and managed to follow the
stunning Wintercoast album in some style.
2. BETH HART & JOE BONAMASSA Don’t Explain
First class blues album from this partnership of one of the world’s best blues
guitarists and one of the most powerful female vocalists around.
3. HEATHER FINDLAY The Phoenix Suite E.P
Impressive new music from the ex-Mostly Autumn lead vocalist.
4. ARENA The Seventh Degree of Separation
Only just released, a dynamic album by the prog rock supergroup.
5. WITHIN TEMPTATION The Unforgiving
Another outstanding album of Gothic rock this time with a concept.
CARAVAN In The Land of Grey and Pink
Eccentric but fabulous album.
1. DR FEELGOOD Leamington Assembly 25/11/11
Gig of the year, fantastic support by Nine Below Zero, Feelgood on fire with a
perfect set list and crowd really up for it, a special night.
2. MOSTLY AUTUMN Cambridge Rock Festival 2011
The band on magnificent form for their regular appearance at this fantastic
festival with Olivia well settled into her lead vocal duties.
3. SAXON Leamington Assembly 9/4/2011
Biff and the boys rocked up a storm, plenty of classics, cracking new material
and a fantastic atmosphere.
4. FISH Cox’s Yard Stratford Upon Avon
Great to see the big man in such top form at this intimate acoustic show.
5. LARRY MILLER Cambridge Rock Festival 2011
An electric performance by one of the UK’s finest blues performers.
AC/DC Live At The River Plate
Fantastic picture quality and sound and a superb souvenir of a knock out tour.
Next Big Thing
I'm positive she will go from strength to strength as a solo artist with the
quality of her debut EP and her first solo live performances.
1. ALICE COOPER Welcome 2 My Nightmare
Alice is in stunning form at the moment and this album is testament to
that. Deserving of it’s top billing and to the Welcome To My Nightmare legend.
2. JOURNEY Eclipse
A solid release from Journey letting Neal Schon’s guitar dictate the
sound accompanied by an excellent vocal performance from Arnel Pineda.
3. LECHERY In Fire
One I was asked to review which has been a permanent fixture in the
car multi player ever since. Excellent Swedish metal.
4. MACHINE HEAD Into The Locust
Only recently released, but already up there with the best, Rob and
the guys follow up The Blackening with another cracker.
5. JUDAS PRIEST The Chosen Few
Ok, this may be another repackaging of their greatest hits but what’s
not to like. Every track a classic.
Photo: David Wilson
1. JUDAS PRIEST SECC, Glasgow
A metal show how it should be done, I couldn't fault this amazing
performance. I said it was gig of the year at the time and there has been no
2. VOLBEAT The Garage, Glasgow
Denmark's finest were on top form here and turned in a fantastic
show. Bigger venues in the UK surely beckon next time around.
3. THE BRONX/MARIACHI EL BRONX The Garage, Glasgow
This was one of those gigs you go to with low expectations but
come away absolutely gob smacked. Everyone should check these guys out in either
4. Saturday At DOWNLOAD Donington Park
A combination of a great line up at the second stage and warm
sunshine made for a memorable day. It also led to my first review being
published on GRTR !
5. DIO DISCIPLES/THE RODS The Garage, Glasgow
Despite all the question marks surrounding the DD tour this gig
was a total triumph and a fitting reminder of the legacy left by Ronnie Dio. To
have The Rods in support was just icing on the cake.
1. MICHAEL MONROE
A fine return to form for
the ex-Hanoi Rocks frontman.
2. VAIN Enough
The album was delayed but
was well worth the wait.
3. ELECTRIC BOYS
And Them Boys Done Swang
Reformed and rejuvenated
the band has created a great new album.
4.. SEBASTIAN BACH
Kicking & Screaming
This could be the best
album of Bach’s career- with echoes of Skid Row’s 'Slave To The Grind', could a
reunion be on the cards?
DEF LEPPARD Mirrorball
Great live album from the
1. ROLLING STONES
One of the band’s biggest
selling albums, now given the same kind of makeover that 'Exile on Main St'
enjoyed last year.
Duff McKagan’s Loaded have
reissued the album with extra tracks and a DVD. This album may have been
overlooked in certain quarters until now but is a real corker!!
1. DUFF McKAGAN
It’s So Easy (and other lies)
Easily the best rock
biography out there at the moment, a close runner up being Sammy Hagar’s 'Red'.
EUROPE @ The Shepherds Bush
Almost a year to the day
since I saw the band at the same venue, this show was simply stunning.
MICHAEL MONROE @ The Islington
Great band assembled by
Monroe, unfortunately Ginger has since left the band.
CRUE/Poison @ The Hollywood Bowl
With the third band on the
bill being the New York Dolls, this show was Motley Crue’s homecoming and both
them and Poison were superb.
THUNDER @ The High Voltage Festival
A gig I thought I’d never
see, the band were undoubtedly the highlight of this year’s festival. Surely
they will be back?
RECKLESS LOVE @ The Islington
This band is the missing
link between Van Halen and Hanoi Rocks. Catchy songs and a great live show mean
that they are rapidly increasing their fan base.
SLASH Made in Stoke
The former GnR, and
current Velvet Revolver, guitarist brings his solo show to the town where he
ROLLING STONES Some
Girls Live in Texas '78
Great show from the band's 1978 US Tour.
Does what it says on the tin- literally!!
Next big thing
Great band with a healthy
nod to Led Zeppelin. The band will be over here again next year to play shows
with Black Stone Cherry.
I have recently discovered
a great southern rock band by the name of Blackberry Smoke - how I have
overlooked these in the past couple of years I do not know. Check out their
'Little Piece of Dixie' album.
The never ending wait for
the new studio album from Van Halen.
Not to book a 2 week
holiday in June again- I missed some great gigs this year!!
1. ANNA CALVI Anna Calvi
A stunning debut album showing great musical technique and originality
in the song writing
2. TOUCHSTONE The City Sleeps
A brilliant fusion of prog and metal. Well crafted songs delivered by
3. HUGH LAURIE Let Them Talk
Better known as an actor and comedian, Laurie shows a love and passion
for the blues that's well worth listening to. This may seem like a celebrity
cashing in on his fame, but Laurie is too good a musician to be dismissed so
lightly and has surrounded himself with some greats to produce a truly
4. KATE BUSH 50 Words for Snow
A welcome return of one of music's great creative minds
5. BETH HART & JOE BONAMASSA Don't Explain
A brilliant set of blues, soul and jazz covers by a great guitarist
and a great vocalist
Photo: Bob Singleton
1. TOUCHSTONE The Borderline, London
2. SILVERBOX Clapham Grand
3. NICO'S ACADEMY at The Bulldog Bash
4. JOANNE SHAW TAYLOR O2 Islington (May)
5. PETER HOOK'S THE LIGHT Scala
Next big thing
Nick van der Meurlen
1. WHITESNAKE Forevermore
A bit of everything in this release, but DC's partnership with
Doug Aldrich is well displayed here.
2. BRIAN ROBERTSON
Diamonds And Dirt
The surprise of the year for me. Brilliant, simple rock songs
with good melody and Robbo licks!
3. JOE BONAMASSA
JB engraves his name deeper into Blues lovers hearts with each
release. This is no exception.
4. EDGUY Age Of The Joker
It's Sammet with his whacky sense of humour in good, upbeat, rock
5. EDEN'S CURSE
A stonking release with some heavy music. A shame that this union
had to come to an end…
THIN LIZZY Black Rose and Live and
RAMMSTEIN Cape Town, February 2011
Loud, great showmanship, fans left deaf and happy (some had their
rubber suits melted!)
AVANTASIA Flying Opera
Next big thing
Their debut rocked and more is expected from their sophomore
release in 2012
Biggest surprise of the year
BRIAN ROBERTSON see above
ALICE COOPER Welcome 2 My Nightmare
With all the rave reviews I must have missed the point, but I
don't feel I need to go through hell to listen to Alice perform disco!
1. NOEL GALLAGHER'S HIGH FLYING BIRDS Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
Proof if it were needed on where the real talent lay in Oasis as Noel's
debut solo outing far outshines Liam's "Beady Eye" release.
2. RIVAL SONS Pressure And Time
An album that's clearly influenced by 70s rock giants but doesn't sound like
a pastiche. Instead it's chock full of great tracks.
3. SHY Shy
Only nostalgia for "Excess All Areas" stops me saying this
betters it. Sadly the final time we'll hear a new album from the talented Steve
4. WHITESNAKE Forevermore
To these ears less contrived that the "Good To Be Bad" album, and more nods
to the earliest incarnation of the band.
5. STATUS QUO Quid Pro Quo
Barring the Rick Parfitt penned cliche-fest - "Lets Rock" - another album
from a band that appear to remembered what they're about since '99s "Under The
DEVIL'S CREEK Th3rds
British blues-rock band's third album once again combines originals with
well chosen covers and simply continues the excellent work of the first two.
MOTORHEAD The World Is Yours
Exactly what we've come to expect from Motorhead but you wouldn't want it
any other way.
BLACK STONE CHERRY Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea
A band finallybreaking through to the big league with another excellent
THE ANSWER Revival
Clearly learned a bit from the exposure of a World Tour with AC/DC. Classy,
bluesy-rock from Ireland's finest.
A welcome return to the "Spellbound" era sound although sadly not followed
up with tour dates.
PAUL McCARTNEY/WINGS - Band On The Run, McCartney, McCartney
Macca at last opens the vaults and adds some rarities to original albums
given the workover treatment by the same team behind The Beatles remasters.
"Band On The Run" is essential if you can't afford all three.
JOHN OTWAY & WILD WILLY BARRETT - 40 Odd Years
The hit, the b-side and just about all the other must have's by the odd
couple along with one new track.
IRON MAIDEN From Fear To Eternity
Collecting the best of the "latter era" of the band its a reminder of just
how good their more recent output has been despite it being overshadowed by what
IRON MAIDEN Birmingham NIA
Simply the best live metal band out there. Plenty from the excellent "The
Final Frontier" album but enough of the classics to keep the casuals and
reformation detractors happy.
An honourable mention to John Otway & Wild Willy Barratt at The Globe in
Cardiff. The go-to gig if you've ever wondered how a wheelie bin could be
used on stage. Hugely entertaining duo and a hugely entertaining show.
Martin Scorsese's George Harrison film "Living In The Material World"
2 disc documentary on the "Quiet Beatle" that gives equal time to his later
career as it does to his 60's band. Fascinating insight into the life of a
Next Big Thing
Gotta be after how good their debut was!
1. ANTHRAX Worship Music
Hands down album of the year for me. The first one with Joey in
many years shows that they haven't lost a thing!! Could even be the best album
Anthrax has ever recorded.
2. DREAM THEATER A Dramatic Turn Of Events
Been a fan of DT since their first album, so I was very skeptical
about them moving ahead without Mike Portnoy. Worries were quickly alleviated on
first listen. This is the Dream Theater album the fans of been longing for for
3. ICED EARTH Dystopia
First album with new singer Stu Block (Into Eternity) is
outstanding! Could easily have taken the #1 or #2 spot if those releases weren't
so stellar. Stu fits perfectly into the Iced Earth sound. His abilities as a
vocal chameleon prove he is one of the best metal singers on the scene today.
4. ALICE COOPER Welcome 2 My Nightmare
Alice Cooper is a performer I have admired since I was a young
child. Until about 1982, his music - along with KISS, The Beatles, and Black
Sabbath - essentially represented the only music I listened to. Again, I was
skeptical about a follow-up to what would be considered his masterpiece, but I
think he released an excellent accompaniment to the original. Sure, it's not
quite as classic as the first one, but it's an excellent combo of old and new
5. CROWBAR Sever the Wicked Hand
Crowbar returns to the scene with a fantastic collection of the
doom sludge fans have come to know and love over the years. Anything
particularly mind-blowing? Not really, but I'm a pretty big fan of the band and
was excited to see them release new music.
1. DREAM THEATER/TRIVIUM
Any year I get to see DT live is a good year. Taking in
consideration this was the first tour with new drummer Mike Mangini,
expectations were uncertain. Mangini more than surpassed the abilities to fill
the shoes of Portnoy. Stellar performance, excellent setlist, and yet again they
prove they're one of the most talented bands playing today. Trivium were an
interesting combination, but with DT there was no need for an opening act.
2. ANTHRAX/TESTAMENT/ DEATH ANGEL
As a lifelong fan of thrash, this was the must-see tour of it's
kind. So awesome I'm seeing this package again next year, so I wouldn't be
surprised to see it wind up in my top 5 next year too.
3. JUDAS PRIEST/BLACK LABEL SOCIETY/THIN LIZZY
A very interesting combination of bands, but it worked pretty
well. Rob Halford blew me away with the fact that he still can do it on stage.
Just incredible that he still manages to pull off those vocal acrobats. Thin
Lizzy were a magnificent tribute to the late great Phil Lynott. BLS weren't as
on as I had seen on previous tours, but weren't the band I was there to see.
He has found a goldmine with Myles Kennedy. He should never, ever
look back on the past, but keep forward. He doesn't need Axl when he has a far
better singer, who can still pull off the classic GNR stuff. Such an incredible
show, I saw it twice.
I'm blessed by the fact I get to see these guys live pretty much
every year. They never cease to amaze me with how spot on they are live. CJ
Snare, much like Halford, can still provide vocally like he could back in the
day. They're a class act when it comes to the fans as well.
TWISTED SISTER From the Bars To the Stars
OK, I'm cheating a bit here as it's a multi-DVD set, but it
contains some very classsic Twisted shows, plus the legendary reunion show in
honor of the 9/11 tragedy called NY Steel. Just an excellent collection and just
takes you back to those good old days when the hair was huge.
Again, going for a multiple box set deal here, but this is
probably the best remastered package I have ever heard. Ever. Rush are such an
amazing band with their music, but to finally hear it crystal clear and pristine
makes this an easy choice for me. Worth every penny I paid for it.
Next Big Thing
OK, unless you read my blogs you probably have no idea who I am
talking about. This is an excellent thrash band from the Charlotte, NC area.
They've got that old school thrash style, but they take it to a whole new level.
They've been slogging away in the studio on their upcoming release (as of yet
untitled,) but I have been lucky enough to hear it a few times and it blows me
away. If they catch on right, they could really turn heads in the metal world.
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