Michael Schenker Group at the Shepherds Bush Empire
Michael Schenker Group at the Shepherds Bush Empire 12th May
Having recently seen the stellar UFO act at the Kentish Town Forum, it was a double indulgence to imbibe five of the same anthems performed by Michael Schenker soon afterwards.
Whilst I still plump for UFO first any day, MSG were on great form, tight and immediately comfortable with the venue, forging straight “Into The Arena” following the classic William Shatner intro. Shatner’s dark lord overture signalled an Amon Amarth style battle metal show rather than what appeared – a diminutive, wiry figure in a beeny sporting oversized coloured trainers, bent over his flying V in the far corner of the stage.
But all was not quite lost on the heavy metal front. Once the electrifying Doogie White exploded onto the arena with Glaswegian gusto. For someone that auditioned with Iron Maiden and fronted Rainbow with Richie Blackmore, Doogie’s classic rock voice and massive persona carried the band through the concert as a powerhouse of Celtic energy.
This leg of the tour also brought with it strong Teutonic weighting, the line up including Scorpions’ Michael Bucholz on bass and Herman Rarebell on Drums. A number of Scorpions’ songs were included in the repertoire such as “Blackout” for the encore and “Rock You Like A Hurricane”, “Love Drive” and “Another Piece Of Meat” as well as MSG’s own material.
Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock Tour has been trucking the world since kick off on February 15th in San Francisco and now has just 11 gigs to go. Some would argue that to compare MSG to UFO is not valid but having seen the same hits performed live by both, UFO still has more star quality.
The support band, seven year old Northerners Exit State, were a raw and powerful production. I was sorry to have missed most of it – these guys are definitely worth seeing any time they are in your vicinity. Headed up by Roy Bright (apparently related to footballer Mark Bright) these are a mean looking bunch of metallers. Check out “Black Veins”.
Review by Pandora Mather-Lees, May 2012