alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
Not so long ago I asked [personal profile] sally_maria if she knew of any good music that I might like and had overlooked. She sent me a link to Nighwish on Youtube playing Elvenpath. That was instantly attractive to me so I listened to more of their music over the next few weeks or months. Sometime early in this process Hibernia asked if I wanted to go to a Nightwish concert, but I was uncertain back then.

Later she asked again, and by then I had listened to much more on Youtube, downloaded a few tracks, and then bought some CDs. Then I said that if tickets were still available I definitely wanted to go, no doubt at all.

Nightwish have a big sound, but they have superb control of it. I have experienced bands with a less “big” sound who, by a combination of how the music was arranged, and the sound quality, end up with a somewhat blurred and muddy result.

Nightwish, by contrast, made the big sound really work for them. It helped that the vocalist has a powerful voice, so that she didn't end up being too far back in the mix.

There is some argument among Nightwish fans about what singer is better. I think that the majority of comments I have read preferred their first vocalist, Tarja Tarunen, to the second one, Anette Olzon. It seems to me that almost any vocalist might suffer from the comparison with Tarja, but it is also important that Anette's vocal range is not the same as Tarja's, and when the band was writing material which matched her range that worked better. Certainly Imaginaerum, their most recent album, with Anette singing, works for me. The material is not quite as compelling as a couple of my favourite songs, Wish I had an Angel and Planet Hell, from earlier in their career, but that is totally failing to damn with very faint criticism.

Anette has left Nightwish, reportedly due to health issues, part way through the Imaginaerum tour. I read somewhere that she had intended to leave at a later date, in good order, so I surmise that she will not now return. We had these tickets, and I had looked forward to seeing Anette on stage, because from the Youtube videos she seems to have a strong stage presence and be full of energy and bounce. Who would stand in for her? The answer is; a stunningly good Dutch vocalist, Floor Janssen. She seems to have the majority of the good points of both the previous vocalists. She is billed as a visiting musician, and she has her own band, but I really hope that she and Nightwish will discuss a longer term musical collaboration.

That she used to earn at least part of her income doing vocal training, and that I remember reading somewhere that someone was very good, and had been trained by Floor Janssen, maybe gives background support for my impression of her.

The set started with Storytime, one of my favourite tracks from Imaginaerum, then Dark Chest of Wonders and Wish I had an Angel, which I reckon got them off to a very good start.

Sadly I can't remember the whole setlist, but they finished, not unexpectedly, with The Last Ride of the Day. That concert cheered me up more than anything that has happened to me recently. Nightwish have impressed the wossname out of me.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Iron Maiden)
just won their category, best live act, on the Brit Awards. Yay!
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)

Yesterday evening we went to a pub in Kettering particularly to see Blaze Bayley's band, but both of the bands on before were also good. I particularly enjoyed Voodoo Six. If I can catch up with my work, which I am managing well under half speed, I'll post a photo or two.

I found myself next to Rockchick, who we first met at the Lauren Harris gig at the same pub. She was, as previously, taking a lot of pictures with a truly impressive camera. She let me have a closer look at it after the gig - it is a Nikon digital SLR, with a zoom lens that you operate by hand and, of course, a true optical viewfinder. The focus is auto, though. She said she had just gotten that new lens and was well pleased with it.

Blaze sang on (I think) two Iron Maiden albums, before pressure from the fans induced them to get back together with Bruce Dickinson. Blaze did not quite have the vocal range to sing songs from their other albums in the way that Bruce had, but I would be happy if occasionally they had Blaze on stage as a special guest for a song or two - or maybe for one song on an album.

There were six different real ales available at the pub, and the four I tried were all good. Hobgoblin on handpump is not widely available, and that was the greatest treat for me. Then we shared a kebab, with lots of chilli sauce and (just for me because they are too much of a good thing for Hibernia) several pickled chillis. I had a better nights sleep than I had managed for ages;-)

alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
Last week he went to the HIM gig at the Astoria, then to Status Quo at the weekend. And now to Hawkwind, again at the Astoria - what an evening! The support band was not great, but as Hibernia Said, they had a strong rhythm. True, I said, but that is all they had. Not so, she said, they also had hair.

Well, I said, that might interest you because they are all blokes. That doesn't interest me for exactly the same reason. Now, if they'd all been women...

Of the three gigs, l enjoyed Hawkwind the most. Interestingly the Hawkwind gig was by far the most crowded. Not bad for a band I remember being in the charts when I was in my early teens, so that would be about 40 years ago. When we saw them at The Stables earlier in the year there was a smaller lineup. This evening there were five of them and they really gave it some enthusiasm. There is a new bass player, but he played the way we both like it.

It's the Spirit of the Age... and they are Masters of the Universe.
alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
We went to a club venue in Kettering, where Lauren Harris was playing. Hibernia organised this, and I'm glad that she did. We missed the first band, because it is a long drive and we had to finish a days work, but were there in good time for "Still Remains" - a band neither of us had ever heard of before, but who played a very enjoyable set.

Lauren Harris's band were superb, and everyone called for more until they played another song. OK, if her father was not a top rock musician, she wouldn't have got a chance, but after that is depends on what she does with the opportunity.

The bonuses were a selection of excellent beers, starting with Hobgoblin, then two I had never found before, and the drumer gave me one of his drumsticks. Yay - something to treasure when we're in our dotage and Lauren Harris's band are megastars.

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alitalf: Skiing in the 3 Valleys, France, 2008 (Default)
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