CAGE / GUILTY AS CHARGED
Date: 16th April, 2017
Venue: Rockbåten M/S Harmony
Tickets: 150SEK (€16/$16)
Promoter: Rockbåten M/S Harmony
Photos: Erika Wallberg
It's a rather cool idea to have a club on a boat; the waves will make people look drunker than they are, due to the boat rocking. Ok, M/S Harmony never left the docks, so it's not like it was a Rock cruise or anything like that, but it did rock.
GUILTY AS CHARGED took on the stage (oh, well...) area first. These Belgian guys played a good mix of new school and old school, there was definitely as solid Thrash bottom in their music but the add-on of guitar harmonies and melodies made it appear a bit more modern. We're not talking about Three Cool Words type Aggro-Pop band, GUILTY AS CHARGED was definitely genuine Metal even if the first glance could make you think otherwise. It only took a bit of the set opener “Preach To The Masses” to realize that this band is on to something good. Vocalist and at the same time guitarist Jan De Vuyssere did what he could to get the rather sparsely crowded venue to come forward and warm up for CAGE. He succeeded, ok, it only took 5-6 people to pack out the front row but the atmosphere built up became very good and cozy.
Another favorite from GUILTY AS CHARGED's set was “Lack Of Control”, apparently that had been the case the night before and bassist Hannes De Caluwe was lost in Trollhättan and had the band perform as a three-piece. Even if it got a bit thin on occasion, it still worked, and as said, it was just on occasions the bass was missed to any great extent. Another one that stood out was “When Angels Suffer” (I think) and what got stuck was the, very up-tempo “I Wanna Be Somebody"-type melody line in the song and connecting it to W.A.S.P though the Chris Holmes version W.A.S.P - Where Angels Suffer...
Anyway, this was GUILTY AS CHARGED's last date with CAGE and it must have been a rather staggering ending, due to the loss of the bass-player, also that the crowd was pretty small. Still, they did a fantastic job, it all sounded great and was good fun to watch.
GUILTY AS CHARGED
(click to enlarge)
It actually feels rather strange to watch a show from the same level with the band as Rockbåten has no stage whatsoever, nothing to raise the band a bit over everyone else at all. The height of the roof doesn't allow anything like that. This didn't stop CAGE though - it didn't matter that the crowd was straight at them most of the show; they continued to play as if this was the most natural situation on the whole world. In general, the sound was very good but CAGE had some technical difficulties during the first few songs and these ones weren't performed with the same conviction that is known for CAGE. It was sorted out and from “I Am The King” and onward the show was the smack in the face. What a voice Sean Peck does possess; his tone and dynamics are fantastic and those high-pitched screams. If that doesn't give you goose-bumps you're not a metalhead. The crowd was invited to sing a bit here too and it was good to see that everyone in the front actually knew the words. Rather easy of course but still... I've seen bigger bands just get a drunken growl back even for their biggest hits.
Sean complained about a cold he had caught prior to the show, that he had to stop talking (yeah right?!?!) to save his voice for the show and when he was to kick off “Helldestroyer” his voice failed him. As soon as the song was started, everything was back to normal again and this one too sounded fantastic. Now the crowd started to wake up for real too. The one thing to complain about with this show was that it was just “Beholder” and “Blinded By Rage” from extraordinary “Ancient Evil” recorded which was released in 2015. If you’d ask me, CAGE could have played it from start to finish and I would have freaked out. It's super from start to end and the end from “Sinister Six” to “Tomorrow Never Came” that's probably the best things ever released when it comes to US Power Metal. But I'm happy some songs from that album showed up in the set.
What I really liked with the CAGE set was that it felt improvised especially during the second half with the discussions between the band member in between the songs about what was next. “From Death To Legend” is not very common for CAGE to play so that was very cool. Another one that I really like is “Chupacabra”; the bounce in that one is unbelievable and it had that same, very nice groove too. Sean took the opportunity to thank the ‘70000 Tons Of Metal’ crowd also and half the crowd thought it was hilarious while the rest didn't understand at all. Apparently everyone isn't familiar with the massive, both in size and number of bands, ‘70000 Tons Of Metal’ cruise from Miami around the Caribbean Islands...
Casey “The Sentinel” Trask's energy on stage was really fascinating and completely different form when he was roaming the venue prior to the show. His performance was really intense and on occasion his facial expression had resemblances with Dopey, one of the seven dwarfs from Snow White. He's a fantastic guitarist too and everything looked so easy, everything was played totally effortless. The solo that preceding “Flying Fortress” is just one good example of that. That's always fascinating to see. The musical quality of CAGE has always been outstanding and there's no deviation from that these days either.
I always prefer bands playing originals in place of covers, and yes, I would have taken another CAGE original instead of JUDAS PRIEST's “The Sentinel” if I could have chosen. Still, it is my favorite JUDAS PRIEST song and it sure stirred up the crowd to the max. Let's put it like this: the bar-staff were busy all night judging of the state of the crowd at this point of the show. What made the whole thing with the cover great though was Sean's story when CAGE had opened for JUDAS PRIEST in USA and Sean had a big boa constrictor on stage which he lost and before anyone reacted it had made itself comfortable in Glen Tipton's gears freaking out the mega-star guitarist completely.
Since there was no way out of stage, CAGE just kept playing; “King Diamond” went down well too as did set closer “Wings Of Destruction”. The good atmosphere built up early in the evening remained to the end and of course, when you have a batch of 2m tall biker dudes filling the front-line it will be intense even if the population at Rockbåten left more to wish for. CAGE really gave it all and made this a fantastic night, right in CAGE standards.
(click to enlarge)