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Jeff Scott Soto @ The Asylum, Birmingham (5/4/13)

posted 21 Apr 2013, 08:12 by Paul Woodward
Review By Woody

Jeff has been excited about his European tour dates for quite some time and he was keen to not only support fellow musicians but also offer fans a value for money line-up, so tonight’s support acts have benn given the JSS seal of approval!

It’s no surprise with the Asylum venue been owned by Shy bassist Roy Davies that the occasional melodic rock act will slip through onto this emerging Brum live music venue which has gathered a loyal following from its club nights which has lead to it been an ideal venue for Kerrang friendly metal and also very extreme and death metal which are becoming the venue’s trademark. Also if I’m honest The Asylum’s main room is probably the only live venue in Brum I actually like so it’s great to see JSS here!

Although tonight’s opening act Danger Angel have the seal of approval of JSS and he produced their brand new album Revolutia I wasn’t initially excited by the prospect of seeing these Greek’s perform. Their previous album I thought was really poor and the vocals were awful and they made the album almost unlistenable. Against my better judgement I got my hands on Revolutia in preparation for these shows and after giving the album a spin I was left thinking was it the same band?! The latest album see’s a monumental improvement in the band’s songs and the new singer M.T is a hundred times better!

So it’s absolutely no surprise that tonight’s set only featured songs from their latest opus! The venue was still filling up as the band hit the stage but they came out ready to rock as though the room was packed! The sound was crystal clear for them and it really showed the band’s songs off in the best possible light. They definitely won some new fans tonight judging by applause and crowd reaction to their brand of highly melodic rock with a dark twist.

I think the most striking thing about Danger Angel is that Keyboardist Ahas not only came onstage wielding a mighty Keytar he performed the whole set with IT!!!! So obviously this allowed him to be more mobile onstage and he worked the stage like a guitarist which was great to see as the keyboardist normally gets shoved in the dark at the rear of the stage! I was really impressed with his performance in particular as his key’s are very important to Danger Angel’s sound.

I really need to do some research on these guys because they performed like stage veterans and didn’t come across like a new band in the slightest. Vocalist M.T was engaging and vocally strong throughout their set!

They played ‘One Hit In The Night’, ‘Road Kill’, ‘Dead By Christmas’, ‘Falling’, ‘When I’m Gone’, ‘Don’t Die Young’, ‘Not An Angel’ and ‘I’m Not Here’. Their set was cut short though by the no nonsense stage manager and the band reluctantly and abruptly left the stage; it was obvious they wanted to play for far longer! My opinion on these guys has spun 360 and I really hope they do manage to get back to the UK in the future!

Next up was a three piece lead by Guitarist Jorge Salan who is also part of JSS’s current touring band. Obviously Jorge has Jeff’s seal of approval so I’m reluctant to say anything negative but I have to admit that Jorge’s set did see a dip in the momentum of the evening built up by Danger Angel.

At first I wondered if it was because most the songs were in his native Spanish tongue, but to be honest they just didn’t grab my attention and the band lacked the fire and stage presence of their predecessors so they weren’t exactly an exciting band to watch.

He also bunged in two very well known covers, which was probably a good idea as they got the best reaction’s Bon Jovi’s ‘Lay Your Hand’s’ and set closer Gary Moore’s ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’.

The best thing about Jorge was whilst watching him play and hearing what he was capable of, I was thinking wow this guy should be great on  Jeff’s solo songs, his songs didn’t grab me but his talent was plain to see!

I think most people here tonight were very excited to see Jeff Scott Soto live again as it has been quite a while since he’s toured the UK! So it’s great to see Jeff come bursting on stage all guns blazing and seeing him so wildly fired up during the show’s opener ‘Take You Down’ and he was greeted by a wall of cheers! Jeff then told us that he was running on adrenaline as he hadn’t slept for almost 48 hours after been unable to sleep in Belfast the previous night knowing he had a really early flight into Brum, so he was all apologies if things weren’t right tonight. He really shouldn’t have worried as he and his band put on a storming show regardless, admittedly his voice was a bit raw to start off with but as the set wore on he soon got back to his usual self but this didn’t distract from an immensely enjoyable set form Jeff and his band!

It was a really fun gig, Jeff engaged the crowd frequently and was very jovial and the band did plenty of ad-lib and pastiches on the usual concert ‘set piece’s we’ve all become used to over the years. Something I felt was great and it was done in a really entertaining way, they all seemed so up for it tonight especially Jeff who was in fine form and although suffering from sleep deprivation was enjoying his time on stage!

Jorge Salan was as good as I thought he would be and did an amazing job on all the songs played tonight, Jeff had picked his guitarist well. We had B.J on Keyboards and Guitar’s who was a really impressive multi instrumentalist with a great voice of his own although his name did bring much piss taking from Jeff. Drummer Edu Cominato also helped out on backing vocals and was a really impressive drummer, I really liked that when he got his drum solo he played well known drum sections from songs so rather than the usual boring drum solo, yes we know you can hit shit! And yes we know you can hit it fast and indeed slow! But I actually enjoyed Edu’s drum solo, and I never thought I would ever say I enjoyed a drum solo!

In fact Jeff gave all his band solo moments which they all did a great job on mainly because they chose to do melodies and songs as opposed to a little self indulgent show off jam widdly bollocks , which I’m sure not only myself but the crowd were appreciative of!

Bass man David Z though WOW what a performer, he bounced round the stage with as much energy and fire as Jeff himself with a ten mile smile for the entire night. The pair bounced off each really well and enjoyed a lot of banter and it was really fun to watch them interacting! We need to see more of David Z in the UK! ZO2 (That’s David’s own band) for a UK Festival soon please!

I had thought Jeff got a great crowd reaction from the start, but when four songs in when BJ starts playing that unforgettable opening keyboard riff from W.E.T’s ‘One Love’ I thought the roar was going to tear the Asylum a new hole! I think it’s safe to say Jeff’s side project W.E.T is very popular! It was great to hear the song as I hadn’t expected to hear any W.E.T songs and they are not a band who I think I’ll ever see live, so it was a really cool moment to hear this song live!

The crowd did take it’s time to warm up and initially weren’t as noisy and into it, but as the set wore on they got louder and probably drunker too! I think Jeff choose a good set of solo material including ‘21st Centaury’, ‘Damage Control’, ‘Look Inside Your Heart’ which he messed up the lyric’s up on and too much laughter and apologies he made the band start over as he wanted to do it properly for the fans – he just needed the first line! ‘Soul Devine’, ‘Tears I Cry’, ‘Broken Man’ and ‘Eyes Of Love’.

For me the highlight of the entire set was the Talisman medley. I’d love to see that band live; I know it’ll never happen and understandably so due to the tragic passing of key Talisman man Marcel Jacob, but when you hear Jeff doing this Medley you just wish you was at a full Talisman concert! So we heard snippets of ‘Break Your Chains’, ‘Day By Day’, ‘Give Me A Sign’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘Mysterious’, ‘Just Between us’, ‘Frozen’, ‘Crazy’ and of course ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ on which before the reprise of the chorus he tapped his Talisman t-shirt re-marking I’ve got unfinished business, this unfinished business! It was a great medley and Jeff nailed it perfectly!

Oddly Jeff did a cover Wildlife’s ‘Shot In The Dark’ you know the band the Overland Brothers of FM were in prior to FM, oh hang on a minute didn’t that Ozzy Osbourne turn it into a worldwide hit, that cheeky Brummie scamp! Jeff did a great rendition of the song and it certainly got the crowd going! We also got ‘Livin’ The Life’ and the set closer was ‘Stand Up and Shout’ which Jeff wrote and performed for the film ‘Rockstar’. They left the stage doing a cheeky improv acapella rendition of Steel Panther’s ‘Community Property’ which got everyone chuckling!

Given the roar and chanting which continued after the encore the band were compelled to come back out again, and Jeff said “well we did cut one song to stick to the curfew, shall we do it”! Unfortunately the no nonsense stage manager was there as a quick as a flash to usher the band off-stage, which was a shame and made the fella rather unpopular! I know curfews are the law and breaking them can lose you your license, but I couldn’t help thinking if this was JB’s or the Robin....given the crowd demand, we would have gotten that extra song!

Jeff promised us a killer show in the build up this tour and he delivered it all as promised! A great fun evening full of laughter, energy and Fire! Thanks Jeff! Now don’t leave it so long before you return!