Concert Review – Pop Goes Metal (Willi Willie Bar e Arqueria, São Paulo, Brazil, 12/27/2014)

When pop music goes metal, everything gets a lot better.

INTRODUCTION: Willi Willie Bar e Arqueria

pop goes metal 20141227If you’re planning on visiting São Paulo, Brazil anytime soon and need some advice on what to do and where to go to spend your nights in the city, especially if you’re a Rock N’ Roll person, an awesome option is a pub called Willi Willie Bar e Arqueria, the first Rock Bar with an archery in Brazil.

Located in a very nice neighborhood full of good hotels and restaurants, and close to one of the biggest shopping malls in Brazil, this neat and cozy two-floor pub has been providing their guests the best of rock and heavy music since 1978 with live performances from all types of bands, from purely cover/tribute bands to new indie groups with 100% fresh and original material. You can take a look at their monthly schedule by clicking HERE and decide which day is the most suitable for your music taste.

However, it’s not only the music that stands out at Willi Willie: the quality of the service, the excellent food, their variety of drinks and beers (including the already renowned Trooper Beer), the decoration full of pictures and posters of several Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal icons, and of course their archery will make you feel so welcome you’ll be back there every single night if possible. The pub also offers stand-up comedy nights on Sundays in case you’re up to this kind of entertainment. They’re closed only on Mondays and Tuesdays, but that’s not an issue as you can use those days to recover for more Willi Willie on the following nights.

POP GOES METAL

pop goes metalFounded in January 2013 in São Paulo, Brazil, Pop Goes Metal play hard and heavy versions of lots of 80’s and 90’s pop music classics at least once a month at Willi Willie. Do you want to know how Michael Jackson’s all-time classic Smooth Criminal would sound with an extra touch of heaviness? Pop Goes Metal will give you that.

The band was formed by the famous Brazilian guitarist Silas Fernandes, who during his career has already played with Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) and more recently with Brazilian Alternative/Industrial Metal band S.T.A.B., which unfortunately doesn’t exist anymore. Also, if you’re a guitar player do not miss the chance to check out his official YouTube page, there are lots of interesting videos from his series named Rig On Fire.

2014-12-28 00.29.57The other members of the band are as professional and competent as Silas, making the whole experience even better: Pedro Henrique Cordeiro is the voice of the band, Carol Monteiro is the “chick that rawk” on the bass guitar, MV Silva is the man behind the keyboards, and Marcelo Camarero keeps pounding his drums like a maniac during their entire performance. By the way, Maniac by Michael Sembello (that famous song from the 1983 cult movie Flashdance) is also part of their setlist.

From all the songs played by the band, I would say my favorites are Footlose, Smooth Criminal, Rebel Yell, Maneater and Don’t You (Forget About Me), all boosted by some heavy riffs by Silas and crazy beats by Marcelo. And if you’re lucky and they have some extra time, you can even enjoy PGM playing some other classics like Rock N’ Roll by Led Zeppelin.

2014-12-28 00.29.37Unfortunately, Silas is leaving the band pretty soon due to personal reasons (he’s moving with his family to the United States), which means you have just one last chance to see him with the band this Friday, January 16, 2015, at Willi Willie. But don’t worry, after that the band will have a new guitar player and will keep playing pop classics louder and heavier than anyone else.

Setlist (not necessarily in this order)
Footlose (Kenny Loggins)
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) (Backstreet Boys)
Maniac (Michael Sembello)
Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)
Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
Shout (Tears For Fears)
Kiss from a Rose (Seal)
Rolling In The Deep (Adele)
Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)
Maneater (Hall & Oates)
You Oughta Know (Alanis Morissette)
Come Undone (Duran Duran)
Don’t You (Forget About Me) (Simple Minds)
Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)
Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting (Elton John)
Lanterna dos Afogados (Paralamas do Sucesso)

Band members
Pedro Henrique Cordeiro – vocals
Silas Fernandes – guitars
Carol Monteiro – bass
MV Silva – keyboards
Marcelo Camarero – drums

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Concert Review – Blaze Bayley (Hard Rock Café, Toronto, ON, 10/17/2014)

The Messiah blessed his loyal fans with pure Heavy Metal at Indie Week Canada 2014 in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Laugh At The Fakes, The Blackcloud Syndicate, Spewgore and Phantom

blaze bayley torontoOn a very pleasant not-so-cold night in the heart of Toronto during Indie Week Canada, from October 15 to October 19, Hard Rock Café was invaded on October 17 by around 150 metalheads to support four amazing local bands, with the icing on the cake being an electrifying performance by the “Messiah” Blaze Bayley, as part of the festival’s Metal Showcase.

I can’t say I was expecting more or less people than that, probably a little more due to the presence of such a great musician as Blaze, but one thing that I loved about the festival was the sense of family among all bands and fans at the venue, including Blaze himself who spent a lot of time talking to fans, taking pictures and signing stuff, as well as being able to put some faces to names like Jon Asher, from Asher Media Relations. You will read more about this great guy from Montreal, his business and the bands he works with here at The Headbanging Moose for sure.

IMG_2993The first attraction to hit the stage was Rock/Metal band LAUGH AT THE FAKES, from Toronto, Ontario. Those guys play a nice mix of Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, very old school but with a more polished sounding, and they surely entertained everyone already at Hard Rock Café before 9pm. Although it was impossible to get or memorize the setlists of any of the opening bands, I know Laugh At The Fakes played a pretty cool song called Killing Time, from their debut album Dethrone the Crown, which will  be released pretty soon and, of course, reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose.

Band members
Everett Mason – guitar, vocals
Kevin Daliri – guitar
Galen Weir – bass
Chris Avalos – drums

IMG_2997After some Rock N’ Roll and a short beer break, it was time for Thrash Metal/Hardcore band THE BLACKCLOUD SYNDICATE, also from Toronto, Ontario, to speed things up with their visceral music, with highlights to the wicked performance by lead singer Miko Zolefrapanidis. The guy was on fire, probably inspired by Blaze’s usual performance. In regards to the songs, I truly enjoyed a song named Protest the Riot and their cover version for Billy Idol’s classic Rebel Yell, both from their 2013 release called Rage in Common.

Band members
Miko Zolefrapanidis – vocals
Giuseppe D’Angelo – guitar
Graham Scott Anthony – guitar
Shawn Davidson – bass
Glenn Novak – drums

IMG_3003And there was more violence to come with the third indie band of the night, Thrash Metal/Hardcore veterans SPEWGORE, from Brampton, Ontario. Led by vocalist Bill Brown, the band took the proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” seriously, as they were able to deliver an almost full setlist in a very limited amount of time. If you enjoy fast, short and brutal hardcore songs, go after the music by this Canadian band. They truly delivered a nonstop energetic concert at the festival.

Band members
Bill Brown – vocals
Steve Macpherson – guitars
Ken Gibson – bass
Mark Macpherson – drums

IMG_3004The last attraction before the Messiah was Heavy Metal band PHANTOM, from Toronto, Ontario, and let me tell you those guys make the expression “New Wave Of Canadian Heavy Metal” more real than ever! What an amazing band, with powerful songs such as their new single Blood & Iron being the perfect warm-up for Blaze Bayley. Kudos to D.D. Murley, Necro Hippie and J.J. Blade for keeping the fire of Heavy Metal burning, and for reminding us why the 80’s were the best decade in the history of music by far.

Band members
D.D. Murley – lead vocals and guitar
Necro Hippie – bass guitar
J.J. Blade – drums and backing vocals

BLAZE BAYLEY

IMG_3015Coincidence or not, when the clock hit two minutes to midnight, BLAZE BAYLEY began his flaming performance at Hard Rock Café, accompanied by the extremely competent Iron Maiden tribute band MAIDEN QUÉBEC, from Montreal, Quebec, who were by the way supporting Blaze in all of his Canadian dates.

Celebrating 20 years of the controversial, obscure and awesome album The X Factor, Blaze and Maiden Québec presented a very interesting mix of his first solo albums (when his band was called only BLAZE) and Iron Maiden songs. And it wasn’t a perfect mix, just an interesting one, because unfortunately there were absolutely no songs from his best solo albums, the masterpieces The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise and Terror, which I can understand based on the fact Blaze is a 100% solo artist now, relying on local bands to build his setlist wherever he goes. I know it might be hard for any band to learn too many “new” songs in a short period of time, and so adding songs Maiden Québec are used to play like Running Free, Whathchild and Wasted Years was the most viable solution for all musicians involved.

IMG_3024Anyway, despite those minor limitations, it was indeed a great performance by “the man who will not die”, with highlights to songs such as The Brave, Silicon Messiah and Kill and Destroy, together with his Maiden-years songs When Two Words Collide (which I saw live only once, during the Virtual XI World Tour in 1998), Lord of the Flies, the all-time classics Futureal and Man on the Edge, and the more-than-perfect The Clansman. How can a normal person not get all fired up with this epic song, especially after Blaze’s inspiring words about living our lives, about feeling the sense of true freedom? This song always makes me want to be Scottish, I just love it!

IMG_2998

The Messiah is among us!

But the most important detail of the whole concert was, of course, Blaze Bayley himself. There’s an expression in Brazilian Portuguese that summarizes the state of a person when he is fearless, brave, lionhearted, and 100% ready for war: we say that person has “sangue nos olhos”, or blood in his eyes in English (not in a surgical way, of course), and that’s exactly how I see Blaze Bayley every single time he’s on stage. He gives it all, no matter if he’s playing for 50 or 50,000 people, and he literally demands each and every motherfucker from the crowd to join him in an incredible metal music havoc. You cannot hide from Blaze, he will see you standing still and kindly ask you “Hey, you, motherfucker! Come on!”, it doesn’t matter if you worked for over eight hours, if you’re fuckin’ exhausted nor if it’s already 1:30am. And that’s how true independent Heavy Metal is done.

Setlist
1. Lord of the Flies
2. When Two Worlds Collide
3. The Brave
4. Ghost in the Machine
5. Silicon Messiah
6. Ten Seconds
7. The Clansman
8. Futureal
9. The Launch
10. Soundtrack of My Life
11. Kill and Destroy
12. Man on the Edge
13. Running Free
14. Wrathchild
15. Iron Maiden
16. Wasted Years

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals

Maiden Québec (Canadian tour support band)
Pat Lalonde – vocals
Steven Bergeron – lead guitars
Leandro Alves – lead guitars
Math Gagnon – bass
Jef Rastoldo – drums