Concert Review – Blaze Bayley (The Rockpile, Toronto, ON, 08/19/2017)

A journey through the past, present and future in the career of the unstoppable Blaze Bayley in the form of first-class Heavy Metal for his diehard fans in Toronto.

OPENING ACT: Cadillac Blood

I’ll never understand why people who call themselves diehard metalheads would miss a chance to attend a top-notch Heavy Metal concert like what we had this Saturday at the really nice venue The Rockpile, which despite being usually referred as located in Toronto, technically speaking it’s in Etobicoke, an administrative district and former city that makes up the western part of the city of Toronto, around 18km from downtown. The weather was perfect, the beer was nice and cold, the food was great and all prices were very, very reasonable (including the ticket price). And those so-called fans of heavy music keep complaining on Facebook, Twitter etc. that metal doesn’t have the proper support and all those shenanigans. How about instead of just typing, you get up from that couch, head to a place like The Rockpile and support underground metal?

If you do that, perhaps you’ll face an electrifying band like the young and restless thrashers from CADILLAC BLOOD, a completely independent act from Keswick, Ontario, located 70km north of Toronto. Blending elements from Thrash Metal, Punk Rock and Rock N’ Roll in their music, and being clearly inspired by bands such as Volbeat (by the way, the band’s name comes from Volbeat’s classic album Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood if you haven’t noticed yet), Metallica, Motörhead and Anthrax, the quartet comprised of Luke Morrell on vocals, Tyler Morrell on guitar, Sean Murphy on bass and Dean Fraser on drums delivered an excellent warmup to the fans that were there for Blaze Bayley, being extremely professional and excited from start to finish, in special Luke who didn’t stop jumping and headbanging for a single second while singing at the same time. Unfortunately I don’t have their full setlist, but you can go to their BandCamp page and check out songs like Crow’s Nest and Devil’s Brew, both played by the band on Saturday.

Band members
Luke Morrell – vocals
Tyler Morrell – guitar
Sean Murphy – bass
Dean Fraser – drums

BLAZE BAYLEY

When it was time for the unstoppable BLAZE BAYLEY to hit the stage with his Endure and Survive World Tour 2017, at around 10:30pm, The Rockpile was not even half full, maybe due to lack of better promotion or because the pub was a bit far for fans who rely on public transportation to move around, but I think those are just excuses for our society’s growing laziness to do anything that’s not online. Blaze deserved a much bigger crowd (he even joked it was his fault, as he asked that only true metalheads attended his concert), as he’s been doing superior music being totally independent, with very little support from anyone but himself and his bandmates. His music is powerful and vibrant, his lyrics are poetic and meaningful, and his energy on stage is simply fantastic. What else do you need in a metal concert?

Anyway, the brave fans who were at The Rockpile had the absolute pleasure of witnessing an amazing performance by Blaze and his amazing band formed by the talented Chris Appleton on guitars and backing vocals, Karl Schramm on bass and backing vocals, and Martin McNee on drums, who are not only the guys who recorded the first two parts of the kick-ass Infinite Entanglement trilogy with Blaze, the 2016 album Infinite Entanglement and the 2017 follow-up Endure And Survive (Infinite Entanglement Part II), but who are also three quarters of British Heavy Metal act Absolva, a great underground band highly recommended for lovers of old school metal music.

When Blaze was in Toronto for the last time, at the now defunct Hard Rock Café in 2014, he was supported by a Canadian Iron Maiden cover group named Maiden Quebec, and although they were a very good band, Blaze’s performance was somewhat hampered by their lack of chemistry. Fortunately for the fans at The Rockpile this Saturday, Blaze and the guys from Absolva were in perfect sync, a reflection of their years working together, delivering to the crowd a top-notch setlist encompassing the best of Blaze’s past, present, and even future (if you think of Infinite Entanglement as an evolving project), playing simply the best songs from Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden and his unparalleled solo career. From the very first notes of the inspiring Endure and Survive, to the speed and violence of Blood, Dark Energy 256 and Man on the Edge (see his intro video to this all-time classic HERE), and the epicness of The Clansman, their performance was flawless.

As I mentioned before, Blaze is a metal poet, and there was always a reason for a song to be inserted in his setlist, always bringing a powerful message to the fans who were singing along all lyrics with Blaze. For instance, his speech about how we all fail and how we all must stand up from our failures and fight our fears again and again in Fight Back, from his latest album, only shows how much he loves what he does and how much he’s passionate about Heavy Metal, as well as how he said us fans are his “home” in the emotional Calling You Home. Of course there was also room for lighter topics, like when he explained the origins of Wolfsbane and how we all would feel “sexier” after screaming the words “man hunt” during Wolfsbane’s biggest hit Man Hunt. By the way, the “duel” between Blaze and the rest of the band during this song was awesome, with Chris and Karl stealing the show with their refined techniques. Blaze made sure he acknowledged the undeniable talent of Chris not only as a guitarist, but also as a songwriter and producer, something we can easily see through his work with both Absolva and Blaze Bayley.

After the last song of the setlist, A Thousand Years (my favorite track from Infinite Entanglement), Blaze and the guys stayed at the venue for a free autograph and photo session with their fans, not charging a single penny as most band do nowadays with their “meet & greet experiences”, as a sign of his respect and admiration for us, supporters of independent music. All band members were very nice and courteous with everyone, talking about their tour across Canada and the US, their plans for the future and other topics. And all true metal fans who attended the concert on Saturday went back home with a huge smile on their faces, something that happens every single time you see a concert by the metal warrior Blaze Bayley. As simple as that.

Setlist
Endure and Survive
Escape Velocity
Futureal
Blood
Silicon Messiah
Fight Back
Virus
Calling You Home
Stare at the Sun
The Clansman
Man Hunt
Man on the Edge
Dark Energy 256
Lord of the Flies
A Thousand Years

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals
Chris Appleton – guitars, backing vocals
Karl Schramm – bass, backing vocals
Martin McNee – drums

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Interview – Blaze Bayley

The Headbanging Moose celebrates Halloween with an exclusive interview with the one and only Blaze Bayley (Wolfsbane, Iron Maiden, Blaze Bayley) prior to his acoustic concert in Montreal this November.

BlazeBayleyThe Headbanging Moose: From your first solo album until today, you have produced some very high quality Heavy Metal such as the masterpieces The Man Who Would Not Die and Promise and Terror. What in your opinion has changed and what has remained the same in your music since your solo debut with Silicon Messiah?

Blaze Bayley: The main thing that has changed is the way we record. With Silicon Messiah, I had to hire a studio with lots of equipment in, whilst now, with the new Soundtracks of My Life album, we could just record in Rick Plester‘s front room. It has become a lot easier and affordable in that way. I always write what interests me at the time or what goes on in my life, so that has stayed the same.

THM: You’ve just released a brand new song called Hatred, which is included in your new best of Soundtracks of My Life. What was your inspiration for that song and how was the recording process for it? Is it a “sample” of what people should expect from Blaze Bayley in the future?

BB: I had the idea for this song after having problems with a support band. I told Rick Plester about the idea and we came up with the music. I feel that I will record more songs like Hatred and especially Eating Children.

BB2010 027THM: I have seen you a couple of times in Brazil playing your regular Blaze Bayley concerts, with heavy guitars and drums, fast solos, and all your amazing energy on stage driving the fans crazy. However, you have been doing a lot of acoustic performances lately around the world. What’s the main difference for you when playing acoustic and why have you decided to start doing this kind of concert? Does it have anything to do with the fact that you’re now a father, as people usually “slow down” when they have kids?

BB: I have always wanted to a big acoustic tour but never found the right guitarist or time. It is a lot simpler because I can tour in Europe in my own car, so also a lot cheaper. It has worked out really well, although I notice that the fans are looking forward to my full metal shows again so the December dates in Brazil will be the last ones of the Russian Holiday tour. For me, the performance is exactly the same as full metal show, maybe even harder because there is no place to hide from me. The vocals have to be 100% to make that show work. Becoming a father, a parent, has made me want to work even harder. There is an undeniable reason to give my absolute best, to make sure my daughter has everything I want her to have. I want her to see that you have to work hard to make sure you can afford the nice things in life and I would love for her to join me when she is a bit older so she has a chance to see the world. My wife does a great job in combining my management with looking after our daughter so I have the freedom to perform as much as I want. It is always hard to leave home but once on tour, it all makes sense to me.

THM: The concert here in Canada, at the Piranha Bar in Montreal on November 9, will also be an acoustic performance. Could you please give us an idea of the setlist? Are you also playing any cover songs from other bands, like Doctor Doctor from UFO, or are you playing your regular setlist with a mix of Blaze Bayley, Iron Maiden and Wolfsbane songs only?

BB: The set will be mainly Iron Maiden songs and maybe also a song from other bands. A lot will depend on the rehearsals as I won’t be performing with my own guitarist. I am looking forward to meeting Some of the Few.

THM: During your world tour in 2011 you played that amazing sequence of dark and heavy songs that are part of a story from Promise and Terror: Surrounded by Sadness, The Trace of Things That Have No Words, Letting Go of the World and Comfortable in Darkness. Are you considering playing the same songs all together again but in an acoustic performance? I know those songs are very important to you, so how do you feel when you play those songs live nowadays?

BB: The songs are great and I like to add them in a set but it sometimes doesn’t work out like that. For next year, I’d like to keep the set fast so they might not fit in there. Acoustic they sound great.

THM: You had to cancel your whole Canadian tour back in 2012, and now in 2013 you’re only going to play one single concert in Canada. How difficult is it for an independent artist like you to organize a full tour in different countries? And how do you see the future of independent bands/artists in the world of Heavy Metal and music in general in the short and long term?

BlazeBayley02BB: It has been extremely difficult to book a tour in the USA and Canada. The agent that booked the 2011 tour, turned out to be not reliable. I think I am just not popular enough over there to get a full tour together. Europe, South America and some other places are ok to get tours together. My manager, my wife, books all my shows with the help of some agents. Since I split up with my full metal band, it has become a lot easier for me to tour as I don’t have to worry if my band can do the show. I just found musicians for the gig instead of finding the gig for the band.

THM: One of your recent tours was together with classical guitarist Thomas Zwijsen, playing songs from his album Nylon Maiden as well as some material from your solo career and Wolfsbane. Are you planning on joining forces with other different types of bands and musicians for some unique projects in a near future? I would love to see you performing together with the guys from Apocalyptica or Van Canto, for example.

BB: Everything is possible. My main focus is of course my own shows, which is what always gets booked first. Then, if some other projects show up, we try to fit them in if it is something that interests me.

THM: What are your favorite bands from Canada? Are there any new Canadian bands that you would recommend us listening to?

BB: I must admit I don’t know many Canadian bands. I performed in the US with Man the Destroyer, who were great guys and I am now guest on Some of the Few so I would say, check them out!

THM: What type of music and/or what bands do you listen to when you’re at home by yourself and with your family? Does your daughter already understand what your music is, and do you play any of your songs for her?

BB: I play a very varied range of music. From folk, to country to pop and of course to heavy metal and rock. We play a lot of music in our house, and although not always metal, my daughter always spots out the songs where I am singing. You can tell she has got a natural feel for music and goes dancing every week too. I think she will be a very expressive and creative girl.

THM: You toured with Iron Maiden in Canada back in 1996 during The X-Factour and in 1998 during the Virtual XI World Tour. What do you remember from those visits to Canada? Was there anything crazy or unusual that happened at that time you would like to share with us?

BB: I remember the fans, they were absolutely crazy and amazing!

THM: Thanks a lot for your time, I really appreciate that. Please feel free to send a special message to your fans in Canada and also to invite them for your acoustic concert in Montreal on November 9 at the Piranha Bar.

BB: Thanks for the interview. I’d like to say a huge thank you to my fans in Canada! I often see their comments on facebook and their orders on the webshop and I would love to perform my own shows there!

Links
Blaze Bayley Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Album Review – Blaze Bayley / The Man Who Would Not Die (2008)

One of the best and at the same time most underrated Heavy Metal albums of the past 10 years.

Rating1

Blaze_Bayley_-_Man_Who_Would_Not_Die_coverI still cannot believe how many Metal fans know absolutely nothing about Blaze Bayley’s career before and after his years with Iron Maiden, and even worse than that, they don’t even know The Man Who Would Not Die exists! This is by far one of the most amazing albums of the past 10 or 15 years, with over 60 minutes of PURE FUCKIN’ METAL! There isn’t a single song of the album that is not meaningful or powerful, and Blaze is singing better than never here.

The first three tracks are so heavy and so intense that I can never decide which one is my favorite: the title track with its perfect lyrics “On and on, I’m cursed to live…”; the kick to the face of some people that messed with Blaze in Blackmailer; and the epic song Smile Back at Death, based on the movie Gladiator. It’s impossible not to get addicted to these songs, all full of great riffs and solos. I’m a true Maidenmaniac, but I dare to say these songs are much better than most of the material Maiden has produced in the past few years.

The rest of the album is a sequence of so many awesome songs that I could write about each one of them for hours: the ballad While You Were Gone is just beautiful and a great tribute to his deceased wife Debbie Hartland, Samurai has a very nice bass line, there’s a lot of melancholy in At the End of the Day, and every time I listen to Robot or Voices from the Past I instantly start banging my head. And what can I say about the dark and heavy Serpent Hearted Man? I wish I can see Blaze playing it live someday, as heavy and fast as possible.

blaze_bayley_picMoreover, what makes this album even better are Blaze’s band members, especially bass player David Bermudez and drummer Larry Paterson, who literally smashes his drums in almost every song. The same band also recorded another masterpiece, Promise and Terror (which I plan to write about one day), but unfortunately due to some internal issues they are not together with Blaze anymore.

And finally, I’m a big fan of everything Blaze has done so far: his Hard Rock-ish years with Wolsfbane, his controversial albums with Iron Maiden, and his brilliant solo career. This guy is a true metalhead that has never given up doing the music he loves even in the worst moments of his life. Very few artists can produce something as relevant as Silicon Messiah, Promise and Terror and especially The Man Who Would Not Die nowadays, so don’t waste your time with MTV and go listen carefully to this great masterpiece from Mr. Blaze Bayley now!

Best moments of the album: Everything, from the very first second of The Man Who Would Not Die until the end of Serpent Hearted Man, including its amazing front cover and all the deep and dark lyrics of each song. I guess I listen to this album almost every week since it was launched back in 2008.

Worst moments of the album: There’s absolutely nothing bad at all here, not even regular. It’s a perfect Heavy Metal album.

Released in 2008 Blaze Bayley Records

Track listing
1. The Man Who Would Not Die  4:35
2. Blackmailer  4:43
3. Smile Back at Death  7:38
4. While You Were Gone  5:27
5. Samurai  5:39
6. Crack in the System  5:53
7. Robot  3:10
8. At the End of the Day  3:39
9. Waiting for My Life to Begin  5:10
10. Voices from the Past  5:55
11. The Truth Is One  4:22
12. Serpent Hearted Man  6:15

Band members
Blaze Bayley – vocals
Nico Bermudez – lead guitar
Jay Walsh – rhythm guitar
David Bermudez – bass
Lawrence Paterson – drums