Concert Review: Hail! & Age of Evil in Foxboro, MA
Reviewed by: Roger Scales
Lately in the music scene there seems to be a widening acceptance of “All Star” lineup tours and bands. Sports leagues seem to do it year in and year out so why not the music scene? Scrap Metal does it with hair band metal, Sin City Sinners does with sleaze metal, Chickenfoot does it with guitar driven rock and now we have the hardcore, in your face, classic heavy metal version of a super group with Hail! Featuring Tim ‘Ripper:’Owens (Ex-Judas Priest, Iced Earth, Yngwie ) on vocals, Andreas Kisser (Sepultura) on guitar, David Ellefson (Ex-Megadeth) on bass, and Mike Portnoy (Dream Theater) on drums you have a line-up of some of metal’s heaviest hitters.
Hail! have been keeping busy by playing festivals in Europe to some very big crowds and reviews have been great. Now they’ve decided to try it out with a few dates in the States – one in NYC at B.B Kings and the 2nd at Showcase Live right here in good old damn cold New England!! The band did not disappoint and hopefully these trial shows lead to a more extensive tour.
Opening with the Motorhead classic “Ace of Spades” the band just rode the wave of metal fans pumping their fists and banging their heads! I had decided to write down the set list all night and out of nowhere the guy beside me grabs my sharpie and draws a huge black mole right on his face and screams LEMMY!!! Quite a tribute, good thing he wasn’t wearing jean cut off shorts and smoking Camels… gross!!
Of course Tim was right at home with Judas Priest classics “Grinder” and “Green Manalishi” singing with the same strength and tone that got him his first big break replacing Rob Halford in Priest back the late 90’s. Few times has a vocalist in a big time rock band been as good as or better than the original but with Ripper I really enjoyed his energy and style on stage then and still do now. He commands the stage yet does so without taking anything away from his bandmates.
The night continued with a couple of classic Iron Maiden tracks – “Wrathchild” and “Run To The Hills”. I thought these were Ellefson’s best songs performance-wise of the night. Maybe because Steve Harris is such a huge part of the Maiden sound I was listening for those fat speedy bass licks but Dave delivered. Also of note here is the versatility of Ripper. One is a Paul Di’Anno Maiden tune and the other Dickinson. Tim is capable of adapting to each vocal style and still carrying it off as his own.
Other highlights included Dio’s “Stand Up and Shout” and the Dio era Black Sabbath tune “Neon Knights” – my favorite song of the show. Kisser’s best lead of the night came here as he blistered through the song with amazing speed. (On a side note: Ronnie Dio -get well soon!! We need you healthy and back on tour!! )
Mike Portnoy highlights included Slayer’s “South of Heaven” and Metallica’s “Whiplash”. His double bass kicked into high gear and played with amazing speed.
Somewhat unusual was the omission of any Megadeth, Sepultura or Dream Theater songs but I guess the theme here was “All Hail!” to our heroes of metal. Boys you did them all very proud.
Openers Age of Evil played a short but energy driven 30 minute set. Their set included a few songs off their new EP “Get Dead” plus material from the first full length cd “Living A Sick Dream”. A family affair consisting of two sets of brothers: Jeremy and Jacob Goldberg on vocals/rhythm guitar and bass guitar and Garrett and Jordan Ziff on drums and lead guitar the band guaranteed to rip the crowd’s faces off – Mission Accomplished!
Age of Evil may be young (with all members being under the age of 21) but they show great potential as performers and songwriters. I thought for only having been together for a few years they had great stage presence and kept the crowd engaged and excited for Hail! Their sound and face melting certainly seemed to work well with the Hail! crowd because their merchandise area saw a steady flow of metal fans looking to pick up their music. Metalheads, take a moment to check out some new blood! (And tune in next week for my interview with the band!)
Highlight of their set for me was the cover of Skid Row’s “Slave to the Grind” – Slick guitar work here from Jordan Ziff. Jeremy also did not clone Sebastian’s vocal style instead kept his own and it worked well.
Hail! Set List:
Ace Of Spades
Stand Up and Shout
Balls To The Wall
Mouth for War
Run To The Hills
The Four Horsemen
Symptom of The Universe
South of Heaven
For more info on Hail visit them on MySpace
For more info on Age of Evil visit their website