With the onset of February we are getting a little busier. 2nd, Protest The Hero, 6th Del Amitri, 9th Molly Hatchet, 14th Monster Magnet, 15th Dream Theater, 19th, Sons Of Icarus, 20th Skyclad, 25th Soulfly, 26th Cadillac Three

And maybe a couple more to be added.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

EUROPE @Academy Birmingham 21/11/12

If the cancellation of tonight’s support band Stonerider at late notice – so late in fact that earlier in the evening they posted a picture of the venue on Twitter – was an early blow (as RTM had been looking forward to the brand of Black Crowes-y rock) then the crowd at the venue was another one.

There are barely 600 people in the venue when Europe take the stage at just before 9pm. A tremendous shame as the band deserves so much better. These shows at the Academy have been very much a fixture in recent years, and they have been uniformly superb. 2012’s promises to be just the same, as the band have a new album out that they are keen to show off.

Indeed, it is with three songs from the aforementioned “Bag Of Bones” LP that they begin this evening, “Riches To Rags” and “Not Supposed To Sing The Blues” in particular showcasing all that is good about present day Europe with their casual catchiness and easy charm.

They then play “Superstitious,” a song that the teenage RTM played to death before deciding Europe weren’t cool enough as the 90s dawned, at this point we are left to reflect on the fact that things really have turned full-circle.

Even the short acoustic section is redeemed by two things. First Jon Norum plays a superb bluesy guitar solo that leads into a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “The World Keep On Turning” and second, there is the fact that with the cymbals attached to his feet drummer Ian Haugland resembles a one-man-band.

Stools happily away it’s rocking all the way to the end. The new album’s title track sounds fantastic, and if you can’t enjoy “The Beast” from the “Last Look At Eden” CD (the album that reminded the world – and me – just how damn good Europe were) then you aren’t trying very hard.

The main set closes with the fist-in-the-air classic that is “Rock The Night” – although not before a faithful cover of “Paranoid” that frontman Joey Tempest describes as “bostin’”- before its back for the encore of “Last Look….” And that song. You know the one. The most bombastic thing in the world, the one that nearly all power metal bands would kill for – and the one that paid for the enormous tour bus that sits outside. And you know what? Try listening to “The Final Countdown” without a smile on your face. It is nigh on impossible, as anthems go, it remains the benchmark.

So another Europe gig ends in triumph and enjoyment. Yes the crowd might not be massive, but do you think that bothered Joey and the boys? Not if their smiles when RTM sees them getting into a taxi outside are anything to go by. We didn’t ask them where they were going.

It is obvious. They were heading for venus…..

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