You certainly cannot accuse Uli Jon Roth of not being active. This show is part of an almost constant effort to play the Midlands it seems, and not glitzy venues either. Have guitar will travel appears to be the motto of this former Scorpion.
though, is he any good, it is after all not about how many times you play, but
how much skill you have. The answer to that question is a guarded yes. Roth is
quite clearly a brilliant guitar player and there is a proggy, almost mystical
quality to his metal. There are two vocalists, depending on the type of track
that is being played and the music is largely tremendous, but if there is a
criticism it is that too many of the songs become drawn out jams.
since they reformed a few years back, have themselves been frequent in the gig
circuit. Perhaps it is this familiarity, then that has led to the crowd being
down on what you might expect for this co-headline gig, and bluntly, there is a
bit of a deflated atmosphere throughout, which is odd considering it amounts to
more or less a hometown show.
The set is
something similar to that which they have played for a couple of years, with
the bulk of it coming from their best regarded album, 1980’s “Lightning to the
Nations.” They tour all around the world doing this sort of stuff – and when
they leave us they are jetting for a major run to the US and they know exactly
what they are doing.
Often still seen
as a new boy, singer Nick Tart has been in the band for nine years now and he
is very much at home behind the mic, but he does though encapsulate the
overriding problem with this evening.
Perhaps he does so
unwittingly, but as the final song of the main set approaches, the Brummie
frontman says “I know you’ve been waiting for one song all night, are you
waiting?” There is not much response. “Are you evil?” he sneers. And with that
the band are off and their mother is a witch, who is burned alive. “Am I Evil?”
is a truly fantastic song, one of the iconic moments in British Metal, but it
is not the only song the band have – just ask Metallica, who still worship them
– but they do seem to want to make their career all about those glorious seven
RTM has seen Diamond Head before and will see
them again, but we have seen them be much better than this, as for whatever
reason, tonight was just a touch flat.