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·        Editor and lead singer - Kurt Torster

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·        Dave Reynolds

·        Alex Richter (Hard N' Fast)

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Kurt's Krap:

Last week we reviewed Column A’s demo. The email address may have been wrong. If interested, contact

Kurt’s Kause Of The Week:

[Ah hell, why not get a little political (or even politically incorrect)? There are loads of issues I believe in, and this little bit is not meant to get too deep into anything controversial. First up:]

The Special Olympics. I have an 8 year old son with Down Syndrome and things like this help further the ideas that handicapped isn’t always a bad thing.

News Bytes:

This month on VH-1 is Bon Jovi month, which also welcomes the premiere of the Behind The Music special on the band on June 11. The album and single are already taking off worldwide. Looks like this one may be a big one…

Trash rockers The Unband have landed the opening spot on the Def Leppard summer tour.

Eddie Van Halen update: E! Online quotes a doctor at the health center who said, “he does not have cancer. He is being treated for the prevention of cancer, it doesn't necessarily mean he has it.” Other reports though, from KLOL, MTV News and VH1 (all citing sources “close to the band”) say Eddie has been diagnosed with cancer of the tongue and had undergone surgery to remove a portion of the diseased organ. MTV News also reports that any upcoming CD release or tour featuring the original lineup is now highly unlikely.

In a rumor infinitely more interesting that the DLR/VH stuff is that Kerrang! Is reporting that the original Guns N’ Roses lineup (of Axl, Slash, Izzy, Duff and Steven Adler) have been rehearsing in a Pheonix with plans to rerecord all the “Chinese Democracy” material as well as new songs. Axl’s management has denied the rumors though saying the only GNR members currently are Axl along with guitarist Paul Tobias and keyboardist Dizzy Reed and that the album is “due soon”. There has also been a rumor going around that GNR will tour this summer with Testament and Dio in support.

Mr. Big will release “Deep Cuts (Best Of The Ballads)” July 26th. The tracklisting: Where Are They Now, I‘ll Leave It Up To You (first single), Had Enough, Promise Her The Moon, Just Take My Heart, Super Fantastic, You Don’t Have To Be Strong, Anything For You, Wild World, Ain’t Seen Love Like That, Dancin’ Light..., Chain, Going Where The Wind Blows, If That’s What It Takes, To Be With You and New Religion (live).

June 14 sees the release of the new album from Nuno Bettencourt And Mourning Windows titled “Furnished Souls For Rent”.

In possibly the worst bit of news I’ve heard in a while: the rumors that Faith Hill was offered $1 million to model for the Victoria’s Secret catalog are totally untrue. Damn! Damn! Damn!

Some notable chart debuts: Matchbox Twenty’s Mad Season debuted at #3 with 364,000 units sold while Don Henley’s Inside Job” debuted at #7 with 114,000 copies sold.

More Lars Ulrich of Metallica: "When we monitored Napster for 48 hours three weekends ago, we came up with the 1.4 million downloads of Metallica music, there was one, one downloading -- one of an unsigned artist the whole time. You can sit there and talk about how this is great for up-and-coming artists or for unsigned bands, but a big counterargument that nobody gets is, me and you could form a band together, and we could like, make a demo and then we could put it up on Napster.... Nobody's going to care, because they don't know anything about what sets my and your band out from the gardener and the guy who cleans my pool's band."

Robbie Williams releases a new single July 31 with “I Don’t Wanna Rock DJ”. It will be followed by an as yet untitled album.

An interesting soundtrack to look out for is from the Jim Carrey flick Me, Myself & Irene which contains artists doing Steely Dan songs including Marvelous 3, Smash Mouth, Ben Folds Five, Offspring and Third Eye Blind.

While filming the video for “Breathless” (written by Shania Twain and Mutt Lange) from their upcoming album “In Blue”, sisters Andrea and Sharon of The Corrs collapsed from heat exhaustion in the Mojave Desert. They’re OK now and the video was finished with little other problems. Shania and Mutt have also authored a song for the new Britney Spears disc.

Look for Joe Lynn Turner’s Holy Man” later this summer on MTM.

Kharma’s Wonderland” is getting a pretty good reaction from most of the MR press (just not here I guess). The title track is also getting some radio play across Europe.

Ricky Phillips’ Elements Of Friction will release their album in September. It features guest shots from Robin MacAuley and David Glenn Eisley.

Matti Alfonzetti of Alfonzetti had this to say on the band’s upcoming album, “I am very pleased with the result and I think we made a very balanced album with both hard hitting rockers like the title track, “No Way Out” and album lead off song “Blowing Up Detroit”, there is also some superb FM Rock/commercial hard rock tunes like “Better Than Goodbye”, “Out In The Cold” and we've got some great ballads.”

Saxon now have an official website.

Here’s the track listing of the new Poison album “Power To The People” - Studio cuts: Power To The People, Can’t Bring Me Down, The Last Song, Strange, I Hate Every Bone In Your Body But Mine – Live cuts: Look What The Cat Dragged In, I Want Action, Something To Believe In, Love On The Rocks, Fallen Angel, Let It Play, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Unskinny Bop, Nothin’ But A Good Time and Talk Dirty To Me.

Look for Spitfire to release the live album from Firehouse, Bring Them Out…Live” in July.

Though Raine is getting set to release their debut album for MTM, seems the band already has a ton of songs written for the next album.

Tonight on AOL (keyword: guitar) you can chat with Zakk Wylde at 10PM EST.

The upcoming Radioactive project from Tommy Denander will feature guest spots Fergie Fredriksen, Bobby Kimball, Bill Champlin, Fee Waybill, Jim Jehed, Richard Page, Joseph Williams, Michael Thompson, Michael Landau, Bruce Gaitsch, David Foster, David Paich, and Steve Pocaro among others. Look for a fall release.

Confirmed for Z-2001 (May 26) is Von Groove, Dreamhunter and Prisoner.

Tina Turner will kick off the second leg of her “Twenty Four Seven” tour in September in Boston with Joe Cocker in support.

Another new AOR website to check out, Catchy Hooks.

Shy is currently in the studios recording their reunion album for Z Records.

REO Speedwagon and Styx played NBC’s Today Show on Friday May 26. Songs performed were “Take It On The Run” and “Can’t Fight This Feeling” from REO and “Come Sail Away” and “Too Much Time On My Hands” from Styx. Both bands now also sport a modern streamlined look with both Kevin Cronin and Tommy Shaw sporting short blond punk dos. Lawrence Gowan also does a nice job in Dennis De Young’s place.

Club dates for Mars Electric:
6/10    Bruce Trent Park        Las Vegas NV
6/16    City Stages             Birmingham AL
6/17    The Opera House Rome GA
6/23    Pig Pen                 Clinton IA
7/14    M-Squared               Pittsburgh PA
7/15    Blind Lemon             Lakewood OH

Concert dates for Yes and Kansas:
6/20/00 Tues.  Reno Amphitheater, Reno, NV
6/21/00 Wed.  Concord Pavilion, Concord, CA
6/23/00 Fri.  Universal Amphitheater, Los Angeles, CA
6/24/00 Sat.  Glen Helen Pavilion, San Bernadino, CA
6/25/00 Sun.  Desert Sky Pavilion, Phoenix, AZ
6/27/00 Tues.  Mesa Del Sol, Albuquerque, NM
6/28/00 Wed.  Fillmore, Denver, CO
6/30/00 Fri.  Riverport Amphitheater, St. Louis, MO
7/1/00 Sat.  Sandstone Amphitheater, Kansas City, MO
7/2/00 Sun.  Starplex, Dallas, TX
7/5/00 Wed.  Post-Gazette Star Lake Amphitheater, Pittsburgh, PA
7/6/00 Thurs.  Blossom Amphitheater, Cleveland, OH
7/7/00 Fri.  Polaris Amphitheater, Columbus, OH
7/8/00 Sat.  Taste of Chicago Festival, Chicago, IL
7/11/00 Tues.  Pine Knob, Detroit, MI
7/12/00 Wed.  Riverbend Amphitheater, Cincinnati, OH
7/13/00 Thurs.  Deer Creek Amphitheater, Indianapolis, IN
7/15/00 Sat.  Jones Beach Amphitheater, Wantaugh, NY
7/16/00 Sun.  SPAC, Saratoga Springs, NY
7/18/00 Tues.  E-Center, Camden, NJ
7/19/00 Wed.  PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, NJ
7/21/00 Fri.  BankBoston Pavilion, Boston, MA
7/22/00 Sat.  Hartford Meadows, Hartford, CT
7/23/00 Sun.  Nissan Pavilion, Washington DC
7/25/00 Tues.  GTE Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, VA
7/27/00 Thurs.  Alltel Pavilion, Raleigh, NC
7/28/00 Fri.  Blockbuster Pavilion, Charlotte, NC
7/29/00 Sat.  First American Music Center, Nashville, TN
7/30/00 Sun.  Lakewood Amphitheater, Atlanta, GA
8/1/00 Tues.  Mars Music Amphitheater, West Palm Beach, FL

Noteworthy New Releases:

IRON MAIDEN - Brave New World
SAMANTHA 7 - Samantha 7

Moldy Oldys:

[What’s kicking old school on the SFK Deck O’ Death this week:]
Guns N’ Roses – Live Era, The Eagles – The Very Best Of, Radiohead – OK Computer, Moby – Play, The Kinks - Come Dancing

Kurt’s Picks:

Bryan Adams – On A Day Like Today, A&M, 1998
[Similarities: Bon Jovi, U2, Tina Turner]
It used to be that I was the first to grab a new album from Bryan. But somewhere along the line he lost it with endless soundtrack ballads and mediocre album filler, hence this I why I finally got around to getting this 1998 release. This is a decent album that’s typical of what Bryan has become. He’s now much more apt to stick with slow to mid tempo songs that seem to emphasize mood over volume. It also tends to make his albums feel rather one-dimensional. With each song roughly the same pace, it all feels like one long track only broken by the few seconds of silence in between. That’s not to say though that Bryan still can’t write a great song as this album has a few future Adams’ “classics”. “Getaway” is a thumping little number driven by some very crisply produced cymbal rhythms. “Cloud Number Nine” is a beautiful strolling pop tune that should have been a huge hit. And “Before The Night Is Over” is a great reminder as to why most of us became fans of his in the first place…an infectious rocker that’s one of the best things he’s recorded in a long time. Overall though, with just a couple of standouts, this was not the album to restore my faith.

Catch The Rainbow – A Tribute To Rainbow, Sanctuary, 1999
Let me start off by saying I hate tribute albums. I have no idea what the purpose is behind them. I mean, honestly, what the hell do they prove other than showing you can play someone else’s songs? Now comes a tribute to Rainbow from this mob of Germans (that include members of Gamma Ray, Helloween and Kingdom Come) that, well, hell…sounds like Rainbow. Note for note copies that add nothing to the original except maybe better production values. Vocalist Henne Basse is no Ronnie Dio, that’s for sure. The majority of tracks come from the Dio era though there’s a couple of JLT tracks scattered throughout (bonus points though for forgoing the obvious hits and digging for deep album cuts). Why? Why? Oh the humanity…

Chapter 23 – Flying In The Face Of Conventional Wisdom, Ylem, 1998
[Similarities: Styx, Kansas, Prophet]
Here’s a band where there’s so much good stuff going on only to be brought down by one weak link…the vocals. Now, they are not bad by any means but simply don’t fit the music. Pierre Lauzon has more of a raspy rocker lower toned voice that’s better suited for harder fare while this progressively tinged music could really use something smoother in the singing. Songs like “Big Top”, “Shake Down” (insipid chorus aside) and “Shoot The Moon” will have fans of prog-lite drooling. Loads of glorious keys piled on top of some very catchy melody lines show that these guys can write great songs though lyrically most of it is your standard AOR bits. A proper production budget and a different singer could make them very popular in melodic circles. [Be careful, there’s a California band also named Chapter 23 that are a hardcore band.]

Gigolo Aunts – Minor Chords And Major Themes, E Pluribus, 1999
[Similarities: Jason Falkner, Cheap Trick, Matthew Sweet]
This Boston mob throws up a brilliant slab of big riffy chords and catchy sing along choruses that can make a power pop lover out of anyone. Opener “C’mon C’mon” is a roof raiser of the highest order and sets the tone for the next 50 minutes of your life. Whether is smooth as silk gems like “Everyone Can Fly” and “Rest Assured”, radio ready ear candy like “Half A Chance” and “Everything Is Wrong” or balls out rockers like “Super Ultra Wicked Mega Love”, this is the rare album that has a little of something for everyone, no matter what your tastes. And if you like sounds that cross genres yet still retain their signature then this album is right up your alley. Though at times a little derivative, there are enough great songs here to keep most happy.

Don Henley – Inside Job, WBR, 2000
[Similarities: Richard Marx, John Waite, Glen Burtnick]
Though this is the kind of album that needs a little nurturing before fully appreciating it, a couple of things are immediately apparent: Don Henley may be the finest vocalist in rock currently and he is certainly the best songwriter, lyrically speaking. His lyrics always make for a thought-provoking listen, especially when delivered with the kind of passion in his singing. Scattered throughout are all of Don’s usual suspects: Stan Lynch, Danny Kortchmar, Randy Jackson, Gregg Bissonette and Tim Pierce as well as Stevie Wonder and members of Venice. While most of the material is balladic in nature, there are a couple of upbeat tracks worth mentioning. Album opener “Nobody Else In The World” is driven by Stevie Wonder’s funky keyboard riff and is almost danceable. “Working It” is typical Henley, right down to the sarcastic ranting lyrics and sounds tailor made for the arenas. “They’re Not Here, They’re Not Coming” is a nice mid-tempo toe tapper about the lunacy of UFOs. But the real strength here is in the slower paced tunes. Songs like “Taking You Home”, “Damn It Rose” and the album highlight, the westcoast feeling “My Thanksgiving” are the kinds of songs where you feel everything going on inside and around them. Unfortunately, it may be the album’s downfall as well. Things are just too soft. Though all the songs are good or even great, having ballad after ballad can’t tend to drag the whole affair a bit. Maybe his worst album since the debut but still better than 99.9% of the releases out there today…fans will enjoy this though I doubt he’ll make many new ones.

The Message – Outside Looking In, Escape, 2000
[Similarities: Heartland, Change Of Heart, Foreigner]
For what it’s worth, I think Dean Fasano is one hell of a vocalist but has rarely had the material to back up his talent. This time out he comes close but still eventually falls short. Nothing earth shattering or original here but there are moments of brilliance. Songs like “One Step Away”, “The Beat Before Heartbreak” or “Right On The Line” are as good as anything floating around but that’s also the problem. It’s all so generic that it doesn’t matter who’s playing…there’s no identity. These songs could easily have come from any number of bands and you’d never know the difference. If you’re going to buy it, get it for the vocals but just expect the songs to stay with you very long.

(Re)Views From The Hill:

Hepburn - ‘Hepburn’, (Columbia)
This album has actually been available for nearly a year, but would appear to need a kick start to the heart abroad after being relaunched late last year with a much more attractive cover.

For the uninitiated – and that means North America – the band is British and named after actress Audrey Hepburn. They feature the talents of four young ladies who have already racked up three hit singles in the UK

Comprising vocalist Jamie Benson, guitarist Lisa Lister, Nottingham born bassist Sarah Davies and new drummer Natasha Baylis (who replaced the enigmatic Beverley after this record was recorded), I discovered Hepburn when the video for first single ‘I Quit’ was showcased on the cable TV channel ‘The Box’. I noted that singer Jamie Benson had a kind of Danni Minogue look about her, bassist Sarah was an absolute babe and, uh, more importantly, the song was a great slice of power pop rock. Turns out it had originally been penned for Natalie Imbruglia, but she turned it down!

‘I Quit’, quite naturally, opens the album with a lazy, acoustic intro before the guitar, bass and drums kick in. And the hook is great.

Second single ‘Bugs’ is a fine piece of jangly pop rock with another masterful hook that’s a credit to the songwriting. Producer Phil Thornally appears most responsible for the songs alongside a co-writing team that includes erstwhile pop hero Chesney Hawkes (The Verve like ‘Next Life’ being the track bearing his credit) with the band co-credited on five tracks.

Third single, ‘Deep Deep Down’ has a semi Garbage feel perhaps more similar to the hugely underrated Transister (where are they now?). There's a psychedelic touch to ‘See The Girl With The World In Her Eyes’, a cool and mysterious vibe within ‘I Got The News’ and good, clean neat pop is offered via ‘Waiting For God’ and ‘I Can’t Cry’.

There are actually only a couple of tracks that could be described as dodgy and even they have a certain charm.

For instant access to the world of Hepburn go immediately to

Meantime, all girl rivals Thunderbugs – whose debut single ‘Friends Forever’ came across like a poppier Vixen – appear to have disappeared from Epic’s release schedule. Still, visit their cool site at .. - Dave

The Wannadies - ‘Yeah’, (RCA/BMG)
Swedes The Wannadies have been around for ages. Indeed, the quintet’s ‘You And Me Song’ is their best-known work, having been used on a number of commercials. But ‘Yeah’ is arguably the band’s finest album to date, a glorious collection of pop rock anthems with a slightly sinister edge and catchy Foo Fighters style rock that hits the brain running!

The Wannadies feature Par Wiksten (vocals/guitar), Stefan Schonfeldt (guitar), Fredrik Schomfeldt (bass), Christina Bergmark (keyboards) and Erik Dahlgner (drums) and roped in The Cars’ Rik Okasek to produce their latest work.

Punctuating first track ‘I Love Myself’ with some suitably grunge laden guitars, the Swedes tend to favour this trick so much they throw ‘em all over ‘No Holiday’ as well before really laying ‘em on with the powerful barrage of ‘Kill You’.

Foo Fighters just have to be the best comparison I can give you with regards this album. ‘Big Fan’ comes at you like Dave Grohl at his best whilst the broodier moments (‘Don’t Like You (What The Hell Are We Supposed To Do)’ and ‘Can’t You See Me Now’ are equally reminiscent of the post Nirvana success story.

But there are even greater tracks elsewhere, thus look out for the excellent ‘Idiot Boy’, ‘Ball’, ‘(You)’ and the maturely observed ‘String Song’ for all your glammy, punky power pop needs.

Great stuff. - Dave

Bon Jovi – Crush, Island, 2000
Okay, after hearing the first single from this album, I was prepared to be either totally blown away, or thoroughly disappointed. It ended up right in the middle. The lead track, It's My Life, is huge. Awesome. Classic Bon Jovi (maybe with a little Rob Zombie thrown in?). After this, it's all "downhill" from there. No, nothing bad, but nothing quite as monstrous. Save two tracks, this is a phenomenal album, falling somewhere between New Jersey, and their 90's 'wimp' output. Not Old, but Older is a great song, as is Two Story Town. Overall, if you like solid Rock & Roll, this will fit right into your scheme of things. If you are expecting 'big' Bon Jovi - this isn't quite there yet, but it's much better than Jon's last solo effort, or the last two band efforts. If you want stuff like Jon's last - well - there are two songs that fit that bill. This album has the potential to be the best melodic rock album released in the US during 2k. It isn't hard rock anymore, but it is good rock. – Mark

Kansas - Somewhere To Elsewhere, Magna Carta, 2000
The highly anticipated reunion of the original lineup seems to have added some of that magic back into the fold. The guys sound tight, trading lead vocals on a few tracks and creating a much more cohesive album than that 'bastard child of Kansas albums', Freaks of Nature. Steve Walsh's voice, for the most part, holds up on this effort. This album feels a lot more like Kansas of old, with some definite prog-rock elements, but not going overboard. A few radio friendly hits, but no 'Dust' or 'Carry On' thus far. It's great to hear the guys back together, maybe with their strongest album since Steve Walsh returned after the Elefante albums on 'Power'. - Mark

AOR Basement (Ian McIntosh):

I've been feeling like death warmed up all weekend..., haven't got round to doing my column.

Reader profiles:

Name: Alex Richter

Place where you live: Philadelphia, PA

Age: 35

Favorite Artist: Rush

Favorite Song: Rush – Spirit Of The Radio

Favorite Ballad: Vinnie Vincent – Back On The Streets

Top 10 Albums You'd Bring If Stranded On A Desert Island:

Rush – Rush
Dio - Holy Diver
Wildhearts - Earth Vs. The Wildhearts
Kiss - Alive II
Aerosmith - Toys In The Attic
Cheap Trick - At Budokan
Lynyrd Skynyrd - One For The Road
AC-DC - If You Want Blood
38. Special – Flasback
Guns 'N' Roses - Appetite For Destruction

Website: none


From: Don Nafe

Subject: Ian’s comments last week

Must say I liked your comments in the latest SFK I only hope that the message doesn't fall on deaf ears...

You're absolutely right that bands need honest else are we supposed to grow. On the other hand I will say that no one review would change any aspect of our music, but, if every review said the same thing I would have to stop and take a hard look at the comments.

As for C23 we've have had a few comments that have been repeated in a number of reviews and what's funny is I knew that they were coming. (sooner or later) Why? because they were right on the money. I mean it didn't make them any less painful but had I not read them I would definitely would have questioned the ears (and intentions) of the reviewer(s).

That being said please put poison pen to paper and have fun with 23...we're big boys now and we can take it. No excuses now...I want to read your opinion of our CD, so get to work my friend, I've got my bullet proof vest on and put the boys in a cage

[Don is a member of Chapter 23, a band who is reviewed above.]

From: "Dan Harding"

Subject: UltraSound 2000 - The Heavy Harmonies Review

[I'll be putting up a permanent UltraSound section at HeavyHarmonies.Com, but for now here's my take on the weekend...]

"I just flew in from Las Vegas, and boy are my arms tired."


What an exhausting, scorchingly-hot, expensive, and mind-blowingly fantastic weekend!!!

I was so hyped-up Thursday night to get going that while I tried going to sleep at 8:00 p.m., I didn't fall asleep until 12:30 a.m... of course I had to get up at 1:30 a.m. to go drive to Indy to catch my flight. That set the tone for the weekend. Nonstop goings on. It was a blast!

Over the course of this little report I'm writing, I'll probably forget to mention some of the people I met over the weekend; my apologies in advance. The very first thing I've gotta do though is give a hearty thump on the back to Dave "Be My Love Slave" Tedder and Deb "No, damnit! He's MY Love Slave" Penny for going above and beyond the call of duty in pulling this off! I can't imagine the amount of stress they've had to endure, and both of them did a yeoman's job fighting fires all weekend long. Have a beer (or 7)!

Like any first-time festival, there were a few hiccups along the way, but everyone I spoke with, from band members to label reps, to just plain folks, enjoyed the hell out of themselves, and were all planning to attend next year [fade to scene of Dave banging his head against the wall screaming "No! Not already!!! AUGH!!!!].

It was blisteringly hot. All 4 days the daytime highs were 105-110 degrees. For those of us from more temperate climes, this was, shall we say, "different." Much beer (and water) was consumed.

I was able to meet and get autographs from a bunch of bands and artists that I've been looking forward to seeing for ages. While there were a couple of pinheads in the mix, the VAST majority of guys (and gals) were incredibly cool and down-to-earth. In one respect, the slightly lower-than-expected turnout made it easier for people to spend more time talking with their favorite artists at a relaxed pace; it felt more like a casual "get together" with friends.

The performances, as one would expect, were all over the map quality-wise, but the vast majority of them were quite good, and some were simply amazing.

I'll be putting up more complete reviews at Heavy Harmonies, but here's my brief take on the performances, rated 0-10:

Friday night:

Mad Margritt. Hard rock. 6.5/10 - Sidebar: The drummer for Mad Margritt gets the "Character of the Convention" award. This guy was a laugh-a-minute. Picture a guy about 45-50, long blond/grey hair, covered with tattoos, perpetually guzzling drinks like there's no tomorrow, and flaming like a forest fire. He had us in stitches, cracking outrageous jokes, quasi-"hitting" on anything walking, male or female (it was all in good fun). You'd see this guy at any time of the day or night drinking like a fish; the guy must be permanently pickled. The band got sick and had to cancel their acoustic set on Sunday, and he was the only one that wasn't touched by it. Go figure.

Kinetik. Prog metal. 4/10 - Bo-ring. The lead singer was annoying as hell. These guys do get the "Tallest Guitar Player on the Face of the Planet" award. How tall was that guy, 6'10"?

Agent Steel. Power Metal. 2/10 - Quite possibly the worst lead singer I've ever heard. Every lyric was a screech, and while I don't mind screeching, the screeching was off-key! GAH! The only reason they don't get a 0/10 was that the band was tight...

Vain. Glam. 7.5/10 - It's what you would have expected, and he put on a good performance.


Erotic Suicide. Hard rock. 7/10 - Hard rock, with just a slight glammish edge to it. Not bad.

Towne Cryer XXI. Prog rock. 8.5/10

Swirl. Hard Rock. 9/10 - Duane, the guitar player, absolutely SMOKES! He's got great stage presence as well. The acoustic number that closes the set, with the bass player playing violin, was a unique and well-thought-out number.

Lazy Jane. Hard rock. 5/10 - This band didn't do much for me.

Cage. Heavy Metal. 8.5/10 - These guys were intense! Vintage Judas Priest type of sound.

The Szuters / Mad Margritt. Hard Rock. N/A - Hey, I had to duck out and get dinner sometime...

Steel Prophet. Heavy metal. 10/10 - One of the surprises of the weekend for me! These guys SMOKE! Excellent execution and great stage presence. Rick Mythiasin is a fantastic frontman with great crowd interaction. I met the band at the registration table when they arrived, and they had a great sense of humour. Rick is, well....insane. :)

Jag Panzer. Power Metal. 9/10 - Very tight. Harry "The Tyrant" Conklin has a fairly intimidating stage presence (and he looks like Wayne Newton, weird).

Leatherwolf. Melodic Metal. 8/10 - After a blown fuse prompted an impromptu drum solo, the  band settled into a nice tight unit.


John Taglieri. AOR. 10/10 - 100+ degrees by the pool, and the man is giving it his all! He sounded great, despite having to deal with a black guitar in the sun (OWITCH! OWITCH! OWITCH!). He put on a great set, and his voice sounded fantastic! [He and his wife Michelle are the nicest people you'd ever want to meet].

Robin Brock. AOR. 7.5/10 - I thought the mike was too low on her vocals; I had a hard time hearing her. Wearing black leather in 100+ degree temperature has GOT to be painful. :) Her set was very well received.

Ken Tamplin. AOR/Hard Rock. 9/10 - He did a 2-man thing that sounded extremely good. He played solo as well as Shout material. Good stuff!

Smilek. Hard Rock. 9.5/10 - Very good stuff! Bon Jovi meets Kip Winger meets Bryan Adams, with their own flair. The crowd loved their set. I had a chance to spend time chatting with all the guys in the band, and they are about THE most down-to-earth, friendly dudes you'll ever run into. They have the potential to break out big...

Moore. Gothic rock/metal. 5/10 - They had their own following, but honestly, they did nothing for me...

Enertia. Prog metal. 9/10 - Pretty unique stuff. The vocalist has a very Ray Gillen-esque quality to his voice, but it's definitely metal. These guys were tight too.

The Promise. AOR. 10/10 - Probably the act of the show for me. They sounded awesome! This Scottish group needs more exposure. They should be HUGE!

New Eden. Power prog. 6/10 - Snore. Ok, so Andre the Giant is the lead vocalist.

Picture Perfect. Hard Rock. 8.5/10 - I enjoyed these guys. Good straight ahead hard rock.

Swirl. See above.

Michael Morales. AOR. 4/10 - This one was a major disappointment to me. No stage presence at all; they seemed to be going through the motions. Yes, I know he was disappointed in the turnout, but as a couple of other band members mentioned, "whether it's 2 people or 20,000, you give it everything you've got! However many people are in the room, they paid to see a show, and deserve your best effort!" [and several of the bands that played to small audiences gave a hell of a show; this wasn't one of them]. A few other people I talked to really enjoyed his set; maybe it was just me.

Vicious Rumors. Heavy Metal. N/A - I was dead to the world at this point so I skipped out. Most people said the sound was so loud and so distorted that they started leaving. What was up with those fake amps put up on stage? Publicity photos?

So while it musically ended on a slightly down note for me personally, overall the weekend was fantastic, and yes I'll be going back next year (budget permitting).

So, to all of those who didn't attend, you are all worthless and weak. :) Make plans to show up next year. I certainly will!

From: "Woody & Lynn Wood"

A friend of my husband's who used to work with Henry Paul recently told us that he (Henry) was devastated over the recent departure of Van Stephenson from Blackhawk. I noticed that Blackhawk is playing as a duo Friday night at a club called Cowboy's in Kennesaw, GA (a suburb of Atlanta).

The WOOD Universe
Somewhere There's Hope