Tagged: Cornerstone

Royal Hunt – I was in for a surprise

I finally dragged my ass off to Copenhagen to see Royal Hunt last night. There were a few question marks there for a while, but I’m glad I went.

I was offered an interview with the band in Helsingborg, Sweden (about an hour from Malmo, where I live) and figured it could be interesting. My motivation was mainly that I liked the Cornerstone-albums, the melodies were right up my alley and I thought the drums in particular left an impression. I’ve always loved great drummers and there was one of those, for sure.

[Allan Sorensen of Royal Hunt:]

So, it was all settled, I was going to drive up to Helsingborg, do the interview and see the show. However, there was a change of plans – in the last minute. As it was the first show of the tour, there was no time for an interview (thank god I didn’t drive all the way up there to find out when I got there…).

With the interview being cancelled, I decided that I would ditch the gig too, so I made other plans.

But I had a gut-feeling that I might be missing out on something. I always get a kick from hearing top-notch musicians live (which is the ultimate test for any band – if you can impress a crowd LIVE, you are truly worth the admiration!)

Friends kept telling me that I would like Royal Hunt, that I should go see them. And when I was offered a ticket by a friend, I thought, ahhh, fuck it – let’s do this!

“Dr AOR” asked for a ride to Copenhagen as well, so the three of us headed for Amager Bio and the Cloudscape/Royal Hunt show.

To be perfectly honest, the opening act Cloudscape is a highly competent band, but not quite my cup of tea. You can’t like everything, it’s not their fault. :)

Somewhere around nine it was time for the headliners of the evening to hit the stage – Royal Hunt.

I had no expectations at all, the only thing I knew was that there would be excellent drumming and that it was a progressive/symphonic/melodic type of band. That’s about it.

But HOLY mother…! Somebody had casually mentioned that D.C Cooper was a “good singer”. That was the understatement of the year!

WHAT a set of PIPES…! I was absolutely blown away. He made it look so effortless, but it was far from it. I kept listening, wondering where his limit was. Where would his vocal chords give in, where would he lose his breath, when would he lose control of his abdominal support? He didn’t. Except for one or two minor “imperfections” he was absolutely unbelievable. ‘Scuse me while I pick my jaw off the floor…

You don’t get to hear that kind of vocals live nowadays. I remember Rob Rock kicking ass at ProgPower Atlanta back in 2008 (another one of those artists who I knew very little of beforehand, who just left me thinking “what was THAT?!” when he left the stage.

Kelly Sundown Carpenter, Firewind’s touring singer last year, did that at the Australian shows as well, I had to ask him how he did it – he could hold a note with unsupressed power – for what seemed like forever…! Another one of those unreal singers.

I liked the Royal Hunt show so much, in fact, that I’m going to willingly turn myself into a dangerous CRIMINAL just to show you what I mean. ;P

A little bird whispered in my ear that the band’s label/management or other “business relation” just might, perhaps, possibly, MAYBE have a problem with the band being promoted on YouTube.

Don’t even get me started on that topic… It’s 2014 and somebody is under the impression that being on YouTube is a bad thing? I can only speak for myself, but my reaction when a band is NOT on YouTube, is that they’re probably not popular enough, since nobody bothered to go through the trouble to upload videos with them. That’s not good PR that gets people to  the shows (or buy the merch).

But hey, I’m not the one who’s stuck in the 80’s perception of how the music industry and today’s social media works. :)
Not that I know for sure if the band’s label actually does have a problem with it, but just thinking out loud.

Nuff said. Here’s the evidence of my shameful, criminal deed…! Just because I want you to enjoy it just as much as I did.
(they’re coming to take me away hee-hee, haa-haa- hoo-hoo, they’re coming to take me awaaay!)

[Just listen to THAT! Crystal clear and mighty powerful!]

And then there was the beast behind the drums, Allan Sorensen, a pure joy to listen to as well. Jesus, that guy sounds like he’s playing with a sledgehammer, not a pair of sticks!

Kinda sounds like this:

Ah what the hell – why not another clip from the Amager-show, just because…!

This was the time I saw these guys but hopefully not the last!

Helsingborg was the beginning of this quite extensive tour, so if you’ve got a chance to see them, go check them out:

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Finally 2014 starts looking good!

When the clock striked midnight on New Year’s Eve and we entered 2014, I was in Nashville with a bad cold… And what’s more, I only had one flight ticket for ONE gig in 2014 (Steel Panther in Manchester in March).

THAT hasn’t happened since… well, 2006 I think. I’ve simply made concert travel my thing. But no interesting tours have been announced until now. But, things are beginning to shake, rattle and roll!

Gus G has just announced that there will be a Greek solo-tour in March with Mats Leven, Jorn Lande and Uli Jon Roth – and suddenly 2014 is looking a whole lot better! Unless, of course, it happens to coincide with the Steel Panther weekend in the UK! :-/

I’m all out of vacation days too until May, so every gig-trip I do the coming few months (February, March and April) has got to be on weekends or during the Easter holidays (any day that I have time off anyway). That is a weird feeling. I’ve gotten so used to being out all year round, going to different places that it’s strange knowing that maybe I won’t be able to until May…!

We’ll see what happens. I just need to have stuff to look forward to or I start getting restless. :P

On a more local level, I’ll be going to the Royal Hunt-gig in Helsingborg next month. The main reason being that these are basically the same guys behind CORNERSTONE (with Doogie White on vocals) which I love. Most of all because of the DRUMS on those albums.

The Cornerstone-albums are so well mixed and mastered, everything is done with absolute perfection – it’s just so elegant and so well made.

And the drummer, Allan Sorensen, is without a doubt one of my favorite drummers. He’s the only drummer that made me listen through four albums focused on the DRUMS as if it was a lead instrument (usually it’s the vocals or guitars).

I just automatically sorted out the drums when I listened to that stuff, because I think that his playing is  interesting and colorful – he’s steady as a rock, powerful like the “Thing” and I enjoy all those little details, he just has a cool, playful style. Kind of the same stuff that makes me love Paul Gilbert. Technical skills – but still has the ability to present those skills without putting people to sleep! It’s the subtle touch of fun that does the trick!

Pure Power!

So, although I haven’t listened as much to Royal Hunt as I have listened to Cornerstone, I’m looking forward to a pleasant surprise. :)

There’s not much Cornerstone-stuff on Youtube, which is really annoying. Some of what was once up there is gone. But if you like Gotthard and Rainbow (Joe Lynn Turner-era style) then you will most likely like Cornerstone.

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DISCOGRAPHY: 

Arrival – 2000

Upon Our Yesterdays – 2003

In Concert (2 CD) – 2005 [recommended!]

Human Stain – 2006  [recommended!]

Two Tales of One Tomorrow – 2007