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Axe - 'Live 2012' http://mail.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/e1/b9/72/axe-live-2012-79-1389139068.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 07, 2014    
 
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Seventy-five minutes of excellent songs played by a band who care.

Continuing their knack of getting surprising bands to play at their festival, the good people at Sweden Rock pulled a sizeable coup in 2012 by having Axe come to Sweden for the very first time, in fact for their first show anywhere in a very long time. Sadly original members Michael Osbourne (guitar) and Teddy Mueller (drums) are no longer with us and keyboard player Edgar Riley Jr has no interest in touring, so with the bass role having changed hands many times already, band leader Bobby Barth (lead guitar/vocals) and most recent singer Bob Harris were joined by bassist Gerald Berger and Italian musicians Alessandro Del Vecchio, Mario Percudani and Alessandro Mori on keys, guitar and drums respectively.

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Playing in the middle of the day and in almost torrential rain, Bobby and the boys put in an impressive performance that mixed songs from their major label days and their late 90s reunion albums. The multi-camera footage is well shot and the sound mix, by Barth, Mark Pinske and Ben Watts, is superb, and whilst Barth may not be in the best of health and needs to frequently sit on a stool during the performance, his guitar playing and voice, along with Harris', are damn near perfect and the pair have enough charisma to carry the show alongside their much younger band mates. Highlights are many, from the beautifully epic 'Battles' and hard rockers 'Burn The City Down', 'Steal Another Fantasy' and 'Back On The Streets', to the crowd sing-along on the popular 'Rock And Roll Party In The Streets'. Harris showcases his emotional delivery on 'Sting Of The Rain' and the beautiful ballad 'Forever' and the European band members do a sterling job throughout – there's more than a hint of humour in Barth's voice when he points out that they all made mistakes and he didn't.

There's very little to fault on this DVD/CD release apart from a couple of personal preferences about the setlist (there's nothing from 'Living On The Edge' or 'Nemesis' and the debut album classic 'Life's Just An Illusion' is also conspicuous by its absence!), but for a band with so little time together to rehearse, the standard is incredibly high and they must have been delighted when listening back to the recordings. There are no extras other than a CD version of the same set, just seventy-five minutes of excellent songs played by a band who care.

Phil Ashcroft

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