S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK)

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S.O.T.O. / RAIN

Date: 12th March, 2017
Venue: High Voltage
Tickets: 260DKK (€35/$37)
Promoter: Stahl Entertainment
Photos: Erika Wallberg


It’s always fun to see bands I’ve never seen live before as it was with S.O.T.O. I mean, I’ve seen Jeff perform on a few occasions earlier but never with the S.O.T.O. constellation. And it’s even more fun when the opening act is a really positive surprise too. Italian RAIN opened up the night and since ME AND THE REST, which were listed on the bill had to cancel due to illness, RAIN were granted a very generous time-slot before the main act was due.

As I said, it’s rather rare when you get this turned on by an opening act, especially by one that’s unknown. For some reason RAIN had slipped by all these years, they’ve been around since the '80s so I think I should had seen something about them but no. Better late than never, perhaps? Vocalist Maurizio “Mala” Malaguti sat the mood from the first note, high energy and a lot of fun. Musically it was the same too. High Voltage was rather sparsely crowded and Maurizio sure worked hard to get the ones present to participate in the show and get the crowd going. He managed really well and got the ones looking to participate in the show. A cover on the THE CULT classic “Rain” showed up in the middle of the set. It’s a little bit funny that the trademark track of the band is a cover, but this one too, as RAIN’s own songs sounded good. It was a very decent, more Heavy Metal oriented version as compared to the original and that worked very well in my world. Towards the end of the set a guest drummer was invited up on stage, a very drunk Andy Eugster from Swiss VANADINE had come out to visit the show. Surprisingly, it sounded great when he started playing so perhaps he wasn’t as drunk as he fist appeared to be. At the same time BJ from the S.O.T.O. band showed up for some guest vocals.

But the set felt very long, and it sure included a lot of songs which took down the whole experience of RAIN. To get about 1h15min worth of music from an opening act you’re not familiar with is a bit much. On the other hand, it took about an hour to realize they’ve been playing very long, which meant they did extremely well. “Last Caress”, the MISFITS-track was the last one out and this always works well live. So all in all RAIN did a very good impression on me and that they managed to keep everyone engaged throughout their extensive set sure means they’re an excellent band, both musically and visually.

RAIN

Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Rain @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Still, RAIN didn’t stand much of a chance against the S.O.T.O guys who make an impressive bunch of musicians. RAIN did very good but this was one or more levels up. That Jeff Scott Soto is one of the best vocalists around is no news but the rest of the band sure deserves the same status and class like him. It’s amazing when the music holds so much power and force without being extremely heavy or fast, when it has the nerve and vibrancy that you’re just sucked into it all.

And then, that the show is extremely funny to watch also it adds another layer. After the intro, “Freakshow” from the recently released “Divak” album showed up. It sounded perfect. Jeff came out with his mane wrapped up in scarf but that soon came off. Just a thing like that really can make a difference, the first song felt stiff compared to the rest. As soon as Jeff let his hair out everything felt very comfortable and relaxed instead. The High Voltage show was the last of the tour, the 22nd show in the line which was celebrated with having 22 beats ending one of the first few songs in the set. I think everyone present counted that it would be that many and they sure nailed it.

One of the real highlights in the show was “When I’m Older” from "Inside The Vertigo"; the dynamics in the song are fantastic on record and worked perfectly live. The fantastic melody and Jeff’s range added to it. He actually complained about his voice since the tour had been intense, nothing that I took any notice of. Also, as this was the last show of the tour the beer flooded on stage which in most cases affects the musical performance. I don’t have anything to compare to of course but that hadn’t any negative impact on the performance. Perfect form first note to last! People started twisting and turning a bit looking at each other when Jeff introduced Michael Jackson’s “Give In To Me” somewhere in the middle of the set. I was also a bit surprised by the choice of cover song but it sounded fantastic also. And that’s the case when music is played for real, it turns out good. It sounded as a heavier version of the original.

It was clear that many were waiting to hear some TALISMAN songs and with that it seemed to be “I’ll Be Waiting” at least from some parts of the crowd. It’s a bit unfair perhaps since the band has released many amazing songs which deserve the same respect as their hit-song. But that’s what it was, a super-hit and most people into Rock, at least around here know it. And by all means, it is fantastic but “Tears In The Sky” was more impressive. Guitarist Jorge Salan was very impressive, the way he played and how clean and clear it all was all the time. But then, the solo for this one, when bassist David Z doubled the solo on bass (which I guess Marre did too...) sort of stole the whole show. Jeff complimented him after that performance saying Marre should be proud to hear it. And David continued to impress from there. Coming out alone after a very short break wearing a hat starting to moonwalk and play “Billie Jean” (yes, Michael Jackson again) as a bass solo. Again, outstanding performance and great fun to watch!

When the rest of the band joined in again guitarist JB took over the microphone for a moment and some of “Don’t Stop Believin’”, the JOURNEY classic where Jeff had a short stint. Again, wow... JB too, just as Jorge, is a fantastic guitarist and here, he showed he’s also a fantastic vocalist. It’s no bull-s**t vocal lines to pull off these ones but he nailed it. It seemed to be tradition to just play a known riff or melody and have the crowd guess what it is. But since there were a few at High Voltage who already had seen that event Jeff asked David to play something different. The funny thing was that Jeff didn’t know what the hell he was doing. The crowd did and it got hilarious when David took on the microphone and started singing BLACK SABBATH’s “Black Sabbath”. That’s a song you ought to know.

Another highlight and stunning moment of the show was the Yngwie Malmsteen songs, a bit of “I’m A Viking” followed by “I’ll See The Light Tonight”. These songs are extremely high-pitched and it is a while ago since Jeff recorded them but that too sounded fantastic. For the STEEL DRAGON song “Stand Up”, super-hit from the “Rockstar” movie, Andy Eugster showed up again, this time grabbing a microphone and kicked the track off, the initial a cappella vocal line and that too sounded fantastic. I mean, he kills it on the drums normally... He also seemed very comfortable as a singer which made the whole thing even more surprising.

The whole show was a complete blow-away moment. To watch musical perfection like this and having (very much) fun doing it and have a feeling of exhilaration days after a show almost never happens. It did for S.O.T.O, it’s just a shame not more people showed up to see this fantastic performance.

S.O.T.O.

S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) S.O.T.O. @ High Voltage, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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