Michael Schenker @ Fuzz Club, Athens (GRE)


Date: 20th April, 2012
Venue: Fuzz Club
Ticket: €30 ($40)
Promoter: n/a

The impact of Michael Schenker’s style and persona on virtually every Hard Rock / Heavy Metal guitar player is old news. The German legendary axeman’s latest solo work entitled “Temple Of Rock” was overall nice too, even if I think his collaboration with fellow German singer Michael Voss (of MAD MAX and CASANOVA fame) would not be certified as a platinum one in the everlasting Rock history book. What was left to see was the success or not of a forthcoming tour, especially since Michael had announced he’d tour with partially different lineups in the three regions of Europe, America and Japan. And if the younger brother of SCORPIONS guitarist Rudolf Schenker would have his hands full with strings or spirits...

The opening act – FURY UK – presented an amalgam of fuzzy Hard Rock and modern Heavy Metal with some really nice musicianship but the songs themselves would not flow that easily. A trio themselves, FURY UK would be a nice support slot for anybody else rather than standing in front of a rather close-minded audience that got hold of tickets so as to witness a classic Hard Rock band. In any way, the spirit of the musicians and their neat paid up for any malfunctions in the creative sector and after some 45 minutes of recital the band walked off to a warm applause. Now the stage was being set for the headliners (and the venue DJ took the “worse combination of songs sequence for a classic Hard Rock gig” prize in all-embracing concurrence).

Let’s roll things from finish to start: this specific gig was a good one, not neck-breaking nor even enticing, but it kinda was more of a nicely disguised semi-ripoff rather than a neat performance. Why? Because the band was definitely was not as well-rehearsed as they should have been so you could see five individuals boasting in high personal instrumentation but the team spirit had gone down the drain. I really think the most ‘team united’ member of this gig project was the other guitarist whose name I cannot know (he also had a sharp metallic sound in his guitar contradicting nicely with Michael’s trademark vintage Flying V lightning – he also sung great backup vocals and played the keyboards too – two thumbs up). The rest of the band was obviously having a good time but I bet this was more due to the reaction of the crowd, in the front rows especially. And the sound was not helping too…

Don’t get me wrong: Michael Schenker and Co. did deliver a good show, with U.F.O. and SCORPIONS classics and a little bit of MSG or ‘solo M.S.’ pieces. Still, I take this as a safe choice with no risk at all to provide more than one song from the latest “Temple Of Rock” CD and some further MSG good old tunes. Let it roll the other way round: I would not imagine I’d listen to “Blackout” and “Rock You Like A Hurricane” played by Michael Schenker in his gig (something’s weird over ‘ere...). Singer Doogie White was another story to tell outside the venue: we all know his good at singing some traditional Hard Rock with a bluesy warm touch but there were times his voice could not just even reach the requirements set by classic songs of the 70s, let’s say; let aside the fact that he was not that good with lyrics memorizing. Thankfully, his quite big experience and nice persona saved the day... or the gig.

Onward to Michel now: since he was sober it was a matter of seconds to set the stage alight. Not really speaking much – if any – he just proved the legend he carries is solid and praised forever and ever. The Flying V guitar is his alter ego and this was the 3rd time I was experiencing this thing with Schenker live. His sound was notoriously good and every solo or rhythm part he performed was soaked in gold. Were there times the whole atmosphere was occult? Yes, there were: the “Let It Roll” lunar bridge, the “Coast To Coast” harmony mania and of course the “Rock Bottom” monumental solo piece. His whole contribution, of course, was close to being mythical.

A nice evening indeed; if you had some spare 30 euros you could witness a foursome of classic Hard Rock figures performing for your entertainment and listen to some golden hits from the past. Still, there was some weird breeze in the air. I left looking at the big tapestry above the drums set for the last time and I wondered why they even bothered to print it. The man’s name/surname or some “Michael Schenker and friends” logo would be enough... or better.