Live Review: Europe Live And Loud 2015 at the Exeter University
It has been some time since my last visit to Exeter University to see a gig, but having seen all three of tonight’s bands at last years Steelhouse Festival I knew I was in for a treat. All three bands have just released, or are about to release, new albums and all are tipped to do well.
Up first were The Amorettes: a classic hard rock band from Sunny Scotland and are a rare all female three piece whose catchy tunes have really impressed me.
Their debut album Haulin Ass showcases their punchy beats laced with guitar riffs and soaring vocals and has made them one to be watched. Their high-energy set included many new tracks mixed with some from the band’s debut. I fancy the new album Game On is going to be even better than their debut. Their set had the modest crowd transfixed, not just with their good looks, but their playing ability. Judging by the crowd that gathered to get their autographs after the show they also gained many new fans with their faultless performance.
Next up were Black Star Riders who have just released their second album The Killer Instinct that has become album of the week on several UK rock radio shows. These guys, in my opinion, did the right thing in becoming Black Star Riders as for many years they toured under the Thin Lizzy moniker; but after gauging the fan’s opinions on recording new material they made the break from Thin Lizzy.
They have some very talented musicians in their ranks and boast millions of album sales between them, but their love of this style of music is clear to see when watching them play live. Having seen them play live several times I knew exactly what to expect and let’s just say they didn’t disappoint.
The new songs fit well with songs from their debut and of course the obligatory Thin Lizzy classics mixed in for good measure. With Ricky Warwick on vocals these guys have a front man that the late great Phil Lynott would be proud of; I can see them going from strength to strength.
Looking around the venue it was clear that there was a large following for both the main acts but it was Europe that I had been looking forward to seeing again. As a youngster I was a big fan from their debut album until around the time of their Out of This World album. After this I lost track of what they were up to and as they were only playing large venues. This changed at last year’s Steelhouse Festival where they were fantastic. To see them play live within a couple of hours drive from my home made this gig a must see.
After several lineup changes over the years they are back to where they started and they seem very settled with this lineup. Following on from the success of their 2012 album Bag of Bones, the band has just released their 10th studio album War of Kings and it’s been receiving rave reviews from around the world.
Their live set included several tracks from the new album plus other classics from through the years and the crowd sang along without the need for prompting but I guess these guys will always be known for their 1986 track “The Final Countdown” that went to number one nearly everywhere across the world, probably a good idea that they leave this till the end and, as soon as it started, the crowd became a sea of mobile phones as fans recorded it. Their set seemed to go down well with the crowd and the new songs seemed to blend in and were very well received. Let’s hope they keep their promise and return to this part of the world again as I, for one, will certainly be buying a ticket.
The venue played their part in making this a great night. The door staff dealt with the long queue of people quickly and the security people were very helpful and friendly. If only all venues could be as accommodating as this it would make concert going a much better experience.
Venue: Exeter University http://www.exeterguild.org/boxoffice/
Black Star Riders http://blackstarriders.com/
The Amorettes http://www.theamorettes.co.uk/p/landing-page.html