Tuesday, May 30, 2017

YNGWIE MALMSTEEN Sets Seattle On Fire! Gig Review from Seattle, WA! 5/25/17

Yngwie Malmsteen
Killian Mahaffey

May 25, 2017
@Showbox at The Market (via Studio Seven)
Seattle, WA


The maestro himself was back in Seattle Thursday night!  Being one of the main influences on my own guitar playing, I have seen Yngwie Malmsteen 4 times over the years.  I even got hit in the face with (then drummer) Anders' drumstick back in the day - a stick I still have to this day.

I've said this once and I'll say it again - one thing I've always liked about Yngwie is that he doesn't give a shit what you think of him.  He has his fans, he has his detractors - he could care less.  He does his own thing, whether fashionable, passé', or hip, it matters not.  It always reminds me to follow my own path, whether it intertwines with others around me or if it leaves me alone for spells at a time, it doesn't matter.  Lead and others will follow.

I arrived to see a line at the Showbox, as the doors weren't open yet.  By the time I got my credentials, the first local opener was playing.

Killian Mahaffey was ripping through an instrumental variation on Vivaldi's Four Seasons.  Sporting a Fender Stratocaster, and backing tracks, Killian proceeded to get the shred fest going.  

As soon as I heard the opening notes of the backing track play Gary Moore's "The Loner" from "Wild Frontier", I was fucking sold (Gary is my number one influence as a guitar player)!

We were also treated to "Parisienne Walkways" - another Gary Moore tune.  The vocals needed some work but the guitar playing didn't.  Great hearing a guitarist rip through some songs and play others with heart and emotion.  A good start to the evening!

Next up - and I'm typing this "after the fact" - was local heroes Mechanism!  I had heard SO much about this band yet I had never seen them play in all the years of their existence.  Yeah, yeah, I suck. Go ahead and say it.  Hah!

The boys hit the stage and just melted the audience with straightforward metal with heavier elements (some Metallica and Pantera inspired chugging on the E string) along with some serious guitar shredding.  I totally got it while shooting and watching the band blaze through their set.  Fist bumping Tony from the photo pit, I got to watch his playing up close.  An old school metal guitarist, when everyone told me he shreds, I watched him tear up his Ibanez like nobody's business.  

The five piece played a punishing and professional set of metal.  So why the melancholy tone you ask?

The band has decided to lay Mechanism to rest.  This was announced publicly the next day.  For the long time diehard fans (and there are many), this was devastating news.  For me - I was bummed.  But, by the same stroke, I was also glad I got to see the band tear it up before hanging it up.

The bands performance on Thursday was a fine farewell, whether the crowd knew it or not.  Hails guys - all the best with your future endeavors!

After a brief changeover, 10pm hit and the lights went down.  Red light and fog permeated the stage.  The wall of Marshall's "you can see from space" backline, the ever familiar neo-classical guitar came blasting, and I mean blasting, through the PA to entice the audience.  The band entered through the darkness one at a time.  Then, the man himself took the stage.  Dressed in his customary all black, with crosses hanging from his neck and wrist, black boots, and a main of hair, Yngwie blazed all over his scalloped fingerboard as the first notes of "Rising Force" echoed throughout the Showbox.

Ever the showman, Yngwie played the songs, not entirely like the recording because this is a live performance.  Much like Hendrix, no two Yngwie gigs are the same.  You might hear the same set list but his playing of which notes, runs, arpeggios, etc. differs from night to night.

I remember the first time I saw him on tour for the first album - yes I'm an old fart - I was blown away by the fact that he could play the guitar the way he does and be a showman at the same time.  I thought he would stand still and stare at the neck of his guitar all night when playing his parts back then.  Nope.  And here we are over 30 years later and he still isn't ha-ha.

Playing a 90-minute set of songs from all throughout his career, I was glad to hear several pieces from the first album (with Yngwie singing no less).  

I got what I came for - guitar shredding (in front of my face when I was in the photo pit) - man it took me back to the 80's - only I was far away from the stage back then.

Yngwie who?  Yngwie fucking Malmsteen as the shirt says.  Indeed.  Long live Yngwie!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks:  Studio Seven for the credentials!  I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to cover this show!  Cheers!

Killian Mahaffey


Yngwie Malmsteen

All photos websized.  Full resolution images will be on the official EA site coming soon!

Dim Days In Seattle - SIRENIA Gig Review! 5/23/17


May 23, 2017
@Studio Seven
Seattle, WA


The symphonic metal crowd has been waiting for Norway's Sirenia to grace our shores for many years now.  Finally, in 2017, this wish came true for the fans in Seattle!

Sirenia were in support of their newest album, "Dim Days of Dolor", with their first ever North American tour (with Arkona).  

Morten, Emma, and crew hit the Studio Seven stage and played a solid 70+ minute set - this was a pleasant surprise as I thought they might get stuck with a short 40 minute set.

Playing with in ear mixes and racks, no amp backline or front monitors, the band sounded fantastic!  

Sirenia aired songs from the new album of course as well as past offerings.  Starting the night with the one two punch of "Serpent" and "Lost In Life", smiles abounded on the faces of the Sirenia fans in attendance.  Fourteen songs ending with "The Other Side" and "The Path To Decay", Sirenia definitely left a strong impression on the fans at Studio Seven.

Emma's voice was just spectacular.  Such a trained command and beautiful delivery, one couldn't help but fall in love with her voice.  She is a welcome addition to the band - and longtime friend as well.

From talking to Morten prior to the gig (see interview), it sounds like the band may return sooner rather than later - well a year later but, still, that's reasonable.

Perhaps will see them return with other symphonic style bands - I think that would help propel them to the next level here in the US.  

A fantastic night for any Sirenia fan!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks:  Jon and Katy for the credentials!  Morten for taking the time before the gig to do the interview!  Thanks for the beer as well!  Cheers!

Video Interview with Morten