Jeff Scott Soto introducing "musical slavery"

I have been stunned by Jeff ever since he recorded his first classic album with Yngwie at the age of 19. His career as musician speaks for itself. A few years ago I dag deep into the finances and the driving force behind his Australian tour with his guitarist on that tour Howie Simon. And now I am shaking my head in disbelief again, this man is not only the ultimate frontman of 21st century rock n' roll but he is also a business genius.

Being a solo artist putting a travelling band together costs a lot of money. You need to move musicians from town to town, pay for their accomodation, travels, and last but not least pay for their services. Okay, a van will do the trick at a certain level, accomodation can either be charged on the local promoter or solved cheaply sub-standard. However you can not save upon musicians, especially on quality session musicians who are good enough to pull everything from Malmsteen to Norgren, from Sambora to Wylde. Europeans get paid by cold hard Euro. So what to do then?

There's always the third world. Going to Africa does not help, China is risky, so take a Brazilian cover-band with lots of talent squeezed in but with absolutely no chance of making the big break (unless they start playing football and get transferred to AC Milan). Test them to see if they are good enough (any Malmsteen or Talisman tune will do). If they are, offer them peanuts for learning your songs and take them on tour. Much better: do not even offer peanuts. Tell them they can be grateful for the opportunity to deliver their music to the world and let them do their merchandise so that they do not starve on the tour. And there you go, you have the best, the most faithful, and the economically most convenient backing band possible. (Let's stick to the Rock Star movie:) "Brilliant, fuckin' brilliant". Gene $immon$ eat your heart out... 

TEMPESTT: "Bring 'Em On" 6
Metal Heaven 2008
Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner
12 March 2008

I was really curious about this album as these Brazilian guys are supporting my all-time favorite Jeff Scott Soto on his European tour that soon hits my town. When first playing it I had mixed emotions, it is obviously quality music yet I could not decide what kind of. Tempestt used to be a cover-band playing almost everything you can imagine in rock and they pretty much tried to squeeze all their influences into this album, even worse many of those into single songs... [read the full review]


Jeff Scott Soto / Tempestt / H.A.R.D.
Budapest - A38
16 March, 2008

Being the Soto fan I am, I would have showed up even if the gig was advertised as "Mr. Soto reading from the phone book" yet I had my doubts having heard that he let go of his travelling band and hired Tempestt, a Brazilian once-cover band to back him. I played the Tempestt debut album for a few weeks before the gig [see my review separately] and it couldn't really grab me. However the gig turned out to be much above my expectations in the end.

There's not much to say about the Hungarian opening act. The sound quality of their set was surprisingly good and unlike most of the local bands they sang in English but I can't take a band seriously if the keyboard player is the man with the most stage presence and the singer weighs about 250 pounds. My mental ears kept hearing the stage cracking underneath his feet while he was loitering around.

Tempestt appeared to be a lot more energetic when they hit the stage. They played most of the songs from their album and they sounded heavier and even more chaotic than on the album. Don't get me wrong, these guys are fantastic musicians, they just seem to have absolutely no idea about the direction they wish to take. The live set sounded a lot like Metallica/Megadeth topped with some Sebastian Bach wanna-be singing. BJ, the multi-voiced vocalist did a good job singing-wise and a poor one frontman-wise, actually I was wondering if his limited English skills got in the way.

The explosive duo of Paulo Soza and Gustavo Barros was stunningly accurate while Edu Cominato's drums were powerful yet tricky and tasty. Personally I could have done without their cover of "Burn" but the audience was grateful for some familiar melodies. They finished their set with the Soto-duet "Insanity Desire" (Jeff hoarsed away his first, coughed away his second line, scaring the shit out of me but he was professional about it, got his act together right away and delivered his ever-so-impressive form from then on).

I was surprised to see BJ staying on stage, taking his mikestand backwards a bit and staying there to sing backing vocals during the entire set. It was a welcome addition and with all the other musicians doing their share of vocals, the band sounded as good as you'd expect. As unbelievable as it may sound, the band came alive as soon as they started to play Jeff's set, as if their own songs were just some burden to wear and now that they got rid of that, they started smiling and jumping around as happy as ever. They opened with a cool trio of "Eyes of Love", a bombastic version of "Colour my XTC" and a very musical "Crazy" with lots of solo breaks added.

Jeff appeared to be a bit hesitant about how to handle the crowd but as soon as he realized people understand English much better than he first thought, he turned to his real self, cracking a joke here and there. By the time he pulled "Stand up and Shout" and much to my pleasant surprise also "Living the Life" from the Rock Star movie he had completely won the audience and turned the gig into a backyard party. He kept engaging into chatting with people between songs, inviting people on stage, he seemed to be amazed by some spontaneous singing-alongs and just kept joking a lot. The band either had a darn fine time or they pretended that way beyond belief.

Besides "Colour my XTC" much to my surprise the setlist also included Talisman's "Tears in the Sky", yet there was no sing of the usual Malmsteen-block except for some singalongs with various volunteers from the crowd. Ballads were basically non-exitent, Jeff gave us a preview of his upcoming album in the form of a rather heavy tune titled "21st Century". And there wasn't room for much more in the normal setlist. The encore included "I'll Be Waiting" that the crowd sang spontaneously several times before, Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" and ended with Journey's "Separate Ways" with canned piano-tracks.
Neither the length, nor the setlist of the show was satisfying for me but I was stunned by its intensity, its spontaneity, and the overall musical professionalism. Try to catch the tour somewhere and keep your fingers crossed for an equally magical night.

Review by Endre 'Bandi' Hübner,
Photos by Zoltan Bertli,
(c) 2008 RockUnited.Com