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Turku, Jan. 24th, 2004
The RockUnited.Com-endorsed "Never Surrender Club" is a monthly happening, celebrating the hard rock & heavy metal of the eighties. DJ's IC and Thunder play classics and more obscure tracks from the era, and somewhat suitable bands perform live. Last weekend (Jan. 24th, 2004) the live band was URBAN TALE, and naturally I had to be there!
UT performed most of their recorded material and a new song as a special treat. Kicking off with "Starship Of Giants", the set seemed to be more balanced that the last time I saw the band. Naturally they had more songs to choose from...I think most of my personal favourites were played, including "King Of Hearts", "Runaway Train", "Open Your Heart" and "Son Of A Gun". Some of the more experimental, progressive songs from the two albums were left off the set, which probably didn't bother anyone. Instead the band concentrated on the more immidiate songs, and got the sparse, but enthusiastic crowd going.
The sound was okay, although some techical problems haunted the band for a while. Usually in Downtown the drums are behind a see-thru plastic wall (!), but for this occasion the wall had been removed. But fear not, the stage wasn't completely without any "special" features - vocalist Kimmo Blom had a cool catwalk in front of him, made of empty beer bottle boxes!
As the Downtown stage is about the size of a postcard, there was no room for wild antics (not that Urban Tale are known for their dance moves anyway), so the guys had to settle for making funny faces and throwing guitar hero poses. Frontman Kimmo proved again that he's a good entertainer, coming up with funny comments and adding some weird extras to most of the songs...the operatic bit in one of the songs was quite special indeed! He sure can sing...
The songs that got the best response seemed to be "King Of Hearts", "Son Of A Gun", "Doris Day" (with its' singalong "Whoh-oooh" part) and "Passion Takes Over" ("This one's a disco tune", said Mr. Blom). "One Day" was saved as the encore, along with "The Devil In Me", and seemed to be the most cherished of them all.
The one new song "Retro" sounded promising. It was more straightforward than most of the band's songs, with sharp riffs and a strong chorus. If the rest of the songs to be featured on the album number three are anything like this, we can expect a great album! No need to worry about the band going all REM on us I guess.
I was half-expecting a cover or two, but we didn't get any this time. I'm sure "Separate Ways" or something like that would have been very popular, as most of the audience was probably die-hard AOR fans. I'm not complaining though, it was a good set!
Before the gig I briefly met Jaakko from House Of Mirrors, who said that their debut album for Escape Records is going to be finished very soon. I also had a good chat with the DJ's, who mentioned that they are trying to lure House Of Mirrors to play in one of the future "Never Surrender" nights. The next few are already spoken for, with cover bands doing sets of Dio and Iron Maiden. You can find more info on these events via this link: www.neversurrenderclub.tk
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