Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Slash ft.Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators w/Hawk Eyes in Luxemburg (@Rockhal, 17/06/2015)

After the magnificient Judas Priest gig the night before, here I was standing yet again before Luxemburg's Rockhal, here to cover the live performance of a equally grand figure in rock music. To put things simply for those out there who've been living under a rock for the past few decades, Slash is no less than one of rock n' roll's most popular and biggest guitar heroes in history. After having left his position as lead guitarist for Guns n' Roses, the man has managed to keep his his iconic status intact through his subsquent projects. The mere fact that the formation playing tonight goes by the name "Slash ft.Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators" comes to show the sheer extent with which Slash's legendary stature knows no precedence.

Considering my experience with opening acts playing before heavyweight Rock n' Roll megastars, I will admit that I wasn't expecting much from this band Hawk Eyes from Leeds that I had never even heard about. Moreover, after waiting over an hour standing within a packed venue with limited airspace in order to keep my good spot for the headlining show, I will admit to praying for this show to be over as quickly as possible. Despite being faced with an audience as sceptical as I first was, the band pulled off a remarkable show. The band put up a great performance playing a unique formula of catchy rock n' roll tunes with a distinct edge to them. By alternating melodic, power rock hooks à la Foo Fighters with clunky, sinuous riffs and syncopated rhythms from the likes of noise rock and math rock acts, the bands managed to craft themselves a unique and effective sonic identity with a great sense of composition and character.
For a band opening for an 80s' style Hard Rock act like Slash, the rougher, more dissonant edges of the band's unique sound did make them seem slightly out of place at times, which only added to the initially cold reception of an already sceptical hard rock crowd. However, after consistently delivering one left-hook song after the next with blood-pumping passion and energy throughout their set, the band's divergent sound rightfully earned itself a warmer and warmer reception as the show went on, winning over a reasonnable amount of fans. To further add to the contrast between the bands' modest punk rock spirit and our crowd of rockstar enthusiasts, audiences were bewildered to hear Hawk Eyes frontman daringly state "Go on the internet and find our albums, you have my permission". Overall this was an excellent opening set. I'll be sure to keep an eye on these guys, and so should you. While the band did seem to be slightly out of place at this show, I wish these guys all the best in getting there music out there and getting the fanbase they deserve.

After this surprisingly great set came the time for Slash and his boys to tear things up. Slash stepped to the stage looking buff as ever, wearing his trademark hat, piercing and chains, to the deafening roars of an extatic audience and thus ensued a nearly two hour long show of classic hard rock riffs and pentatonic solo frenzies delivered by the man behind hard rocks' most iconic licks. More than a mere guitar player, one only needs to witness the ease and style with which the man shreds through each song to comprehend why Slash has come to be known as a guitar legend. Not even a string break can stop the man in his way, as the man himself proved to us during a solo section where he carries on, effortlessly shredding on as though nothing happened. Being that Slash is the main star of the show, every song of the set gave him a place in the spotlight to unleash his solos. Despite being led by Slash, the main difference between this act and that of most other guitar hero shows is that a great amount of attention is put into the rest of the songs besides the solo sections; rather than indulging in a whole show of continuous shredding, Slash puts great care in the actual compositions and the vibe of each song, leaving enough space for the rest of the band to shine through. Over the course of the evening, fans were greeted to a setlist of 21 songs, half of which consisted of cover songs from Slashs' back catalog : 7 Guns n' Roses tracks, one Velvet Revolver song as well as a couple of tracks off of his 1st solo album.
Handling vocal duties, Myles Kennedy was in top form, harvesting the crowds energy through his great performance and great stage presence. To my great surprise, the frontman also proved himself to be a great substitute for Axl Rose as demonstrated on his rendition of "Nightrain", "You Could be Mine" and "Sweet Child of Mine" namely, clearly outshining anything that we've heard from Guns' N Roses live as of recently. The man also managed to dodge a glass being thrown at him during "Sweet Child o' Mine", responding with a playful "Ha ha! You missed me motherfucker!". If only other frontmen could react in the same way... For a few spots during the show, the bands' bassist Todd Kerns took over the vocal duties, making for an impressive rendition of "Doctor Alibi" (originally sung by Lemmy) and "Welcome to the Jungle".
The setlist went by at a pretty fast pace, though the latter half of the set made way for a guitar solo break that went on for what I could only modestly describe as "awfully long". Going over 7 minutes without any particular hooks or any of his trademark tasteful licks to hold on to, Slashs' spotlight moment of the show surprisingly lost the attention from the audience, who were looking around, waiting for the end of the solo only halfway into it. Considering the mans' stature, I couldn't help but feel as though this could've been the extatic highlight of the show rather than its flaw. After a finale consisting of "Sweet Child o' Mine", "Slither" followed by an encore with "Paradise City", the show ended majestically with confetti shooting across the venue and the crowd going absolutely mental for the climax of the show.


PS : A huge thank you goes out to the Rockhal staff for their incredible hospitality and support.

Hawk Eyes
Official Website

1. You're a Lie 
2. Nightrain  (Guns N’ Roses)
3. Avalon 
4. Standing in the Sun 
5. Back from Cali (Slash cover)
6. Wicked Stone 
7. Double Talkin' Jive (Guns N’ Roses)
8. You Could Be Mine  (Guns N’ Roses)
9. Doctor Alibi  (Slash) (Todd Kerns on lead vocals)
10.Welcome to the Jungle (Guns N’ Roses) (Todd Kerns on lead vocals)
11.Starlight (Slash)
12.Beneath the Savage Sun 
13.The Dissident 
14.Rocket Queen (Guns N’ Roses)
15.Bent to Fly 
16.World on Fire 
18.Sweet Child O' Mine (Guns N’ Roses)
19.Slither (Velvet Revolver)
20. Paradise City (Guns N’ Roses)

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