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ConcertsEden’s Curse, Mob Rules, Degreed - G2, Glasgow, 21st April 2019

Posted on Tuesday, April 23 2019 @ 21:14:09 CDT by Steven Reid
Concert Reviews

Determined to give their loyal followers value for money, Eden’s Curse hand picked two of their favourite bands to hit UK stages alongside them - the trio of Degreed, Mob Rules and Eden’s Curse closing out their short club tour in Glasgow, the home town of Curser in chief, bassist Paul Logue. Cleverly, with Degreed cutting a hard edged AOR shape and Mob Rules taking a more Euro-power metal stance, the slick, powerful classic hard power rock of Eden’s Curse meant that the three bands propelling through their strongest moments tonight were all decidedly different from one another, while still remaining strongly linked. As Sea of Tranquility’s Steven Reid witnessed, it made for a triumphant night on a balmy Easter Sunday.

As is the way these days, the G2 in Glasgow wanted the three bands on tonight’s bill on and off stage before 10pm so they could still put on a club night at the show’s close. Something that meant that as the early revellers on this hot and sticky night entered the venue at 6pm, Sweden’s Degreed were already beginning to go through their paces. But what paces they were, a tight sound where the keys of Micke Jansson and guitar of Daniel Johansson took equal billing as they were sprinkled with the enchanting vocal dust of bassist Robin Ericsson. With 2017’s self-titled release still Degreed’s most recent, the small but enthusiastic early turnout were treated to storming run throughs of “If Love Is A Game”, “Sugar” and “Tomorrow”; even if Johansson came close to catastrophe when he toppled his beer over his feet, narrowly avoiding his effects pedals in the process! Disaster averted, drummer Mats Ericsson powered new single “Ruins” into life with real precision before an all too brief set was brought to an end by the excellent “The Scam” from the Dead But Not Forgotten album. An unknown name for many in attendance tonight, this instantly likeable band not only made some new friends, but brought a host of them onboard the good ship Degreed. Hopefully it won’t be long before they set sail to the UK once more.

Although they’ve been making power metal waves for over two decades now, Germany’s Mob Rules have never quite made the inroads in the UK that their stellar catalogue of music deserves. Hence it was no surprise that as with Degreed, for many tonight this was their first encounter with the Mob. Judging by the reaction afforded them by the ever growing crowd at the end of their set, I’d guess that for most it won’t be their last encounter with this vastly underrated band. Initially singer Klaus Dirks seemed a little out of sorts, but with eight shows in eight days and a long trip from Wales to Scotland for tonight’s revelries behind him, that was maybe understandable. However, by halfway through opener “Ghost Of A Chance” from the phenomenal Beast Reborn album, singer and band were fully hitting their stride on their way to a near perfect set of bristling metal. Adorned in top hat and long leather coat, the singer, flanked by his all in black cohorts, cut quite a dash, Dirks even going as far as to proudly wave a Mob Rules flag over the audience during the chest beating bombast of “My Kingdom Comes”. As he had during Degreed’s set, Paul Logue from tonight’s headliners took on the role of drinks waiter, pouring shots down the throats of all the band members on stage, resulting in Dirks exclaiming, ‘Ahhh…. singing! And Whiskey?!?!’ but if the effects concerned him, he needn’t have worried, his now pitch perfect vocals a constant highlight of a great performance. Credit however has to be spread right across the band for that outcome, the guitar pairing of Sven Ludke and Sonke Janssen dropping jaws left right and centre with their displays on “Black Rain” and “On The Edge”, while the keyboard work from Jan Christian Halfbrodt matched the six-string histrionics every step of the way. For many, however, it was drummer Nikolas Fritz who stole the show, his amazing power and dexterity enhanced by a real showmanship and no little skill, as he constantly laid the foundations for what was a towering set. And special mention needs to go to Danij Pearl who stepped in for the UK tour after the Mob’s full-time bass-boomer Markus Brinkmann recently became a father; the Gloryful four (well, five) string man not only note perfect, but also adding excellent backing vocals throughout. Closing with their anthem, “Hallowed Be Thy Name”, Mob Rules left the stage triumphant and causing Eden’s Curse a problem, for not only had the headliners ensured a phenomenal night for all in attendance by choosing their excellent opening acts, but they’d also inadvertently been set a remarkably high standard to match.

The last time I saw the multi-national Eden’s Curse they didn’t have their problems to seek. Not only was their time on stage long delayed due to momentum sucking technical difficulties, but the subsequent set was also dogged by sound issues, interruptions and a general sense of dismay. Tonight, however, was a different story altogether. Celebrating a beautifully cursed 13 years and 5 studio albums together with last year’s Testament compilation, the set for this UK tour was a straight romp through that ‘best of’ album from start to finish. A polar opposite from my last encounter with the band, the sound tonight verged on being astoundingly good right from the off; “Symphony Of Sin” and “Masquerade Ball” leaving little doubt that Eden’s Curse meant business. 

Over the six years frontman Nikola Mijic has been with the band he really has grown into the frontman role. An improvement in his English has undoubtedly helped but to his immense credit, it’s his willingness to engage the crowd and lead the copious amount of chanting and clapping that now makes him such a memorable stage presence. That and his excellent vocals, of course! Whether handling the older material originally sung by Michael Eden, or the more recent “Jericho” and “The Great Pretender” from Cardinal or “Unbreakable” from Symphony Of Sin, Mijic was officially on it from the start and not once did his standards drop. If there was maybe one slight niggle then it was, with the incredibly hard hitting power mongery from Mob Rules still strong in the memory, the relative timidness of drummer John Clelland’s snare pop, but the EC stick-smith’s tom fills and flurries were undoubtedly of the highest order, while his wife, Barbara, gave a quite wonderful vocal account of herself filling the considerable shoes of Liv Kristine on the “Unconditional” duet; a song written for and dedicated to Logue’s daughter who rushed onto the stage at the song’s conclusion to give her dad a well deserved hug! 

With the main set closed out with a resounding rendition of “Evil & Divine” - an absolute crowning glory where the full force fret fury of Thorsten Koehne and keyboard chaos of Christian ‘Chrism’ Pulkkinen was brought to bear with an intensity and authority seldom felt - the celebration of this underrated band was almost complete. Fittingly, however, after Mob Rules had rushed on stage to jokingly ‘steal’ the encore, new song “Forever” - which was the only deviation from the Testament track listing - indicated that what comes next from Eden’s Curse should be equally exciting.

The Cursed calling card of “Angels & Demons” finally brought the curtain down on what had been an incredible night, Barbara Clelland once more adding her vocal power to the mastery of Mijic, as the joy on stage poured out into the crowd, who responded in kind. Clearly moved, Logue thanked his home audience not just for their support on the night but also over the last 13 years. With the adulation shown them, the future of Eden’s Curse looks to be safe for a long time to come!

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