Michael Schenker Fest Debuts New Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

Michael Schenker Fest debuted the video for its new single this week.

The band debuted the lyric video for its new single ‘The Girl With The Stars in Her Eyes‘ on Tuesday.  The song is featured in the band’s debut album Resurrection, which was released last year through Nuclear Blast Records. The band is named after its founder, former UFO/Scorpions guitarist Michael Schenker.

The video features a young woman dancing in a variety of settings, such as a dimply lit club, an open space with flaming twirlers and against a starlit background.  The song itself boasts a very 80s influenced hard rock sound while its lyrical theme obviously is about a young woman.

‘The Girl With The Stars in Her Eyes’ is just the latest single to be spawned from Resurrection.  The album has also spawned the singles ‘Take Me To The Church,’ ‘Warrior‘ and ‘Heart and Soul.’

Michael Schenker Fest will release its sophomore album Aug. 23 through Nuclear Blast Records.  According to Schenker, the album’s title is Revelation.  He talked about that and the album in whole in a recent interview.

“Based on the fun that we had recording Resurrection, the success of the album and the surrounding tours we undertook that were just fantastic, I was deeply inspired to make a start on writing new songs for a new Michael Schenker Fest album,” Schenker said.  “It is even a step up from Resurrection, with amazing input from all singers and all musicians.  I could not ask for a better result.  The songs are blazing, snappy, energetic, melodic, and with drummers like Simon Phillips and Bodo Shopf we got amazing results.  this time we even managed to record three great mid-tempo songs with all singers involved, singing their hearts out.”

Schenker added, “The album title and cover concept expresses things that have happened in my past as well as what is still happening at the present time.  It’s about passion and purity versus greed and corruption.  There is much to say.  It’s about time I let people know about some of this.”

Revelation was co-produced by Schenker and Michael Voss.  It was mastered by Christoph ‘Doc’ Stickel for CS Mastering/Vienna, Austria.

 

Courtesy;Nuclear Blast Records

The video’s debut comes as the band has launched a new string of live dates.  the latest tour schedule launched Monday and is set to run through May 18 in Austin, TX.  The tour’s schedule is noted below.

Confirmed MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST North American dates are:

4/15/2019  Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
4/16/2019  Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
4/17/2019  Whisky A Go Go – West Hollywood, CA
4/19/2019  Palace of Fine Arts – San Francisco, CA
4/20/2019  Ace of Spades – Sacramento, CA
4/21/2019  Revolution Hall – Portland, OR
4/22/2019  Vogue Theatre – Vancouver, BC
4/24/2019  The Palace formerly Flames Central – Calgary, AB CANADA
4/27/2019  Gothic Theatre – Englewood, CO
4/28/2019  The Truman – Kansas City, MO
4/30/2019  Bourbon Hall –  St Louisville, KY
5/03/2019  The Pabst Theater – Milwaukee, WI
5/04/2019  Concord Music Hall – Chicago, IL
5/05/2019  Lafayette Theater – Lafayette, IN
5/07/2019  Danforth Music Hall – Toronto, ON
5/09/2019  The Egg – Albany, NY
5/10/2019  The Palladium – Worcester, MA
5/11/2019  Irving Plaza – New York City, NY
5/12/2019  The Space at Westbury – Westbury, NY
5/14/2019  Ram’s Head Live 20 Market Place Baltimore, MD
5/15/2019  The National – Richmond, VA
5/16/2019  Variety Playhouse – Atlanta, GA
5/18/2019  Empire Garage – Austin, TX

A promo video for the trailer featuring Schenker is streaming online here.  Meet and Greet packages are available here.

More information on Michael Schenker Fest’s upcoming tour dates, album and more is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Michael Schenker Fest’s “Debut” LP Proves The Magic Is Still There Between Schenker And Co.

Courtesy: Nuclear Blast Records

The magic is still with us.  That simple statement is exhibited in a window on the rear cover of the booklet included in Michael Schenker Fest’s debut album Resurrection.  It is a fitting statement (and placement) for that message to include in this record.  That is because while it may be the new super group’s debut album, it is hardly the first time that the group’s collective members – Michael Schenker (Scorpions, UFO, Michael Schenker Group), Graham Bonnett (Graham Bonnett Band, Rainbow, Alcatrazz), Gary Barden (Gary Moore, Praying Mantis, Statetrooper), Robin McAuley (Grand Prix, Far Corporation, McAuley Schenker Group), Doogie White (La Paz, Praying Mantis, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow), Chris Glen (The Michael Schenker Group,  The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, John Martyn) and Ted McKenna (The Michael Schenker Group, Rory Gallagher, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band) – have ever performed together.  Each has performed with one another in one way or another more than once throughout each man’s career, and that familiarity and friendship shines through here.  The result of that long-running friendship is, in this latest effort – the debut LP from Michael Schenker Fest – another positive offering from the group.  This is proven throughout the record in its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly.  Its lyrical themes do just as much to make it enjoyable, and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus DVD that comes with the record’s expanded edition puts the final touch to its presentation.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the whole of Resurrection.  All things considered, they make Resurrection not only another solid effort from Schenker and company, but a record that shows without any doubt, that magic truly is still with each member of Michael Schenker Fest.

Resurrection, the debut album from Michael Schenker’s new super group (of sorts), Michael Schenker Fest, shows itself to be another solid offering from Schenker and company.  It also shows without any doubt that the magic that has been with the longtime friends and fellow musicians, is indeed still present in this album.  That is proven in part through the dozen total arrangements that make up the body of the record.  The album’s opener, ‘Heart and Soul,’ is one way in which those statements are supported.  The song’s arrangement boasts a sound that will appeal to fans of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and other similar acts from the so-called “New Wave of British Heavy Metal” thanks to Schenker’s talents.  The added talents of Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett in the song’s “guitar jam” (as it is listed in the booklet) adds even more of that touch to the song’s whole.  The addition of McKenna’s solid time keeping and McAuley’s powerhouse, operatic vocal delivery and Glen’s low-end fills out the arrangement and pull listeners completely into the up-tempo rocker.  It’s just one of the works that proves the importance of the arrangements to this record.

The full-on instrumental track ‘Salvation’ is another way in which the record’s arrangements prove pivotal to the album’s whole.  Whereas the album’s opener was a tribute (intended or not) to the “New Wave of British Heavy Metal,” this more light-hearted arrangement is more akin to fellow guitar great Joe Satriani’s best works than any metal tune.  McKenna’s time keeping and Glen’s low-end once again do their own part to play into such comparison, with McKenna’s time keeping having a certain, almost jazzy bounce and Glen’s bass line keeping right in time with McKenna’s beat on the bass drum.  All things considered here, the group has crafted a work that shows even more why this record’s arrangements are so critical to its overall presentation.

As if ‘Salvation’ is not enough example of the importance of the records’ arrangements, ‘Night Moods’ shows in its own way, why the arrangements are so important.  Where the album’s opener was a decidedly 80s British metal style composition and where ‘Salvation’ could easily be compared to compositions from Joe Satriani as recently as the 90s, ‘Night Moods’ presents in its arrangement, a sound that blurs the line between the guitar-driven rock and roll of the 1970s and the more hair rock sound of the early to mid 80s.  That is thanks not only to the song’s instrumentation, but also to singer Graham Bonnett’s vocal delivery style.  Bonnett’s delivery is full on 80s hair metal style even in the arrangement’s more 70s rock and roll moments.  The pairing of the two sides makes this song another standout work that exemplifies once more the variety of the record’s arrangements.  When that variety is considered in the bigger picture of the album’s whole, it becomes even clearer why the record’s arrangements are so important to its presentation.  Of course the record’s musical arrangements are only part of what makes Resurrection proof that the magic is still there among Michael Schenker Fest’s members.  The album’s lyrical themes do just as much to support that statement as the album’s musical arrangements.

‘Warrior,’ Resurrection’s lead single, is one example of what makes the album’s lyrical themes so important.  Penned by Michael Voss-Schoen, the song seems to be a tribute to those military forces who put their lives on the line every day to keep the free world free.  This is inferred as Voss-Schoen writes in the song’s lead verse, “If you open the book/Turn the page-take a look/You’ll find the truth right between the lines/Read the story all in one/How it all just begun/We’ll admit it’s one of a kind/Giving protection with love and affection/Standing for honor and pride/Every now and then/It will always be the same/Born to follow and walk a fine line.”  He goes on to write, “You’re born into this world/To you/Believe in mankind’s destiny/Marching on the path of glory/When misery is all you see.”  This comes across as a statement about someone who serves no matter what.  As if that doesn’t infer that tribute enough, Voss-Schoen seems to drive the message home even more as he writes, “Under fire and attack/You hear a never-ending battle cry/the unsung hero stands alone/Waiting for the day to die.”  Soldiers, warriors, are those unsung heroes who give that protection even with misery all around them.  Keeping that in mind, one can’t help but figure Voss-Schoen was indeed paying tribute to those men and women who put it all on the line (including their own lives) to protect freedom and the free.  Sure, it’s not the first time that any act has ever crafted a song that seems to pay tribute to the military.  Even with that in mind, it still is just as moving and powerful here as in any other case.  It’s just one of the songs included in this album that points at the importance of the record’s lyrical content.  ‘Everest,’ which comes later in the album’s run, is another example of the importance of the record’s lyrical themes.

Also penned by Voss-Schoen, ‘Everest,’ seems to use Mount Everest as a metaphor for something far deeper.  This is inferred as Voss-Schoen writes, “Holy mountain in the east/High up there where spirits meet/And the shiny clear horizon/Pretends to be the one/Find your destination/Now your trip has just begun/If you knew there was no tomorrow/Would you climb up to the sky?”  It’s as if he is writing here about someone trying to reach something perhaps unattainable and whether someone would try to attain that unattainable goal.  This is especially the case as Voss-Schoen writes in the song’s second verse that reaching Everest’s peak is called by some a “victory of the human spirit/Satisfaction guaranteed.”  He notes that it may be that, though in reality so much might not have been attained.  Again, this is just this critic’s interpretation.  It’s definitely an interesting lyrical work that regardless of what Voss-Schoen was trying to get across, this song certainly adds its own depth to the record’s presentation.  It isn’t the only song that succeeds at creating so much engagement.  ‘Messin’ Around’ is yet another example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.

‘Messin’ Around’ is the polar opposite of ‘Everest’ and Warrior’ in regards to its lyrical content.  Where the two aforementioned songs are deep and certain to generate plenty of discussion, ‘Messin’ Around’ comes across as something far more light-hearted.’  Co-crafted this time by Voss-Schoen and Gary Barden, this song is a celebration of life so to speak very much in the vein of Motley Crue.  This applies not only musically, but lyrically, too.  Voss-Schoen and Barden prove that as the pair writes, “Some might say I’m nasty/Some might say I’m a fool/But life’s a fight just to stay alive/So I forgot all the golden rules/The clock goes tick tock tick, tick tock tick/So come on guys, gotta get some action now.”  What more need be written for the song’s message to be pretty obvious?  The song continues, “So I’m cruising down to main street/Checking out the loverly dives/Give me a wall of sound/In this rock and roll town/It’s good to be alive.”  The song continues on lyrically in similar, upbeat fashion, and when that upbeat lyrical vibe is coupled with the song’s equally upbeat musical mood, the whole makes the song in whole another great addition to the record, and more proof of the importance both of the record’s musical and lyrical content.  When this is considered along with the lyrical content of the other songs noted here, and those not directly noted, that material in whole shows clearly the importance of the record’s lyrical themes.  When that importance is considered along with the record’s musical content overall, the two elements do plenty, collectively, to prove again, that indeed, the magic is still with the members of Michael Schenker Fest and that this record is another solid offering from Schenker and company.  Of course, it still is not the last of the record’s most important elements.  The bonus DVD that comes with the record’s expanded edition supports those noted statements, too.

The bonus DVD that comes with the album’s expanded edition is anchored by a lengthy behind the scenes look at the making of Resurrection as well as an interview held ahead of the band’s performance in Japan for its previously released live recording.  Both elements generate their own share of interest in part because of the humility exhibited by each musician.  Each man stresses again and again that there is no ego among the musicians.  That is made clear throughout the making of featurette.  Audiences also learn through this segment, how the album came together, from which vocalist would handle singing duties on which song to how arrangements came together and more.  Schenker even offers his own insight on how Michael Schenker Fest came to be, addressing rumors of band in-fighting with other groups playing into it and other items.  His Japanese interview offers its own interest, too, with Schenker talking about how Kirk Hammett came to be included in the new record and more.  The insights offered through each featurette itself collectively creates its own share of interest, just as does the album’s lyrical and musical content, and in turn insures even more, audiences’ maintained engagement in the album.  When this is considered along with the impact of the record’s musical and lyrical content, the end result is a record that once more proves why it is a solid new effort from Schenker and company, and why it also proves that the magic is indeed still among the group.  Keeping that in mind, the album in whole proves to be a work that fans of Schenker and his fellow musicians are certain to enjoy, and that they will also agree is deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new rock records.

Michael Schenker Fest’s debut album Resurrection is a strong new effort from famed guitarist Michael Schenker and his fellow longtime musician friends included in the album’s creation.  Because Schenker and his fellow musicians are such good friends, it is obvious in hearing the album’s songs that the magic truly is with each man.  There is a certain magic in the album’s musical and lyrical content, too.  The bonus DVD that comes with the album’s expanded edition does plenty to show how alive that magic is among the musicians, too.  When this is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the album in whole proves without doubt why it is a welcome new offering from Schenker and company, and why it is arguably one of this year’s top new rock albums.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Resurrection is available online now along with all of Schenker’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.michaelschenkerfest.com, http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MW_Schenker

 

 

 

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Santana Shines Again In Phil’s Picks’ 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The weather outside is definitely looking frightful this time of year.  That means rather than going outside to get out and about, people are going to be looking more for ways to have fun while they stay indoors and stay warm.  That is just one of so many reasons that record labels churn out so many live recordings each year.  The problem with all of those recordings is that while some are truly standout offerings, others are otherwise forgettable space fillers used to fulfill contractual obligations for the given acts.  Presented today are some of the best of this year’s new live recordings.

Whereas Phil’s Picks already presented the year’s top new live CD recordings, this time Phil’s Picks is presenting the year’s top new live DVDs and Blu-rays.  A lot of thought and consideration went into this list.  The concerts’ set lists, the bands’ performances, the cinematography and audio mix all went into consideration for this list as did the recordings’ companion booklets or lack thereof.  So it goes without saying that it wasn’t an easy list to assemble.  But this critic tried.
As always, the list presented here includes not just this critic’s list of the year’s top new live DVDs and BDs but five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 recordings.  Without any further ado, here for you, is Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Live DVDs/BDs.
PHIL’S PICKS 2016 TOP 10 NEW LIVE DVDs/BDs
 
1. SantanaSantana IV Live at the House of Blues Las Vegas
2. KISSKISS Rocks Vegas
 
3. Joe BonamassaLive at the Greek Theatre
4. Judas PriestBattle Cry
5. Motley CrueThe End Live in Los Angeles
6. The Rolling StonesHavana Moon
7. Deep PurpleLive at the NEC
8. Melody GardotLive in Paris
9. Gregory PorterLive in Berlin
10. ScorpionsLive in Munich
11. Alan JacksonLive at Red Rocks
12. Michael Schenker’s Temple of RockRock on a MissionLive in Madrid
13. SaxonFeel Your Power
14. Imagine DragonsSmoke + Mirrors Live
15. Fall Out BoyThe Boys of Zummer TourLive in Chicago
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‘On A Mission: Live In Madrid’ Does Indeed Rock

Courtesy: Inakustik

Courtesy: Inakustik

The annual summer concert season is officially winding down an all the kids are headed back to school.  But just because the seasons (both literal and figurative) are changing and the year is slowly winding down, the concerts don’t necessarily have to end.  Early this past May, Michael Schenker released his latest live Temple of Rock recording to the masses to enjoy any time in the form of On A Mission: Live in Madrid.  This recording, which came a little less than a year after the release of Schenker’s latest Temple of Rock album Spirit on A Mission, is worth at least one watch for fans of the former Scorpions guitarist.  That is due in part to the concert’s twenty-two song set list.  That will be discussed shortly.  The band’s stage presence throughout the concert is just as notable as the show’s set list.  This will be discussed later.  Last but hardly least of note in the recording’s presentation is the concert’s production values (I.E. its video and audio mix).  Each element is important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  Altogether they make On A Mission: Live in Madrid worth at least one watch by any of Schenker’s fans and by fans of Temple of Rock.

On A Mission: Live in Madrid is not Michael Schenker’s first ever live Temple of Rock recording.  It is, though another recording that Schenker’s fans and Temple of Rock fans alike will find to be worth at least one watch.  That is due at least in part to the concert’s extensive twenty-two song set list.  The set list pulls from every era of Schenker’s career, from his days with UFO to his days as a member of Scorpions all the way up to his work with Temple of Rock.  No fewer than seven of the set’s songs come from both of Schenker’s Temple of Rock albums—Bridge The Gap (2013) and Spirit on a Mission (2015).  The other songs lift from his rich body of work including the fan favorite ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane.’  Whether for his Scorpions classics, those he recorded with UFO, or even his work with Temple of Rock, the set list in whole offers a wide variety of songs for Schenker’s fans to enjoy.  That variety of musical offerings is just one element to note in examining the overall presentation of On A Mission: Live in Madrid.  The band’s stage presence throughout the concert is just as important to note as the show’s set list.

The set list that is featured in Temple of Rock’s new live recording is important in its own right to the recording’s overall presentation.  That is because it presents a good variety of songs from Schenker’s still successful career.  It is just one of the recording’s most notable elements.  The band’s stage presence throughout the concert is just as important to note here as the concert’s set list.  Front man Doogie White (ex-Rainbow) is just as powerful in his presence as ever as he belts out hit after hit.  He impresses just as much as he chats with the audience between songs, too.  It is in those moments that he shows his prowess as a front man.  Meanwhile Schenker is just as impressive even without using any words.  His riffs and energy as he performs said riffs couples with White’s performance to give the band’s stage presence even more impact.  Drummer Herman Rarebell is just as enjoyable to watch whether keeping the time or singing the beloved Scorpions hit ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane.’  Even Francis Bucholz impresses in his own right, too.  When each man’s performance is set against that of his band mates, the end result is a performance that in whole is just as fun to watch as the set list is to take in.  It still is not the last of the recording’s key elements.  The recording’s production values are just as important to note here as the band’s stage presence (its performance) and the show’s set list.

The set list that was chosen for On A Mission: Live in Madrid and the band’s performance of said set list are both pivotal in their own right to the concert’s presentation.  While each element is important in its own right there is still one more element to note in examining the concert’s presentation.  That element is the concert’s collective production values.  Joy Eslava, the venue where the concert was recorded was a rather intimate venue.  It isn’t a club by any means.  But it is still a very intimate setting.  The ceiling is high and the orchestra area is just as close to the stage as are the venue’s multiple balconies.  What this means is that there are not many spots from which to capture the concert on camera.  It also means that the sound is just as much of a challenge to manage.  It doesn’t have much space in which to go out and dissipate.  This is all so important to note because there are those who have spoken out about the work of the concert’s camera crew in capturing the concert.  Given it would have been nice to have had more angles and for longer.  But again, the venue’s relatively intimate setting made capturing the experience slightly difficult.  And the camera crew did its best doing that given the setting.  Those who handled the concert’s audio mix (again considering the venue’s setup) should be applauded for their efforts, too.  The sound simply didn’t have time or space to spread out.  Considering the challenge that this posted the concert’s audio mix still turned out relatively impressive.  When it and the concert’s video mix were finalized and set against the concert’s set list and the band’s performance the end result of these elements’ combination is a concert that Schenker’s fans will enjoy just as much as fans of Scorpions and even UFO fans.

On A Mission: Live in Madrid, the latest live recording from Michael Schenker’s Temple of Rock, is a recording that Schenker’s fans will enjoy just as much as fans of Temple of Rock, Scorpions, and UFO.  That is due in part to the concert’s extensive set list.  The set list pulls from every era of Schenker’s storied career.  The band’s collective performance of those songs makes for even more enjoyment as each man shows his years of experience through his own performance.  Altogether the band’s members make for one whole performance that takes audiences right back to that former era of bombast and more in rock and roll.  The concert’s collective audio and video mix put the finishing touch on the recording.  That is even considering the concert’s venue.  It posed its own challenges because of its setup.  But the camera crew and sound engineers met the challenge, turning out a concert that looks and sounds as best as it can in the end.  When this is set against the concert’s set list and the band’s performance thereof, the end result is yet another Temple of Rock live recording that is worth at least one watch.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on On A Mission: Live in Madrid is available online now along with all of the latest Temple of Rock news at:

 

 

Website: http://www.michaelschenkerhimself.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MichaelSchenkerRocks

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.