January 31, 2009 at Perron 55, Venlo in The Netherlands.
by Edwin van Hoof
Vengeance are on a roll — the rock and roll. Celebrating their 25th anniversary, the riff rockers set the date for their official CD presentation in the south of The Netherlands with a release party in two weeks. When we meet the band’s vocalist Leon Goewie, you instantly feel the vibe and enthusiasm this party brings along. In the backstage area we catch up on the band’s past and present while Jan Somers (g.) joins in with the charismatic fronter for a spontaneous jam. Soul Collector gets an acoustic make over with Leon enthusiastically tapping and slapping to the beat, while bass player Barend Courbois clearly enjoys the good spirit of his band mates. It will be an upbeat towards a gig packed with power and Vengeance freewheeling through the highlights of their career raved by a nearly exploding pack of fans from all over Europe.
Opening for the power rockers are the home playing team of Sun Caged, currently in the midst of recording their third strike. Limited to a minimal stage setting the band is firing their fiery progressive hooks onto the slowly growing audience. Though not fitting the genre of Vengeance’s straight forward powerful rockers, Sun Caged provides an edge and depth which is captivating. Marcel Coenen’s jaw dropping skills in combination with the craftsmanship of his fellow bandmates make this band one the finest in the genre. We get lectured 45 minutes of progressive joy and get given a teaser for the new record with a bunch of brand new songs. “Shades of Hades” kicks off the introduction to their new sound, with “Driftwood” and “New 12” both easily matching the band’s high standards. Fans of the band however are eagerly awaiting the band’s more classic tunes such as “Fair Trade” and the amazing “Departing Words” with Coenen truly shredding up things. His skills in combination with the swirling keys create a dynamic overhaul bonded together by Villareal’s excellent vocalwork. This makes Sun Caged one of the best outsiders in the genre.
Vengeance is not of this earth. Taken the stage by storm and piling one hymn onto the other, this quintet could easily open for luminaries such as AC/DC enabling them to reach out to a larger fan base. They have the quality and skills to smash the market with their energetic and powerful presentation. Leon Goewie takes his fellow band members by the hand and drags them through a 90 minute history stroll. With the club being packed, it will be a night of celebration, fun and alcohol. The gripping “Wait until the Sun goes Down” kicks off the party and sets the pace, followed by another Collector’s song, “Cross in the Rain”. “Rock and Roll Man” has the band charged to the max with Leon doing his voodoo all over stage and interacting with his fans and friends. Drenched in Four Roses, the charismatic shouter still parties hard like in his prime. “Dream World” is my favorite Vengeance track of all time atmospherically performed with dignity, even though Leon let’s his lyrics slip, like always. It simply can’t ruin a party like we get presented!
“Take me to the Limit” is head on and heavy showcasing the excellent guitar work of father Jan Somers who makes way for his son Timo, shredding it up to the max. The youngster clearly enjoys the spotlight and performs like it is his second nature. Swinging his Les Paul head high up in the air, he fires his riffs and excellent solos into the audience. The tandem fires each other up with loud riffs and great solos flying back and forth. “Take it or Leave it” follows paving ways for the absolute Vengeance hammer “May Heaven Strike me Down” instantly creating a mosh pit front stage. Leon takes his beer pitcher upside down on the head; classic! Drenching the entire front row in beer, his fans celebrate with him.
One of the best tracks on “Soul Collector” by far is the jaw dropping semi ballad “I never felt that way before”, a quick breather in the energetic setlist. The party breaks lose again with the German ‘hit’ “Rock ‘n Roll Shower”. The tremendous energy onstage reflects from the crowd as well judging the excellent atmosphere and ditto interaction. Somers smiles ear to ear and even Courbois is caught laughing. New drummer Erik Stout is laying down a rock solid foundation with dynamic double bass playing and hard hitting power drumming, on which Barend builds up the first floor of this rock solid fortress. The low end from the low lands pays tribute to his name and fame with some amazing bass loops.
A mid Eastern recognizable riff makes the crowd goe wild as “Arabia” is announced with fists flying in the air. “Dance,” “Rip it Off” and the excellent “Planet Zilch” build up more power towards the end. “Down and Out” pumps loud with Andrew Elt (Sleeze Beez, Gin on the Rocks, The Moon) watching from the side of the stage before the new title track puts an end to this party.
“Rock and Roll Band” is the encore with Leon once more emptying a three liter bottle of Jack Daniels on himself and a dancer heating him up a bit more. It’s the firework needed to make this release party a true festivity for fans and media, with a band on their top.
A shame curfew calls it a night so early …