Gig review: LORDI – Picture House, Edinburgh, 9 May 2013

I have a deep, dark secret which I feel must share with you to kick things off. As well as being a rock music aficionado, I also have a love of all things Eurovision. Yup, sorry to say that the annual Euro cheesefest is a big event in my household, including a finals party, it’s so bad, it’s good!

Back in 2006 in Athens my love of metal and Eurovision came together perfectly in that year’s Finnish entry. Lordi took the competition by storm and it was clear that there was only going to be one winner on the night and sure enough it was Mr Lordi collecting the trophy and bouquet.

Fast forward seven years and Lordi are back on the road in support of their latest album ‘To Beast Or Not To Beast’, another collection of excellent shock rock tracks. First up tonight were Black Country rockers Hostile who unfortunately had been and gone by the time I made the venue. By all accounts though they aquitted themselves well and there was plenty of positive feedback on their performance.

Next band up and my first of the night were Italian crew Kaledon. The band play a fine power metal and soon won the crowd over with a selection of tracks mostly culled from their just released album entitled ‘Altor – The King’s Blacksmith’.

Frontman Marco Palazzi has an infectious enthusiasm, although he did nearly shoot himself in the foot when he called the Edinburgh crowd ‘English’ on a couple of occasions, a none too subtle crowd member soon pointed out he was actually in Scotland!

All was soon forgiven though as the guys blew away the crowd with top class power metal featuring some fantastic guitar work from Alex Mele and Tommy Nemesio. Track of the set for me was ‘Steel Maker’ from the new album which contains great vocal harmonies and a killer chorus. All too soon the guys rounded off their set and took their applause, ones to catch again I think.

The stage was then set for the one and only Lordi. As the lights went down the PA pumped out ‘God Of Thunder’ by Kiss as an intro track which was quite apt as the band take a lot of cues from Gene and co. Lordi also have the bombastic songs to rival their peers and started off with a great version of ‘We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse)’. Mr Lordi took command centre stage looking every inch the rock monster of your nightmares with the deep vocal rumblings to match.

‘Bringing Back The Balls To Rock’ and ‘The Riff’ followed in quick succession with Mr Lordi wielding a dry ice gun, the first prop of the night of which there were many. Lordi like to put on a show, they may not have the cachet of Kiss or Alice Cooper but they do the best they can to add a bit of theatre to the proceedings. The bulk of the set was culled from the band’s latest album, ‘To Beast Or Not To Beast’, and their 2006 album ‘Arockalypse’ both providing 5 songs each.

Putting aside the make up, props and costumes though, the bottom line is that Lordi are a fine hard rock band. Guitarist Amen is excellent, providing quality solos and chunky riffs throughout the show. The rhythm section of Ox on bass and Mana on drums pummel you into submission whilst Hella, the ‘Scarbie’ look-a-like on keyboards, provided the melodic flourishes.

More set pieces followed with snow falling from the roof during ‘ It Snows In Hell’, a levitating Mana before his drum solo, Hella receiving a new head when she malfunctioned and a raft of awards for Mr Lordi during ‘I’m The Best’, it may have had a ‘ghost train’ feel to it but it was entertaining.

‘They Only Come Out At Night’ and ‘Devil Is A Loser’ rounded off the main set, with Mr Lordi’s wings failing to operate for the first time in 9 years much to his amusement. He may look big and scary but Mr Lordi appears to have a keen sense of humour and doesn’t take himself too seriously which adds to his charm.

The band returned for four more songs, the second of these being ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’ which had taken the band to Eurovision success and introduced them to a Europe wide audience. It may be a cheesefest but you can’t argue with the fact that with millions watching it is the perfect shop window. Rounding off the set with the heartfelt ‘Would You Love A Monsterman’ Lordi had provided us with a great night’s entertainment.

As I say, for all the theatrics and make up the main thing about Lordi that ensures them continuing success is the fact that above all they are a quality hard rock act with a catalogue to be proud of, everything else is a bonus. A monster night from a monster band.

Review by David Wilson
Photos by Simon Dunkerley

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