Rock Stars Rising Music & Entertainment

Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock at the Robin 2, Bilston, January 20th 2016.

Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock at the Robin 2, Bilston, January 20th 2016.

Michael Schenker and his Temple of Rock returned to a full house at the Robin 2 to showcase his immense talent as a songwriter and guitarist. Like last year the show was a sell-out with around 700 fans present to celebrate the opening gig of 2016 as he continues his Spirit on a Mission world tour.

Venrez

The show was opened by LA band Venrez. When you have a band fronted by Howerd Stern lookalike Steven Berez and an inked-up bass player whose hairstyle may have been influenced by a 1980's Mike Score (go look him up) it must be worth a watch and a listen. With a recognisable 'LA sound' the band supplied some refined rock and roll taken mainly from their 2015 album 'Children of the Drones' and the 2012 album 'Sell the Lie'. Berez's vocals were strong and steady while the bass of Cynthia Gillet could be heard the other side of Wolverhampton I was reliably informed. Standout songs for me were 'Intellectual Drool' from 2013's 'American Illusion', a bass-heavy rock anthem, the pop-punk 'Children of the Drones', hard rocking 'Yesterday has gone Tomorrow' and 'Hang the Predator' with its intro that reminded me of 'Stricken' by Disturbed.

Enter the High Priest from the Temple of Rock to a wall of noise and the band immediately launch into UFO's 'Doctor,Doctor' which gets the crowd cheering and singing from the very first note. After this it was a whirlwind of songs, old and new, including oldies but goldies 'Lights Out', 'Too Hot to Handle', 'Rock You Like a Hurricane' and 'Rock Bottom' while 2015's 'Spirit on a Mission' was well represented by 'Live and Let Live', 'Good Times', 'Communion', in the encore, and 'Saviour Machine'. Schenker was in the form of his life, he played better than I've heard him for years while the wordsmeister, Doogie White, cranked out the vocals as never before. If the 2016 gigs that follow this one are in any way comparable then audiences all over the UK are in for a treat. Schenker has developed a style which seems even more laid back than usual and his interactions with the crowd put many guitarists to shame because while they're up on their self-created pedestals Schenker is down with the fans giving high fives. This, however, in no one-man show and the boss is supported by a group of amazingly talented musicians including Francis Buchholz and Herman 'Ze German' Rarebell, both of whom he has worked with in other bands, incredible guitarist and tinkler of the ivories, Wayne Findlay and last, but not least, the man with the voice, Doogie White. UFO, The Scorpions, MSG and the Temple of Rock were all well represented here tonight as Michael Schenker rolled back the years on what was another, brilliant, sell-out gig at the Robin 2; can we have the same again next year please?

Finally, my thanks to Taro Schenker for permission to shoot the gig.

For more photo's of the Temple of Rock and many other bands visit my Facebook page, 'RSR-Photography - Rock Stars Rising'

Black Star Riders Gallery

Black Star Riders at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, December 17th 2015

The Black Star Riders
Alice Cooper 'Raise the Dead' Tour 2015

Alice Cooper at Plymouth Pavilions, November 29th 2015

Alice Cooper 'Raise the Dead' Tour 2015

This was one of just three 'Raise the Dead' tour shows which were headlined by Alice Cooper and his band of horrors. These shows were performed while supporting Motley Crüe on their 'All Bad Things Must Come to an End' farewell tour. The gig was a sell-out, as you would expect. Opening for the band was Matti Fagerholm, better known as flying Finn, Michael Monroe, who gave a very entertaining performance complete with high kicks, splits and an ability to play the saxophone extremely well indeed. His support set of around 45 minutes was just long enough to allow those present to warm up nicely in anticipation of a memorable Alice Cooper set and consisted of songs taken from his solo career as well as the new album, Blackout States. Unlike the support slot for the Motley Crüe tour, in which Alice and friends only get around 50 minutes, tonight's headline performance was timed to take closer to an hour and 45 minutes; that's 105 minutes of out and out showmanship which covered blood letting, snake-charming, raising the dead and a beheading...oh, and more costume changes than an MTV Music Awards presenter.

Alice Cooper 'Raise the Dead' Tour 2015

With access to the press pit for the first four songs I was looking forward to seeing Mr. Cooper up close. The photographers were, however, warned that when the front curtain dropped it would be followed by a pyro show that would rain fire and that we should stand as far back as the press barrier would allow! That was my cue to get out of the pit and stand a bit further back for the opening salvo. Once over a quick dash back revealed the stage crews wearing gas masks - was that part of the act or a necessity, I may never know but the smoke was pretty dense and choking for a while. The show was split into three acts and Act 1 got underway with 'Black Widow', 'House of Fire' and 'No More Mr. Nice Guy'. Other oldies but goldies followed including 'Under my Wheels', 'Billion Dollar Babies' and 'Be My Lover' before finishing with 'Dirty Diamonds', a guitar solo and some flame-throwing drumsticks. There was no break in the action as Act 2 moved in with a 'Nightmare' intro sample and continued until we had 'Feed my Frankenstein' complete with the 8ft creature itself striding round the stage. Act 2 ended with 'Killer' and 'I Love the Dead'. Alice also lost his head to Madame Guillotine. Act 3 was mostly a homage to late, great musicians including Jim Morrison as Alice sang '5 to 1' followed by 'Break on Through', John Lennon ('Cold Turkey'), Jimi Hendrix ('Manic Depression') and Keith Moon ('My Generation'); for each song a rather small 'grim reaper' brought out a memorial headstone for each of the long lost musicians. The show closed to rapturous applause with 'I'm Eighteen' followed by 'Poison'. Was there time for an encore? Of course there was and the band gave us 'School's Out' with a snippet of 'Another Brick in the Wall' as bubbles and confetti littered the stage.

Throughout the show Nita Strauss, Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie, Chuck Garric, Glen Sobel and Veronica the snake played their parts but while each and every one of them were brilliant the master of the show, Alice Cooper, was always the centre of attention. The sheer energy and imagination that goes into the shows is quite remarkable and even if you're not an Alice Cooper fan the spectacle is a must see.

Alice Cooper Set List

  • Act 1.
  • Black Widow
  • House of Fire
  • No More Mr. Nice Guy
  • Under my Wheels
  • I'll Bite Your Face Off
  • Billion Dollar Babies
  • Be my Lover
  • Lost in America
  • Hey Stoopid
  • Dirty Diamonds
  • Act 2.
  • Nightmare
  • Go to Hell
  • Wicked Young Man
  • Feed my Frankenstein
  • Dwight Fry
  • Killer
  • I Love the Dead
  • Act 3.
  • 5 to 1
  • Break on Through
  • Cold Turkey
  • Manic Depression
  • My Generation
  • I'm Eighteen
  • Poison
  • Encore.
  • School's Out (with a snippet of 'Another Brick in the Wall')
Europe Gallery

Europe at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton, March 31st 2015

Europe at the Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
Freak Shows & Burlesque

The Circus of Horrors Gallery

This gallery contains adult themes

Dok Haze's Circus of Horrors & the Carnival of the Bizarre
Dok Haze's Circus of Horrors & the Carnival of the Bizarre

The Pretty Things Peepshow Gallery

This gallery contains adult themes

Local, National & International Bands Gallery
The Misfits on Tour
Created By
Reg Richardson
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All photographs copyright Rock Stars Rising by RSR-Photography

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