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On stage: Shakra

- W.O.A. - Aug. 2002 - Wacken (D) -
- Hammerfall, Stratovarius & Shakra - Nov. 2005 - Cologne (D) -
- Shakra, Maxxwell & Blackwell - Oct. 2011 - Essen (D) -

- Shakra, Maxxwell & Blackwell -
- October 20th 2011 - Essen (D), Turock -

Blackwell - live in Essen

Maxxwell - live in Essen

Shakra - live in Essen

Shakra - live in Essen

Shakra - live in Essen

Shakra - live in Essen

Shakra - live in Essen

With Shakra on the bill it was time for hard rock fans to head to Turock. Changing a singer is always a difficult thing, but sometimes there is no other way. Mark Fox left the band and was replaced by John Prakesh, but with Back On Track the new line-up already proofed that they choose the right guy.

On this tour they were supported by Maxxwell and as local support Blackwell which was a king of surprising act.

When I arrived the venue was far from being packed, it looked like it was a gathering of photographers... Part of the problem is the wrong information about the beginning of the show which was announced for 8 PM, but Blackwell entered the stage at 7:30 and only played about 40 minutes. But during their set more people arrived.

The Messina brothers - Franscesco on guitar and Sandro on drums - are the basis of Blackwell who presented riff-based songs, some more rock, others more metal. The opener My Own Liberty shows reminiscences to Metallica... But also have a dash of alternative rock in it. But to get a better idea of Blackwell I recommend to head over to their MySpace - - and check out some songs. Singer Marc Stahlberg did his best to entertain the small crowd and acted like they were playing in front of thousands! During the set he tried to animate the people to join in which didn't worked out well, but that's something to expect from such a small crowd. As I don't know their songs I can't tell you between which songs Marc Stahlberg did an alternate version of the Lord's Prayer in German and to his God is called Rock. Funny, but personally I would have preferred to get some of the songs introduced... Anyway, they rocked the (small) crowd and it would be interesting to see them again.

Next in line Swiss rockers Maxxwell! The band was out to promote All In, their latest album. More fans arrived during the change over and two die-hard Maxxwell fans took place in front of the stage. Maxxwell kicked off with Dead End Street, a catchy riff-based rocker and right from the start the two guys were going crazy. With their mix of capoeira, headbanging, air guitar and a bit of pogo - but that kept others at distance. Anyway, for a band it's great to have a wild crowd, Maxxwell had a decent crowd and two fans going nuts. Singer Nobi Suppiger was always in action and cheering up audience and band mates. The rhythm section - Kusi Durrer (bass) and Oli Häller (drums) - delivered a fat beat for the heavy and sharp riffing of Hef Häfliger and Cyril Montavon. Songs like Black Widow and Boogie Man made it easy to get into Maxxwell. At No Pain No Gain Nobi Suppiger encouraged the people to sing along and at least the two guys at front loudly sang along. Afterwards he announced "We are Maxxwell from Switzerland, and it's no a scribal error! It's Maxxwell with 2 X!" More songs of All In should follow, but they also had a few songs off Dogz On Dope to offer. Songs like Out Of Control and Bad To The Bone were fun, and just in case... these aren't cover versions. Maxxwell delivered a great show and I hope to see them again soon!

Break for a change over, this time a bit longer but at about 9:30 PM it was time for Shakra! The fivesome - Thom Blunier, Thomas Muster, Dominik Pfister, Roger Tanner and their new singer John Prakesh - entered the stage and headed into B True B You. They focused on Back On Track, but also had some older tunes on the setlist. Soon it was obvious that Shakra were lucky to find a powerful singer like John Prakesh to fill in the shows of Mark Fox - and he did good on the old ones! Old ones they played were e.g. Ashes To Ashes and Inferno, but the new ones fit in perfectly and due to Prakesh's ability to adjust to his predecessor without copying him, it was pure fun. The Swiss didn't waste much time talking! They simply rocked the house for almost 100 minutes - incl. the encores Chains Of Temptation, Hand On The Trigger and Stronger Than Ever. They only slowed down for the balladesque one When I See You, a song we learnt is played a lot at Swiss radio stations. The guitar duo Blunier / Muster fired a riffs at the audience and gave the melodic tunes an edge.

If you ask 10 fans after the show which song they missed, you'll get (worst case) named 10 different songs. And so I don't want to argue the set list. One thing was obvious the band delivered a great show, they were playing like clockwork - Swiss clockwork. Unfortunately only 200+ fans came to see the package and that's a shame as the tickets were sold for a reasonable price. Don't tell me 15 € is too much for 3 bands! Shirts and CDs were also sold for a reasonable price - or nice price, if you prefer this -, so I hope next time more hard rock fans will support the bands!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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