What’s old is new again. Or, so they say. There’s been a resurgence of late of popular `80s artists coming back into the public’s eye, making new music and/or touring as an extension of their former popularity. Some of these comebacks are not so much comebacks but continuations of prolific careers spanning decades.
One of these amazingly prolific performers is Udo Dirkschneider, former lead singer and front man of the epic `80s band ACCEPT, and more recently with the band that shares his name, U.D.O. With a staggering amount of recordings under his belt, Udo is a giant in the music industry boasting nearly 40 releases under his various entities over the years. And, that’s not including his singles, videos and DVDs. The man cannot and will not be stopped!
For the past several weeks, Udo has been touring on the ‘Back to the Roots’ Tour, saying farewell to live performances of classic ACCEPT material and retiring those songs at the end of the tour. Out with Udo on this jaunt were Mindmaze and A Sound of Thunder, both female fronted metal bands that kicked the asses of all in attendance. They both gave strong performances while both subtly different in approach and intensity.
Mindmaze, a prog-metal band out of Allentown, PA, started the show with an intro of “Homeward Bound” also known as the theme song from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I really couldn’t tell if anyone else recognized it but I figured at least some would considering the crowd resembled a sausage party at an AARP convention. Although it was nice knowing that we weren’t the oldest people in the room for a change. Mindmaze packed a decent punch despite being unnervingly comparable to bands of similar ilk such as Flyleaf. Sarah Teets crooned through songs “Back From the Edge”, “Breaking the Chains” and “End of Eternity” with a brash intensity and thankfully didn’t spend too much time pre-occupied with her hair.
Up next was A Sound of Thunder, a four-piece band hailing from DC. ASOT was decidedly different in sound and presentation from their predecessors in that Nina Osegueda’s vocals are higher pitched, almost Banshee-like screams which are in quiet contrast to those of Teets. The balance of ASOT, Josh Schwartz on guitar, Jesse Keen on bass, and Chris Haren on drums, have less of a progressive sound with tempo changes and the like, and more of a thrash edge. Suffice it to say they were loud and Nina’s vocals were piercing.
After, again, what seemed like an eternity, Udo, hits the stage after a thunderous intro which culminated in a countdown to the last time Baltimore would be treated to the raucous musical rantings of ACCEPT. Through timeless classics like “Starlight”, “London Leatherboys”, “Midnight Mover” and “Neon Nights”, Udo’s vocals sounded, quite literally, exactly the same as they did three decades ago. Which, in itself, is a stunning feat in the face of Father Time. The crowd seemed to be reliving their youth with every note. No mosh pit, but lots of spirited sing-alongs going on.
The sing-alongs started getting slightly out of hand during “Restless and Wild / Son of a Bitch” and later again during “Midnight Highway”. Half the audience probably lost their voices during the encore which boasted the songs “Metal Heart”, “Fast as a Shark” and “Balls to the Wall”. Just think, all those stock brokers and school teachers and otherwise productive members of society have to explain why they can’t talk when they get to work tomorrow.
Udo Dirkschneider gave his all in granting Baltimore a timeless show of ACCEPT classics while exposing fans to two strong bands they may not have heard of previously. ACCEPT may be in the bag, but UDO lives on.