Firewind/Rage/COP UK – Sheffield, Corporation – 22 January 2018 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep   
Saturday, 27 January 2018 04:00

A first trip of the year over the hills to Sheffield for what promises to be an interesting line up of COP (Crimes Of Passion) UK, German heavy metallers Rage and Greek power metal outfit Firewind drags me away from home comforts again. With a grumble to myself about finding gigs closer to home, while it's so cold, at least, I set off on my journey.


First on are COP UK, who are playing what is, for vocalist Dale, a hometown show. Wearing a spoof band t-shirt (Manilow ‘Copacabana’ in the style of Metallica's ‘Kill 'Em All’), he gets straight in to his front man routine, sharing his joy at playing a hometown show and explaining how the band is slowly becoming less Sheffield, in the typical sense of humour you would expect of someone from the Steel city. The mix starts off a bit drum heavy and it takes a couple of songs to fix this, but this doesn't deter them, as they power through their AOR/melodic rock packed setlist.


Firewind tour header


Rage guitarist Marcos Rodriguez joins them on stage, as Dale explains that he is set to feature on their forthcoming album later this year, as well as future releases. As he leaves, after a couple of songs, Dale explains about a book he had lent Firewind the previous night called ‘Puppetry of the Penis’, adding that he isn't sure that they'll be welcome back on tour with them, with a mischievous glint to his face and smile upon his face. His short story goes down well with the crowd, as does the set, which has time for new song ‘Keep On Moving’ and a cover of Journey's ‘Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)’ to finish. Job done, as the third full room has started warming up nicely.


A furtive glance at the time shows next band Rage should have taken to the stage and be about to finish by the time they finally arrive on stage. Guitarist Marcos explains that two of the trio are quite ill and had considered cancelling last minute, before deciding very late that they would try to soldier on and do a shorter set. (They did, in fact, cancel their gig in Finland the following night due to the level of illness). They come on and do a 25 min set, with Marcos taking over vocals from Peavy, who is too ill to perform those duties.


Rage tour header


The reduced set means there isn't time for many songs, although they do find time for ‘My Way’ and ‘Higher Than The Sky’, which has excerpts from Black Sabbath's ‘Heaven and Hell’ and Dio's ‘Holy Diver’ in the middle, as well as Henning, keyboard player for COP, helping them out by singing the chorus for them. It's clear to see that both bass/vocals and drummer are quite ill and it's a credit to their professionalism that they perform so well still. They promise to be back again very soon to play a full set to the two-thirds capacity crowd before exiting the stage after playing a short rendition of the ‘Death March’ from ‘Star Wars’, a nod to previous band COP, who entered to it.


Finally, it's time for headliners Firewind, with guitarist Gus G, once of Ozzy Osbourne's backing group, playing lead guitar. Vocalist Henning cuts a passionate figure, while Gus G, as always, showcases his incredible guitar skills throughout the set. Having taken a peek at the set from London the previous night, I was pleasantly surprised as a song is added to the set from that show, perhaps filling in a touch of time due to Rage's shortened set, as ‘I Am The Anger’ becomes the last song of the main set.


There were again sound issues at the start of the set, as was common with each band through the night. There is still time for an extended version of ‘The Fire And The Fury’, as Gus goes into guitar wankery overload, to the delight of the waning crowd, before getting a hand off Henning from COP, again, who helps him rewire quickly so he can remove his pedal board, which is apparently playing up - something that goes to show quite how talented he is, when we had been unable to tell you to this point, meaning he had obviously covered it very well. Gus's skills during the instrumental include using a towel to bridge and playing a solo behind his head, both of which are crowd pleasers.


After a frenetically paced set, they finally exit the stage before coming back on for a single song encore of ‘Falling To Pieces’ to a now depleted crowd, which ends to loud applause and cheers. Yet another gig that it has been a pleasure to review.


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