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Under the Lights

First Thunder then The Answer

Last month, I wrote a little on the upcoming new album from England’s straight-up rockers, Thunder.  “Wonder Days” marks their first full album release in six years, and it is a killer!  With a history of twenty-five years, and then some—Thunder remain true to their collective musical hearts…creating musical gems that have a long shelve life and inspiring in their lyrical content.  “Wonder Days” is no exception—in fact on this collection, we find the group stretching out and tackling some styles that they haven’t explored before.  Now, this is not just simply a record release, the group are planning to tour extensively in 2015, bringing this music to the masses!  Solidly out of retirement, the sound of Thunder will, no doubt, be heard around the world!

Another group that I have written about in the past, and heaped praises upon in the process is The Answer.  This Irish quartet has, since day one, impressed young and old in regards to the purity of their Rock-Blues infused expressions.  Opening for the likes of “…The Stones”, to “AC/DC”, The Answer always seemed to be on the verge of hitting the ‘Big Time’. 

However over the years, that huge arena rock status seemed to allude them at every turn.  Now, just about to release their fifth effort—the group is poised to “Raise A Little Hell”!  This collected Work from the Irish blues-masters displays a renewed passion and never say die attitude and execution.  The record drips with rock infused blues, and is their most complete recorded work to date!  Not unlike Thunder, The Answer are prepared to do the lengthy road work needed to take them over to the next level.  They are planning to extensively tour the UK, Europe and a return to North America!  Beginning in May, The Answer will touch down on American and Canadian soil before they embark upon the European Summer Festival circuit!  The album: “Raise A Little Hell” is out now…


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Zamboni Brothers:  Feb. 26th  The Goods:  Feb. 27th & 28th  Hank Stallion:  March 5th  Rann Berry:  March 6th & 7th  Zamboni Brothers:  March 12th & 13th & 14th

Doc Willoughby’s:   Agent Orange with In The Whale:  Apr. 28th

Dream Café:   Valdy:  Mar. 12th

Fleetwood Public House:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Mar. 6th & 7th

Habitat:   Wild Son & My Kind Of Karma:  Feb. 27th   Illy:  March 5th

Minstrel Café:  Mark Irving:  Feb. 27th   Poppa Dawg Blues Band:  Feb. 28th

The Mule Nightclub:   The Boom Booms:  Feb. 28th

Neighbours Pub:     Julie Masi:  Feb. 28th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Radio Lifeline:  Feb. 27th & 28th   Rockaholics:  Mar. 6th & 7th

Riley’s Neighbourhood Pub:   N.F.A. Band:  Feb. 27th & 28th

Whiski-jack’s Pub:   Bluesfoot:  Feb. 27th & 28th    Papa Wheely:  Mar. 6th & 7th                                          Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  March 13th  & 14th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    Counting Crows:   April 29th   Diana Krall:  May 12th     Aerosmith:   July 13th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Burton Cummings:  March 11th    Colin James:  March 28th   Whitehorse:  April 10th   Los Lonely Boys:  May 10th

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre:  Burton Cummings:  March 12th 

Performing Arts Centre (Vernon):  The Irish Rovers:   March 9th   Burton Cummings:  March 15th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th   Journey:   July 10th

 

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 



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Enough Ammunition

Last week, we looked at the brand new album and group from Age Sten Nilsen.  This week’s column continues with the conversation with the lead vocalist, revealing some of what went on in the formation of “Ammunition” and the demise of “WigWam”.  Himself, Age Sten is a high energy muscian-and highly creative.  He approaches everything with professionalism and emotion—hallmarks of a great Artist.  Let’s carry on the conversation with Mr. Nilsen:

BA: Tell us about the others in the group… It seems you have surrounded yourself with some of the finest!!

AGE STEN NILSEN:

I must start with the one and only Erik Martensson. The album and the band wouldn’t have happened without him. After all he is the one that suggested forming this band. Erik is by far the best producer I have ever worked with. And he is a multi instrumentalist and a great singer too. And just when you thought you’d seen the icing on the cake, he proves to be the nicest person in rock as well. And we just get along so amazingly well. I guess we’re the “chopstick twins” of rock ha ha. Robban was suggested by Erik, as they both play in Eclipse and W.E.T too. When Eclipse opened for my side-project Nordic Beast in Oslo, he really blew me away. Hal and I had already got together as brothers in the new band formation Nordic Beast, with John Norum and Mic Michaelli from Europe and Mikkey Dee from Motorhead.  His bass playing really belongs to the seventies.  Lots of improvisation and steady as a rock. Jon and I have worked together for almost 8 years with my Queen show “The Show Must Go On”. I first met him back in the late eighties, when we needed a new guitar player for my band. And we had heard a lot about this great guitar player Jon Pettersen from Krakerøy. Jon joined us, and we played in this band together for about 3-4 years. He’s one of the finest guitar players I’ve ever heard, and blends great with Erik. Jon is more of a blues and classic rock guitarist than Erik. Influenced by Clapton and Page, and I can’t wait to unleash him on stage around the globe.  Lasse comes from the progressive world, but joined me on my “GLAMunition” gigs in Norway and Japan in 2009. He later joined Wigwam as touring member of the band since the “Non Stop Rock’n Roll” Tour. He’s such a musical genius, I tell you. The band’s nerd too I may add ha ha, since he’s extremely into gaming, computers and all the other stuff I don’t know a shit about. But it’s fascinating. And he’s become a very close friend of mine. Love him to bits !

BA: Can we look forward to everyone on the album being involved with the live version of the group?

AGE STEN NILSEN:

According to those who have seen us live already you should ha ha…We did this Rock’n Roll show last summer in Norway too, which was very successful. Going through our inspirational sources, playing songs that has influences us, you know. Zeppelin, Purple, Sabbath, Yardbirds, Stones, Hendrix…Started off with some of our original songs first, then having a 2 hours run through the history of rock’n roll with 3 great guest vocalists as well. We’ve only done a small number of gigs so far on our own, but now we are waiting for our agents to get those dates coming, to bring Shanghaied on the road. We’ll try to catch as many festivals as possible and then head out on a club tour during the fall. We have guitars and YES, we want to travel. Australia, USA, Europe, Japan, Russia..Call our agents now!!!

BA: Regarding the songs and music we hear, has any of the material come from the Wigwam days, or is everything a fresh start-so to speak?

AGE STEN NILSEN:

Sure. Depending on what you mean by “the Wigwam days”.  The title track “Shanghaied” was originally called “Balls”, and was presented to Wigwam for the “Non Stop Rock’n Roll” album. The guys thought it missed a guitar riff, but never even made any effort to give it a go. Erik did, and we found the missing guitar riff in no time. Working on that particular song really made me realize what the Wigwam department was missing throughout the years. The desire and curiosity to take any good song on a discovery adventure, to feel it, touch it, taste it, before spitting it out and closing the case. A good song is a good song. Period! If it’s not spicy enough..spice it up, and you might get surprised how well it might taste….Then there is “Road To Babylon”, which has pretty much the same story as “Shanghaied”. But we re-wrote the bridge and chorus, but kept the verses. “Give Me A Sign” and “Hit Me With Your Bombs” were written especially for Wigwam’s fifth album. But once the band broke up, they went through some small changes to make them blend with the new material that we wrote for our new band formation Ammunition.

BA: Upon listening to some of the album, it seems the overall sound is less produced and very upfront in its delivery—almost like you recorded everything straight off the floor!?

AGE STEN NILSEN:

Erik really had a vision for how this album should sound. I mean, we obviously wanted a mix of Wigwam and Eclipse, a mix of Age and Erik. But we didn’t want it to sound too modern, yet not to dated either. All in all, most songs were finished in the spirit they were born. And brought up to be what they were designed to become. But man, Erik did an extraordinary job of making sure it sounds as killer as it does.

BA: Being that we are just entering 2015, what are your plans for the group in the year that is forthcoming?

AGE STEN NILSEN:

Now “Shanghaied” is finally getting released world-wide, so now it’s all about doing interviews and promoting it, you know.  We’ll keep the rock’n roll show going in Norway for some months, adding more and more original songs to the show.  Then Eclipse will head out on their own club tour in March and the beginning of April, while the rest of us will be writing new material for the forthcoming album. We’ll start moving in May, mostly in Norway and Sweden, and then do as many festivals as possible this summer. In the fall we will try to tour as much as we can on our own, and we’ll start recording the next album. We’ll have to build it brick by brick, you know. It’s like starting all over again. And man, do we love it. Cuz this is why we all got into music in the first place.

BA: Age, thank-you ever so much for talking with me, “Shanghaied” is a very powerful statement, much success with this new group, and please leave our readers with some parting thoughts…

AGE STEN NILSEN:

Thank you very much for having me Bruce. I’m really looking forward to bringing “Shanghaied” out there, live on stage. And since we just have one album and 3 bonus tracks to choose from, expect some classic Wigwam tunes as well. For those who think Ammunition is a one-album-wonder…see you on tour 2020, presenting our fifth (or sixth) studio album, live on stage, happier than ever, exploding right before your very eyes.

To see how talented this rock n’ roller is…I suggest going to You Tube and search Age Sten Nilsen—take a look at his television appearances, where he is given a song to sing on the spot, without rehersal, and see how he does!—I think you will be amazed!!

 


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    The Young ‘Uns:  Feb. 20th & 21st   Zamboni Brothers:  Feb. 26th  The Goods:  Feb. 27th & 28th

Doc Willoughby’s:   Agent Orange with In The Whale:  Apr. 28th

Dream Café:   Valdy:  Mar. 12th

Fernando’s Pub:    Honest Woods: Feb. 21st

Fleetwood Public House:    Zamboni Brothers:  Feb. 20th & 21st   ‘Wednesday Jam Night’—Feb. 25th with Devon Coyote     Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Mar. 6th & 7th

Match Eatery & Public House (Vernon):   Smokin’ Joe:  Feb. 20th & 21st

Minstrel Café:  The Rowdymen:   Feb. 20th   Fighting Orange:  Feb. 21st   Bruce Spencer:  Feb. 25th Candice Sand:  Feb. 26th   Mark Irving:  Feb. 27th   Poppa Dawg Blues Band:  Feb. 28th

The Mule Nightclub:   The Boom Booms:  Feb. 28th

Neighbours Pub:    Julie Masi:  Feb. 28th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Linus:  Feb. 20th & 21st   Radio Lifeline:  Feb. 27th & 28th   Rockaholics:  Mar. 6th & 7th

Riley’s Neighbourhood Pub:   N.F.A. Band:  Feb. 27th & 28th

Whiski-jack’s Pub:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Feb. 20th & 21st    Bluesfoot:  Feb. 27th & 28th                   Papa Wheely:  Mar. 6th & 7th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    Counting Crows:   April 29th   Diana Krall:  May 12th     Aerosmith:   July 13th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Burton Cummings:  March 11th    Colin James:  March 28th   Whitehorse:  April 10th   Los Lonely Boys:  May 10th

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre:  Burton Cummings:  March 12th 

Performing Arts Centre (Vernon):  The Irish Rovers:   March 9th   Burton Cummings:  March 15th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th   Journey:   July 10th

 

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 



Give 'Em Enough...

From the ashes that was WigWam, raises the powerhouse that is Ammunition, Age Sten Nilsen’s brand new hard rocking outfit!

Age Sten answered some of my questions last month about this project, and how it became the latest Hard Rock outfit out of Norway….

Bruce:  I would like to begin with the formation of Ammunition, it seems that you have surpassed your past efforts with Wig Wam…would that be a fair statement?

Age Sten:  Wig Wam was Wig Wam you know, and I see Ammunition as a quite different animal. I guess this is what I really wanted to achieve with my former band. The songwriting, the sound, the friendship, the dedication and the heart and the soul put into this album and band formation is everything I ever dreamed of. This is an album written and recorded on the music’s premises.  Without any limitation in expression or time. So yeah, I’ve never been happier or more proud.

Q: Being that “Shanghaied” is the first effort, were you going in with…with high expectations?

A: The songs and the formation of the band was all art by accident, you know. But the expectations grew as we started to realize the magic going on between Erik and I when we started to write the album. And when we realized how extremely well everyone got along musically and private too. To be honest, my only expectations when Erik and I got together, was to cut some great demo’s for Wig Wam’s fifth album, that hopefully would make it on the album. Forming a band or even making an album with Erik wasn’t part of the plan at all. It just happened. And it wouldn’t have happened if my former band mates had been honest with me. Then I would most likely have been waiting for them while they did their own stuff. These days I’m thankful for the way it all turned out. It sure was an eye opener and a great turn for me.  Maybe it was a sign.

Q: Tell us about the others in the group… It seems you have surrounded yourself with some of the finest!!

A: I must start with the one and only Erik Martensson. The album and the band wouldn’t have happened without him. After all he is the one that suggested forming this band. Erik is by far the best producer I have ever worked with. And he is a multi instrumentalist and a great singer too. And just when you thought you’d seen the icing on the cake, he proves to be the nicest person in rock as well. And we just get along so amazingly well. I guess we’re the “chopstick twins” of rock ha ha. Robban was suggested by Erik, as they both play in Eclipse and W.E.T too. When Eclipse opened for my side-project Nordic Beast in Oslo, he really blew me away. Hal and I had already got together as brothers in the new band formation Nordic Beast, with John Norum and Mic Michaelli from Europe and Mikkey Dee from Motorhead.  His bass playing really belongs to the seventies.  Lots of improvisation and steady as a rock. Jon and I have worked together for almost 8 years with my Queen show “The Show Must Go On”. I first met him back in the late eighties, when we needed a new guitar player for my band. And we had heard a lot about this great guitar player Jon Pettersen from Krakerøy. Jon joined us, and we played in this band together for about 3-4 years. He’s one of the finest guitar players I’ve ever heard, and blends great with Erik. Jon is more of a blues and classic rock guitarist than Erik. Influenced by Clapton and Page, and I can’t wait to unleash him on stage around the globe.  Lasse comes from the progressive world, but joined me on my “GLAMunition” gigs in Norway and Japan in 2009. He later joined Wigwam as touring member of the band since the “Non Stop Rock’n Roll” Tour. He’s such a musical genius, I tell you. The band’s nerd too I may add ha ha, since he’s extremely into gaming, computers and all the other stuff I don’t know a shit about. But it’s fascinating. And he’s become a very close friend of mine. Love him to bits !

 

AMMUNITION--“Shanghaied”

(AOR Heaven)

Wow! What am I listening to here!? Is it Wigwam or something heavier? Give Age Sten Nilsen enough ammunition and he will create a monster of an album!! And “Shanghaied” is exactly what the doctor ordered! Opening with the anthemic “Silverback”, this debut of Age’s new group sets the tempo and tone of what is to come…From this former Wigwam vocalist! 

“Shanghaied” is full of hard driving-smart melodic hard rock.  Combining Age’s creative song smithing and equally strong vocals with a stellar cast of musicians, this debut is both loud and proud! So, get ready to be Rocked to the hilt!

Pounding out the bass is none other than Hal Patino, and backing him up on drums is Robban Back. Jon Pettersen is on guitar, along with guest guitarist Eric Martensson.  Former Wigwam keyboardist Lasse Finbrathen is also here, ensuring an expansive and soaring expression to this hard-hitting effort! It is fantastic to hear Age Sten once again and his song writing skills have progressed a notch or two upwards! Not that they weren’t fantastic to begin with! On this record, Age displays a more mature and intense approach to each number.  We hear a greater depth in the music, as well as the lyrical content.  The whole album is ballsier!  “Shanghaied” is one kick-ass record! Just a great way to start a new year! BA (90/100)


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Feb. 13th & 14th  Hank Stallion:  Feb. 19th   The Young ‘Uns:  Feb. 20th & 21st

Doc Willoughby’s:   Agent Orange with In The Whale:  Apr. 28th

Dream Café:   Heather Blush & The Uppercuts:  Feb. 14th

Fernando’s Pub:  Devil In The Wood Shack:  Feb. 13th   The Elwins:  Feb. 18th   36? Live:  Feb. 19th  Superstack:  Feb. 19th  Honest Woods: Feb. 21st

Fleetwood Public House:    Zamboni Brothers:  Feb. 20th & 21st

Minstrel Café:  Lynn McDonald:  Feb. 13th  Julie Masi & Steve Soucy:   Feb. 14th   Bruce Spencer:  Feb. 18th  Ben Klick:  Feb. 19th  The Rowdymen:  Feb. 20th  Fighting Orange:  Feb. 21st

Neighbours Pub:    Tiger Moon:  Feb. 14th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Papa Wheely:   Feb. 13th & 14th  Linus:  Feb. 20th & 21st

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    Lynyrd Skynyrd:  March 19th  Counting Crows:   April 29th   Diana Krall:  May 12th     Aerosmith:   July 13th

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Burton Cummings:  March 11th    Colin James:  March 28th   Whitehorse:  April 10th   Los Lonely Boys:  May 10th

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre:  Burton Cummings:  March 12th 

Performing Arts Centre (Vernon):  The Irish Rovers:   March 9th   Burton Cummings:  March 15th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th   Journey:   July 10th

 

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 





Ranting & Rolling

This legendary Artist just doesn’t quit!!  Ian Hunter became known to the world as the lead singer of Mott the Hoople in the late sixties, early seventies.  Ian also was the group’s main songwriter, and an inspirational leader of the group.  Of course, “Mott the Hoople” became a leader in what was then called “Glam Rock”…but there was more substance to this group and they proved it time and again throughout the 1970’s.  Often considered the very first “Punk” band, which to this scribe’s mind is such a misnomer, as “Mott the Hoople” set the standard for high energy Rock groups throughout the twentieth century!  As the group was nearing its end, Ian Hunter launched a solo career that would give new life to his singing career.  The man just doesn’t quit—after countless solo albums, he still continues to rock the world stages with his “Rant Band” of highly rated musicians.  The year 2015 will see Ian continue to tour, popping up in a variety of places stretching from Japan to Europe.  As music lovers all over the world wait patiently for a new album, Ian has given the go ahead for the release of a new Live Cd.  Recorded during his UK Tour of 2010, Ian Hunter and the Rant Band toured the island along with a String Quartet—giving concert goers a refreshing take on all of his standards!  This particular live release covers creations from Ian’s time with “Mott The Hoople” as well as his storied solo career!  “Ian Hunter & Rant Band: Live in the UK 2010” is now available throughout Canada, and on line as a digital download…this is a great listen, and one that will fulfil the hunger of fans as they await the new studio release.

  Below is the Review I had written for his last studio album…”When I’m President”, and if you missed this one…it is still available at fine record stores everywhere…

Ian Hunter & The Rant Band: When I’m President
Slimstyle Records
Review by: Bruce E.J. Atkinson              
                                                                                                         

From the opening track, this is the ultimate Ian Hunter!  A flawless offering from one of the most prolific singer/songwriters of our time.  “When I’m President” flows from strength to strength, whether a rocker or poignant ballad.  This is a master at work!

Get lost in “Fatally Flawed” and find your redemption in the title song; “When I’m President”!  Ian’s voice is as strong as it has ever been, and his song crafting is spot on.  Like most Ian Hunter albums, this one has many hidden messages, set to music that only can be described as beautiful. 

Produced by Ian and his long time guitarist, Andy York, this Work is not as angry as some of Ian’s previous, however it does display some hard hitting lyrics and good ol’ rock n’ roll!  The protesting musical activist has been replaced with a wise-ned troubadour.  Reflective and clever, this Ian Hunter release could be the most important release of 2012…don’t pass this one up!


Under The Lights

Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:    Hank Stallion:  Feb. 5th & 6th / 7th   Zamboni Brothers:  Feb. 12th  Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:  Feb. 13th & 14th

Doc Willoughby’s:   Agent Orange with In The Whale:  Apr. 28th

Dream Café:   Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne:  Feb. 6th & 7th    Heather Blush & The Uppercuts:  Feb. 14th

Fernando’s Pub:  Two Bears North & Wild Son:  Feb. 5th    Cadboro:  Feb. 7th

Flashback’s Nite Club:  Elliott Brood:  Feb. 12th

Fleetwood Public House:   Jimmy LeGuilloux Band:   Feb. 6th & Feb. 7th

Minstrel Café:  Timely Wonders:  Feb. 6th    Jayson Bendera & Band:  Feb. 7th   Bruce Spencer:  Feb. 11th   Devon Coyote:  Feb. 12th

Neighbours Pub:   Honest Woods:  Feb. 7th   Tiger Moon:  Feb. 14th

O’Flannigan’s Pub:  Colt 45:  Feb. 6th & 7th   Papa Wheely:   Feb. 13th & 14th

Notable Concerts:   

Prospera  Place:    The Tragically Hip:  Feb. 7th 2015     Lynyrd Skynyrd:  March 19th  Counting Crows:   April 29th   Diana Krall:    May 12th     

Kelowna Community Theatre:    Jonny Lang:   March 13th   Burton Cummings:  March 11th    Colin James:  March 28th   Whitehorse:  April 10th   Los Lonely Boys:  May 10th

Penticton Trade & Convention Centre:  Burton Cummings:  March 12th 

Performing Arts Centre (Vernon):  The Irish Rovers:   March 9th   Burton Cummings:  March 15th 

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Celtic Thunder:  March 13th-2015   Marilyn Manson:  March 28th    Def Leppard:  April 15th   Journey:   July 10th

 

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....

 



Read more Under the Lights articles




About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.






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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.


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