PLACE OF SKULLS & ALIX
October 13th 2004 at the Bastard Club/Osnabrück, GER
I can't describe with words how great my enthusiasm has been, as I finally received the dates for this tour. Yes, it was like a dream come true!!! My expectations were lowered as I noticed that PLACE OF SKULLS have lost their drummer, but with Minnesota Pete (Sixty Watt Shaman/The Mighty Nimbus) Victor Griffin had found a very talented and ambitious man, and all problems have been washed away. First off, I like to say THANK YOU to Daniel because without this man we never had reached the Bastard Club in Osnabrück. So we drove about two hours (Daniel, bro Opolus and me) and we felt like a bunch of children waiting for Santa Claus. The Bastard Club is a very curious location inside a huge skatepark, but all in all it was a nice place , and when we arrived ALIX were still doing their soundcheck. It was a pleasure to meet this band again, after their convincing support for The Hidden Hand earlier this year. And now they have the opportunity to support PLACE OF SKULLS for their first European tour. This must be more than a good year for ALIX.
After a short talk with the band and the first visit at the bar, I finally met Victor and this was the second pleasure at this evening. He was a bit tired, because both bands have had a day off, and I was so glad that we met. We had a good talk about several personal themes, and I promise that I will visit you asap. After some more beers ALIX entered the stage. First off, I was really shocked. No, not because of ALIX but about the amount of people at this show. Only about 20 people have found their way to this gig!!!!!!! A big fuck-off goes out to all couch-potatoes and lazy asses. Once again, ALIX where playing an excellent tight show that mostly contains songs from the actual album "Ground". Their groove-laden heavy psychedelic rock is something special for me, especially because of Alicia's intense and emotional vocals.
And when bassplayer Franco is playing dobro, and the band is entering the territory of Delta-Blues, the entire sound became more tasteful and original. This time, ALIX came up with a second song in that vein, which was absolutely new for me. Excellent stuff, and I hope this band will record more material like this. After nearly 50 minutes the band finished the show, again with the long bluesy groove-killer they played also in Dortmund some months ago. Although there were only very less people in the club, the band played an energetic set, not as intense as in Dortmund, but especially bass-player Franco and vocalist Alicia were responsible for some solid stage-action. Great band - great show!
And then the time has come for PLACE OF SKULLS. Victor, Dennis and Minnesota Pete went on stage and kicked off with "Last Hit", the perfect opener for this show. I can't describe with words how thick and massive Victor's significant guitar-sound is on stage. Awesome!!!!!!! Although I've seen a lot of heavy bands in my life, this kind of soulful heaviness was something new and exciting for me, because it was so authentic and real. After the first power-chords it was crystal clear that this evening will be something very special. The next track was "Dead", one of my faves from the debut album "Nailed". My jaws stood wide open, I had shivers down my spine and I couldn't believe what I was hearing and seeing. Victor's presence is dominating the stage, he's a charismatic player and an emotional vocalist. And bassist Dennis Cornelius (ex-Revelation/ex-Oversoul) played as he belonged to this gang since the first demo recordings. Ok, it was no real surprise that he's a skillful player, because he had done a lot of shows with PLACE OF SKULLS in the USA and he was part of Revelation during their best period.
Skinsman Minnesota Pete was the joker in the pack. A very few days before this tour started, he teamed up with Victor and Dennis, what means that he had only a short period to learn the material. Well, he did that perfectly and added his own powerful style to the complete sound. So he was more than just a replacement, and I hope that he will stay for a while with PLACE OF SKULLS. Ok, back to this steaming show. The band played "The Monster", "With Vision" or "Silver Chord Breaks" and a few others, all with an intensity that can only be described as overwhelming. When the band started with the old Death Row classic "Feeling Of Dread", Dennis took over the vocals. Like on the album, the song went over into the second half of "Sinister". The small crowd was enthusiastic and me and bro Opolus, too. But when the band played the classic "Relentless", all hells break loose.
I felt like a small child, because I never expected to listen to this timeless Victor Griffin-song in my life. It's needless to say that PLACE OF SKULLS performed this song in a brilliant and exciting way. At least, the band presented one very new song from the upcoming album, but -shit- I forget the title. Anyway, it was a very emotional and soulful track, close to cuts like "Dead" or "Love She Gave". No filler - just another killer!!! To sum it up, this was one of the best shows I've seen in my life, and I've seen thousands of shows during the last 25 years. PLACE OF SKULLS are a class of its own, and only very few out there can mess with them. If I've had the chance to see more shows I'd have done it, but without a driving license and less money.I hope, they return to Germany as soon as possible, before splitting up. At least I like to greet Daniel (sorry for "polishing" your car windows!), Opolus and of course ALIX and PLACE OF SKULLS, especially Victor. Hope we meet again! Thanks a lot for this unforgetable evening!!!!