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THE HIDDEN HAND & ALIX

JULY 1st 2004 at the FZW, Dortmund, GER

Although Cosmic Lava was one of the co-presentators of THE HIDDEN HAND's first European tour in 2003, I sadly hadn't seen one of their shows, due to problematic personal circumstances. But this year the signs looked good, and so I took the chance and drove to my favourite club, the FZW in Dortmund which is about 50 km from my hometown. When I arrived my best friend Opolus was there with a friend of him, and we were excited about the upcoming show. As so often, only 70 people found the way to show, but that's nothing new. It took a while before ALIX entered the stage, but what followed leaved me stunned. ALIX is an Italian fourpiece with a female singer and this was the first time for me to see them live. And after the first two songs, they convinced me absolutely. Their bluesy, heavy psychedelic rock was massive and tight and packed with excellent grooves, not to forget the shining voice of Alice Albertazzi. The heavy bass dominated the sound, and I feel its pounding deep in my stomach and heart. Bass player Franco Romanelli was playing his ass off, and the band follows. I totally love it, when a band plays with enthusiasm and passion, and so it was with ALIX. The band presented a lot of songs from their highly recommandable new album "Ground" and showed once again, that the Italian heavy psych underground has to offer some very good bands. The excellent show ended in a outstanding track, where Franco was playing slide-guitar and skinsman Andrea filled the club with a hypnotic groove while guitarist Pippo knows to entertain with psychedelic guitar waves. I love it, when a band is open enough for experiments! All in all a great show, and whenever you got the chance to see ALIX don't miss them!!!

After a short break Maryland's THE HIDDEN HAND entered the stage. For me it's always a pleasure to see and meet Wino, and he's still the same friendly and charismatic man after all this years. The band opened the show with "Rebellion", one of the new tracks from the upcoming second album "Mother Teacher Destroyer". After nearly two years of exsistence one can witness how frightenly tight this band is. The rhythm section with Bruce and Dave was more than just well-oiled and it seems as if they played together since years. In opposite to the studio recordings of THE HIDDEN HAND, the songs were played mostly in extended versions, and there was a lot of space for Wino's significant guitarwork. I've seen him together with Saint Vitus in the late 80's, then with The Obsessed in the early 90's and several times with Spirit Caravan, but his solos were never so long-winding and jazz-laden like with THE HIDDEN HAND. The songs sounded live much more progressive and complex, but there were still enough ultra-heavy powerchords, and it's unbelievable how heavy his guitar tone is. The new songs were great and a big appetizer for the next album, but the band also presented the two songs from the "Nightletters" MCD, "Falconstone" from the High Times compilation, the 7", and, of course, a handful of tracks from the debut "Divine Propaganda". After nearly two hours the band finished their set, and the audience was really satisfied with the show. Hope to see the hand next year again, but like I've said it before ALIX were more than just a support!!!

(KK)

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