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Yeah, Get That Hair Nice And Puffy, Rolf - 70%

OzzyApu, November 23rd, 2010

Oh man, I wish I was able to see Running Wild live. Better yet, I wish I could go back in time and see them during this era. Honestly, to see Rolf less craggy and old man looking? It’s like an honor, and the band was still kicking ass as far as music was concerned. What about the line-up at this time? Jens Becker? … I think that’s as far as I need to go concerning band members. I mean, damn, just from watching the intro you can see fans pumped up with “Riding The Storm” dubbed over the montage. Fans are psyched and the band is getting themselves prepared for a night of cut-throat riffs and lost virginities (just kidding it’s a sausage-fest in there). Just seeing Rolf apply spray to keep his hair up is worth a view, and every member is decked out in leather and studs. Shit must suck once they start sweating their balls off an hour in, huh? I mean talk about swamp-ass.

So after hearing the studio version of “Riding The Storm” kick off the movie and then transition into the on-stage performance of the song, it becomes apparent that we get stuck with lousy sound. Honestly, the guitars are loud but paper-thin, and the drumming is even weaker. Everything sounds incredibly frail; Becker too you can hear grumbling, but his instrument has no power behind it, no matter how hard he picks. Rolf himself puts forth a ton of throat and stomach power into singing, and there is very little difference between this performance and his studio work (some off moments, but he’s wailing his guts out). Aside from sounding more in-person and less up close and booming, but that’s a given in this setting. Other than that, the band plays with intense vigor – you can see it in their faces, let alone from all their movement and enjoyment. So what we essentially get are vocals up front, then guitars, and then switch-ups between drumming and bass; all of these sound incredibly weak.

The stage is rather big, as is the building this is shot in, with lots of lights behind them shooting light yellows, reds, blues, and greens. There are banners on each side of the stage, and lots of ground is covered between the three members up front. Iain Finlay’s going crazy behind the kit sweating like a fountain by the time “Bad To The Bone” comes in around, and he isn’t even close to the flames that spurt up a few feet in front of Rolf (though he does get the sparks that nearly shoot up Rolf’s ass). The musicianship is tight, as I hardly hear any screw ups from Rolf and Majk as they twirl through riffs and speedy leads. The crowd you can only hear between songs, which is fine, although the dustiness definitely gets in the way of seeing them (as well as that awful industrial-blue lighting hitting the people in the back). Now regarding the set list, I’m very impressed that they deliver a list with songs like “Raw Ride” (with a laughable, dual lead buddy-buddy rocking motion from the guitarists), “Uaschitschun,” an incredibly gloomy bass / ambience moment for Becker to kick off “Conquistadores” (the guy always gets some), and “Prisoners Of Our Time.”

So while a low auditory impression of the band’s loud, rapturous speed / heavy metal, just seeing the band perform is a spectacle. I can only imagine being in that environment right up against the rails – a sock’s throw from Rolf and the gang. Seeing something like this reminds me of the logistics involved in putting on such a show, and although not all of them are like this, I think of bands like Iron Maiden that put on vast, immense concerts and all the time and energy involved in making it go off without a hitch. Going back to this, I do wish the band played more songs, as this set seemed quite short. Sure they played a bunch of classics and songs that translate very well in a live setting, but there wasn’t any intense headlining presence. Maybe since I’m watching it I don’t feel it; they still mixed it up a bit with Becker’s solo moment and the diversity of the tracks, so I’m probably just ranting at this point. Whatever, go see this and get some Running Wild love on.