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Dirkschneider, Elm Street, Scrollkeeper and The Scourge live


March 28, 2018 at Scout Bar, Houston, Texas

The Scourge

The night’s festivities kicked off with The Scourge, a thrash metal outfit from Houston, Texas. The band is a 3 piece with Andrew Atwood pulling double duty on lead vocals and lead guitar. The Scourge’s stage performance was executed with sharp precision. Andrew pulled some really complex guitar licks and managed to sing without even breaking a sweat. He displayed a very broad vocal range, from melodic to aggressive screamed vocals, reminiscent to Annihilator’s Dave Padden. The rhythm section of Alex Erhardt (Drums) and Garrick Smith (bass) turned in a killer performance, regardless of the fact that support acts were forced to drum on a shared kit, belonging to Aussie thrashers Elm Street. I was told that Andrew and Garrick currently play in the Scourge and also play as rhythm and bass guitarists in Houston’s Helstar. Personally, I am surprised how a label hasn’t scooped the Scourge yet.



Scrollkeeper (heavy metal), also hailing from Houston, were second on the bill. The band performed an energetic set, replete with an element of danger, courtesy of gauntlet-wearing, mic-spinning vocalist Justin McKittrick. The comparison to early Paul DiAnno-led Iron Maiden was further accented by having guitarists Alex K. and John Morris pull dueling lead duties on the band’s set. Melodic, with a sense or rough and tumble, the single from the band’s current EP “Fortune Favors the Bold” turned into an instant crowd pleaser, engaging an audience sing-along. This is another Houston band to put on your watchlist.


Elm Street

Elm Street is an Australian heavy/speed metal band. Their style reminded me somewhat of Children of Bodom minus the keyboards. A bit of an odd duck for the Dirkschneider tour, considering that the band was closer to speed/thrash metal than the traditional metal of the headliners. Elm Street put in a very energetic show, and managed to sound very crisp and well rehearsed. The lead guitarist, Aaron Adie, is a bona fide virtuoso, and guitar magazines, such as Guitar World should take note. He displayed amazing chops and is just as good as any of the big names currently in the business. The rest of the band is also very tight and energetic, but the vocals of Ben Batres, while of the hoarse variety, didn't seem to quite gel with the music, which was a touch less aggressive as needed. If you like to hear some amazing leads and a tight rhythm section, these blokes from the Land Down Under definitely deliver!



This is the second time that Dirkschneider comes to Houston on the “Farewell to Accept” tour. The band toured the American circuit in 2017 as well, and looking at the attendance, most people came to last year's show, expecting it to be the last. This year's gig was not as well attended. Having seen Dirkschneider with Kasperi Heikkinen sharing lead guitar duties full time U.D.O. axeman Andrey Smirnov in 2017, this year's touring guitarist Bill Hudson (Kasperi's replacement) seemed not as well worked in with the band. Considering that I've seen both Accept and Dirkschneider do similar sets of Accept hits, and Herman Frank and Stefan Schwarzmann being out of Accept at this point, Dirkschneider's rendition of these songs seemed to ring closer to home for me as a fan. It was definitely a night to remember, with Udo's voice being in top form, like fine wine, he seems to get better with age. The rest of the band – Udo Dirskchneider (vocals), Sven Dirkschneider (Udo's son on drums), Andrey Smirnov (lead guitar) and Fitty Wienhold (bass) put in an absolutely captivating performance. The song list was almost the same as last year's show, although the band also performed some of their deeper hits, most notably the ballad “Amamos la Vida”. For those that missed it, the Dirkschneider camp put out a live DVD "Live - Back To The Roots" on AFM records, which should be a must for any Accept/Udo fans.



Reviewed by A. Dorian

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