Galactic Empire - Birmingham O2 Academy 3 - 8th February 2017
We start the night by approaching the Box Office who inform us that we've been queuing for Union J. That certainly wasn't the band we've been looking for. We were looking for Galactic Empire. And this is the 4 part trilogy of that night.
Episode 1 (4, whatever you want to call it) was Celestial Wish. A Birmingham based symphonic rock foursome. They had a good sized audience for an opening band and it was great to see a Brummie act have a local following. With a violin player alongside the usual guitar, vocals and drums, the music flowed quite nicely and set a good tone to the night. Rating: Revenge of the Sith (which to me was easily the best prequel, thoroughly enjoyed it)
Episode 2 is Black Asteroid. A two piece, I repeat, two piece, heavy prog band. The synchronisation between the bassist and drummer is on a different level to anything I've ever seen. The variety of melodies, the talent of both members and the journey that their music takes is somthing, excuse the pun, out of this world. With a pretty much continous set, they finished it off with a side by side xylophone (I think!) piece. A band I fell in love with after about 5 minutes of playing. Rating: A New Hope (For Prog).
Next up, I don't believe it, a full band. Two guitarists, a bassist and a drummer. First time in the night! However Sithu Aye treats us to again a full set of instrumental madness. Think on a par of Joe Satrinari here, the lead man is an insane and master of his guitar, but his back up band bring their own game too. With a melodic power rock vibe to them, I'd recommend listening on a sunny afternoon and getting lost in it. Rating: The Force Awakens (refreshing and new to the soul).
Now it's time. The crowd is packed and the atmosphere is tense, as the lights grow dim and various members of the almighty Galactic Empire take to the stage. With Lord Vader himself taking front and centre, lightsaber in one hand and devil horns in the other, they burst into incredible covers of heavy metal Star Wars tracks. With fantastic interludes between tracks, where the band members taunt the crowd, Vader force chokes a random member of the audience and even the testing of the infamous death star, it's a awesome show.
But the theatrics aren't even the best part. The music itself is perfect. The re-telling of John Williams' jaw dropping score is fluid, on point and to some extent a breath of fresh air. There are moments of what I can only call story telling as you honestly feel like you're experiencing the soundtrack for the first time. I'd been excited to see Galactic Empire for a while and they blew every expectation out of the water. Rating: The Phantom Menace.
Got you didn't I? Real rating? Empire Strikes Back. The best one. You heard me.