Phoenix Rising @ Jilly's, Manchester (UK) - 6th August 2000

Having heard horror stories regarding the first three up n’ coming British acts, I was a little wary of what to expect. As my sneaky suspicions came true with first on the bill ‘Down Boyz,’ I was beginning to think ‘My Gawd …. Why didn’t I stay in bed and catch the last three (Z Record Signings)’.

‘Down Boyz’ (UK) yeah that’s exactly what I’d say to the vet, PUT THEM DOWN. Having arrived two hours late and worrying the arses off the Phoenix Rising Productions team (great bunch of folks) the band came across as bolshie, unprofessional and a mass of noise pollution. If you get off on the side-to-side brain pounding, one screaming for evacuation then maybe you should check them out. Personally I’d rather evacuate myself to another planet.

‘Tikaboo Peak’ (UK) and what a sigh of relief. Okay they may make you paranoid as hell with all the pointing they do on stage and charging 10.00 for a demo CD ain’t the way to go, but this is definitely one band I’d like to hear more of. Can’t say I see anything original in what the band are expressing, although they do have a way of making a set seem FAR too short. Maybe if the stars shine in the right direction ………… what a waste of talent otherwise.

‘Lost Weekend’ (UK) hmm do I bollox my way through this or do I blurt out the fact I was hung over and in desperate need of a caffeine fix. OKAY I apologize (oops). Unfortunately I only caught the last 10 minutes of the set. I know it’s impossible to give views on a band having only heard 2 songs so I ain’t gonna try. Then again the way I ‘personally’ view music, if it don’t catch you within 20 seconds or give you that uncanny feeling of ponder then they’re just your average Joe.

‘Contagious’ (UK) seem to run on the same line as The Damned. No not musically, just the fact you know exactly what the play-list will be before they start. Don’t get me wrong; this is one band I absolutely adore. British based and signed by Z Records they have a bounce in style that you don’t really catch AOR bands covering. Original, catchy (of course the bounce) and a voice of aspiration you’d just adore listening to over and over again, if not out of love … then just to annoy the neighbours.

‘Push’ (Denmark) and I’d PUSH them as far as I could take them if I had themeans and abilities, unfortunately I don’t. Another Z Records signed band and a tribute to the company. I see Push as one of the better signings Z Records have dared to encounter, also a band I’d much rather hear LIVE than be sat on my arse at home with the stereo blasting. Saying this, to my pure delight the show was recorded for possible future release (here’s hoping). Push have the stage presence, ability, attitude and image that none of the other bands could touch. Renowned for sounding like White Lion, (even though if you actually play White Lion and Push back to back they sound nothing alike) Push, I feel, are a band, if given the right opportunity could go the distance.

‘Damned Nation’ (Sweden) I remember being asked by Michael (Keyboardist) what I thought of their performance in April 2000 (Z2000 Wigan, UK) only Icouldn’t remember. I must have either been asleep or dead to have forgot what these guys sounded like. First song and like a flicker of a light bulb my memory reoccurred. How I managed to forget a voice as astounding and deep with emotion as this is beyond me. Wowzer is the only word I can use to describe Damned Nation. Powerful yet calming, sensual yet erotic, a recommended band to all who thrill for those chords that hit the inner soul on impact and yet another band I’d rather see Live.

All in all ‘Parting the Waves’ had its utmost moments and its extreme pitfalls. Placing a band such as ‘Down Boyz’ on the line-up can only be described as a ‘slit your throat experience’. Luckily Phoenix Rising Productions chose well with the rest to make up for the poor start.

by Spice D Warlock