Extreme the Forum London 08-07-14

Considering the near biblical downpour that nearly drowned our kids on the way home from school, it was no surprise that our walk from Regents Park through Camden to Kentish Town saw us rather wet before we arrived at The Forum. 

In Camden we saw the queue outside The Underworld for The Winery Dogs / Voodoo Six show. Do promoters ever see what other gigs are on locally when they book the events? Oh to be at 2 gigs at once.

The Forum is an old cinema with a look and feel of Shepherds Bush Empire with a large balcony that seemed to go on forever and a downstairs standing area.

First up were Leogun who come from London and released their debut cd " By The Reins " last year and with previous support slots to Kiss in the US , they came across as a very accomplished  performers on the large stage.

The 3 piece make a huge racket of heavy blues with singer and guitarist Tommy Smith showing himself to be a good vocalist and an excellent guitarist. They play with a real groove and had heads shaking right from the start of their 30 minutes 6 song set.

Here is what they played

What's It Gonna Take?
The Motor
End Of The World
By The Reins
Piggy In The Middle

Drummer Mike Lloyd and bassist Matt Johnson lay down one hell of a groove and my only criticism would be that the songs are a little similar. When they dropped the pace for the title track of their debut cd Tommy's vocals and superb solo shone through.

Ending with a track from their debut 2012 ep " Everyday " which built from a slow start and finished with a full band crescendo of noise that left the crowd shouting for more and for a support slot you can't ask for more than that.

Here is the video for the single " Piggy In The Middle " and another UK band to keep an eye and ears out for.

When Extreme went huge back in the early 90's money was a little short as we put down a deposit on a house and got married so we missed the band at the height of their popularity.

So now married for 22 years and with the band back together and playing the classic 1990 " Pornograffitti " cd in its entirety here was chance at last to see one that got away so to speak.

With sold out show signs up outside the band came on to a huge reception that shows that time has not dulled the fans love for them at all. In fact 20 years may have passed by but the 2 main men of the band Gary Cherone on vocals and Nuno Bettencourt seem to have changed very little.

For nearly 2 hours we were treated to a top notch performance and here is what they played.

Decadence Dance
L'il Jack Horny
When I'm President
Get The Funk Out
More Than Words
Money (In God We Trust)
It's A Monster
When I First Kissed You
Suzi (Want's Her All Day What?)
Flight Of The Wounded BumbleBee / He Man Woman Hater
Song For Love
Hole Hearted with a snippet of Queen's Crazy Little Thing Called Love

Encore of

Play With Me
Rest In Peace
Am I Ever Gonna Change
Midnight Express
Cupid's Dead

From the opening note Gary Cherone gave the assembled photographers every pose he had with some coming from a yoga exercise book I think. The crowd sang the first 2 lines of opening song " Decadence Dance " as asked to by Cherone for the first of many times on the evening. 

Kevin Figueiredo on drums and the best name in rock n'roll Pat Badger on bass lay down the groove that let Cherone and Bettencourt to be the centre of attention. Cherone covered every inch of the stage and with some quite superb backing vocals from Badger and Bettencourt any lack of vocal detail was covered up well.

Bettencourt is a real star and I'm so pleased to have finally seen him. He really is at one with his instrument .He riffs, adds melodic solo details and has one of the fastest sets of fingers on the planet. His solo piece of "Flight Of The BumbleBee " was astonishing.

Back to the songs and when you play an album front to back like this how do you keep up the energy level for the duration? After the opening track we moved through " Li'l Jack Horny " and " When I'm President " before back to back classics.

" Get The Funk Out " and " More Than Words " were both fantastic. The former had the whole place moving  and singing along , in fact I'm sure I felt the balcony move.

The latter was simply a moment. The hairs on the back of my neck stood to attention. As Nuno picked the intro the crowd started to sing and the band just stopped. The singing from the crowd was like a choir and was pitch perfect. The band occasionally joined in but the crowd was the star of the show.

When you have played 3 of your biggest hits in the first 5 songs of a set would the energy level drop? Not really " Money" , " Monster " and " Pornograffitti" all came over superbly before for me the only down in the set. On cd " When I First Kissed You " is not great and even with Nuno playing an extended keys solo it was a bit poor.

" Suzi " pushed the level back up high before Nuno's solo spot  and then " He Man Woman Hater " kicked some ass.

"Song For Love " and "Hole Hearted " again had the choir in full voice the latter played by the band at the edge of the stage in a busking manner.

The encores had one from the debut cd , 3 played from the " 3 Sides To Every Story " cd  and Nuno's acoustic take on " Midnight Express " from the " Punchline " cd. With " Rest In Peace " going down the best.

All added to the evening and showed the band have a catalogue of songs few others can match and are still playing at the top of their game.

A superb evening and I'm glad I can tick another band of my bucketlist and it is just a shame that it took over 20 years to happen.

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