Saying Gus G is a bit talented is a bit like saying the Pope is a little bit religious. It’s a massive understatement, start using words like phenomenal and stupendous, and you are probably getting a little closer to the truth. However, before Nottingham Rescue Rooms has the full force of Gus G unleashed, we have another couple of firecrackers thrown at us; the ever entertaining Italian thrashers Arthemis, but first up, rising UK upstarts, Skarlett Riot.
Skarlett Riot are from that hotbed of metal talent, Scunthorpe, and whatsmore if tonight is anything to go by, it wont be long before they will be headlining venues like the Rescue Rooms. Fronted by the effervescent Chloe Drinkwater, she has presence, power and panache in buckets, and she’s backed by a solid musical unit. If Blackie Lawless had a daughter (from Scunthorpe), she’d be fronting Skarlett Riot. The vocal power of this woman is damn near frightening. As a band, they are slick, confident and effective, with an iron clad chemistry. Airing numbers from their new EP “We Are The Brave”, this Scunthorpe four piece get the opening slot done and dusted in a flash. Judging by the reception, Nottingham would have been more than happy for them to keep the stage longer. A top act, definitely one to keep your eye on.
Arthemis…. Lord these guys are fun. They ooze entertainment, and are clearly enjoying themselves. It’s impossible not to grin like a buffoon by the end of their second song. Under the guidance of vocalist Fabio Dessi, these four guys work the room with some tasty power metal infused thrash. Andy Martongelli is a quality fretboard warrior, but special mention has to go to the new boy, bass player JT. Cutting a figure like Conchita Wurst‘s brother, this fella’s bass fretwork is superb. Peppered machine gun runs delivered with the fluidity of a well seasoned six stringer, this boy really can play. Quality.
Gus G is the main man though. It’s not until he and his cohorts hit that stage that the crowd swells, and the Nottingham throng really comes to life. Truth be told, he deserves a bigger crowd. Tonight, he shows well and truly that he ‘is the fire’.
Launching straight into solo album opener ‘My Will Be Done’, the scene is set. Gus G and his band mates mean business. It’s not just Gus’ guitar wizardry that’s setting the room on fire, vocalist for the tour, Henning Basse is oustanding. A previous stand in for Firewind, he and Gus are no strangers, the onstage banter and chemistry more than raises the entertainment level a notch or two. Jo Nunez (Firewind) is the sticksman of choice, solid and uncompromising, completed with Strutter handling the low notes on bass. The latter taking much more of a background role compared to the other three.
Further solo tracks, “Eyes Wide Open” and “Blame It On Me” follow in quick sucession. Gus G is simply outstanding, flawless even, effortlessly tearing through his shred acrobatics. His style and competence makes Yngwie Malmsteen seem like a bedroom wannabe. You can’t help but admire the man and stand mouth agape. This show is a stripped back showcase of how metal should be played. The only pyrotechnics coming from the musicians themselves… Gus even tunes his own guitar… practically unheard of nowadays!
The setlist reaches back to Gus’s Dream Evil days, with “Break The Chains” and “Children Of The Night”. Henning Basse conducting the crowd with gusto in the singalong choruses. Firewind tracks “World On Fire” and “The Fire and Fury” are broken out, covering all bases. Skarlett Riot’s Chloe is brought out to perform vocal duties on ‘Long Way Down’. It is simply spine tingling, real “hairs standing up on the back of your neck” stuff. It would be a tough choice between this; “I Am The Fire” and a roof raising encore rendition of Ozzy’s “Crazy Train” to try and pick the highlight of the evening.
Gus G and friends, came, saw, rocked and delivered an absolute masterclass to Nottingham. Seriously frightening stuff… Stuff that deserved a bigger audience.
Photos by Sabrina Ramdoyal.