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MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST


MICHAEL SCHENKER FEST 

"Resurrection"

By Colonel Angus

There has been a lot said about Michael Schenker from erratic to weird to undependable.  While much of that is clearly in the distant past, one things that has always been consistent is his guitar playing.  From melodic riffs to soaring solos, he has inspired many to pick up a guitar.  I was initially exposed to his playing when I heard UFO’s “Strangers In The Night” live record (yes, vinyl) back when it came out.  Since then, I have closely followed his career and purchased pretty much everything he has released.  With the exception of the period between 1999 and 2003 which consisted with a few forgettable disks like “The Unforgiven” and “Arachnophobiac”, Schenker has always delivered the goods.  In fact, since 2008’s release of “In The Midst Of Beauty”, he has put albums that rival some of his best work.  I know, that is some high praise for someone who has dazzled us since the early 70s but he seems to have really focused on the songs which feature his guitar playing.

All of this brings us to “Resurrection” that comes under the banner of Michael Schenker Fest, not to be confused with Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock.  I guess the “Fest” part refers to the fact that he has all the MSG vocalists of note along for the ride.  Gary Barden, Graham Bonnett, Robin McAuley, and Doogie White all contribute vocals either singularly for a song or together like in “Warrior” and closing number “The Last Supper”.  I have listened to this record multiple times trying to pick out the stand out cuts and while I like “Heart And Soul”, “The Girl With The Stars In Her Eyes”, “Night Moods”, and “Living A Life Worth Living”, the record is great from start to finish; there really isn’t a track on here that I would skip over.  The record also has a unique feel because the different singers reflect the different eras of Schenker’s career.  For example, the tracks that Gary Barden and Graham Bonnet sing have an older MSG feel while Doogie White’s songs sound like the Temple of Rock material.  Even though certain tracks feel like they could have been included on older records, there is still a cohesiveness throughout the album.

Since Michael Schenker Fest is different than Michael Schenker's Temple of Rock, it only stands to reason that he switch out the other musicians as well.  Replacing Francis Buchholz and Herman Rarebell are his old MSG pals Chris Glen and Ted McKenna on bass and drums.  Not that the previous rhythm section was lacking, but I really enjoy having Glen and McKenna on board to give it that consistency with the past.  Steve Mann rounds out the band with keyboards and some guitar.  As I mentioned earlier, Schenker has been in a kind of renaissance for the past decade churning out great music and putting on fantastic concerts.  With “Resurrection”, he adds to the winning streak he started in 2008.