They say talent begets talent. When you start with a core of extremely talented musicians they tend to work with likeminded and like-talented artists.This is especially true when it comes to the members of Sons Of Apollo. After recently releasing their sophomore album MMXX a few short weeks ago, the band went out for a short tour. I was lucky enough to catch the Sons of Apollo show at the lovely Gramercy Theater in NYC.
Show openers Mass Extinction Event were a showcase of guitar sweeps and arpeggios not seen this side of Yngwie Malmsteen. More interestingly both guitarists play lefthanded.
Kicking off support was Tony MacAlpine. I have to say this was a particular highlight for me having never seeing him live before. And like SOA, Tony surrounds himself with some GREAT musicians. On bass was Mark Michell formerly of Scale The Summit. Joining Tony on guitar duties was one of the most under-the-radar and yet 1000% PHENOMENAL guitarist, Emil Werstler formerly of such bands as Dååth and Chimaira. And last but not least, on drums was none other than Aquiles Priester formerly of the Brazilian band Angra and as most of you know he was also a runner-up for Mike Portnoy’s spot as drummer after he left Dream Theater. Tony and company blazed through their short 45 minute or so set which included songs from his 35 year career with Tony and Emil just tearing up their fretboards. It was a pleasure to see Aquiles play as well. Just phenomenal.
Sons of Apollo took to the stage at about 930. Kicking off their set with “Goodbye Divinity”, the first song off of their latest release. The capacity packed Gramercy took off with the band as they wisked through the setlist. The last time I saw SoA many of the songs played were covers along with original material. This time however with two full albums of material of their own under their proverbial belts, the only time there was a “cover” inserted into was when they broke into a snippet of Rush’s epic “Tom Sawyer” during “Wither to Black” as a tribute to Rush’s recently departed drummer, Neil Peart. Singer Jeff Scott Soto even had a quick wardrobe change and came out donning a Rush 30 baseball jersey in order to better tribute the song, with Bumblefoot even singing some of the higher registered parts of the song.
As one would expect with such high caliber musicians there were a great deal of musical interludes not only in the songs but also both bass master Billy Sheehan and keyboardist extraordinaire Derek Sherinian wowed the crowd with their own stellar solo spots. Guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal adeptly played his signature split fretless/fretted double-neck guitar while keeping his black outback hat firmly on his head.
The crowd helped keep the energy level up along with the band the whole night. For an encore, Sons of Apollo brought Tony MacAlpine back to the stage for a ripping rendition of Deep Purple’s classic “Burn” which featured both Mr’s MacAlpine and Thal trading off leads like a hard rock version of “Dueling Banjos” along side Billy Sheehan’s indomitable bass lines. The band finished off the evening with the appropriately named “Coming Home” before sending the audience out into the night.
Sons of Apollo have some tour dates in Europe and South America coming up! Check out the gig dates below:
Fri. 2/28- Sat. 2/29- Rock Shop GmbH in Karlsruhe, Germany
Mon. 3/2- Union Scene in Drammen, Norway
Tue. 3/3- Tradgar n in Goteborg, Sweden
Thu. 3/5- Art and Culture Center NAU in Knib, Ukraine
Sat. 3/7- Red in Moskva, Russia
Sun. 3/8- Cruiser Aurora in St. Petersburg, Russia
Tue. 3/10- Z7 Konzertfabrik in Pratteln, Swizerland
Wed. 3/11- Live Club in Trezzo Sull’adda Mi, Italy
Fri. 3/13- Sala Santana 27 in Bilbao, Spain
Sat. 3/14- Razzmatazz in Barcelona, Spain
Sun. 3/15- Sala La Riviera in Madrid, Spain
Tue. 3/17- Les Espaces Culturels du Silo d’Arenc in Marseille, France
Wed. 3/18- La Machine du Moulin Rouge in Paris, France
Thu. 3/19- Islington Assembly Hall in London, United Kingdom
Sat. 3/21- Effenaar in Eindhoven, Netherlands
Sun. 3/22- Sono Centrum in Brno, Czech Republic
Tue. 3/24- Colloseum club in Kosice I, Slovakia
Wed. 3/25- Barba Negra in Budapest, Hungary
Sat. 4/18- Tom Brasil in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Sun. 4/19- Circo Voador in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
Tue. 4/21- Blondie in Santiago, Chile
Thu. 4/23- El Teatro Flores in Dyn, Argentina
For tickets and further information on any of the gigs listed above, click here.
Fans can find SONS OF APOLLO at the following locations:
- Photo Credit for Sons of Apollo and Tony MacAlpine goes to Bryan Bardes Photography