17 March 2014, Z7, Pratteln, Switzerland (Photos by Sandy Mahrer on Flickr)
After four long years The Poodles are finally touring in Europe again, and this time the Swedes have Swiss company with Crystal Ball and Kirk. As the band has a lot of fans but not such a lot to fill the big Z7 hall, the whole thing turns into a mini production. As the Galery had to close down 2 months ago, this is the new solution: a separation in the big hall (a screen, 2 trucks) trimmed lighting, some stools and tables create a cozy atmosphere, just right for 200-300 people. For which the Z7 crew is willing to invest about 1,5h setup time.
make the beginning, and it´s playing on homeground for this band from Basel. Founded by Thomi Rauch and Sammy Lasagni, they are dedicated to Heavy Metal with a progressive touch. They just released their album „Masquerade“, therefore it´s perfect timing to tour with The Poodles. Unfortunately the music does not really fit to the billing, and the show is rather static with an introverted front man Thomi, who can also not live up to the skills of the following singers. Admittedly the mixing was not the best, but still the show could have been inspiring – therefore Kirk cannot convince me. But their fans cheer them on, which is the way it should be.
have played the venue on March 1st already and were originally not supposed to participate, but the Z7 organizers luckily changed their minds. The band gets the crowd going right away, and also singer Steven is much more convincing than last time, his voice sounds much better. But towards the end the constant stage action takes its toll, his voice sounds a bit thinner and sometimes he has to skip syllables to catch breath. The sound is better, too, which makes the old Crystal Ball songs much more recognizable. The audience enjoys this Swiss act with a German front man and cheers enthusiastically.
Nobody has such style, such skill and such attitude like those 4 from Stockholm. The Poodles joined the top league of Swedish Heavy Metal artists and are also quite well known in this Alpine area. Their fans had to wait for 4 years to welcome them again at Z7. Now they are back with plenty of new songs, but surely their old hits are not to be missed. Visually they have a lot to offer, too: not just Pontus´ hairy chest but also Jakob´s zebra outfit plus hat plus sun glasses please the eye. Those are professionals, everything runs smoothly, and even Kicken, who recently got hand and leg injuries, gives everything despite the pain. In the middle of the show Jakob switches from Zebra to Jeans-with-stars outfit which looks great too. There´s a lot of fun on stage, the guys are cracking jokes, and the fans go crazy, sing along or dance (especially the females). No need for a workout at the gym tonight… Unfortunately it´s over way too early, the last song is played.
Due to the enthusiastich cheering, the band returns for encores, the Swedish „En för Alla för En“ and „Night of Passion“, where the fans sing along and even try to reach Jakob´s high notes. What a show, what a performance, a great sound, a great singer – what more could you ask for?