A far cry from the heady days of performing to sold out stadium audiences, Jeff Scott Soto nevertheless played an energetic and high-octane gig in Camden’s Underworld nightclub in support of his 2012 solo release, Damage Control.
The self-proclaimed “Soto-palooza” package of bands with which Jeff Scott Soto has a direct connection began with Greek glam-metallers Danger Angel who’s loud and proud brand of metal began the night with a high energy set. Soto had contributed backing vocals to Death Angel’s most recent album, Revolutia, and it was definitely possible to hear the similarities in the musical styles of the groups, a similarity which continued right through the whole event. Death Angel’s music melded melodious vocal lines with cranked up guitar riffs, blistering guitar solos and a keytarist who’s synth harmonies added an extra layer to the band’s sound, as well as allowing for an extra body to be running around the stage at all times.
Second on for the night was a trio fronted by Soto’s own guitarist Jorge Salán. The guitar work for which the band was really the vehicle was stunning, with Salán firing of solo after insane solo with flair and showmanship, whilst allowing the remaining sections of the songs to complst birthday only a few days before.ement the very showy solo playing which featured so heavily. Impressively, Salán was able to keep up a strong vocal performance whilst still playing complex guitar lines. The band was full of old-fashioned rock and roll spirit, and ended with a rousing rendition of the Gary Moore Celtic
rock classic ‘Over The Hills and Far Away’, as it would have been the late, great guitarist’s 61
The main attraction of the night was, of course Jeff Scott Soto himself. Fronting his multinational band, JSS delivered a stunning performance in what he described as a “homecoming gig” in a “second home.” The set consisted mostly of tracks off his latest solo release, Damage Control, from 2012, (my review of which can be read here) but also featured tracks from earlier in his career. Moving about the stage almost constantly, JSS was able to engage with his audience a lot better than would be possible in a bigger venue, giving this sold out gig a more intimate feel. The only moment that the gig really slowed down was for the brief period that Soto played keyboards on a mellower track. In a moment of spontaneity, the ‘compulsory’ vocal back and forth was interrupted by a fantastic bass solo from the last minute stand in replacement bassist David Z, who’s single-handed rendition of Billie Jean brought a funkier element to the whole event, followed by a stunning cover of Ozzy Osbourne’s classic ‘Shot in the Dark’. After an epic set which went on for the best part of 2 hours, and coming against the noise curfew in Underworld, Soto introduced his friend, Nathan James (made famous on the ITV show ‘Superstar’), fresh of a tour with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, which Soto also sings for, in order to duet on ‘Stand Up and Shout’ from the soundtrack to the 2001 film ‘Rock Star’, for which Jeff Scott Soto had recorded all of the vocals for the fictitious metal band Steel Dragon. Finally, the riotous set closed with an a cappella verse of Steel Panther’s sleaze-metal track ‘Community Property.’ The whole night was electric, boding well for Soto’s set at Hard Rock Hell AOR later in the week.
(all photos by Nick Webb)