Alice Cooper/Zodiac Mindwarp/Jim Rose Circus - London, The Roadhouse - 31st October 2010 Print E-mail
Written by David Whistance   
Sunday, 07 November 2010 05:01

Alice_Poster009It's not every day that whilst walking down Camden High Street you come face to face with the living dead, or giant spiders plus other various freaks and ghouls, but then it's not every day that the king of shock rock Alice Cooper comes to town and tonight is the first of two sold out Halloween shows in the UK's capital. 

 

But it didn't stop there even when entering the foyer of the Roundhouse we were greeted with assorted freaks on stilts giving the venue the ultimate Halloween atmosphere, and as we step into the main auditorium Zodiac Mindwarp And The Love Reaction are just taking to the stage. Now bearing in mind this was one of my favourite bands when I was a fresh-faced teenager (even managing to sneak into their over 18's gig at Cardiff's Ritzy Night Club when I was a fifteen year old school boy), I'm quite excited at the prospect of tonight's performance. Having just released their best album in years in 'We Are Volsung', along with the chance to perform in front of a sold out London crowd for the first time in quite a while, you would think it would be safe to bet your house on the fact that the band were going to pull out all the stops for tonight's performance.  Unfortunately if you had placed such a bet right now you would be homeless. Like most of the performances I have witnessed by the band in recent years, they somehow come across unrehearsed and unprepared.  I still enjoy hearing the classics 'High Priest of Love' and 'Prime Mover' along with more recent numbers such as 'Fucked By Rock', and Mr Manning's faux American accent still makes me chuckle, but it's his obvious lacklustre approach to proceedings that lets the band down. Ending their set with a frankly pointless guitar and drum solo workout means it all draws to a close with a whimper rather than a bang.

 

 

Having missed the first part of Jim Rose's act I can only assume that all his best freaks had already performed going by the second half of the show.  The unfortunate thing for Jim Rose is whilst twenty years ago his act was seen as sickening and shocking, the sight of a pot bellied man with a dart board on his back having darts thrown at him by various members of the audience seems slightly redundant right now, especially when you can witness members of Dirty Sanchez nailing their gonads to a table right there on your TV screen.

 

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So, as a curtain is placed in front of the stage displaying 'Theatre Of Death' the deafening cries from the audience confirm there is only one man the sold out crowd is here to see tonight.  As Alice himself recently stated on the Alan Carr show 'Alice Cooper is Halloween' and as the familiar school bell rings out the curtain falls to the opening chords of 'Schools Out' that introduces a trilogy of classics with 'No More Mr Nice Guy' and 'I'm Eighteen' quickly following in succession.  Anyone who witnessed Alice's performance at this years Sonisphere Festival will be familiar with tonight's show, yet it somehow feels so much more special witnessing it in the far more intimate surroundings of the Roundhouse.  The band tear through every Alice Cooper fans ultimate set list with 'Under My Wheels', 'Only Women Bleed' and 'Cold Ethyl' all representing the old guard whilst a few cherry picked newer numbers such as 'Dirty Diamonds' and 'Vengeance Is Mine' show Alice can still write a great tune and of course there's always his 80's come back classic 'Poison' to get the crowd moving. 

 

During tonight's performance we witnessed Alice Cooper being killed no less than four times, beginning with the classic guillotine routine during 'Ballad Of Dwight Fry' along with a gallows, Alice_3an Iron Maiden like contraption and a giant syringe.  Alice himself barely utters a word during the show letting the "Theatre" do the talking instead and lets face it nobody does "Theatre" like Alice Cooper. So, let's not forget the giant Cyclops that appears for the Zodiac Mindwarp penned 'Feed My Frankenstein'

 

Whilst watching the show I realised that unlike certain other latter day shock rock performers who fall short if you take away the theatrics, Alice Cooper has this fantastic repertoire of songs that he could easily do with just him and a backing back, and it is these songs alone that prove after four decades why he is still the master of shock rock.  During Alice's long career he has also continually had a fine array of musicians at his side to help bring his songs to life (or death if you prefer) and tonight is no exception with particular honours going to guitarist Keri Kelli along with bassist Chuck Garric who each put on a blinding performance.

Returning to stage in a silver suit and top hat for 'Elected' the band finish as they started with 'Schools Out' with the audience singing along to every word whilst the road crew toss out Halloween goodies from the stage making us all feel like children again just for the night.

 

If you ever get a chance to spend Halloween with Alice Cooper then I urge you to do so, it sure beats hiding behind your net curtains avoiding unruly teenagers that's for sure. 

 

Photo kudos Suzanne Adams-Whistance