Lillian Axe - 'One Night In The Temple'

 


THE BAND:
Steve Blaze - lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards
Brian C. Jones - lead vocals
Sam Poitevent - guitar, vocals
Eric Morris - bass guitar
Ken Koudelka - drums
 
guest appearances:
Johnny Vines - vocals

     Lillian Axe is a hard rock band from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, best known for its major label albums, 'Lillian Axe', 'Love + War' and 'Poetic Justice', the band's biggest commercial success. Originally formed in 1983, the group is still active today although only the guitarist Steve Blaze remains from the original line-up.
     The classic line-up came together when former Stiff members, Ron Taylor (lead vocals) and Jon Ster (rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), teamed up with Lillian Axe members Steve Blaze (lead guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Rob Stratton (bass guitar), and Danny King (drums) in 1987. The band caught the attention of Ratt's management, which led to a record deal with MCA and Ratt's Robin Crosby producing the band's first album, Lillian Axe. However, neither this nor the 1989 follow-up, 'Love + War', produced by Tony Platt, met commercial expectations and the group was quickly dropped. A compilation of both MCA albums, (1987-1989) 'Out of the Darkness - Into the Light', was released in 1991.
     The band found a new label home with Grand Slamm/I.R.S. Records for 'Poetic Justice', released in 1992, with Darrin DeLatte (bass guitar) and the former Dirty Looks member Gene Barnett (drums) replacing Stratton and King, respectively. The album peaked on the Billboard Top Heatseekers at No. 28, the band's biggest success to date, in part based on the strength of the single, "True Believer". Returning to the studio with the Swedish producer Leif Mases, the group issued 'Psychoschizophrenia' in 1993, with Tommy Scott replacing Barnett on drums. Unable to capitalize on their previous success, Lillian Axe disbanded in 1995. Taylor formed The Bridge, while Blaze teamed up with his brother, the drummer Craig Nunenmacher, in Near Life Experience, and Scott, aka Tommy Stewart, found success with Boston's Godsmack, appearing on the band's platinum selling Godsmack and Awake albums.
     In 1999, Lillian Axe released 'Fields of Yesterday', consisting of unreleased demos and album outtakes, followed by Live 2002, recorded in May 2002 in Houston, Texas, with only Taylor and Blaze remaining from the classic MCA line-up.
    After several line-up changes, the band recruited as lead vocalist Derrick LeFevre, who appeared on 'Waters Rising' (2007), 'Sad Day on Planet Earth' (2009) and 'Deep Red Shadows' (2010). On June 23, 2010, Ronny Munroe, formerly of Metal Church, replaced LeFevre, but he departed four months later before recording any material with the band. He was replaced by Brian C. Jones who can be heard on the latest album, 'XI The Days Before Tomorrow' (2012).
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     Recorded on February 16, 2013 at Sound Landing Recording Studio 'One Night In The Temple' features 2 CD's and 1 DVD.   'One Night In The Temple' was recorded in front of selected family, friends and a few lucky fans.  The title of the release was derived from when the studio was a Masonic Lodge.  This acoustic performance is the first ever DVD the band has released.  Over the course of about two hours, the band covers material ranging from their 1988 debut to 2012’s 'XI: The Days Before Tomorrow', including a few rarities that, in some cases, have never been played live. I must admit when Steve sent me the setlist I was very skeptic of the transfer of some of these songs from electric to acoustic. Examples are songs such as, "Death Comes Tomorrow" and "Crucified".  However, after hearing them just added more evidence to not only how underrated Steve Blaze has been for the past twenty-six years and just how great this version of Lillian Axe is! For song "Misery Loves Company" Steve invited original Lillian Axe lead vocalist Johnny Vines on stage to sing lead vocals.  The band played two different versions of the song "Nobody Knows" one with Brian and Johnny singing a duet and one that consisted of the crowd singing.  In between each song, Steve gives a little history of where the song idea came from.  There also are several Q&A sessions.  "Death Comes Tomorrow" and "The Great Divide" are the only songs on the setlist that featured Brian as the lead vocalist on the original version.  Brian makes songs that did not originally feature him on vocals his own.  He does this so well as a longtime Lillian Axe fan as far as I'm concerned they are his!  For me there is not a bad song on the release.  If you want to hear songs that are performed to their perfection then this is an absolute must have.