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Beyond the Grave

An Evening with Ministry of Rock
Sunday, October 29, 2006 01:08 a.m.
Met Brian and Gloria at Marina Square and had dinner with them.. Ed and Skye joined shortly after so we went down early to the place to get box seats =p Reached around 6.40 pm and got seated. Was pretty amused when the sound techs started playing Nightwish - Century Child album.. Crowd started to slowly come in at around 7. Ivan and Melissa reached around 7.10 and Shiro made it just in time, about 10 minutes before the gig started. I'll be going through the sets one by one and writing the review accordingly.

(Note: I'm recollecting this off hand so I might get the order of the setlist wrong. If anyone remembers the correct order or noticed that I missed out something, please feel free to correct me via pm or comments.)

An Evening with Ministry of Rock @ Esplanade
Live Report on 28th Oct 2006

Set 1

Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers
Deep Purple - Fireball
Black Sabbath - War Pigs
Deep Purple - Burn
Iron Maiden - Flight of the Icarus
Scorpions - Sails of Charon

Ministry of Rock opened their set with Perfect Strangers and continued into Fireball, both song by Deep Purple. Not much reaction from the crowd and from myself coz I didn't listen to these 2 songs before, so I don't have much impression on them. Nevertheless they were playing it pretty great and it was just a warm up. A prelude to.. War Pigs! Now the crowd was really getting heated up, slowly but surely. I got in the mood too so I started to headbang a little. There was some indian guy seated right at the front and Jatt was interacting with him for a bit. Then Jatt let loose some indian vocalising technique, the kind you only hear in indian classical music. That really threw me off abit and it also showed how good Jatt was. Right after the solo, during the sing along part, I could hear Shiro and Ed singing "whooaaah~~" along together with me and the band XD After they were done with War Pigs, Jatt Ali said "We're gonna BURN the place down!" and the band immediatly went into Deep Purple's Burn! Another rockin frenzy that drove us pretty nuts as we sang/yelled along to the chorus "BURNN!!!". Jatt Ali took a break and the guest vocal Faizal took over.. and wowed us with a superb rendition of Iron Maiden's Flight of the Icarus! I really enjoyed singing along together with Faizal on the chorus, trying to go as high as he could in the process XD His vocals were powerfully high in comparison to Jatt's Dio-esque singing voice XD Not better or worse but a stark contrast indeed. They then brought back a really old school song.. Sails of Charon by The Scorpions. It was so old school that even I hadn't heard of it until a few days before the gig. The song kind of reminded me a little of Rainbow's style and I must take my hat off to the band for pulling it off nicely and ending their first set.

At this point Shiro was convinced that this was a power band, Ivan and Melissa were saying the same thing too. While most people left, we stuck around where we were for fear of losing our seats. I sure as hell wasn't gonna budge from my seat to miss the rest of the set, come hell or high water!

Set 2

Dio - Don't Talk to Strangers
Black Sabbath - Heaven and Hell
Dio - Holy Diver
Led Zeppelin - Black Dog
Iron Maiden - Aces High
Black Sabbath - Children of the Sea
Metallica - Fade to Black

The guys came back after their break and Paul started a slow picking intro to the next song.. when he played the first few notes, my eyes watered, my hair stood, I shivered and as I realised what song he was playing, I whispered.. "Don't Talk to Strangers.." which is also how Jatt Ali intro-ed the song too. I was in ecstacy as Jatt did his usual Dio thing and sang the intro right up to the last part where everyone shouted "DOWWNNNN!!" together with him and the whole band went into the heavy rock part of the song. Needless to say, I was going nuts just watching them belt out one of my favourite songs by Dio. After they were done, Jatt asked the crowd "So, do you want to go to Heaven or Hell?". Some dude in the front yelled "HELL!" but I yelled "BOTH!". The band then played Heaven and Hell and we clapped and sang along to the tunes.. especially when the band played softer, I sang along as loud as I coud. I wonder if Jatt Ali noticed how enthusiastic I was about it? XD Holy Diver followed and I was practically going mad as the continued the assault of Dio songs on my senses. Just playing that 1 Dio song was enough to get me super high, much less 3. I'm sure Ed, Skye, Brian, Gloria, Ivan, Melissa and Shiro were enjoying this as much as I was.. Hell, I think I enjoyed it alot more than them XD The band took a short rest as Faizal came back to claim the mic stand. He mentioned to us that they were gonna do a Led Zeppelin song and left us guessing for a while.. till he started to sing Black Dog XD I did my best to sing along altho my voice was pretty fucked up from all the yelling, shouting and singing along previously. It was really great and Paulo's solo was (needless to say) fuckin awesome. He makes playing the guitar look easy and difficult at the same time. The next song brought back some memories of my own band trying to cover this classic Iron Maiden song, Aces High. Faizal was belting out the tune with such power that I had trouble singing and catching my breath so I settled for headbanging abit. Needless to say, Anis and Navin were doing a bloody great job in playing the rhythm consistantly. They took things slow with Children of the Sea, another favourite Black Sabbath tune of mine. Faizal's voice wasn't as Dio-esque as Jatt's but he sang the song very well and really made me smile when he sang the words "We're lost children of the sea~~". Before they played the last song for the 2nd set, Anis did his bass solo. One word: fantastic. They then played a short instrumental which led to Metallica's Fade to Black. It was now Paulo's turn to sing and it was a shame that I didn't know the words to the song. There were a few guys in front who were big Sabbath and Metallica fans and they were really digging the show so far. When the band started to play Fade to Black, some of them took out their lighters and lit them up while swaying to the melody XD I could see that the front of Anis' beanie was drenched in sweat and could tell that fatigue was taking its toll on him. Luckily they stopped for a break and so the 2nd set came to an end.. but the best was still yet to come.

Shiro was really getting fired up, especially after watching them play Holy Diver and Aces High. Ed, Skye, Brian, Gloria, Ivan and Melissa took their leave so it was just me and Shiro who still stayed at our seats and waited patiently for them to start the 3rd and final set. What a set it was.. Iru came and sat down beside us. He managed to catch Fade to Black and was really impressed with the band.

Set 3

Loudness - Heavy Chains
Iron Maiden - Hallowed Be Thy Name
Rainbow - Stargazer
Metallica - One
Metallica - Master of Puppets
Metallica - Seek & Destroy
Deep Purple - Stormbringer [Encore Song]

This was definitely the most intense set out of the three. Once again, Paulo played a short guitar instrumental and progressed into Heavy Chains by Loudness! Faizal took the vocal stand again and the band delivered a superb rendition of the song. I was now headbanging so hard without a care in the world, save for the music. Next on the list was Hallowed Be Thy Name, another favourite of Shiro's. It was mindblowing to hear see band cover the song so damn well. After they finished the song, they had a short pause while Navin fixed up the hi-hat coz it was screwing up a bit. When he was done, he did a short drum solo and the whole band went into Stargazer by Rainbow. I was so damn happy that they played this song coz its one of my favourite Rainbow songs.. and I started to swing and headbang to the rhythm even though I was tired as hell. The song itself seemed to give me energy as I shouted "in the heat and rain! with whips and chains!" at the chorus parts together with Faizal. Then came Paulo's solo.. I felt like I was high on weed or something, almost visibly swaying left and right. Faizal took a break and Jatt came back to take over the vocals for the next song.. which turned out to be Metallica's One. At this point it seemed pretty strange coz Jatt doesn't normally sing the Metallica songs but sing he did and he did a pretty good job. Even though he didn't have the rough quality of James Hetfield's voice, he improvised and sang it in a different way which made the song quite refreshing to hear. They followed the Metallica onslaught with Master of Puppets. Shiro and me were now in a headbanging frenzy as we banged and shouted together with the band and the rest of the crowd. The third Metallica song in the set turned out to be Seek and Destroy. I'm not very familliar with the song but enjoyed it nonetheless. It seemed that it was the last song for the night but everyone kept shouting for an encore. After a while of coaxing they decided to play one more song, Deep Purple's Stormbringer. This reminded me of the first time I laid eyes on the band's performance at Gashaus where they opened with the same song and it was the same intense feeling, only difference was that it sounded more solid. Why? Coz this time there were THREE people singing in the band (Faizal had come on stage for the encore and was singing the backup lines). As we sang and banged our heads along, they started to sing in harmony and you guys won't believe how good it sounded. Frickin awesome. Till the very end. And so, they wrapped up the night with that last song, that left us satisfied but at the same time wanting for more.. Next time, it will be at the House of Rock, their homeground.

We managed to speak to Navin and Anis after the show. Navin told us that they would be just opening their usual set at House of Rock (it was 11.15 pm at the time). Anis told us the address was Tras St (I had mistaken it as Cross St when i first heard it) and that they usually play on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday nights. I saw my old friend, Hafiz from Liquid Steel too and found Wenjie and Wendi, who had been standing in the back watching them play the last 4 or 5 songs. We spent a while recollecting the whole event (while I was enjoying myself as I made Wenjie writhe when I told him the songs that he had missed earlier). We then said our goodbyes and parted, Shiro leaving to take the train and myself taking Wenjie's van along with Wendi.

A fantastic night where (I'm sure that it would be safe to say that) all our expectations were met and (for some) exceeded. I am so fucking looking forward to seeing them play again, regardless if I have to pay or not. That will probably be on the 17th of Nov at the House of Rock. People who wants to join please do take note that I have plans to either stay up or take Night Rider home.. Coz the band will probably end their set like around 2 a.m. XD So far I will be getting Shiro and Ridz to go. If anyone else wants to go, please comment, pm or email me about it and I'll arrange for the time and place to meet up. Then we can all go and ROCK N ROLL CRAZY NIGHT~~!!! XD JoJo Valentino, signing off.

Ministry of Rock
Sunday, October 22, 2006 01:53 p.m.
Here are the details for the upcoming Ministry of Rock gig at Esplanade:

An evening with the band, Ministry of Rock.
When : Oct 28th Saturday
Venue/time : Esplanade Outdoor Theater / 1930hrs onwards.

What to expect : A quartet of full-time professional musicians doing a tribute to the 70s classic brit rock and 80s metal Gods. think LedZep, Sabbath, Dio, Ozzy, Loudness, Rainbow, Metallica, Megadeth, Rush, Uriah Heep, Iron Maiden (theres more). Excellent sound system and mixing crew by esplanade. Also, probably the best local rock singer u ever gonna hear.

Invites : Softies. Come make a date with us. _\m/

Note: its a free gig

That said, I would strongly encourage (or in some cases demand) that anyone who has a passion for hard rock and old school rock to come take a look at this band. If you've read my previous post, you should know what I mean. In short: THEY FCUKING ROCK! I swear it on my family jewels. I'll be going together with the cockster bunch.. meeting time should probably be abt 7 pm at Esplanade. Anyone else that wants join us can leave a reply and I'll co ordinate the meeting time and place with you. See you people there!

Heaven and Hell
Sunday, October 8, 2006 11:03 a.m.
October 7th 2006 is a date that has been burned into my mind since over 12 hours ago. Being witness to something like what happened yesterday and being able to wake up today with a sore neck is just like a dream.. only not. Ok, I know I'm not making much sense so I'll start from the beginning (since alot of you are probably wondering what the hell was it that made me want to suddenly blog about instead of staying dead). I'll tell you.

It started somewhere around early afternoon when I left home to meet Brian, Ed and Skye. Reached Swee Lee early and hung around before running into Ed and Skye. Waited for Brian for a while before going down to Gashaus. Apparently Soft was having the opening of their online store held there and there were a few bands playing. So I'm like: "Free gig? Sure, I'll go. Since its not the usual Jrock bands playing anyway". We reached there slightly after 3, somewhere in the middle of the band Timmy's set. They were playing nu-metal stuff like Funeral For A Friend, etc. However, their style was quite different as it wasn't just whacking straight power chords all the way. They did give attention to melody and rhythm as well, which proved quite interesting to watch. The vocal was pretty good too. After Timmy's set there was a short break and Clinton Carnegie took over. Kinda like a jazz-fusion mix.. they were basically jamming all the way, with everyone doing their solos, improvising n stuff (Wenjie had joined us by now). Also an interesting band to watch, something you don't see (or hear, rather) everyday. But the best was yet to come..

Ministry of Rock. I would dare say that no other band could be more deserving of the name than them. I watched as they slowly set up their equipment, unaware of the intense assault that was about to follow. Paul Daniel, Jatt Ali, Navin and Anis. Yeap, these were the guys in the band. They opened up their set with Deep Purple's Stormbringer.. and FUCK, they blew me away.. well into next year. The thing that hit me like a ton of bricks was that Jatt Ali's vocals.. sounded 95% like Ronnie James Dio's.

NO, I AM NOT FUCKING KIDDING YOU AT ALL. HE REALLY DID. If you don't believe me, you can go watch this

Shivers, shudders, goosebumps, electricity, euphoria and what have you were running up, down, in, out, around and everywhere within me. Especially every now and then when Jatt Ali would mention the word "Rainbow" in his singing.. It would drive me totally over the edge. After Stormbringer they proceeded to play.. BLACK SABBATH'S HEAVEN AND HELL. Instantly, all levels of orgasm went off the Richter Scale. I think only our small group in the corner were really getting off on the songs that they were playing. Apparently so coz it seemed like we were the only ones actively yelling our heads off and headbanging while the band played and asked the crowd to sing along. I was literally going through Heaven and Hell as they were playing it.. from the intro to the sing/shout alongs to the chorus to the solos and to the ending.. all the way. The next song was Black Sabbath's War Pigs. Skye was going =D~ and *__* coz she had just finished learning the song.. the band's timing couldn't have been better as they pummeled everyone into submission with their rendition of War Pigs. By this time I was headbanging so hard that I knew that I was gonna have a sore neck the next day. But I didn't fucking care.. not when I was having this much fun!

After War Pigs, Jatt Ali decided to take a break.. and the band went into Metallica's Master of Puppets! MASTER! MASTER! The bassist, Anis took over the vocals for this song and they played it all the way till just before the slow interlude of the song.. and stopped. They then played a short bit of Megadeth's Symphony of Destruction with Paul Daniel taking over the vocals for this song. After which they went back into the slow interlude of Master of Puppets and continued the metal assault upon us (who at this point would have looked like we had lost our marbles). The drummer, Navin, was really killer too.. hitting the drums with such energy and precision that so made headbanging even more enjoyable. After they had finished, they played their last song.. Deep Purple's Burn! Once again, Jatt Ali came back to the microphone and I was in LALA Land again (heck, the rest of the cocksters were with me in LALA Land too). After the band had finished playing, I managed to speak abit with Jatt Ali and Paul Daniel. They really made my weekend, my month, my year.. hell, they made my next 10 years! Fortunately, they will be playing at the House of Rock as per normal. That set was probably a fraction of what they usually do over at House of Rock.. looks like i'm gonna be a regular over there XD

So yeah.. If you guys are wondering what was it that revived my blog from the dead, that was it. My thanks to Ministry of Rock for playing a kickass show, for bringing something so far away so close to home.. and for kickstarting my resolve in life.. To rock as hard as I ever can. JoJo Valentino, signing off.. COZ ITS HEAVEN AND HELL~~~~~!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2006 11:39 a.m.
Sometimes I wish I was in living in Toronto with my relatives. Why? Here's a few good reasons:

Opera House Current Entertainment Calendar

September 27, 2006: KAMELOT with EPICA
November 26, 2006: Blind Guardian

Not to mention that many big names of rock and metal including the likes of Dio and Stratovarius have performed there. Then again getting power metal albums is alot harder than it is over here so its a fair trade off I guess.. Can't wait till they release the dates for the Blind Guardian concert in Australia. Hopefully I'll have saved enough to go watch them. On a side note, here's a quiz that I found on someone's blog.

Describe yourself using one band and song titles from that band
Choose a band/artist and answer only in song TITLES by that band::Blind Guardian
Are you male or female::Gandalf's Rebirth
Describe yourself::The Martyr / Black Chamber / Traveller in Time
How do some people feel about you::Guardian of the Blind / Bright Eyes
How do you feel about yourself::The Soulforged / Mirror Mirror
Describe your ex girlfriend/boyfriend::Age of False Innocence
Describe your current girlfriend/boyfriend::A Past and Future Secret
Describe where you want to be::By The Gates of Moria / Beyond The Realms Of Death
Describe what you want to be::Punishment Divine / Valhalla / The Bard's Song (In The Forest)
Describe how you live::Under The Ice / Battlefield / War of Wrath
Describe how you love::Follow The Blind / The Piper's Calling
Share a few words of wisdom:Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)
Take this survey | Find more surveys
You've been totally Bzoink*d

JoJo Valentino, signing off.

Monday, May 29, 2006 08:48 p.m.
Ok, its been too long since I last updated. I've been busy lately.. so sue me =p Recently, I've noticed that most of my friend's blogs have been highlighting the latest developments on "Soooperben" as well as people who are just plain dumb. My post today will be on something related to that but in a general context with something extra thrown in. First off, here's the lyrics of the song that's currently on my blog now (which I will be making references to). Bear in mind that this song was written in 1988.

Revolution Calling
by Queensryche

For a price I'd do about anything
Except pull the trigger
For that I'd need a pretty good cause
Then I heard of Dr. X
The man with the cure
Just watch the television
Yeah, you'll see there's something going on

Got no love for politicians
Or that crazy scene in D.C.
It's just a power mad town
But the time is ripe for changes
There's a growing feeling
That taking a chance on a new kind of vision is due

I used to trust the media
To tell me the truth, tell us the truth
But now I've seen the payoffs
Everywhere I look
Who do you trust when everyone's a crook?

Revolution calling
Revolution calling
Revolution calling you
(There's a) Revolution calling
Revolution calling
Gotta make a change
Gotta push, gotta push it on through

I'm tired of all this bullshit
They keep selling me on T.V.
About the communist plan
And all the shady preachers
Begging for my cash
Swiss bank accounts while giving their
Secretaries the slam

They're all in Penthouse now
Or Playboy magazine, million dollar stories to tell
I guess Warhol wasn't wrong
Fame fifteen minutes long
Everyone's using everybody, making the sale

I used to think
That only America's way, way was right
But now the holy dollar rules everybody's lives
Gotta make a million doesn't matter who dies


I used to trust the media
To tell me the truth, tell us the truth
But now I've seen the payoffs
Everywhere I look
Who do you trust when everyone's a crook?


The parts where I would like to emphasize my points are in bold. Ok, let's start from the bridge before the chorus: [I used to trust the media..]. Honestly, this is how I really feel about the media over here. Full of mind control gimmicks (eat this and you'll look better, get this gadget and you'll be alot cooler, buy this product and the guys/girls will fall for you, etc), mimicking the american society of mainstream feel-good entertainment, giving people what they want to hear and see, giving people what they THINK they want to hear and see and not exposing them enough to other channels of music for fear of losing their "gold mine" and probably the instability it will create (in the process of milking the money, that is). The verse after the chorus reinforces the points that I have just mentioned. Note the last three lines of the 2nd verse after the chorus: [Fame 15 minutes..]. These are especially relevent to the latest craze of SG Idol and Superband that have been going on. The very next bridge/verse is also a true statement to what the country or rather the people living in it have become (its a litte exaggerated in terms of context but the main idea is there): [But now the holy dollar..]. How aptly put. No elaboration needed here, the lines clearly speak for themselves. Overall, this song was part of a concept album that (partly) had an insight into what society would become (and to some extent, has ALREADY become) in the future after 1988.

Before I end this post, I'd just like to say that I am not trying to stir trouble, be anti-govt or trying to sway people into going against society. These are just my musings and I am in no way imposing them onto anyone or criticizing anyone for having their own/different views. Its merely food for thought. So eat well, my friends and think while you're at it.