Review by Thomas S. Orwat Jr., photos by Scott Brown and Thomas S. Orwat Jr.
Amherst, NY - Sister Sin, an old-school-style heavy metal band from Gothenburg, Sweden, has been one of my favorite "newer bands," ever since their groundbreaking 2010 release, ‘True Sound of the Underground.’ I instantly fell in love with their classic-style metal riffs, coupled with the powerful vocals of metal goddess - Liv Jagrell. They were like my own secret treasure, in that I discovered them before they had any real fan base here in America. I've been a huge supporter of the band and last year, when they released their 4th record, ‘Black Lotus,’ I was blown away; so much that the RMS staff and I decided to name ‘Black Lotus’ the best release of 2014.
Then, a few months into 2015, when it was announced that Sister Sin would be one of the bands playing on this summer's "RockStar Mayhem Tour," I was ecstatic!!! But, the only problem was that there was no Western New York date for the RockStar Mayhem tour. I was very disappointed, so I decided to put my money were my mouth is and book the band myself for a full headlining set at one of my favorite clubs, The Forvm. So, this is unlike any review that I have written before. This time, I was the promoter, which helped me gain a little more insight into this amazing band.
The music for the evening started at 8:30pm, when Rock Music Star staff member, John Jeffrey's band - Space Ace (the non-makeup version of the group, which also performs as KISS THIS! - a complete KISS tribute with costumes and makeup), took the stage and played a well-received 90-minute set of KISS and solo Ace Frehley material. For those that don't already know, Jeffrey is a KISS expert, and knows every little detail about KISS. In addition to his knowledge of KISS minutia, he has studied all of Ace Frehley's guitar work for many years, and knows every little nuance in Ace's work. During their set, Space Ace played note-for-note perfect renditions of KISS and Ace classics. In addition to Jeffrey, Space Ace also consists of three other well-known WNY musicians, Kevin Blakita - guitar/vocals, Julius Giambelluca - drums/vocals and Taylor Stursa - bass/vocals.
Shortly after the Space Ace performance, I went up on stage and raffled off several very cool autographed T-shirts, CDs, and posters provided by Victory Records.
Sister Sin took to the stage at 10:30pm to an enthusiastic, but smaller than anticipated crowd. Unfortunately - especially for this promoter - classic rockers, Deep Purple, were playing their first gig in the WNY in decades down the road at Artpark, Lewiston in front of 10,000 plus rockers. Ouch, this certainly hurt. But, I felt that I was in the right place; seeing Sister Sin in their prime is certainly better than watching an aging band in the final years of their career (Deep Purple fans send hate mail here).
On this evening, it become obvious very quickly that Sister Sin respects their audience, no matter if it's 60 people, or the thousands that they have been playing to during the Rockstar Mayhem tour. Liv Jagrell is not only a gifted vocalist, but a force of fury onstage, whipping her hair back and forth, and vocally hitting every note. But, Sister Sin is a true band with members, Jimmy Hiltula - guitar, Strandh - bass and Dave Sundberg - drums, all playing an important role within.
Sister Sin's 60-minute, 13-track set consisted of a satisfying mix of songs from their four albums. The first song of the evening, the face pace, intense, "Food for Worms," definitely set the tone for the evening. Three songs into the set, Jagrell accidently disconnected her microphone, for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, the sound man jumped onstage to fix the problem - all while the band remained professional and played on. Jagrell didn't allow that to distract her, and soon after, mesmerized the audience with the band's recent single, "Desert Queen."
Jagrell thanked the audience several times during the evening, and the audience really appreciated the intimate setting, cheering wildly after each song. The evening ended with perhaps the band's most popular song, "The Sounds of the Underground." What many didn't realize was that song would be the last to ever be performed at the venue; after the show it was announced that The Forvm would be closing due to a decision made by its landlord.
Although, it was a lot of hard work, time and money bringing in Sister Sin, it was definitely worth it. It was a great experience for me. It also was the first major band that I have ever booked. I learned a lot. Will I do it again? I don't know, but it was great to cross this off of my bucket list. Thank you to Sister Sin, their super cool tour manager - Mike Sarge McIntyre, Tom from Victory records and all of those who made this a night to remember.
For more on Sister Sin, please visit www.sistersin.com