Spiritual Beggars  // Logo, Hamburg, Germany // 15.04.13

Spiritual Beggars are celebrating their 20-year anniversary as a band this year. After several years of not touring (mainly because the guys have been more than busy touring across the globe with their other bands, whether it’s Arch Enemy, Firewind or whatever else) – they decided that it was time to celebrate their birthday party as a band – on the road!

First stop is Hamburg, Germany – which is where my journey takes me this time.

The small, but cool club Logo is located somewhere between Reeperbahn and the University crowds up pretty quickly with the most mixed audience I’ve seen in a while. Rockers of all ages – literally! Very young Arch Enemy/Amott-fans, who immediately go to the stage to secure their spot on the left-hand side (in front of guitarist Michael Amott) to older rockers with Rainbow t-shirts and a couple in their 50s who brought their bar stools (!) to the stage to SIT and watch the show. And to top it all off, some dude in a Venom-hoodie. And then there’s me, who’s there for one reason only, to check out what former Firewind-frontman Apollo Papathanasio does when he’s not with Firewind.

And boy, was I in for a surprise…! After seeing more than 30 Firewind-gigs in 2 years, I thought I knew what Apollo was all about as a frontman. I realized that I ain’t seen nothing yet! In Firewind, he’s been the classy rocker. In Spiritual Beggars, he brings out his other self; the rough and tough rocker.

Apollo is totally at ease, yet very intense and powerful both in his role as a frontman and his role as a singer. He is a vocal chameleon who easily switches from the clean yet massive Tony Martin-like vocals to the edgy and unpolished denim-and-leather rock’n’roll voice.

When you look at the band as a whole, they win you over in a matter of minutes, simply because they are genuine and although Spiritual Beggars has somehow ended up to be their “side-step” from their regular bands, it’s apparent that this is where their hearts are, there’s no bullshit. You get the best of two elements – the youthful enthusiasm and desire to play the music they grew up with – combined with the confidence of experienced, skilled musicians who are among the best in their respective fields.

It’s far from a “I just need my paycheck“-type of vibe, instead you get that irresistable “I’m out on a field trip without a teacher and I get to jam with my buddies!”-type of vibe. That’s what attracts new fans.

Michael Amott is the laid back, cool guitar hero who chooses to stay away from the show-offs. He doesn’t need to prove anything, none of the guys in this bunch does. He delivers tasteful, brilliant guitarplaying, enough to get the guitar-fetischists drool, and it sounds fucking cool even in that crowded little club. Every instrument sticks out in the mix, at least from where I’m standing. And, also being a fan of great drummers, I love the simple but dead effective, heavy skinbashing coming from Grand Magus’ Ludwig Witt. Bassist Sharlee D’Angelo plays like his life depended on it in his right-hand stagecorner duels with ex-Opeth’s keyboardist Per Wiberg – who seems to have been inhabited by the spirit of Jon Lord. These guys are WILD in the best imaginable way!

Basically, I love it. Never been a fan of the seventies, that’s my confession of the day – I’m a total sucker for the eighties, all through-and-through, but Spiritual Beggars is a hungry band that is out on the road right now to get their kicks all across Europe – and kick a few asses along the way for that matter! In short: Don’t miss it!

Video footage from the concert and the song “Kingmaker” from the new album:

Report: Daniela P.
Photos: Daniela P. & Suuded