Obsidian and Tyrant Live in Saskatoon

By Sefany Jones, Contributing Editor
Monday, September 16, 2002 @ 5:19 PM

Obsidian and Tyrant Live at th

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REVIEW BY: Andrew Depedro, Saskatoon Correspondent

Local Rock Heroes Obsidian And Judas Priest Tribute Band Tyrant Tear It Up At The Wash 'N Slosh On July 12th. (Better late than never!)

I just recalled that in between summer classes, work, submitting last month's Nashville Pussy review, chatting and worrying about my financial status and my future after university, I also managed to see these two bands back in mid-July. I had decided five days earlier to delay my birthday celebration because I had a mid-term to sit on Friday which I wasn't looking forward to but wanted to get it over with. This proved to be one of the best gifts I ever gave myself.

Local rock act Obsidian just happened to land this opening slot by chance. A veteran act on the local live circuit for the past decade or so, their presence on the live stage here in town has been sparse as of late. Recording the perfect debut CD in the form of Nocturnal Emissions, frequent live appearances at the Minnedosa rock festival (this year they opened up for both Billy Idol and Cheap Trick at the festival), frequent line-up changes which included snagging Torch-144's bass player after the original bassist left and a killer drummer who was inches away from always hitting his head on the venue's ceiling because the stage was a bit too small for his riser and a growing dissatisfaction with the Saskatoon live circuit after two major gigs fell through that month (Rockfest, which would've seen the band opening up for Dokken and Ratt had the show, had been cancelled due to slow ticket sales on Canada Day, and a July 27th gig at Ryly's which inexplicably went to a Radiohead soundalike band named Tint) were the main factors as to why it has been almost a year or so since I last saw this band play at a bar in this town. It was also the first time that the band did an entire set of originals and put the Blue Oyster Cult, U.F.O. and Thin Lizzy covers to rest.

The songs that really stood out that night were "Dirty Lies, "Tempted, "Coming Home" (not the Scorpions song), "All The Things I've Said" (said to be the first single from the CD) and the clsoing hellraiser, "Beautiful Suicide," which at first I had thought it to be titled "Electric Garden" until guitarist Dave and I both agreed that my referral to the song as sounding like Hurricane on steroids sounded appropriate.

Incidentally, the bass player's former band, Torch-144 used to be known as Huge up until a year or two ago, and yet the only people who've really heard about them from their long history are about the same dozen people who show up at their concerts just to hear the same renditions of "Even Flow, "Stairway To Heaven" and "Brown-Eyed Girl" over and over again, and the only reason I happened to catch that sorry band twice was because they once opened for Obsidian last year. As it turns out, the "huge" band that once boasted of a summer opening up for Warrant at last year's Minnedosa festival one day and jamming at Ryly's with Pantera's Vinnie Paul the next day weren't dicking around with weak versions of Led Zeppelin and Pearl Jam songs after all...

After a gruelling 50-minute set by Obsidian, Edmonton's best--er, only Judas Priest tribute band-- Tyrant took the stage with the opener "Breakin' The Law, played with note-to-note precision, and the rest of the evening's setlist consisted of all Halford-era songs even if the vocalist usually added a bit of Ripper-style vocals to the songs, giving them that extra edge. The standard Priest songs like "Hell Bent For Leather, "Some Heads Are Gonna Roll, "The Hellion/Electric Eye, "A Touch Of Evil, "Turbo Lover, "Desert Plains" and "You Got Another Thing Coming" (which was the only song that night that fell flat, mainly due to so many other local bands, including Obsidian, covering that song so often at live gigs -- it just sounded uninspired) were played alongside the more obscure classics like "Diamonds And Rust, "Tyrant" (duh!), "Hell Patrol" (dedicated to Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan at the time) and "Grinder," and I have to say that while the more popular Priest songs were played well, the band excelled the most on the lesser-known classics. I mean, I haven't heard "Grinder" since I saw TV coverage of the original Priest play it live at Rock In Rio II over a decade ago and Tyrant covered that song flawlessly. For an unashamed tribute band Tyrant went beyond the call of duty that night as if they really were the real Priest that would be playing at Craven some 40 kilometers away from town the day after.

Best quotes of the night:

"39 degrees? How the hell do you guys ever get to grow anything here?" -- Tyrant's rhythm guitarist

"I thought the only female presence in Priest was Rob Halford" -- Myself, upon discovering that the rhythm guitarist from Tyrant was female (Dave's girlfriend found it funny, though.)

Missed opportunity of the night: Discovering that not only KNAC roomie Kerri Neubauer (a.k.a., apocalypticachick) was at the same concert as me, but also the same table. This was Ruyter Suys at Amigo's all over again, although for my trouble she did manage to uncover the URL to Tyrant's website at http://go.to/tyrantribute, so thanks to her for sending me the link...

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