Orianthi - LIVE: 100 Club, London 2013

Album Showcase
August 7 (21:00 - 22:05)
Capacity 350

As Alice Cooper's lead guitarist, Australian Orianthi Panagaris doesn't really get much opportunity to tour her own material, but found an opening in Alice's current run of European dates to slot in this limited, one-off show in London.

Making the short trip from France to open the show was The Fairchilds front-man Cyril Niccolaï, with whom Orianthi has collaborated previously. His set was a short, solo acoustic one, drawing mostly from The Fairchilds' debut album Our Revolution, plus a cover of Green Day's Basket Case, which he often plays at acoustic shows.

Not being on her own tour obviously meant she didn't have her own band available either. Flying people out for a single show would have made no sense, so Alice Cooper band-mates Chuck Garric (bass) and Glen Sobel (drums) provided the rhythm section for a power-trio line-up focusing heavily on new album Heaven In This Hell.

Unsurprisingly the crowd consisted predominantly of Alice Cooper fans, but that would not have happened if she'd been touring her previous albums, regardless of her work with Cooper. Much closer to the pop-rock of Avril Lavigne than anything else, the material held no appeal to hard rock fans, but half of Heaven In This Hell is much harder, bluesier rock which calls for stronger vocals, and showcases her riffing and soloing to a far greater extent than either Believe or Violet Journey.

The response to a set over half-full of the heaviest songs from that album was therefore very strong. Poppier tracks like Rock, How Does That Feel?, If U Think U Know Me and If U Were With Me were wisely left out in favour of the ones with riffs, and Orianthi gave the crowd plenty of what they really wanted to see from her: lots of lead guitar. She visibly grew in confidence as the show progressed, and the heavier sound she employed elevated the songs from the other albums to the point where the likes of Bad News, Think Like A Man and What's It Gonna Be (already the hardest songs on Believe) sounded like more melodic hard rock songs than they did pop.

She closed the main set with excellent new single Sex E Bizarre to promote the new deluxe edition of Heaven In This Hell, on which it's a bonus track, probably not realising that version isn't being released in the UK, then it was encore time. Everyone in the room had probably, at some point or another, had the same thought throughout the show. If Sobel and Garric are here as Orianthi's backing band, and guitarist Tommy Henriksen is here sitting in the VIP area, and Alice Cooper is headlining a festival in the UK tomorrow (which is what enabled this show to happen in the first place), is Alice himself here, and will he sing a song?

Of course he was. After what could probably be termed her biggest hit to date in According To You, from one of the pop-rock albums, Orianthi explained that it really was inevitable that she would ask Alice to be on stage, and the great man walked out to sing Jimi Hendrix's Foxy Lady, intentionally taking a background role so as not to take the limelight away from his young guitarist. For everyone in attendance this cameo was the icing on what had already been a very fun and enjoyable cake.

What Orianthi's set, and response, showed this evening is that the market is there for her harder rock music, and she can perform to match. Heaven In This Hell was a half-and-half split between those songs, and pop songs more akin to her previous albums, and given the reputation she has as a proper guitar player, the latter style doesn't do her justice at all. The next album needs to drop all of the pop stuff, and that will hopefully lead to a solo tour, even if it has to be sporadic to fit around Alice's schedule. If that happens, she's highly recommended as a solo performer.

“ harder, bluesier rock ”

Cyril Niccolaï setlist: I Need You / Body of Lies / Unbreakable / Basket Case / Life Is Beautiful

Orianthi setlist: Heaven In This Hell / Frozen / You Don't Wanna Know / What's It Gonna Be / Bad News / Think Like A Man / How Do You Sleep? (with Cyril Niccolai) / Better With You / Filthy Blues / Fire / Song For Steve / Sex E Bizarre // According To You / Foxy Lady (with Alice Cooper)

Special thanks to Karen for doing Live Nation's job for them.

Written by Andy Lye
More: 2013, Gigs, Hard/Heavy Rock,

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