Baratti, Strommen, Norway - Friday December 2, 2005

Bands: Ken Hensley (ex-Uriah Heep) - Magic Pie - Lady Starstruck

Sweden Rock Festival is growing and growing and has become the largest rock festival in northern Europe. Like last year there’s been held a kick off party in the beginning of December to announce the first bands and artists for the upcoming festival. And to make it a real party a few bands are playing live at this kick off party which is arranged in Stockholm (Sweden) and in Strommen (Norway). This year the kick off party lasts for 2 days, and here’s the report from the first day (I couldn’t go to the second day of the party which included Pagan’s Mind, Circus Maximus and Mortal Love).

I arrived at Baratti during Lady Starstruck’s (which was the first band on stage) second song, and I hadn’t heard of them before. I only knew it was a Rainbow coverband, but I was surprised of the female vocalist. But how does it happen to bring a woman to sing songs originally sung by the mighty Ronnie James Dio? To my big surprise it was a great choice for this band as their vocalist Lone has a great voice that suits the music and mood of Rainbow. She did a fantastic job and I didn’t missed a male person. I happened to know after the concert that Lone was once singing in the band Limelight in the 80’s.

The rest of the band did a great job as well and the guitarist had the sound of Blackmore, but the solos didn’t had the same feel as the man in black himself (but who manage to play like Ritchie?). As for the songs they had chosen the obligatoric “Man On The Silver Mountain” and “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”, but also as many as three songs from the ‘Stranger In Us All’ album to my surprise (but I really like that album so it was very cool to me). I think that Lady Starstruck is one of the better tribute bands I’ve seen for a long time. So if you happen to be around where they’re playing you should definitely go see them.

Next band on stage was introduced as a 70’s prog rock act and the name was Magic Pie, a band I hadn’t heard before. They proved that they’re a bunch great musicians and singers. To me it sounded like a mixture of Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard and Yes. The most impressing was the vocals. It was only the drummer in this six-piece band who didn’t sing, and it gave me a feeling of Spock’s Beard when the other five guys sung together. It was enormous.

The songs itself was also great, but at the end it felt like it was a little too much at the time. Maybe it’s because I didn’t knew the band, but I will defiintely check out their album. Magic Pie is a band of perfectionism and should appeal to every fan of progressive hard rock (even though they stole a piece of Dream Theater in one of their songs). This is a band you should keep an eye on in the future.

The main attraction of this night was former member and founder of the classic rock band Uriah Heep; Ken Hensley. And I was a special treat for us at Rock Of Norway that mr. Hensley had brought a handful of Norwegian musicians with him on his Scandinavian tour; Morty Black (ex-TNT, Vagabond), Ken Ingwersen (ex-Street Legal, Rags), Willy Bendiksen (Wild Willy’s Gang, Perfect Crime, Road) and Eirikur Hauksson (Artch, ex-Wild Willy’s Gang).

There’s no secret that you can expect some Uriah Heep classics when Hensley plays around and you can easily hear the Heep-wibe in his solo stuff. I must admit that I don’t know Hensley’s solo material good enough, but “Give Me A Reason” and “The Last Dance” found its place in my mind this night, so I better should get me some of his solo albums. The Heep songs “July Morning”, “Stealin’”, “Easy Livin’” “Lady In Black” and “Gypsy” made the hair on my arms raise. The reason of that is Ken’s way of playing the Hammond organ, his voice and the fantastic backing band he got this night. The steady and grooving comp by Wild Willy and Morty, Ingwersen’s impressing guitar playing and Eirikur’s harmony vocals made the whole package to an orgasmic happening.
If you missed Hensley’s Scandinavian tour you can look foreward to the upcoming live-DVD which was filmed a few days before this kick off party.

I will thank the people at Baratti for once again putting together a great night for a Sweden Rock Kick Off Party. Confirmed acts for the 2006 festival was presented the next day and included Deep Purple (headliner), Journey, W.A.S.P., Doro, Easy Action, Jaded Heart and Krokus. No Norwegian bands on the bill as of yet.

Ken Hensley band:

Ken Hensley (Uriah Heep) - vocals / organ / guitar
Morty Black (TNT / Vagabond etc.) - bass / vocals
Eirikur Hauksson (Artch / Wanted etc.) - keyboards / guitar / vocals
Willy Bendiksen (Wild Willy's Gang / The Snakes etc.) - drums
Ken Ingwersen (Street Legal / Loveshack etc.) - guitar / vocals


1. Introduction
2. Out Of My Control
3. July Morning *
4. Stealin’ *
5. Give Me A Reason
6. The Return

7. Crying
8. The Wizard *
9. I Close My Eyes
10. The Last Dance
11. Easy Livin’ *
12. Lady In Black *

13. Tell Me
14. Gypsy *
* Uriah Heep song

Lady Starstruck:


1. Tarot Woman
2. Man On The Silver Mountain
3. Cold Hearted Woman
4. Blues
5. Starstruck
6. Eyes Of The World
7. Wolf To The Moon
8. The Temple Of The King
9. Lady Evil [Black Sabbath]
10. Too Late For Tears
11. Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll

Review by Per Erik Jansen
Photos by Per Erik Jansen

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