Gig Reviews

Rage at O-East in Shibuya

German heavy metal band Rage returned to Tokyo to show us they are still at the top of their game.

Rage at Spotify O-East. Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan on 11th April 2024

Germany has a proud heavy metal history. Rage has been part of that German legacy for the past four decades. Unlike some other German bands of the 80s, Rage remains vital and relevant. Bandleader Peavy Wagner, on bass and vocals, leads the band from the front. He has managed to keep this terrific band going despite many line-up changes. The current line-up is a solid heavy metal trio consisting of Peavy, drummer Vassilios “Lucky” Maniatopoulos (who joined in 2015) and guitarist Jean Bormann (since 2020). When veteran bands change members, the key to sustainable success is if the new line-up can deliver the goods. Rage of 2024 can and they do.

Lucky is a splendid drummer with metal power in his arms and plenty of finesse that reminds me of great jazz and blues drummers. And young Jean on the guitar is a terrific addition to the band. He has fine guitar skills, but also knows how to perform on stage and seemingly has an endless energy supply. Rage has established a signature sound in the middle of the German heavy metal tradition of heavy bands with catchy melodies. It is great music to shout along to.

They opened the Tokyo gig with a couple of fab songs from the early 90s, “Shame on You” and “Solitary Man”, before they served up “Cold Desire” from the just released new album “Afterlifelines”. Speaking of newer music, the band’s more recent songs, such as “Under a Black Crown”, “Let Them Rest in Peace” and “A New Land”, were all well received. Being able to create and perform excellent new songs is one of the key reasons that Rage is still relevant and loved. The band performed old classics such as “Black in Mind”, “Refuge”, “Nevermore” and “Don’t Fear the Winter”. But they are not stuck in the past and don’t just tour the back catalogue.

The audience in Tokyo was certainly switched on and fed on the band’s energy. At times it felt like this was a Latin American audience. The title track from the band’s 1996 album “End of All Days” was the musical peak of the show. The band rounded off a splendid German heavy metal evening with “Higher Than the Sky” from 1996.