BLACKBURN - "Poker Face"  release party
 at AlpenRock House - Zürich-Kloten - 14.12.2003
review by dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo  - all pics © by Stefan "Absolut_Evidence" Vogelaar

The public use of these fotos   

is strictly prohibited without written permission



Here we are, around 19:10 ; Stefan and me, in the village-venue (placed  near the airport of Zürich) little temple of Rock . The Alpen Rock House shows an invernal alpine look : so, for the occasion, the roofs of the small houses are dressed with a thick material which seems cotton- like  to me and that gives the impression of the snow, and, of course, x-mas lights enrich the atmosphere.  

It is again  comfortable and friendly , and obviously it's Rock once more , cause this evening we  like to focus and meet again a band we already saw last year in Bätterkinden, supporting Doro. We got a very good impression and noticed that 2 women were part of the line up: Blackburn. Tonight Blackburn celebrate the release party of their bright new work: a full length album ( (13 tracks)  called Poker Face. Headliners on tour , and consequently also "Godfathers", of this event are nothing less that the German melodic Rockers Bonfire. Blackburn, in many years of activity devoted to Rock, are really used to meet and support giant Names of the genre. But a release party is always an event that has a very emotional halo. So Blackburn appear very satisfied , good mooded but also very concentrated ,speaking and meeting the press before the show. We meet all members:  the very pretty  frontwoman Gabi Schön , bass player Corinne Frei,   the other nice feminine presence in the band, and then guitarists Andy Keller and Smuti  , and drummer Marco Meier: all great hosts . It seems a bit invadent to ask questions questions: after all , artists do deserve a moment of serenity and tranquillity and much more before a n  involving  and important moment. So as journalist i only ask if they had fun working for this album and how was the time past in the studio in Duisburg, Germany. The answers were really satisfied , positive and enthusiast. A professional work done in a dynamic and friendly team. 

Corinne , Smuti, dalia and Marco

And then i asked Smuti for a favour: to write a message for their fans and in general for all lovers of Rock,  and here it is! enjoy!  
It is also nice to meet their blond, long -haired dynamic producer Michael Bormann and to know that Poker face will be in stores in Switzerland and Germany and however available in whole Europe,  and,  i presume very soon world wide too. Indeed it should be  going to be released all over Europe and in Japan on January 1st 2004 by Point Music München if i am not wrong. So!  Rock lovers, and poker faces! , wherever you are , there is some  interesting music for you: Poker Face by Blackburn


The atmosphere is  good mooded, the venue gets crowded and the audience is varied: from rockers and even some metallers to families. And the age too is varied: sign that , i must admit it, Rock can be a passion for many and , most important thing , a passion for life . On the contary shame to the metallers  that leave our  Religion and ranks! With my Ancient - T- shirt and PL plectrum as pendent  i wait for the show ....and a release party again. Do you remember the Crystal Ball one? and the GurD one?

BLACKBURN                     www.blackburn.rockt.de
Though the wings of Bonfire "flutter" in the air, the beginning of Blackburn show finds everyone in the audience really totally relaxed . Around 21:00 the young self -confident dj, the same i saw  presenting  Crystal Ball, is announcing now with emphasis . according to  the motto of the band we can say our short journey of Rock will start. Really short cause, due to the fact w e have a son  with flu  at home , we already know we cannot attend Bonfire's gig. Pity but patience, there will be another occasion . I can only suggest to visit their site www.bonfire.de it's really well done. But back again to Blackburn who take the stage in the darkness broken by able and fast hits of white lights simulating lightnings,  while in the backgroun the "noise" of  thunders  and pelting rain   are re-built.  So our Blackburns take their place in the virtual storm , while on the screen- panel situated near the stage Blackburn's logo appears. The storm  is followed by a metropolitan hammer drill, working having as background  a nervous  city whose traffic awakes :  so an original intro which is also the same intro you can find in the new album. An intro that ,like in the album,  launches the high rhythmed mid tempo  opener Working, which has  a good compression and great bass sonorities , while the first lead solos can be heard. All songs we will listen to, this evening, are taken from Poker Face , so it's also an occasion to take familiarity with the tracks chosen for this CD. The band plays immediately  in an absolut self- confident way, but, at the same time. There is a good quality of energy, though Blackburn start cannot be compared with the high energy put by Cristall Ball also because of the different styles , the different tasks, the different sonorities, and the different goals. Blackburn deliver a nice very agreeable almost classical Rock which matches both the European and American taste, without passing through any  metal-like attitude. Therefore there is a high participation in the calm : the band shows no great mobility but plays well and has and gives fun, putting all the strength exclusively on the instruments, and Gaby of course shows a good presence and, more important, a good voice able to bite  when needed. After the second track  Title Fight  the crowd is really very attentive and numerous in the pit, so Gaby is bursting   energy  pumping the blood in the crowd's veins,  telling that ..yes ...we have a party to enjoy! .  In this way the warm support of the audience becomes bigger,the  ice is definately broken and the band can propose with a good kick the track You can get it, which underlines all the characteristics seen till now adding that  bassist  Corinne and guitarist Smuti provide also  some good backing vocals. An awsome solo is also delivered bySmuti: the music is catchy, rocking,  inviting  and the picture from the stage is elegant. Applauses and applauses! around 21.16 the audience is won by the very meaningful song Great  Times , a classic -old school ,  "catching  on great times , times, tonight!" "there's nothing like good friends" , eh true! and Great Times  will be rewarded by warm approvals. People gets more and more fun so it's time for the energetic and massive  Riding  where the strings put all the wild feeling of the byker- ridings towards neverland.  Bass is rolling good and  strings riff crunchy. Drums sound lively and exact on the snare.  Applauses and rock effect sorrounding us.  And in the break after Riding guitarist Andy presents their producer "Micheal Bormann!" who takes in full shape and smiling the stage .  Now what do you expect from a young dynamic producer who looks himself like a rock artist? 

Ah , whatever but not that he plays or sings? should he? but yes:  he sings!  and he does even rather well with a voice who reminds a bit of Rod Stewart's  timbre . But before singing the German Michael greets the audience with a perfect  typical Swiss "Grüezi mitenand!" and yes it begins the duet with Gaby Schön .  The crowd enjoys so much and the initiative is popular. The song  proposed together with Michael Borman is Coming Home , a romantic though simple ballad that seems  to have been composed by the same Bormann together with members of the band. "I'm coming home and i'll be there for you" ok ok, banal , too banal and simple but it works... Sometimes the classic simple  " blue" feeling works, and anyway works tonight in this atmosphere. Bormann leaves the stage among the applauses and Gaby announces Journey of Rock , which can be seen as real motto and anthem of the spirit of Blackburn "the journey of rock begins in your heart". Blackburn rock like hell ,Corinne and Smuti often do some headbanging. Applauses and appluases. "Merci!" answers gently Gaby. she thanks us for being here and shouts "Poker Faaaaaaaaace!"

The title track offers us a last surprise: a robust  guy in full byker look and very similar to the guy represented on the cover of the album appears on the stage and remain  motionless, rocksolid with folded arms,  acting like mascot and symbol.  Poker Face impacts very well and sounds hammering and catchy, a good choice for closing  the show. 











When the gig ends, the magical moment of the "baptism" comes . The stage guests" friends" , "producers" and "godfathers" . "Mascot Poker Face" is asked to say what's his  name "Saigi" , "are you a Poker Face?" " Yes but only sometimes, not always!" answers amuised Eigi. Michael Bormann holds the cd on a kind of tray in order to protect the floor  i presume, the dj tells  that has the full control of the situation: "ich habe alles in griff!" ok! the  cork and the warm long applauses fly high. Always fun! always an emotional moment! "damn ! it works!" i'm thinking , while i pick up the cork at my feet....

dalia di giacomo    



Title Fight

You can get it

Great times


Coming Home

Journey of Rock 

Poker Face

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