The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world







MAY 27 2014



In a year where we’ve already had a spate of great live albums, Lillian Axe’s ‘One Night in the Temple’ CD and DVD package just might be the one to take the prize. Recorded in the eerie setting of an old Masonic Temple in Louisiana the venue has more character than most halls and adds an ambience that suits the band perfectly.


For a band that has released 10 live albums over the years Lillian Axe has a large back catalogue; and though there are many nuances to their output essentially the band’s material falls into two periods: the initial years where the band started off in light melodic territory and grew slowly; and the later years where the music became darker and spiked with glimmers of light. As a fan it’s hard to pick either a favourite album or favourite period as the band has been remarkably consistent over the years.


‘One Night in The Temple’ collects the best of Lillian Axe over two audio discs and adds a bonus DVD of the show, plus fan questions, a couple of videos and all kinds of other cool extras. Simply in the ‘value for money’ stakes it scores highly, but when you listen to the songs stripped back to their primal glory it really reaffirms the quality of Steve Blaze’s song-writing over the years.


The album starts out where the current phase of Lillian Axe’s career did with ‘Waters Rising’ from 2007’s album of the same name; and the first disc marries old favourites and new getting the balance just about right. It’s great to hear how well the more recent tunes hold up against the older material: and while of course, songs like ‘Ghost of Winter’ and ‘Show a Little Love’ will always get the biggest cheers its later material like ‘The Great Divide’ and ‘Sad Day on Planet Earth’ that really come alight in this format.


The first half also has the added bonus of a cameo from ex-Lillian Axe vocalist Johnny Vines, who  guests on ‘Misery Loves Company’ before coming back for showstopper ‘Nobody Knows’ later on. It’s also great to hear Steve Blaze commentary as the band runs through the songs adding a little extra to the performance and placing a lot of the music either in a historical or personal context.


‘Crucified’ kicks off disc two with a refined power before the momentous ‘The World Stopped Turning’ from the fan favourite Love and War album keeps the crowd at a sustained high. For me however it’s the next song ‘Dyin’ to Live’ (from Poetic Justice) that is my personal highlight. It’s a song that would easily slip into my top rock songs of all time, deceptively simple and full of emotion, it’s a song I’ve asked Steve on more than one occasion why they never play it live! It made my day to see it there and I hope it gets a look in from time to time on future set-lists.


By the time we get to what I guess must be the favourite track of a lot of the crowd: ‘Nobody Knows’ you can sense the love and the sheer emotion of the night, and by the time ‘True Believer’ comes around it’s hard to believe that we’re twenty songs down and musically have barely touched the surface. Lillian Axe has always been a great band, and has always, in whatever incarnation, been a great live band, but this line up seems to be the one that says it best of all.    


The crowd-sung ‘Nobody Knows’ that closes the evening, sums it all up really, and it had me belting out the words without even thinking about it. This is a wonderful album and a great marker for the band. The added DVD makes this indispensable for fans and casual followers alike. If you were lucky enough to have been there for this show, you may well have seen one of the best live acoustic rock shows ever committed to film and tape.



by Mark Diggins