Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Tygers Of Pan Tang - Live At Wacken

Alright, on the heels of an old Deverill-era live album, and the news of the band's reformation (with neither Jon nor Jess), here's the er, Jess version of the band schlepping their stuff at Wacken '99. Sort of. It's really Jess, Rob Weir and a few NWOBHM yobbos slapped together, filling a kind of netherzone between tribute band and the real growling felines. But hey, surprise, it ain't half bad. All those jokes throughout the years about Jess not being the greatest singer, well, now somewheres around 40, guess what? He's no worse, maybe even better, despite having no clue what to say between songs. And the band is efficient and the recording is typical functional but sloggy Wacken and the songs are almost all old, either from the debut, or a b-side, or Jess creaking his way through Love Potion #9, which really shows that even less than the average man on the street, he can't hold a tune, UNLESS he was on the original recording. Very strange. I mean, it ain't exactly a range thing. Anyhoo, we love the guy and it is a cool biker-ish kind of voice. Tracks 10, 11 and 12 all sound like Tush, and one of them actually is.
Rating 6.5

Yogi - Any Raw Flesh?

Any Raw Flesh? is the product of Seattle's Shawn Farley (originally from Virginia), who has gathered a coterie of Seattle's finest to execute his quite specific vision, which is not a cross of who he namechecks in his bio, more a cross between the King's X work written and sung by Ty Tabor, Ty's solo work, Atomic Opera and mellow Galactic Cowboys. This is both somewhat annoying and really enjoyable. I mean, it's somewhat grating to hear a band so eyeful and earful of a very distinct influence, basically the periphery of all things King's X, with all the smarmy, smart, self-aware wordplay and quaintness that implies (think Phish), and Shawn's voice is very innocent and childlike like Ty's, but it's also quite inviting because few do indeed dare. As well, there's a real exploratory quality to tracks like Firefly and What Have We Here? (Farley does move it regularly well off the map - there's the Atomic Opera), and the production, although not great, kind of loose and boomy but not powerful, is very different from King's X and the ilk, this being less about metal, more organic, perhaps some of that local Pearl Jam rubbing off on the guys, particularly drummer Chris Gorczyca.
Rating 7