HAREM SCAREM – Live at the Phoenix
Recorded in front of a hometown Canadian crowd, this is a double CD/DVD (only privy to the audio proceedings for this review) of the classic melodic hard rock meets AOR band Harem Scarem. "Live at the Phoenix" is a 20 track affair encompassing 87 minutes plus of addictive choruses, solid guitar hooks, and natural songwriting instincts that come from the heart. Occasional nods to the West Coast/ Sunset Strip scene occur during "Saviors Never Cry" or the chest-thumping "Turn Around" – the stuff that put Dokken on the map, but there’s also a bit of that bluesy Enuff Z’nuff thing going on to keep the music gritty as well as vocal harmonies that catapulted Def Leppard to superstardom.
Harem Scarem hone in on that right lick, drum groove, bass line – and supplement the feel through the emotionally-driven multi-octave range of vocalist Harry Hess. The double guitar harmony fueled "Hard to Love" is a personal favorite, and by the time set closer "No Justice" ends, I doubt there will be much disappointment in Harem Scarem’s performance. Given their 1991 start to last studio record "Thirteen", it’s nice to hear a veteran band that can make all of their discography shine on stage without having to resort to a lot of backing tapes or enhancement – where live means real.
Canada has their fair share of bands that blend classic rock songs and endearing melodies – Harem Scarem deserve to be in that conversation once you look beyond Triumph, April Wine, and Honeymoon Suite. If never checking out the group, "Live at the Phoenix" is a prime package for full aural inspection into all things Harem Scarem.