What Roger Federer has done for Swiss tennis, Gotthard have done for the nation’s often overlooked classic rock scene. With 11 successive number one albums back home it’s been game, set and match for the Lugano quintet since 1992’s critically acclaimed self-titled debut. And after the success of 2017’s silver anniversary celebrations – capped off by the release of classy long player ‘Silver‘ – Gotthard have served up another smash.
Defrosted was the band’s answer to MTV’s Unplugged when it caused a significant stir in 1997. With only three albums under their belts, the decision to release a live record so early appeared to be brave, bordering on the foolhardy. Instead, it established Gotthard as a seriously affecting live act and Defrosted swiftly reached double platinum status in Switzerland.
Twenty years on and Defrosted 2 inevitably revisits many of the songs that made its predecessor such a compelling listen. The significant difference, of course, is that Nic Maeda directs operations on this acoustic tour de force – the quality and consistency of his performance a tribute in itself to the late, great Steve Lee. Eight years after Gotthard’s much-missed former lead singer tragically died, his legacy remains in the safest of hands.
Maeda’s decision to greet the audience in three different languages could come across as cocky. In fact, the softly spoken vocal powerhouse is anything but and his close connection with an appreciative audience shines through from start to finish.
UK fans who caught Gotthard opening up for Magnum in the early 90s will have recognised a snarling melodic rock beast screaming potential. Even so, it’s incredible to think this is the same band, such is their creative growth and musical mastery. Brand new ballad ‘What I Wouldn’t Give‘ suggests the future is bright and these Sweet Little Rock N Rollers have never sounded so good.