until recently I had never heard of Last Avenue despite the fact that they
apparently exist since 1998, originally as Mild'n and from 2006 on as Last
Avenue. And I'm no stranger to Swiss Rock music, although I don't claim to have
heard of every band in Heidiland. I'd guess, the ones I haven't heard of have
either a very low profile, play only cover songs or make a ruckus in a genre I
can't stand. Considering that the band has released five albums and a couple of
singles, it's quite an achievement to remain below the surface.
be told, it's probably not their fault. I've learned a major lesson regarding
the Swiss music scene, it's very fragmented. Whatever is en vogue in the french
part of the country is lost somewhere along the Röstigraben and vice versa.
Same goes for the italian corner (Ticino), except in this case, the dividing
line are the Alps. The problem is actually so bad, that a lot is lost between the
Basel and the Zurich area. Bands that have cult status in the Northwestern part
of the land of cheese and chocolate don't get a foot on the ground east of
their natural habitat. And I'm not even starting on areas East of East St.
Zurich or the scene around Bern or others. Case in point, Blues and Bluesrock
bands don't have it easy around Basel, while around Zurich they seem to thrive.
There are genres which are much more at home here that you won't find in
abundance in other parts of the country.
call their music Hippie Rock and Classic Rock. There is something to be said
for short and concise descriptions, but a lot is lost in translation and there
is so much more. Not that Hippie Rock is a misnomer, personally, I think it's a
bit vague, although I can see where it leads to. Classic Rock, although not a
genre per se, is much more to the point (even though this is not the end of the
rainbow). The associations made with regards to their music cover quite a range,
but I must leave it to the listener to draw his/her own conclusions, suffice to
say, I still hear traces (and sometimes a bit more than that) of Led Zeppelin.
Maybe the band is out to crucify me now, but this was my first impression when
I listened to "House Of Trash". Mind you, not throughout the CD, but it
stood out several times.
the band is anchored in an updated 70s setting. The songwriting (all originals,
btw) is outstanding and the execution of the songs is beautifully done. I've
said it before, every band going to the lengths of doing their own songs gets a
bonus point from me, wether I like what they're doing or not. The full CD is
very organic and floats from track to track as it must be. In preparation for
this post I've listened to the album many times and I don't yet see the day coming,
where I'm getting bored with it. Probably never.
want to single out any of the tracks, because they are all of high quality.
Just let me mention some of the twelve highlights. "House Of
Trash" sets the pace for what is to come. An opener that gets your
attention immediately. It's a bit like the band has packed all their trademark
antics into the one song. "Ten Years Today" is more of this 70s vibe.
A mix of times long passed with a 21st century sprinkling. "Giving It
Up" is a rocker but still founded in the music tradition. One thing that
must be said about the music, even though the guitars scream sometimes, the
drummer is present and the singer gives his all, they never drift into Heavy
Metal, it's always solid Hard Rock (when the track calls for it). This is a
prime example of their more "in your face" songs. "So
Never" is a ballad, but I hasten to add, not one of those sleepy things
that I usually turn off. "Just For You" is maybe a lost Led Zeppelin
song. Grand! For this track alone you should buy the CD. "Speedway Lover"
is another track that flows so seamlessly on the harder side of the genre and
the guitar is just beautifully done. Even the breaks to a slower pace make
sense. "Treetop" is the longest track on this CD (8:04) and a very
A commercial break and
a word about the band. The current line-up is as follows:
Gaisser: Vocals, Guitars
Schönbächler: Guitars, Vocals
Bochet: Bass, Vocals
amaze me sometimes by their professionalism (yeah, I know, prejudice), even though
they are not fulltime musicians (see for example flector) and Last Avenue are
right in this square. The guitars are more than a notch beyond very good. The
rhythm section (bass and drums) knows their drill as well and I have to highly
recommend the guy(s) on vocal duty. In other words, this is a nice package with
not a dud in sight.
I tried to
find some other CDs on the market, but failed to do so (I might try again), but
Last Avenue's management was so nice and sent me their "Greatest
Hits" CD, their latest release (thanks Sibylle!), just to get me an idea
about the progression the band made. One thing I don't get, why is the CD not
in chonological order? Five Mild'n and eleven Last Avenue tracks culled from various
what you're looking for in an album, an overview of decades of creative output
or a condensed version of a moment in time, this is how you perceive the
offerings on a CD. I find "Greatest Hits/Best Ofs" compilations, or
the like, always difficult. It's almost like a band erases part of their past and
who's to say what songs the listener wants to hear from their back catalogue.
Having said that, I can see how the band has changed from Mild'n to Last Avenue
(based on these two CDs only). There are traces of Last Avenue in the Mild'n
songs. But five tracks is more of an educated guess than solid fact.
to the Last Avenue tracks that are not on "House Of Trash" there is
only one conclusion to be drawn from it, try and buy the other CDs (note to
myself). "When You Are Smiling" is one of these Mild'n tracks and I
get it where the Beatles comparison comes from. I'm not a Beatles fan at all,
but this is beautiful. If you're a Beatles aficionado (and even if you're not)
buy the "Greatest Hits" CD. "Rock'n'Roll, I'm Coming Home"
is a Last Avenue song and one that makes me itchy about getting the full CD. This
is a song (amongst many others from Last Avenue) why you should seek out the
band. While I would put Mild'n in a progression in fact before Last Avenue,
make no mistake, the band, back then, knew how to strut their stuff. So, I
might have to go the Mild'n route as well. Honestly, worse things have happened
missed a Last Avenue gig (together with flector) last weekend but I will be at
one of their live events as soon as I can make room in my calendar. If you want
to keep updated, visit the band's website at
or if you
want to book them, please contact their management at
P.S.: Forgot one important statement above. A lot of singers in Swiss bands struggle with the English language and sound like Toni Vescoli on a good day, with their Swiss dialect shining more than through. Not so Last Avenue. I commend the guys on vocal duties for this as well.