Heading down to the Electric Ballroom tonight really did have a Hard Rock Hell reunion feel to it. Not only were many of my colleagues and friends going to be there but it was another opportunity to watch Kobra And The Lotus and Buckcherry perform – twice in one week. Well, if I must.
Having thoroughly enjoyed watching bands at the very same venue the previous evening (did someone say Breed 77 and Soil?) I was looking forward to seeing what tonight’s bands would bring to the same stage. Up on the bill this evening was The Howling, Kobra And The Lotus and Buckcherry. Which is an interesting combination as each band was quite different from the other. Usually there is a much closer similarity in style to a line up, possibly due to the type of crowd a headliner attracts. Having said that, variety is the spice of life, and I’m all up for differences; it keeps life interesting and brings new bands to you that you may not have thought of before.
First up on stage was The Howling who entered to a good cheer and a fairly sizable crowd. There was a clear and distinctive stage presence with the band clearly enjoying playing live. There was energy and aggression too, with the singer jumping repeatedly into the photo pit to engage with the crowd (beware the photographers though, I think one got a bit squished). The music is LA style rock with a clear influence of old style British punk. Made even clearer later in the set when they covered the Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save The Queen’. Top marks all round for their song choice and refreshing to see this influence and song on stage.
This band certainly do not lack energy on stage and this was reflected in the responding cheers from the audience, many of whom clearly enjoyed it. For me personally there was a too much hitting yourself with the microphone and dropping it (literally).
1. The Outsiders
3. Beat the Panic
4. Dance of the Skeletons
5. God save the Queen
7. Rock n’ Rolla
Following this Kobra And The Lotus took to the stage and simply looking at this new line up in front of you highlighted again the difference in styles and presence from the bands this evening. The previous band’s presence came from their attitude and the way they moved about the stage. KATL’s presence was much more visual. It felt that you were seeing the band as one whole, as opposed to each individual. There was much more use made of the lighting, giving everything a more polished look.
One thing you can say about Kobra (aside from I want her hair) is that she certainly has a good pair of lungs on her and can carry a note. The style is has more musicality to it with a clear focus on emphasising the melody of the songs. This is good rock music, though a much gentler version. The songs have a slight fantasy sound to them which makes them stand out from the other songs that evening.
There was a bit of a mixed reaction from some of this set as I think some of the crowd were expecting bands that were more in the style of Buckcherry, Having said that there were also gig goers who were clearly loving every moment of it; the bloke right in front of me for example was absolutely going ape. As the set went on the venue got increasingly full and KATL changed tack moving to a ballad/slow rock number and then kicking things up power metal style. This was a confident and stylish performance indeed.
2. No rest for the wicked
3. Welcome to my funeral
4. Forever One
5. Heaven’s Veins
6. Lonely Sanctuary
7. My Life
8. Dark Passenger
9. 50 Shades of Evil
Following KATL on the line up were the headlines; Buckcherry. As soon as they began to step on stage there were huge screams and cheers, by far the loudest of the evening. You could feel the concentration of the whole crowd clearly directed at the stage. The performance is everything you would expect so see at a rock gig; confident, edgy, determined and entertaining. You just need to glance at the stage to know you’re watching a band that knows what rock is and how to do it – it’s almost as if they are saying ‘and this is how it’s done’.
The set list was just great and everyone was really enjoying themselves, singing along, cheering, dancing, jumping. Throw in the song ‘Everything’ and you have a very enthusiastic audience who definitely loved this song, and I have to say I agree! This was only the second time I had seen Buckcherry perform as the first time was at Hard Rock Hell VI just a few days previously. Since then I had been listening to them pretty much none stop and was very happy to hear them play some of my favourites such as ‘Everything’ and then ‘Sorry’, which is beautiful. We were also treated to ‘Confessions’ their first single of their upcoming album, which has a rocky, bass sound to it. It’s out in February so make sure you watch out for it.
It’s great going to a gig where everyone is united in having a great time, and having ‘It’s A Party’ on the set list was a good move to make as it certainly felt that way. This was increased a hundred fold when the encore began with the first strains of ‘Crazy Bitch’. Now, everyone who has heard this song in public will have seen the effect it has women who literally rush to the dance floor to join in, and I have to say that tonight was no exception. The whole crowd went completely mad; jumping about, singing loudly, much more dancing – really feeling and connecting with the song. From my view point right near the barriers, you could see that even the security guards were smiling during this particular song. ‘Bliss’ slowed things down a bit which I thought was a good touch after such a song, but ‘Onset’ brought things full circle and ended the gig 100% Buckcherry style; rock. \m/
2. Rescue Me
3. All Night Long
7. It’s a Party
8. Next 2 You
13. Crazy Bitch