Stereo, Glasgow, Tuesday 9th April
Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid
If there's one city in the UK that's up for a party seven days a week, then it's got to be Glasgow - and tonight was no exception. With three great rock bands on offer in an intimate venue, there was never a better excuse to spend a Tuesday night out on the town!
The main attraction tonight is without a doubt the headline band, H.E.A.T., as it's their debut performance in Glasgow, and just after 9:15pm the band hit the stage with all guns blazing. 'Breaking The Silence' kicks off their set in fine style and sets the pace for the next hour and a quarter of rip-roaring rock songs with vocalist Erik Grönwall energising the crowd from the very start, thanks to his infectious enthusiasm, whilst he postures and poses his way through the songs like the seasoned front man that he is.
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From here on in, it's a master class in no frills hard rocking songs with 'Better Off Alone' and 'Falling Down' both keeping the room rocking from side to side. Sure, keyboard player Jona Tee might be obscured from some of the audience by an inappropriately placed structural pillar (pretty much in the middle of the stage!) but he still does his level best to make the most of the night - much to the delight of the packed crowd.
Guitarist Dave Dalone shows his Metal during the guitar solo for '1000 Miles', which is momentarily buried somewhere in the back of the mix until the soundman corrects the fault and a blistering (if short) solo follows. Likewise, Eric Rivers also produces some great solos in between some solid rhythm work. It's Rivers who produces, for me, the best solo of the night, which leads straight into 'Downtown' with its haunting guitar refrain that is just fantastic.
'Late Night Lady' brings a solid groove to the bands set and this, coupled with 'In And Out Of Trouble' (with Grönwall displaying his harmonica skills) may slow things down temporarily, but it gives both the band and audience a chance to catch their collective breaths before the throttle is firmly pressed down once more.
'Straight For Your Heart' proves that this band do big rock songs very well, and the high voltage assault of 'Beg Beg Beg' which has Grönwall and Rivers in charge of the community sing-along, which is something that the audience don't much encouragement for. The band even manages to slip in a bit of 'Rock N' Roll' by Led Zeppelin in for good measure!
Bass player, Jimmy Jay, gets his chance in the spotlight with a solid intro to 'Danger Road', however, time is against them so with 'It's All About Tonight' (including an accomplished drum solo from Crash) and 'Keep On Dreaming' the band wrap up their set to rapturous applause. This may have been the bands first visit to Glasgow, but judging by the reaction tonight - it certainly won't be their last!
Also worthy of note tonight, are the two support bands, both of which must be amongst Scotland's best up and coming bands. First up was Aberdeen based Estrella who had come straight from their stint at Hard Rock Hell AOR.
Kicking off with 'Shout (I Wanna Here You)' and 'Do It Till We Drop', the band just ooze power and confidence. Drummer Leo McPherson and bass player Nathan Gunn are the engine room and driving force of the band giving vocalist Paul Gunn and guitarist Luke Gunn free range to show their rock credentials.
By the time they air the title track from their debut album, 'Come Out To Play', (reviewed by MetalTalk here), the band manage to get a good portion of the audience involved. Frontman Paul dispenses some beers to the eager crowd, and what else could follow this display of affection to the Glasgow crowd but 'Party!', of course, a track which brings the end to a brief but hard hitting set from the hard working quartet.
The third band on the bill tonight was Glaswegian trio The Toi, who open their set with bass player Andy Carr holding a steady rhythm ably backed up with drummer Steve McLay, whist singer Paul Healy displays his talent for solid guitar solos.
'Come Alive' has a Bon Jovi feel to it, with its catchy chorus, solid guitar hooks and a straight ahead drum beat driving the whole song. Put simply, it's textbook rock - and that's no disservice to the band at all, as it's a great track! Upcoming single 'Till The Morning Comes' is so heavy that it just carries the crowd along with it, and also features another great guitar solo from Healy.
A ballad "for the ladies" which the band co-wrote with Dan Hawkins (of The Darkness fame) slows the set down slightly but is nonetheless well received, giving the couples in the audience a chance to get close whilst some single guys take the chance to refill their pints. The title track from their forthcoming album, 'Water Into Wine' also goes down very well before 'Down By The River' wraps up an accomplished set from a young band with a bright future ahead of them.
H.E.A.T. Set List
Breaking the Silence
Better Off Alone
Late Night Lady
Straight For Your Heart
Beg Beg Beg
In and Out of Trouble
Living on the Run
There For You
It's All About Tonight
Keep On Dreaming
You can catch H.E.A.T. live here:
Saturday 13th April – Ramdall, Madrid, Spain
Sunday 14th April – Salamandra 2, Barcelona, Spain
Saturday 4th May – Katalin, Uppsala, Sweden
Saturday 11th May – Harrys, Katrineholm, Sweden
Saturday 1st June – Chiemgau, Germany
Sunday 2nd June – Loreley, Germany
Friday 12th July – Bang Your Head Festival 2013, Balingen, Germany
Friday 2nd August – Rockviken, Frövi, Sweden
Saturday 3rd August – Väsby Rockfestival 2013, Upplands Väsby
Erik Grönwall - Vocals
Dave Dalone - Guitars
Eric Rivers - Guitars
Jona Tee - Keyboards
Jimmy Jay - Bass
Crash - Drums
Official Website: http://www.heatsweden.com/