If you are going to do classic melodic rock you need to do it well. This means nothing weedy, nothing mediocre, you have to go for it with full-on big choruses, riffs that make you swoon and a solid heavy backbone. Enter Night Flight Orchestra, a Swedish collective dedicated to this genre.
Words: Liz Medhurst
Pictures: Steve Ritchie
As members include Björn Strid and David Andersson from Soilwork and Sharlee D’Angelo from Arch Enemy, the heaviness was taken care of but could they cut it in this deviation from their day jobs? Damn right they could.
With four albums to their credit, there was a good chunk of back catalogue to choose from and understandably the set list heavily favoured the outstanding current album ‘Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough’ – this is the name of this tour after all.
We were suitably warmed up by Belgian band Black Mirrors, with all eyes on the shamanic frontwoman Marcella Di Troia traversing dimensions to bring an ethereal quality to their garage rock sound. ‘Moonstone’ and ‘Burning Warrior’ from debut album ‘Look Into The Black Mirror’ sounded huge in this enclosed space and their UK debut was impressive.
Tonight was also the first time Night Flight Orchestra have played in the UK and what a striking debut it was. With frontman Björn Strid resplendent in pink pilot’s jacket topped with a natty beret, bass player Sharlee D’Angelo imposing in a white suit and female vocalists the Airline Annas as flight attendants this was not a standard flight by any means.
After boarding this night flight there was no dimming the lights and turning down the oxygen leaving passengers huddled under a thin blanket – it was party central and the crew brought the sunshine with them.
An opening three of ‘Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough’, ‘Living For The Nighttime’ and ‘Speedwagon’ is glorious just as it is, but this was only the beginning, and every single song was a masterpiece of melody.
There were eight people on stage and the sound was even more packed. “You’ve got the power, so use it, Don’t wait any longer.” they sing in ‘Turn To Miami’ and use it they did throughout the set, infusing the tracks with a gratifying oomph.
The venue was equally packed with a capacity crowd ready to rock and the floor was shaking with all the dancing, all the way back to the bar area. This was one hell of a keenly anticipated gig.
The pace did not let up throughout, it was extraordinary. A few small acoustic interludes as introductions, but no bloated solos or extended noodling and that’s all to the good.
This was another one of those London nights where there were four or five hot gigs all going on at once but this was certainly the place to be. The buzz remained long after the final strains of ‘West Ruth Avenue’ had died away and it will be a very long time before jet lag kicks in. Book me a ticket for the next trip right away.
Sometimes the World Ain’t Enough
Living for the Nighttime
Turn to Miami
Star of Rio
Can’t Be That Bad
Lovers in the Rain
West Ruth Ave