Festivals can be a goldmine sometimes, cause that’s where people “stumble upon” something they would normally dismiss or simply not be exposed to anywhere else.
I went to see Gus G and Marty Friedman at the Stockholm Rocks Festival recently, and playing right before Gus, was this Finnish glam band called Reckless Love.
In all honesty, I thought I would be rolling my eyes at them, cause I’ve seen bands like this before and the lipstick-bands worked in the 80’s and early 90’s, but all those retro-versions that came AFTER that, have left me quite unimpressed.
But, what’s good is good, regardless genre. And I have to admit that I liked Reckless Love. They left a lasting good impression so when someone told me they were playing in my “second home town” Copenhagen last night, I had to go see them. :)
The club was fairly crowded 30 minutes before the band was due on stage, plenty of sleaze and glam fans.
When Reckless Love finally hit the stage, it was Party Mode ON.
These guys transformed that little stage to a Party Central! It was impossible not to smile – cause it was just such a fun band to watch.
Good sing-along songs that stick like glue after the first listen. Anyone can pick up on the choruses after two minutes and join “the choir”. Cool vocal harmonies, whether or not they’re “fake”, real or both, doesn’t even matter – as long as it helps the song and it does.
Frontman Olli is a total strutter, a glam-version and mix between Sebastian Bach, Mike Monroe and David Lee Roth in his prime. There’s no question that he’s using his looks and his stage persona to appeal to the ladies. And yeah – it’s working!
There are three other guys in the band, obviously, but it’s hard to compete with an attention-demanding singer like Olli.
It’s not a virtuoso kind of band obviously, and they’re not trying to be, but they do what they do very well and in this case the only thing that matters is that they are entertaining people and providing an hour of musical fun and escapism. And that goes quite a long way!
The times they are certainly a changin’.
The record industry is struggling with poor record sales and illegal downloads, but there is one thing that they can still cash in on, something that will never go out of style: The magic of LIVE SHOWS.
There are people in less famous bands and in local bands that “have IT” : that spark, that natural ability to work a stage and a crowd, that makes you come back for more time and time again. It’s not a competition and you can’t really compare musicians because they are all so different – it’s not the Olympics of Rock – but these are some of my personal favorites. Note that this is 100% a list of people who I think are outstanding LIVE PERFORMERS (which is not necessarily the same as favorite musicians or bands)
When this man walks out on a stage – he OWNS every single person in the crowd.
He has a unique quality of making every individual feel noticed and a part of the show. Although he is a larger-than-life rock star who works best on the biggest stages of the world, he always makes it feel like he’s playing just for YOU.
He mixes a sense of humor and self-distance with sex, confidence, authority and pure professionalism. Not to mention the way he moves on a stage like a rock’n’roll-emperor, using the micstand as his #1 tool. There is only one David – Coverdale be thy name. :)
When he’s about to hit the stage, he’s like a missile! The man oozes of pure, raw energy and rock’n’roll, nothing and nobody comes even close…! I’m not the biggest Twisted Sister-fan in the world, I don’t even have all their records, but watching this man on stage is a kick beyond belief! He is genuine and a real punch in your face.
If you could take everything that rock’n’roll is all about, and transform it into human shape – Dee Snider would be IT!
The ULTIMATE frontman. The one and only King of the Stage. The energy and the raw frenzy is beyond what I’ve seen ANY other artist produce on a stage – ever! He is the only frontman I can think of that was truly BORN to do this. If you took it away from him, he would languish, stop breathing, cease to exist. In 23 years I’ve only seen him suck ONCE. Don’t even ask how many shows I’ve seen with either Skid Row or Baz solo, but it’s more than enough to state that this guy is very unlikely to let you down if you’re looking for an action-packed show.
Entertainment personified. It’s enough to just mention the name David Lee Roth and people will immediately start thinking of a rock’n’roll strutter with his body as his main tool. He was THE sex-symbol back in the day, moving in a way that would make the ladies blush.
He would impress us all with the martial-arts high kicks while at the same time looking like a kid in a candy store who LOVES what he does. His sense of humor is contageous, and even to this day he hasn’t lost much of all that. He’s never been the world’s greatest singer, but it’s safe to say that he’s most definitely one of the world’s greatest entertainers!
The one and only ULTIMATE guitar hero – and probably the only one who turns a prolonged guitargasm into a show unlike anyone else! He was (and still is) WILD on stage!
Like a super-model, he will strike 30 different poses in one minute, yet continue playing that guitar like nobody’s business. How can you do all that running and posing and headbanging and still play making it look like a piece of cake??? The man is a guitar god and a top notch live performer in every sense of the word!
Those are my Top 5 live performers, but the list goes on – and on…Joe Elliot of Def Leppard had an amazing charisma on stage, he just caught your attention from the word go and kept it there for as long as it took. I was mesmerized the first time I saw Def Leppard. Fantastic frontman. I don’t know what happened though, because the last few times I’ve seen Def Leppard, the magic wasn’t there. I guess there’s a peak in every band’s career and a fall – sooner or later. After 30 years of kicking ass on stage, I guess they are entitled to lose the spark.
Same goes for my #1 hero Rob Halford (Judas Priest). He was never a “run-around-the-stage-like-a-marathoner” type of singer, but he had “IT”. All he had to do was stop and LOOK at his crowd and they would go freaking CRAZY! He just had what most entertainers don’t, it’s within your personality and he would make me forget that there was even a world outside whichever arena Judas Priest would be playing….However, just like Joe Elliot, Rob Halford has lost some of his magic. I can still see it when he’s with his own band Halford, but it’s like he’s a parody of himself when he’s with Priest nowadays.
There is a reason why this man has been on the top for more than 4 decades! It’s not because he’s Pavarotti, but because he has this wonderful way of truly loving what he does, just being OZZY.
Watch this and try NOT to smile! :-))
Speaking of Ozzy automatically leads me to another, fairly new, aquaintance and favorite performer: Gus G (guitarist w. Ozzy & Firewind, in case you’ve managed to miss it)
I was stuck after the first time I saw him with Ozzy. He walks onstage and becomes a true old-school Rock Star!
He owns the stage in a very natural sort of way, with a charisma that few “new” musicians possess. This guitar wiz handles Madison Square Garden just as well as the smallest, tiniest little dark club in the middle of nowhere.
The posing, the hair-fan, the guitar-hero moves all that stuff makes Gus a true arena-entertainer.
Another kick-ass live-performer is Kevin Rothney (Circle II Circle, JOP) who played bass with Jon Oliva’s Pain on the 2006-2010 tours, when I saw the band countless times.
Jon Oliva might be the songwriting genious, but Kevin was the one who brought rock’n’roll to the live performances of JOP.
I’ve always been impressed with Kevin. When you see musicians like that, you realize that the music business is all about being in the right place at the right time, there are amazing showmen (and -women) out there that don’t get the recognition they deserve.
Moving on to a more local level, where singer Andy Pierce (Nasty Idols) without question, makes it to my list of favorite performers. It was his natural talent as a frontman that made me notice the band in the first place – 25 freaking years ago! He was a real rock star before people even knew it and he will be till they have to roll him out on stage in a wheel chair!
So today has been a bit nerve-wracking.
Today is when Van Halen is supposed to announce their tour dates for 2012, and I for one can’t wait to get my hands on a ticket – AND a plane ticket to wherever I need to go to see them.
VH is one of the last classic rock bands that I haven’t seen. So there’s no question about it, just tell me where and when and I’ll be there.
I’ve seen David Lee Roth as a solo-artist though. It’s been a while and I don’t remember all the details anymore, but I believe it was 1999, he played Sweden Rock Festival. I was hanging at the hotel all day meeting other bands, and for a split second I saw Dave just whoosh by through the lobby, never had a chance to catch him. Dammit – I really wanted to meet him.
[David Lee Roth – performing at Sweden Rock Festival 1999]
Later that evening, I ended up talking to two nice guys in the hotel-bar, who had travelled everywhere, had interesting stories to tell and were basically just really good company.
As it turned out, one of them was David’s body guard…
He promised me he’d get Dave to stop for a few minutes the next day to sign something for me “He doesn’t go anywhere without me, so don’t worry, we’ll take care of this for you“.
He did. And I’ve got a horrible photo to prove it, lol! ;-)
[David Lee and me in the hotel lobby at Karlshamn Hotel, June 12, 1999]
Later that year, my friend Bianca and me went to Washington to visit my aunt, and decided to go see David once again. He played the MCI Center June 24, 1999, opening for Bad Company. He blew them off the stage, if you ask me!
But anyway… We had no plans for that day. It was a hot and sunny, and we were just out sightseeing in Washington D.C most of the day.
Tired from all the walking, we found this big concrete….something (like a big stair or something, not sure what to call it) where we sat down and leaned our backs against the wall – just relaxing in the sun.
Suddenly, we saw this big limo with black windows approaching. It disappeared down in an underground garage that was right next to us. I figured it had to be either David Lee Roth or Bad Company.
I didn’t think more of it, we went to the arena entrance cause it was almost time for the doors to open. Once again we found a little window ledge to sit on, when…. The sun was blocked by a shadow. Somebody was standing there. I looked up, and there was that guy again – David’s assistant/body guard whatever.
He was holding two backstage passes in his hand. “David told me to go find you and give you these. You’re welcome backstage after the show”.
I couldn’t believe what he just said. DAVID LEE ROTH sent his assistant to FIND me and hand me backstage passes?? How exactly does something like that happen just out of the blue??
– He saw you when we pulled up in the limo. He just said: “There’s that Swedish girl. Find her. Give her passes.”
That shit just doesn’t happen. Or it happens to somebody else. Or in this case, it happened to us. To this day, I can’t believe it. But there’s the laminate to prove it. :-)
The backstage area was crammed, strippers and groupies and all the usual sort of people you’d expect to see backstage with Kiss, or David Lee Roth. I wondered what the hell we were doing there.
I helped myself from the buffet, had a bottle of beer, eventhough I don’t even drink beer – but the beer was cold and I was thirsty. I remember talking to his drummer Ray Luzier and his girlfriend, really nice people both of them. I’ve got a bunch of photos from the backstage area somewhere, I’ll post them on the Facebook-page once I find them. :-)
David disappeared into another room with the boobie-queens, I’m sure they were just talking politics somewhere. :) When he came back, I thanked him so much for inviting me. He just smiled and said that he immediately recognized me when they drove to the venue. Guess that sometimes you just need to be at the right place at the right time!
So…. Now when he’s out with Van Halen again, I’m one of the first to go – trust me! :-)
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