|Hardcore Superstar/Bullet/Forever Vendetta – Swansea, Vice, 29th January 2010|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Monday, 08 February 2010 11:52|
I think it's fair to say that everyone who is a regular gig goer has his or her own personal quirk or trait that for them makes their diehard commitment to live music that little bit personal or special. Mine as anyone who knows me is trying to never miss a support band, and I suppose that all came from seeing both Accept (when Udo still had long hair and wore platforms shoes on stage) and the staggeringly awesome Starfighters as two of my first big name supports. So, you may be wondering why I'm rattling on about this right now, well I can assure you that all will soon be revealed.
First up on stage tonight on my inaugural visit to Swansea's infamous Vice club were local glam/sleaze upstarts Forever Vendetta. The guys were certainly packing the punters in early doors, and songs like 'Restless Heart' and 'My Ecstasy' were well received by those squeezed up stage front. This is most definitely a very different band to the one I witnessed supporting Kory Clarke at THAT gig nearly twelve months ago, and credit to the guys for taking the bull by the horns and turning up tonight with a raised middle finger that immediately gets your attention. Forever Vendetta for me conjure up the same feelings I had when I first saw Hurricane Party (oddly enough also in Swansea) way back when, they have the passion and some good possibly even great songs, they just need a few all important tweaks to make them 100% the real deal, and the band that will blow everyone away.
Most definitely the real deal, and the reason for my dewy eyed intro. Next up was Sweden's Bullet (not to be confused with numerous other bands by the same name). This Heavy Metal Hurricane of a band arrived on stage in a frenzy of light bulb logo backdrops, flying V's, ball busting tight jeans and some of the best music I've heard since the aforementioned support bands gave their respective headliners the proverbial kick in the gonads.
Set opener 'Pay The Price' literally erupted on the stage before the anthemic 'Dust Til Dawn' took things quickly up to maximum excitement levels and the front rows quite rightly went into overdrive. It was only at this point that I realised the band's frontman Hell Hofer (think Paul Di'Anno meets Marc Storace) was also sporting a frankly awesome Thor T-shirt...I mean could this get any better?
Well the answer most definitely was yes, yes in pyramid studs right across everyone's foreheads. 'Turn It Up Loud' from the band's debut album had the whole crowd headbanging along synchronised style, whilst the title track from the band's current album 'Bite The Bullet' not only saw some delightful on stage choreography from guitarists Hampus Klang and Erik Almstrom but when bassist Adam Hector added his own thing to the mix you had a piece of pure Heavy Metal genius not the likes of seen since the Scorpions retired their human pyramids.
If you like your rock music raw as fuck and delivered by five guys who look like they are having the times of their lives playing it then Bullet sure are for you. In fact forget all the fuss about Airbourne's new album and go out and get 'Bite The Bullet' right now.
So how could Hardcore Superstar really follow that? Well quite honestly for this reviewer they couldn't, and as a huge Hardcore Superstar fan that certainly takes some doing. So in spite of the fantastic opening salvo of 'Beg For It', 'Sweet Debauchery' and 'Medicate Me' the Bullet light bulb logo was still burned into my retinas just like the 'Breaker' album sleeve had done nearly thirty years previous.
But that's not to say the rest of the crowd weren't well up for this from the off and by dedicating 'Shades Of Grey' to the band's show stopping set at last year's Download Festival, you got the genuine sense that frontman Jocke Berg must have been overjoyed with the fact that his band had in fact made it this far. Overcoming health, travel and personnel issues in the process to finally get a full on UK tour under their belts, and then see so many people smiling back at him on a freezing cold Winter's night must have been awe inspiring for the guys.
It was the tracks from the eponymous 'Hardcore Superstar' album like 'Kick On The Upperclass' and 'Bag On Your Head' that still for me made the band's rediscovery of themselves all so essential, and finishing their set with the latter track left the crowd baying for more of the band's very own brand of Street Metal.
And that's just what they got with new boy Vic Zino taking centre stage for 'Wild Boys', then a rip-roaring version of 'Dreaming In A Casket' (that could have so easily segued into Metallica's 'Four Horsemen', it was that heavy), before it was all over with 'We Don't Celebrate Sundays' and everyone was singing along like their lives depended on it, even the in attendance Tigertailz guys. Great stuff.
Having stood in Dudley JB's some ten years earlier with around twenty people watching Hardcore Superstar's UK debut tour tonight was something of a joy to behold (even if Bullet did steal the show). The fact that on top of the aforementioned triumphant Download appearance the band can now command such great crowds, even this far West, is testament to their undying commitment and tenacity to succeed. It's just a shame they can't find any space in their set to play some tracks from their best album 'It's Only Rock N Roll' which they continue to sell at the merch stand.
Ah well you can always dream, like.