Sunday, 5 May 2013

CrashDiet, Jettblack, Sleekstain, Hell in the Club, Fallen Mafia Live @ O2 Academy Islington 27/04/13

Most tours have their share of ups and downs along the road. Tragedies and excitement usually come in equal measure, however on the last full night of CrashDiet’s Savage Playground tour, the unfair amounts of tragedy which had stalked this particular group of bands (The tragic death of CrashDiet’s manager barely a week earlier whilst looking around one of the tour venues) was evident in the atmosphere of the venue, but this didn’t prevent any of the acts from putting on a fantastic show.
First up on the bill were Fallen Mafia, a female-fronted hair metal act from Newcastle. This band gave a high energy show, full of motion and heavy riffs, which began the show with exactly what was to follow. Fallen Mafia churned out fast-paced riff after fast-paced riff, showing off their brand of hard and fast rock and roll.

Italy’s Hell in the Club were the next to take to the stage, showing off their own take on the much maligned genre of melodic glam metal. (for some reason these days known as “sleaze metal”) The songs were uniformly exciting, melodic and powerful, exciting the growing audience, and adding fuel to a growing belief that there is still a future for melodic metal. The band’s repertoire of upliftingly anthemic songs won them the audience, and it was evident from the sheer frenetic energy on stage that a good time was had by all.

Last of the “support acts” were French rockers Sleekstain and their brand of melodic, slightly dressed up hard rock. Supporting their new release Hard, Sleekstain’s balls-to-the-wall hard rock set included classic sounding driving riffs and ballads which made the audience reach for their lighters. The band’s tight sound brought a touch of a more classic heavy rock sound to the night, with more bluesy riffs and an exciting brand of rock n roll, as opposed to the hair-metal which prevailed over the night.

The penultimate band was London’s own Jettblack, mixing their heavy 80s metal riffs with a melodic edge, complete with a more rocky flavour (and a slightly mixed metaphor), they played a barnstorming set of catchy rock/metal numbers. Jettblack’s fans were truly out in force, with large numbers of the audience clad in their t-shirts, and chanting the band’s name long before they were due on stage, and long after they were off. The band were on top form, moving around the stage constantly, climbing up onto specially placed boxes for solos in order to make them stand out even more. The playing was all fantastic- riffs and solos all leaping out of the band like nobody’s nobody’s business. The highlight of the set was definitely the closing number, 'Raining Rock’ which had the crowd singing along the whole way through.

Finally, Crashdiet took to the stage, offering their high paced, high energy, high glam brand of punky hair metal. Playing a set mostly taken from their new album The Savage Playground churning out some fantastic melodic tracks which whipped the audience into a frenzy- starting up the night’s only mosh pits, and encouraging a (shortlived) bit of crowdsurfing from kids in the audience- coming before singer, Simon Cruz, climbed atop a speaker stack to stage dive as part of the band’s finale. The emotional significance of the gig on the band was clear to see, and the sheer energy and the way that CrashDiet played through the show. The crowd was, by this point, at capacity, and without exception, having a great time- all arms raised and jumping around as much as the space would allow. Track after track were fantastically executed, including a short bass solo which was full of a simplicity and tastefulness which went totally against any concept of a virtuosic solo segment. Of course their highlight track was the bluesy Cocaine Cowboys which shows off acoustic slide guitar playing as well as short bursts of harmonica before kicking in as a fantastically over the top hair metal anthem that simply oozes sleaze and hairspray.
The whole show was a brilliant, energetic, night of unabashed rock and roll.

 All photos (c) Nick Webb Photography 2013