Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
In 1985 Pretty Maids played the Hammersmith Odeon (September 18th to be precise) as support to British NWOBHM heroes Saxon. The tour on the back of their debut Red Hot & Heavy album promised a return to the UK shortly. To your average Danish hard rock band, shortly equates to 28 years at least when it comes to playing back in London anyways.
A lot can happen in 28 years. There have been 5 US Presidents in that period, 5 British Prime Ministers, classic hard rock albums from Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Motley Crue, Poison and in 1987, Future World from Pretty Maids. Hair Metal has come and gone, replaced by grunge and then resurfaced again as a thriving underground scene. As we fast forward to September 22nd 2013, Pretty Maids, in support of latest album ‘Motherland’, return to these fair shores to once again deliver their fantastic brand of hard rock.
Before that we have opening act Tainted Nation. An Anglo-Swedish rock-metal combo that consists of four talented guys trying something different from their day jobs. Pete Newdeck swaps drumming in Eden’s Curse for lead vocals. On guitars we have Ian Nash (Steve Grimmett Band) and finally the rhythm section is made up of The Poodles’ bass player Pontus Egberg and Outloud sticksman Mark Cross. Their debut album “F.E.A.R. (Fight Enemies And Rulers) “ has several tracks aired tonight but the set, sadly, is cut short due to Newdeck getting stuck on the M4 lmotorway on his way into London. Clearly stressed at delaying the start of the set, a pint of (probably warm – it is England after all) beer is provided by a member of the audience to calm the nerves and he starts to work the smallish crowd in the time they have available to them. Several songs later they disappear to a warm response from all assembled.
Next band, Cage the Gods, comprise four musicians from four different countries. Irish vocalist Peter Comerford and Scottish guitarist Jam formed the band in the summer of 2012. English drummer ‘NJ’ and 6’7” Welsh bassist Mitch Witham complete the line-up that has spent most of last year working on their debut album “Favourite Sin” due for release in early 2014. A four-track EP “ALL I EVER WANTED” will be released in October 2013 in both the UK and USA.
Cage the Gods
Watching Peter Comerford on stage, he looks just like a young Mick Ronson in his heyday. The look and image is spot on and he makes for a very versatile front man. Opening with ‘The Ending’ and ‘Badlands’ the four band members together deliver a very tight set that showcases in equal parts a Celtic tinge, melodic rock, 70’s blues rock and more. Bassist Mitch Witham seems to be grabbing the attention of the girls as they all seem to cluster stage left. Stage right sees Jam throwing some excellent lead guitarist shapes and he even has a fan blowing full blast to keep his hair billowing during his solos. Stand out tracks ‘Bruce Willis’ (check out the explosion fuelled video on YouTube) and From the Start are received well by the crowd and the short set is completed by tracks, Sacrifice, Falling and Promises.
Touring the UK throughout October and also December with The Answer and Tracer, Cage the Gods are worth checking out.
As 9:25pm approaches, a restless crowd (who have now been waiting 28 years, 4 days and 2 hours for Pretty Maids to play roar as Allan Tschicaja takes to the small Underworld stage and sits behind his drum kit.
He is followed by founders Ronnie Atkins (vocals) and guitarist Ken Hammer. Rene Shades on bass and relative newbie Morten Sandager on keyboards complete the current line-up. The stage at the Underworld isn’t the biggest and as such Sandager finds himself wedged into the area often occupied by VIPs or guests of the band. Space aside, the band launch into an assortment of greatest hits and fan favourites. There is also an impressive selection of new material that stands shoulder to shoulder with the older works.
Set opener ‘Mother of All Lies’ is rapidly followed by ‘I See Ghosts’ both from new album ‘Motherland’. These two tracks show a band that is hungry to be heard again and one that is clearly enjoying the resurgence in popularity of not only their style of music but more specifically the latest album and predecessor ‘Pandemonium’.
Consummate professionals, both Ronnie and Ken work the crowd and show how multiple albums and years of touring pay off and they deliver on every track tonight. ‘Needles in the Dark’ from 1987’s ‘Futureworld’ brings smiles from fans that have clearly grown up with the band and waited patiently for this reunion. As a long-time fan of the band myself, I was hoping for ‘Savage Heart’ from the 1990 ‘Jump the Gun’ album but it was not to be.
The band clearly has confidence in their newer material and recognizes that the last few albums have helped them engage with old fans again and pick up a few new ones along the way. ‘Why So Serious’ and ‘I.N.V.U’ lead up to the end of the main set and the band then finish with the title track of their debut, ‘Red, Hot and Heavy’.
A few minutes away then an encore including ‘It Comes at Night’ and of course fan favourite ‘Futureworld’ and we are left wanting more and wondering if it’s going to be another 28 years before we see them again. Let’s hope not.