Live gig review and photo credit: Adrian Hextall (Journalist / Writer / Contributor)
Following a sold-out show in Los Angeles’ famed Whiskey A Go Go on January 24th, marking their first appearance in North America in a decade, Hardcore Superstar not return for a European tour which conveniently begins at the Garage in London.
A new album, ‘When We Touch The Sky’ is the impetus behind the tour and the band had this to say about their return, “It all started when a fan gave Martin a copy of a demo we recorded back in 1994. We all got very surprised about the great vibe and how good we sounded that early. The tracks were literally drenched in sweat, excitement, and inspiration. So when it was time for us to start working on songs for our new album we returned to those demos and relearned those old riffs and by that got inspired for all the new stuff that we came up with. Basically – to reinvent ourselves we had to go back to the Summer of ’94 when we first started this band and through that get in contact with the feeling and the vibe that inspired us in the first place.”
To see the new look and re-energised Hardcore Superstar, the venue is suitably packed with fans of all ages and genres in attendance. This cross genre mix of fans is helped in no small part by support band Bonafide.
Bonafide was featured in four consecutive issues of Classic Rock Magazine in the fall of 2011, gaining UK airplay for ‘Fill Your Head With Rock’, which became the editor’s choice for one of the best songs of the year, and the band’s performances at the Hard Rock Hell festival became their UK breakthrough.
Since then successive high quality albums have ensuring a solid following and they get a great reaction this evening. Solid, Aussie based rock n roll follows for the next 8 songs.
Pontus Snibb is suitably energised and the band’s infectious down and dirty rock’n’roll gets the crowd moving from the off. The band rattles through their short but precise set, their supposed laid back, relaxed swagger, giving way to tight musicianship and good interplay from Sibb and fellow guitarist Anders Rosell
Having treated the crowd to a lesson in groove laden rock n roll, they finish unsurprisingly with the track that garnered all of that attention from Classic Rock magazine, ‘Fill your Head With Rock’. And then, they are gone, making way for a dose of sleaze and roll from Hardcore Superstar.
Doing the Pretty
Hold Down the Fort
Rock N’ Roll Skal
No Doubt About It
Hard Livin’ Man
Fill Your Head With Rock
Pontus Snibb – vocals, guitar
Anders Rosell – guitar
Martin Ekelund – bass
Niklas Matsson – drums
A confident band can open a set with one of their most well known songs but so can a foolish one. The foolish band will open with their most well know track and burn out in the first five minutes with a sated crowd drifting to the bar and outside for a cigarette instead of watching the show. Which camp, therefore, does Hardcore Superstar fall into?
Thankfully, they adopt the confident band approach, safe in the knowledge that even though they open with a storming rendition of ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sundays’ they have enough ammo and enough gas in the tank to entertain the crowd for the rest of the evening.
Upcoming album ‘HCSS‘ due for release at the end of April 2015 is trialled in high numbers tonight with five new songs being played live. Given this accounts for 50% of the new album, it again shows a very confident band, comfortable that their material can stand shoulder to shoulder with their old more well known material. Of the new tracks, the highlight is ‘Fly’ which, as the title suggests, dips and soars with mellow , soulful moments, sitting amongst the far more energised elements of the song. I would recommend obtaining a copy of the new album on the strength of this one track alone.
Hardcore Superstar do of course pander to the crowd and play the hits as well. As such, ‘Wild Boys’ and ‘Moonshine’ are delivered with the verve and energy we’ve come to expect from the band. The encore also includes another track from ‘HCSS’, ‘Don’t Mean Shit’ and it fits seamlessly with the classics. The reason it does fit so well is down to the fact that the new material is inspired by a demo tape from 1994 handed to the band by a fan.
To quote the band from a recent Blabbermouth article, “The tracks were literaly drenched in sweat, excitement and inspiration. So when it was time for us to start working on songs for our new album, we returned to those demos and relearned those old riffs and by that got inspired for all the new stuff that we came up with”. It’s no surprise then that the songs placed into the set list tonight resonate so well with a fan base who have yet to hear the album. A brave confident set indeed from a band clearly relishing the opportunity to revisit its roots.
Welcome back Hardcore Superstar.
We Don’t Celebrate Sundays
The Cemetery (Live début)
Off With Their Heads (Live début)
My Good Reputation
Touch The Sky (Live début)
Fly (Live début)
Last Call for Alcohol
Party ‘Til I’m Gone (Live début)
Don’t Mean Shit (Live début)
Above the Law
Joakim “Jocke” Berg (vocals)
Martin Sandvik (bass)
Vic Zino (guitar)
Magnus “Adde” Andreasson (drums)
The tour continues as follows:
11 – London, UK – Garage
12 – Swansea, Wales – The Scene
13 – Haffen Y Mor, Wales – Hard Rock Hell United
14 – Manchester, UK – Club Academy
15 – Edinburgh, UK – Studio 24
17 – Nottingham, UK – Rock City Basement
18 – Wolverhamton, UK – Slade Rooms
19 – Chester, UK – The Live Rooms
20 – Southhampton, UK – Talking Heads
21 – Paris, France – Divian Du Monde
23 – Cologne, Germany – Underground
24 – Mannheim, Germany – Alte Seilerei
25 – Muenster, Germany – Sputnikhalle
26 – Leiden, Netherlands – Gebroeders de Nobel
27 – Hamburg, Germany – Klubsen
28 – Lichtenfels, Germany – AC Halle
3 – Tampere, Finland – Pakkahoune
4 – Helsinki, Finland – Cirku
9 – Gothenburg, Sweden – Sticky Fingers
10 – Stockholm, Sweden – Fryshuset
11 – Helsingborg, Sweden – Tivoli