Camden. A name these days associated with Ginger Wildheart such is the amount of time he seems to spend playing here, being involved with bands that also play here and if you play 6 degrees of separation with any act in Camden at any time, it’s highly likely you’ll get to Ginger in under four. Tonight’s headliner, Michael Monroe had Ginger in his band during the writing and touring of Sensory Overdrive. Similarly, Monroe also has Rich Jones in his band who is also a member of the Ginger Wildheart Band. A small world indeed.
Tonight is a co-headlining show with Hardcore Superstar so they get an extended stage time to compensate for going on before Monroe but the big surprise of the night (as well as the smaller than expected but nonetheless noisy crowd) is opening act Chase the Ace.
Chase The Ace
With a new album under their belt and available here in advance of the official release, Chase the Ace are treating the set like an album launch party. A short seven song set sees the lively four-piece laying down some classic rock n roll with bags of attitude and visual flair to match. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Roi Vito Peleg has a winning smile and the exact persona required for a front man. Dan Parsons on lead guitar cuts the right image too as he leans into his low slung guitar peeling off riff after riff. Yair Gadon on bass and Yam Artzy on drums finish off the ensemble and really drive home the message that a young, hungry band wants to give.
Opening with ‘The Cat is On The Loose’ from debut album ‘Are You Ready?’ they soon follow with ‘The Stalker’ from the new release ‘Hell Yeah!’ and it’s clear they’re onto a winner. The crowd responds well despite most (it would appear) not knowing the band at all. Tracks from both albums get an airing and if you get chance check out their version of ‘Sharp Dressed Man’ on the new album. Heavy as hell? Hell Yeah!
There are as many HCSS shirts around tonight as there are for Michael Monroe which too shows the enduring popularity for the sleaze metal outfit. For the first half of the show they bounce around all grins, riffs and energy. They elicit the same response from the crowd as well and have a sizeable portion of the audience bouncing around with them to well known party anthems like ‘Guestlist’, ‘Medicate Me’, ‘Bully’ and more.
They do save the best for the encore though and, thanks to the co-headline piece, we get an extra five songs including those tracks the crowds really are here to listen to. ‘Moonshine’, ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ and ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sundays’ follow in swift succession and the bounce rapidly returns to the crowd where it might have been faltering slightly before the break. Acoustic breaks are fine if you’re Jon Bon Jovi but HCSS when they stick to the plan and turn it all up nail the songs perfectly.
Touch The Sky
Dreamin’ in a Casket
Here Comes That Sick Bitch
Don’t Mean Shit
Last Call for Alcohol
We Don’t Celebrate Sundays
Above the Law
At 53 years old Michael Monroe looks lean mean and energised like a man half his age. If this is what a healthy lifestyle can do for you then perhaps I need to rethink the Craft Beer diet I’ve sworn by since 2013.
The tracks from those solo albums post Hanoi Rocks sound great. Tight, full of energy and support from a band that includes the afore mentioned GWB cohort Rich Jones along with former Hanoi partner Sam Yaffa. they open with ’78 from ‘Sensory Overdrive’ the album co-written with Ginger and the groove, feel and sound of that ‘Trick of the Wrist’ and ‘Got Blood’ which all get an airing tonight have the Wildhearts frontman’s stamp all over them.
Just out, new album ‘Blackout States’ has some songs added in with ‘Old King’s Road’ and ‘R.L.F.’ (‘Rock Life Fuck’), which carry a sneering Punk tinge and the buzz and power of bands like Motorhead. . The Demolition 23 project also gets a couple of tracks thrown in before we then raise the roof off of the Ballroom when ‘Tragedy’, ‘Malibu Beach Nightmare’ and ‘Up Around The Bend’ (originally done by Creedance) are played. Finishing with ‘Dead, Jail Or Rock ‘N’ Roll’ a super energised lean 55 minute set presented by a superenergised lean frontman comes to a close. Only thing missing for me was’Black and White’ which, given the short set could’ve been shoehorned in but it’s a small gripe about an otherwise superb show.
Better than ever, there’s years of life in Monroe and more music to come.
This Ain’t No Love Song
Trick of the Wrist
Oriental Beat (Hanoi Rocks song)
Man With No Eyes
Hammersmith Palais (Demolition 23. song)
Goin’ Down with the Ship
Tragedy (Hanoi Rocks song)
Malibu Beach Nightmare (Hanoi Rocks song)
Up Around the Bend (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)
Dead, Jail or Rock ‘n’ Roll
Nothin’s Alright (Demolition 23. song)
I Wanna Be Loved (The Heartbreakers cover)