Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
Look out, the Finns are coming! It seems you cannot go far these days without another Finnish act playing at a venue near you. Tonight, some 200 miles north of London, Turisas are playing their folk tinged brand of battle metal at Nottingham’s Rock City. (See Jay Hawkin’s review of the gig on this very site). In London at the Academy in Islington, Reckless Love get ready to apply their brand of metal. Less battle and more glam is the order of the day here and none do it better.
The smell of hairspray is heavy in the air tonight as big hair, denim and stilettos make an appearance thankfully on girls (plus the odd guy) who are young enough to look good in them rather than those that were wearing them in the 1980’s and sadly still are! One of the good things to note about the full venue is that the crowd are a good mix of oldies (Crue and Hanoi fans from back in the day) and also much younger fans who probably appreciate Oli Hermans six-pack as much as the music!
Reckless Love are touring with Laura Wilde as their main support and picking up other local bands for certain venues. London is one of these with ‘local’ band ‘Only Rivals’ from Dublin opening the event for us.
It’s an unusual choice given tonight’s other artists. Laura Wilde is pure rock and roll from the Lita Ford / Joan Jett School of music and Reckless Love are the epitome of classic Crue, Poison, Leppard and more combined. So to have placed on the bill an Alt-Rock band that look like they would have been more at home supporting Biffy Clyro or Muse is, as I say, odd.
It’s a short set, with Borders, their new single currently being aired on Kerrang TV, perhaps the main song that gets my attention. The rest of the set, sadly for me was quite unremarkable. I know bands can’t afford to turn down gigs when starting out but you’d think the promoters would match styles with artists on the same bill. A shame.
After a short break tour special guest Laura Wilde comes on stage. Clad in leather and sporting a real lead singer \ guitarists ‘axe’ she launches into ‘Show Me Love’ and the crowd do just that. Energetic, animated and bouncing from the off…. and that’s just the crowd.
The guitarists’ book of shapes is brought out and within the first 3 songs Laura has thrown almost every one. Play solo, lean back, howl at moon, TICK!. Stand legs apart like Slash, play solo and flash grin at audience? TICK! The list goes on.
After ‘Angel’ and ‘Scarlett Woman’ she pauses to introduce herself and the fact that she hails from Melbourne, Australia. Going back to my checklist for a moment, Blonde, TICK, Hot, TICK, Leather, TICK, Scandinavian, CROSS. Interesting. This makes for a nice change on the current scene where the Scandinavians have definitely been stealing all of the press of late.
Being Australian, no set is therefore complete without the obligatory AC/DC cover. In this case we get Jailbreak from the Australian only release of ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’.
The band then leave whilst we are treated to a rather excellent drum solo from Matt Star before Laura and team return for ‘Sold my Soul’ and ‘Tragedy’, the latter being an awesome rocker that is making a name for itself on YouTube.
SETLIST (Believed to be accurate)
Show Me Love
I Love This City
Sold My Soul
As the dust settles on the stage, Reckless Love’s crew transform the setting with the tribal artwork recently seen on the cover of their third full length album ‘Spirit’.
They say a band often wears its influences on its sleeves and in Reckless Love’s case, this is literally true. The leather jackets that both Pepe and Oli wear are decked out in old school patches, highlighting Def Leppard, The Scorpions, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and (ahem) Flash Gordon!.
They kick off with ‘I Love Heavy Metal’ , a song that features references to no less than 14 classic rock songs and 17 classic rock acts from the last 30 years. They move straight onto a second track from ‘Spirit’, ‘ Bad Lovin’ with its corny “It don’t matter if you’re straight, don’t matter if you’re gay, don’t matter if you’re bi, it’ll get you anyway’ lyric. To be fair the line and the track sum up Reckless Love very well. They have cross gender appeal with lead singer Oli Herman clearly in favour with the girls and some of the guys as well (judging by the screams anyway).
Given new album ‘Spirit’ contains only 12 tracks, 8 of them get aired tonight. It takes a confident band to load their setlist so heavily with new material but the crowd lap it up. The only disconnect is after three back to back tracks from the first 2 albums, Oli introduces ‘Dying to Live’ as one of his favourites but gets a muted response from the crowd. More opportunity to get to know the album will I am sure change this in future as once the band complete the song the reception is again as warm as ever from the fans.
‘Edge of Our Dreams’ follows and then ‘Wild Touch’ from the band’s debut album. ‘Wild Touch’ is halted by Oli mid song to allow him to come to the rescue of a girl in the audience who had been reduced to tears by her boyfriend. The guy with the mike is always going to win in situations like that and after berating the idiot in the crowd, confirming just how pissed he was with him and (PG-13 version) that perhaps he would like to extricate himself from the crowd, the fan favourite is restarted and performed in style.
Throughout the set, Pepe’s guitarmanship is second to none and his style is so reminiscent of classic rock guitarists of the 80’s. Solos truly wail and yet he still manages to bring his own modern style to the sound, showcased on tracks such as ‘Hot’ and ‘Night on Fire’.
There are no bad songs in tonight’s set. I personally don’t think there are any filler tracks on any of the albums released to date so the band are then of course faced with the tough task of identifying tracks to eliminate from the set. Gone therefore is ‘Romance’ a firm staple of the RL live set in the past. Hopefully with bigger venues to come and thus longer sets, this, my personal favourite, will return to the list.
It would be remiss not to mention the fine rhythm section of Hessu Maxx and Jalle Verne on drums and bass respectively. Whilst Oli works the crowd into a frenzy and Pepe nails lick after lick, the remaining 2 members keep everything tight with the intro to ‘Night on Fire’ being a particular highlight.
Equal parts, talent, energy and party spirit you cannot fail to enjoy the show the fabulous Finns bring to town.
I Love Heavy Metal
On The Radio
Born to Break Your Heart
Dying to Live
Edge of Our Dreams
Back to Paradise
Sex Drugs & Reckless Love
So Happy I Could Die
Night on Fire
One More Time