Live Gig Review Credit: Gabor Kleinbloesem
20 years ago I heard a song while watching a movie called Degrassi Junior High on a German TV Channel and from then on I had the same feeling as when you fall in love with someone. It took me a few years before I found out which band was behind this song, because these were the pre-internet days and finding information about a rare Canadian movie was really hard those days. However, in 1995 I was able to trace the first 2 albums of the band HAREM SCAREM and then I heard that killer chorus “It’s hard to love, and never understand”, so the marriage was complete finally after a long engagement 😉
Now 18 years later I still play the first 2 albums of HAREM SCAREM a lot and on October the 20th 2013, I was able to catch them live for the very first time. Although the concert itself was short and sweet, the performance blew me away. This band should have been huge during the 1990s, but sadly on this Autumn Sunday evening somewhere in the deep South of The Netherlands only about 100-150 people showed up to catch a part of this reunion tour of the band. Happily, these were truly dedicated fans who came to see an amazing band playing mostly songs from their first 2 classics, which might be the 2 finest albums created during the dark 1990s.
Anyway, support act for HAREM SCAREM was a standard German Hardrockband called KING’S CALL. They played a nice set of originals, but it all sounded quite average and it clearly showed that this band really has to improve their songwriting in the future. Instrumental and vocally they were quite good, but the songs were as cliché tingled as possible and there was not a single song that stuck in your memory.
Anyway, while standing outside in front of the venue, it was around 20:30 that the band arrived in an old white van and the 4 Canadian musicians stepped outside and rushed into the venue through a backdoor. A few minutes later they got on stage and the place went on fire right from the very first seconds when the classic “Saviours never cry” was played loud and proud. The setlist consisted of every tune of the 2nd album ‘Mood swings’, which was recently re-recorded and in fact the whole European Tour was dedicated to the 20th year anniversary of this classic, so no surprise the setlist was created around that album. And also 3 songs from their same titled AOR debut were played, including the ultimate party-crowd sing-a-long pleaser “Hard to love”, the DEF LEPPARD improved “Slowly slipping away” and the ballad “Honestly”. Vocalist HARRY HESS is an amazing singer, who can so easily sing in a low key, a soulful key, a metal key and there’s probably not a single range he can’t reach with his fantastic unique voice! Especially during the calmer ballad material one can hear the incredible high level of these guys, with “Honestly” and “Just Like I Planned” as highlights. “Just Like I Planned” even saw the drummer DARREN SMITH coming upfront singing along with Harry the chorus. Darren himself is also a gifted singer by the way, singing “Sentimental blvd” solo during the set.
Although the songs that weren’t lifted from the first 2 albums were less interesting (only 4 tunes), there never was a dull moment during the set and HAREM SCAREM really hit it hard, making it a long and lasting impression for weeks in the minds of the people who attended. The soundboard was picture perfect and it was almost possible to watch and listen without those annoying ear-plugs 😉
“Mandy” was the moment for any guitar hero fan, because guitarist PETE LESPERANCE is without any doubts one of the finest guitarists in the Hard Rock world. He is making it look so easy and every riff, trick or solo is done just perfectly. Closing the set with the encores “No justice” and “Had enough”, the band finish off with a rockin’ duo. Despite the fact that the fans are shouting for more and more and the hope for another encore was there, the band didn’t return to play more songs. Thankfully they came back to meet and greet with the fans, which made them rockstars without an ego. Perhaps therefore they didn’t become huge, but I think everyone in the audience don’t mind at all, because we all witnessed an amazing show by one of the most underrated bands ever!
1.Saviors Never Cry
3.Hard to Love
4.If There Was a Time
6.Slowly Slipping Away
9.Stranger Than Love
11.Just Like I Planned
12.World Gone to Pieces
17.Change Comes Around