Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Adrian Hextall (Photographer/Live Gig reporter Myglobalmind Webzine
Tonight is not a busy one at The Underworld. A solid 3 band bill with Camden regulars Kinkade opening attracts no more than 50 people by the time the first band hits the stage. Numbers increase as the evening progresses but maxes out at around 150-200 which is a real shame for bands with such a good pedigree like Royal Hunt.
Describing themselves as “Rock ‘n’ Roll Pirates” and with Jimmi James Mars looking every bit the part, Kinkade make the most of the crowd that have arrived early enough to see them and rattle through a set of solid, hook driven classic rock.
They are almost seen as the resident house band at The Underworld and have supported, amongst others, LA Guns, Brides of Destruction, Lost Angels, Alannah Miles, Keel, Gilby Clarke, Steven Adler (G’n’R)’s Adlers Appetite, Love/Hate, Tyketto and many more.
Bassist Gaz thunders around the stage ably supported by Manfred on drums. Jimmi and Lucky (guitars) launch every song with a smile and the energy they portray is very infectious and they soon get a good response from the audience. Their short set finishes with a flourish as ‘She Likes to Party’ convinces the small crowd to sing along during the chorus and the band depart confirming that they will be found at the bar “accepting drinks, cheques and more…” , Rock n Roll Pirates indeed!
Guitar / Lead Vocals – JIMMI
Bass / Vocals – GAZ
Drums / Vocals – MANFRED
Guitar – LUCKY
I Don’t Mind
Give Love a Try
She Likes To Party
Touring with Royal Hunt across Europe, Cloudscape released their debut album back in 2005 to critical acclaim and have built up a solid following with performances at many prog driven festivals which allows them to showcase their own brand of melodic prog metal. Further releases in 2006 and 2007 included fan favourite Demon Tears which gets an airing tonight to great response. Touring on the back of the ‘New Era’ album released in 2012, their slot on the bill tonight perfectly compliments headliners Royal Hunt.
Opening with ‘Mind Diary’ from their Global Drama release, their short set contains tracks from all four albums to date to give newcomers a chance to sample the history of the band. Vocals from Mike Andersson are crisp and the band makes the most of the time slot to deliver a very polished performance with excellent sound work mirroring the style of the albums. More Prog Metal than just Prog Rock they use the heavier sound to their advantage and inject some more energy into the (slightly bigger) crowd. Highlights include the aforementioned ‘Demon Tears’ and ‘Eyes of Jealousy’ and they finish with ‘Under Fire’ from their acclaimed debut.
Mike Andersson : Lead & backing vocals
Patrik Svärd : Guitars
Stefan Rosqvist : Guitars
Håkan Nyander : Bass
Fredrik Joakimsson : Drums & Percussion
Kingdom of sand
Before your eyes
Eyes of jealousy
A new design
There are times when certain shows can leave the audience wondering if the support / headline acts performed in the wrong order. Tonight however Royal Hunt hit the stage every bit the consummate professionals and raise the bar on every level. Frontman D.C. Cooper knows how to get the best out of a crowd and doesn’t stand still for a moment working every inch of the small Underworld stage. He’s wearing sunglasses / shades of some sort and for good reason. The lighting desk clearly want him illuminated tonight and the normally dimly lit venue has managed to screw in some extra lamps and D.C. glows for much of the show in a myriad of purple, green red and blue lighting. To him it must have looked like the most amazing acid trip. To the audience, it was at times, like watching someone tell ghost stories with a high beam torch under their chin!
Lighting aside, the set itself is flawless. Note perfect renditions of tracks from their sizable back catalogue. Royal Hunt have a style somewhere between progressive and symphonic metal and achieved considerable mid-90s success with albums ‘Moving Target’ and ‘Paradox’. Although they continued to produce albums during the early 2000’s they did so without D.C. and only in 2011 after requests from fans and promoters did they decide to reunite with their former vocalist. ‘Show Me How to Live’ and the latest album that the band are promoting tonight ‘A Life To Die For’ see D.C. back behind the microphone and all the better for it.
The set focuses as you might expect on the first four albums from 1992-1997 and picks up again with the latest Cooper fronted releases. It’s great to hear songs like ‘Running Wild’ sound as fresh as they did over 20 years ago.
On ‘Clown in the Mirror’ we even get a small moment of audience participation before it becomes apparent that most Royal Hunt fans are slightly tone deaf, so D.C jumps back in to rescue what is a truly beautiful track when sung in tune. Without taking a breath the band launch into a blistering version of ‘Half Past Loneliness’ from 2011’s ‘Show Me How To Live’ album and reenergize the crowd who were still bewildered as to why their sing along sounded a little off key.
‘Message To God’ closes the set with the band then returning to play a great instrumental break that allows founder André Andersen the opportunity to utilise his significant bank of keyboards. It’s also good to see the return of Per Schelander who played from 2005-2099 on bass. A short term piece, he’s covering for Andreas Passmark who returns to the tour later in March.
‘Epilogue’ from ‘Clown In The Mirror’ closes the set and a deliriously happy looking D.C thanks the crowd for coming out on a Wednesday. Small the crowd may have been but they were loud in voice and showed their support in spades.
ROYAL HUNT are:
André Andersen :keyboards
D. C. Cooper :lead vocals
Allan Sørensen :drums
Per Schelander :bass (covering for Andreas Passmark on some of the European tour)
Jonas Larsen :guitar
ROYAL HUNT SETLIST (believed to be correct)
One Minute Left to Live
Tearing Down the World
Hard Rain’s Coming
A Life to Die For
Cold City Lights
Clown in the Mirror
Half Past Loneliness
Message to God