Firefest Friday - Nottingham Trent University 29th October 2010
First trip to the annual Firefest event up in Nottingham.
Fridays venue had changed from The Rig to the 650 capacity Trent University around the corner due to the amount of people wanting to go. Getting inside it was like a small sports hall with the stage set to one end. Amazing to see how quickly it can go up as at 2 o'clock when we popped in it was only just starting to go up.
The hall was pretty full for the arrival of band one Reckless Love from Finland. Having played in Nottingham recently they were greeted like returning heroes. To anyone who hasn't heard the album if Poison/Kiss inspired rock is your thing you can't go wrong. Led by the high kicking bastard son of Michael Monroe and David Lee Roth, Olli Herman is straight to the edge of the stage wanting us all to sing along and for all the ladies to scream at him!! Which they all do.
Ably backed up by Pepe on geetar, Hessu Max on drums and Jalle Verne on bass they play all of the debut cd. With for me the highlights being the last 5 songs which were Back To Paradise, Beautiful Bomb and encores of Bad Ass, a cover of Def Leppard's "Hysteria" and then One More Time. All had grown men screaming along to songs that are all about a great chorus. Olli's vocals for "Hysteria" were spot on. They left with the crowd begging for more and an enormous future should await!!
After such a great start the atmosphere did drop a bit for the next band up Crazy Lixx from Sweden.
Promoting their superb second cd "New Religion" they started well enough but once a couple of songs from their first cd were played which I think the crowd didn't know it didn't help. Led by Danny Rexon on vox the 5 piece play a grittier Skid Row with Def Leppard choruses inspired rock that also reminds me of the early 90's band Heavens Edge (funnily enough this cd is rereleased by Rock Candy next week!!) Heavier than Reckless Love as soon as they went back to cd 2 and Blame It On Love and then 21 Til I Die it was up to the earlier excitement levels.
I thoroughly enjoyed the 1 hour set and maybe a swop of line up position with Reckless Love could have helped but these things happen.
Lastly H.E.A.T. who is was very much looking forward to seeing. In some quarters they are the saviours of AOR to others a Europelite band. Like marmite they seem to be loved or hated.
After releasing album number 2 earlier this year "Freedom Rock" they should be on a high but due to the musical differences led split with vocalist Kenny Leckremo this was only the second gig with Swedish idol winning vocalist Erik Gronwall. So is this a match made in heaven or hell?
With a setlist split between their 2 cd's could they go wrong?
Beg Beg Beg
Late Night Lady
Nobody Loves You(Like I Do)
Everybody Wants To Be Someone
Straight For Your Heart
Never Let Go
High On Love
Who Will Stop The Rain
There For You
18 And Life
We're Gonna Make It To The End(acoustic)
Keep On Dreaming
For me and the vast majority of the crowd. No.
Erik's vocals were great and he seemed to fit in as if he had been their forever.
The crowd sang along and punched the air to new and old songs alike and the 70 minute set went past in a flash. Looking like a young Billy Idol,Erik stalked the stage like a veteran and any thoughts of it not working evaporated.
Ably backed by Jona Tee on keys,Jimmy Jay on bass and Crash on drums the only downer was on the geetar mix. Dave Dalone and Eric Rivers were let down as most of the solos suddenly appeared half way through and Eric especially looked like a geetar god on the last song "Keep On Dreaming" yet we heard very little of it.
It didn't impact on the performance as we were all on a high but still annoying just the same.
So we now look forward to album number 3 and the chance to move onwards and upwards.
So Firefest number one for me and one that I will certainly visit again.
Tonite was a Scandinavian treat from 3 young bands all about fun with big choruses.