As I entered the building I was met with the smooth and silky rock of Ego Kills, who had travelled all the way from their (and indeed tour buddies, and headliners, Lordi’s) homeland of Finland. This quartet, who are often referred to, and self-branded, as ‘hippie rock’, exuded a certain laid back essence in there stage auras, while the music tells a completely different story, one of hard rock, enthusiasm, and a massive dose of passion. Selo led the ‘Mellowheads’ with his charismatic and powerful vocal range, and he was bolstered by some proficient and adept fretwork from Viita – aho, huge crunching bass lines courtesy of Pusa and majestic drum work literally carved out by Rajala. This truly was a lesson in groovy and catchy tunes, with big choruses and overflowing ability, which were exhibited in pretty much every chord.
A more than competent opening to warm up the crowd for the shock rock that was about to follow.
As we prepared for Silver Dust to appear on stage, a mysterious screen had adorned the set, just off centre stage, and as the lights went down, it became apparent the reason for the screen. It has turned into a video screen and was playing a video which seemed to be introducing the crowd to various members of a 21st century Addams family.
The band then emerged to a competent roar from the gathered ensemble. Lord Campbell was truly charismatic, and the whole band was dressed in their signature Victorian get up. Magma and Kurghan are the titanium back bone tonight on the pulsating drums and crunching bass, in this technical and clinical set. Tiny pistol gave the set the intricacy and flare on the 6 strings, with Lord Campbell helping him out at times by creating a dual assault on the fretboards. The band even broke mid set to allow Lord Campbell time for a guitar solo, complete with neon blue fretboard. The band finished on a high, with a rousing cover of Kim Carnes 1981 hit ‘Bette Davis Eyes’, and a high octane, full on energy ‘The Calling’. I can’t help but get from these Swiss cohorts, the overwhelming sense of a brand of southern rock, reminiscent of Lamb of God or Rob Zombie, yet it is delivered in their own unique style. As much as Silver dust aren’t household names in the UK at the moment, or at least to my musical radar, I can’t help but feel they are waiting in the wings for bigger and better things.
Another excellent warm up for the Finnish superstar monsters that are to follow.
The stage was turned round so that it now mimicked a haunted mansion, adorned with skulls, flickering candles and chains. There were even framed portraits on the wall depicting family members from bygone eras. The band then emerged one by one after the ACDC classic ‘God Of Thunder’ acted as their intro, each member received a rapturous cheer, yet the biggest cheer is predictably left for Mr Lordi himself, as he strode out from behind a curtained passageway centre stage. They then dove straight into the title track from their new conception ‘Sexorcism’. The crowd had visually swelled now and the cheer after cheer demonstrated that they were only there for one thing, the Finnish monster overlords, the Demi Gods of the horror hard rock world if you please. They continued to decorate the set list with ‘Would You Love A Monster Man’ and a particularly energetic ‘Missing Miss Charlene’.
The set was punctuated with solos from each instrument in attendance, first off, the drums and Mana, then the keys courtesy of Miss Hella, the bass by the absolute mountain that is Ox, and finished off with a flood lit, spotlight focused guitar solo by Amen himself
Each ‘monster’ was adorned as would be expected and the stage was a sight to behold, I dread to think how long it had taken the roadies to piece it together prior to ShowTime. You really felt like you were looking in on an elaborate set for the next instalment in the Saw franchise. 3 songs from the latest release were given airings tonight, alongside the set opener ‘Sexorcism’ lay ‘Naked In My Cellar’ and ‘Your Tongues Got The Cat’.
Throughout the set, the band didn’t lack any enthusiasm or energy and they packed in the tunes tonight, throwing in massive anthems and crowd pleasers such as ‘She’s A Demon’, ‘It Snows In Hell’, and the absolute behemoth ‘Blood Red Sandman’. The set was closed with a double header of 2 of their biggest anthems ‘Devil Is A Loser’ and ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’.
The energy tonight needed special recognition as it didn’t falter in any degree from start to finish. Each band member brought their own uniqueness and they all owned the stage in their own particular fashion. Ox pounded and stalked the stage, as if looking for prey for his next kill. Amen had the energy and flourish you would expect from the lead guitar, as he covered the whole stage footprint in numerous bursts of dynamism, and Mana kept it all in check with competent admirable drum work from behind the kit. Miss Hella orchestrated from the rear, putting in a dynamic and pertinent shift on the keys, while Mr Lordi controlled it all from the front, his absolute mammoth of a frame helped to generate his standing as alpha male, if only for the 90 minutes show time,
An absolutely faultless, flawless and mesmerising set tonight from the godfathers of monster hard rock and all things shocking. I just think next time they grace our shores they deserve a bigger stage, metaphorically speaking, and in definitely in dimensions.
(Review and Photos Phil Pountney)