The night started very early – doors at 6pm instead of the usual 7pm, with Motherload going on stage at 6.30. As a result they took to the stage in an almost empty venue with maybe a dozen or so fans there. It’s a shame asearly starts on a weeknight are always poorly attended as people need time to get home from work, eat etc and then get to the gig, yet still some promoters go ahead with early starts.
Motherload put in a good performance and it’s a shame there weren’t more people there to enjoy their heavy rock, including a very good cover of ACDC’s TNT.
Next up were Wildside Riot. What can I say other than “Oh dear”. Former Wrathchild singer Rocky Shades immediately comes across as wishing it was still the late 80s when glam rock was still big, and appears to love himself. Dark shades in a dark venue really don’t look anything other than silly, especially as the lighting at the Underworld was its usual dim self so he wasnt in danger of being dazzled by the lights on stage, and when he then decided to strip off his shirt to show off his chest, it just came across as desperate, especially as the venue was freezing cold. The sparkly microphone again just didnt work image wise for a guy who must be around 50.
There were only a handful of fans showing any enthusiasm (4 by my count), with the other dozen or so looking fairly disinterested.
It’s a shame as musically they sounded pretty good, but I just can’t take them seriously when their singer acts like that I’m afraid.
Next up was a band I’d heard a lot of good reports about – Crazy Lixx. The crowd had swelled considerably in the time between Wildside Riot leaving the stage and Crazy Lixx starting, and once they started it was clear why – these guys are excellent. With a set list that spanned their last few albums including their latest release (Riot avenue). With a late ’80s influenced sound this is a band you have to check out if you get the chance – they’re superb live and really know how to entertain a crowd, and their albums are definitely worth buying, “Riot Avenue” is one I’m listening to a lot at the moment.
Finally came tonights headliners – Fatal Smile. Taking the stage in makeup that will be familiar to anyone who bought the latest album (21st Century freaks), they look like Glam-rock Zombies. They may look like zombies but they sure as hell don’t sound like them – as always they rock, and rock hard. With a set list that includes a mix of fan favourites and plenty of material from the new album they do the seemingly impossible and outplay Crazy Lixx to show why they are tonights headliner. A particular highlight for me was their Dio tribute – the piano ballad “For the last in line”. Tracks like “Judgement day” and the crowd-pleasing “S.O.B.” make this a great set from a great band.
All in all an excellent night of music with both Crazy Lixx and Fatal Smile being particularly impressive.