A veritable Smörgåsbord came to Manchester Club Academy last Monday. With Michael Monroe from Finland and his band, which brings together celebrated musicians who have played with such greats as Hanoi Rocks, New York Dolls, Dogs D’Amour and Danzig, to name but a few. I was anticipating some top notch musicianship from the co-headliners. The ‘co’ in co-headliner being Sweden’s Hardcore Superstar with support from Israeli rockers Chase the Ace.
I had the pleasure of seeing Chase The Ace for the first time only last month when they supported Gunzo at the same venue (reviewed here), due to circumstances beyond my control I missed the first couple of songs tonight and arrived as they were playing Fortunate Son a cathcy song with a Let Me Entertain You by Robbie Williams vibe which is apt as Chase The Ace do indeed entertain the audience. Even though they were confined to the front half of the stage, limiting space it didn’t limit their energetic performance.
Bad Seed saw singer Roi in the photo pit, getting up close and personal with audience members. Then came the first of several drinking songs this fine evening, and Roi thanked eveyone for coming out before launching into, Raise Your Glass which saw Roi and Yair playing together and Roi’s hair flying. The title track from their album Hell Yeah, a fast rocking one which reminds me of Stop Stop’s Born To Rock, came next with Roi asking to see some hands in the air. Finishing their set with California with some strong riffs which sounded almost keyboard like. A couple of big red balloons, were thrown into the audience and one of hit me on the head, making me spill a few drops of my beer! However, I didn’t mind, the child in me managed to bat the balloons round a few times. Roi’s last words were ‘Thank you. We were Chase The Ace.’ They played a good hand getting the audience nicely warmed up for the co-headliners to follow.
Cat is on the loose
Fortunate Son (Creedence Clearwater Revival Cover)
Raise Your Glass
Roi Vito Peleg – Vocals / Rhythm Guitar
Yam Artzy – Drums / Backing Vocals
Dan Parsons – Lead Guitar / Backing Vocals
Yair Gadon – Bass / Backing Vocals
Swedish Rockers Hardcore Superstar came next and hit the stage running, well Jocke did, and they got off to a rousing start with Sadistic Girls, a song from their Split Your Lip album. Jocke in black and red striped socks and cut of denims, with braces hanging off his waist band, was energetic from the off. His outfit seemed liked a punked up take on the German national costume, albeit a scary Halloween version, well it is October! Adde had dirty blonde hair last time I saw them and now has it darker and shorter, making him look a bit Tommy Lee. Next song was Guestlist and then the first from the latest album HCSS, Touch The Sky and at one point one of the crew broughr Vic a difference guitar, swapping a black one for a white one! Whilst the swap was going on Jocke asked what they were talking about? We didn’t get an answer, and I don’t know why the need for a guitar change, but it was a comedy moment!
Jocke said he wanted to see people’s hands up and when everyone obliged he said ‘See that wasn’t too bad! Beautiful!’ Then he said they were going to do a song about alcohol, a popular theme! Jocke asked ‘Do you like alcohol?’ the answer was yes! The song was Medicate Me, and Bully followed. Both seeing Jocke bouncing around and covering the stage well. Then from their self titled 2005 album came Wild Boys, a number which reminds me of Faster Pussycat’s Poison Ivy and had Vic and Martin swapping sides. The harder hitting Dreamin’ In A Casket came next, with more of a Guns ‘N Roses vibe, and when Jocke asked ‘Scream For Me Manchester?’ the guitars seemed to scream too! Then he asked ‘Are you ready to go into the graveyard Manchester?’ before they launched Into Debauchery!
After that someone, not sure who said ‘We’ll take a short break, after twenty minutes we’ll be back’ and Adde and Martin left the stage leaving Jocke and Vic for an acoustic Hear Comes That Sick Bitch which Jocke sang with feeling and some hearfelt screams! It wasn’t twenty minutes, but nearer five when Adde and Martin returned for the energetic Don’t Mean Shit reminiscent of Faith No More’s From Out of Nowhere and one of my highlight tracks from HCSS. Jocke said ‘Thank you’ then they all left the stage to cheers, claps, whistles and shouts for more.
Whilst we didn’t mean shit to them they still came back to do an encore for us and what an encore! Hateful after which Jocke observed ‘Oh there’s some people on the balcony as well. Hello are you having a good time up there?’ and he also said he’d love have a set list so he could see what song it was. Martin muttered something, it didn’t sound like Moonshine but Jocke said ‘Ok let’s do that one’, and they did, a typical Swedish Polka Dance, well that’s what Jocke said, and if him bouncing around with his hair flying is what a typical Swedish Polka Dance involves then, that it was!
Another song about alcohol followed in Last Call for Alcohol followed by the similar and equally rousing We Don’t Celebrate Sundays and maybe not, but we do celebrate Monday’s in Manchester by singing along, clapping and jumping up and down to the beat. After that Jocke announced ‘Manchester we have one more for you!’ the sound of sirens blared out and whilst it could have been police driving down Oxford Road outside, it was an intro to Above The Law, which had Adde playing whilst the crew dismantled the drum kit around him! The chorus ‘Fuck the law’ had people singing along.
‘We played in Scotland last night’ said Jocke, ‘Think you guys can be louder? Scream for me Manchester!’ and we did and just in case we didn’t know Jocke said ‘By the way we are Hardcore Superstar and we fucking love Manchester! Good Night. God Bless’ a siren sounded and the show was over. Fittingly Cher’s If I Could Turn back Time blared out through the venue’s system because if I could have done it all again I would!
Touch The Sky
Dreamin’ in a Casket
Here Comes That Sick Bitch
Don’t Mean Shit
Last Call for Alcohol
We Don’t Celebrate Sundays
Above the Law
Jocke Berg – Vocals
Vic Zino – Guitar
Martin Sandvik – Bass
Adde Andreasson – Drums
From Sweden we stay with Scandinavia for the Flamboyant Finnish frontman Michael Monroe and his band, although the band is multi-national with Finland, Sweden, USA and England represented. After an introduction with a bit of a jungle beat Michael Monroe appeared on stage, owning it from the off! Wearing some eye-wateringly tight black pants with a flame motif and matching waistcoast he has managed to keep himself trim, not many middle aged men could carry off that outfit with such panache (and no beer gut!) and with his blonde backcombed hair, thick black eyeliner, beautifully varnished fingernails, cheekbones to die for and ample pout he looked like a cross between Goldie Hawn and Mick Jagger! He certainly has the energy and stage prescence of Mick and the glamour of Goldie! Opening with ’78, before This Ain’t No Love Song a punky one from new album Blackout States, then Old King’s Road which saw Michael brandishing a fan and at some point he did the splits, before weilding a Saxophone for Trick of the Wrist,
A Hanoi Rocks number came next in Oriental Beat, which had people dancing and singing along to the chorus, Michael back on his sax, and the spng reminded me of Anti-Nowhere League’s Snowman. Starting with the line ‘Things are different today back in New York’ came Ballad of the Lower East Side which starts off mellower but soon speeds up. Man With No Eyes from his album Not Fakin’ It came next with a Poison vibe. He was using the mic stand as a prop, and looked almost to be shackled to it, with it behind his head and his arms hanging over the top. Michael was dripping sweat by now and I heard a rumour that he was in the McDonald’s across the road earlier. Well he can have a Big Mac if he likes, he would have burnt all the calories off by now anyway!
Michael then told us ‘We have something from the new album’ and asked ‘Are you ready to rock like fuck?’ he said it was an easy melody and when he said ‘Rock’ we should reply ‘Like fuck’ the song title is abbreviated to R. L. F. on the album and it was a short, punky song and great fun to sing along, and ‘Rock Like Fuck’, to. Demolition 23’s Hammersmith Palais came next another punky one reminiscent of the Sex Pistols No Future. Michael was in the photo pit up close and personal with the audience at one point, then he was back on his stage swinging his microphone round and although there wasn’t a lot of room for swinging he managed and made it look easy!
Michael asked ‘Anyone got the new album?’ if you haven’t already, go and get it. There”s a song on there called Going Down With The Ship’ and this one was a mellower one which had Michael bransishing a fan again, This one reminded me of Wings’ Band on the Run in places. Got Blood a Guns N’Roses Garden of Eden type number followed and Michael was now sporting a black cap with chains a la Village People. He then asked if we wanted to hear some Hanoi Rocks, which we did, and we got a few Hanoi songs, Malibu Beach, Tragedy and Up Around The Bend, and although it was originally by Creedence Clearwater Revivial a lot more people probably think of the Hanoi Rocks version when they hear the name, this one had everyone singing along like a tuneful rock choir! What could top that? Well Michael said ‘Thank you people of Manchester . It’s been lovely, you’ve been a lovely audience. We’ve got one more’ and the last song was another one from his album Not Fakin’ It the hard hitting Dead Jail or Rock ‘n’ Roll with Michael on the harmonica in places, throwing a few high kicks, dripping sweat and ended with the guitarists throwing plectrums out.
Curfew was 11 O’Clock and it was already about 10.55 so the band didn’t leave the stage. Michael said something about how we loved Hardcore Superstar so they took longer, so they (his band) weren’t going to go and come back, but he guessed we wanted an encore so ‘Let’s do it right away’ and the final song was Nothing’s Alright a great song to end the show with Michael covering the stage and hanging from some handhold he found in the ceiling. He then said ‘Thank you beautiful people. I’ll see you soon’ and was out in the pit shaking hands with those within reach on his way out.
Three great bands all putting in energetic performances. I managed to get hold of set lists and we didn’t miss much Michael Monroe. They had I Wanna Be Loved down after Nothing’s Alright so we missed out on one song – shame but doors were advertised as 7pm and the gig was supposed to start at 7.20pm. The doors didn’t open until just after 7.30pm and Chase The Ace must have been on the second the doors opened, hence I missed their opener. It wasn’t like half the set was cut so I’m not going to complain. I enjoyed all three bands, Hell Yeah, We Touch(ed) the Sky. Manchester Rock(ed), Like, Fuck!!!
This Ain’t No Love Song
Old King’s Road
Trick of the Wrist
Oriental Beat (Hanoi Rocks)
Ballad of the Lower East Side
Man With No Eyes
Hammersmith Palais (Demolition 23)
Goin’ Down With The Ship
Tragedy (Hanoi Rocks)
Malibu Beach Nightmare (Hanoi Rocks)
Up Around the Bend (Creedence Clearwater Revival Cover)
Dead, Jail or Rock ‘n’ Roll
Michael Monroe – Vocals
Sami Yaffa – Bass
Steve Conte – Guitar
Rich Jones – Guitar
Karl Rockfist – Drums