GAMLA TRYCKERIET, ALVIK
SEPTEMBER 10-11, 2010
Chris LeMon is one crazy guy. Once upon a time he decided that Stockholm needs its' own indoor hard rock festival, and lo and behold, STOCKHOLM ROCK OUT was born. Without any major sponsors he put his time and money on the line, and started booking bands and promoting the event. As you might know, the festival was supposed to take place in May, but with the vulcano causing problems regarding the flights and everything, the actual two-day festival was postponed. A one-day Rock Out was still held in May, and you can read our review of it here.
We had a good time in May, but for a while it looked that we wouldn't be able to make it to the September's Rock Out 2 due to the demands of my dayjob. I was seriously pissed off about that, but out of a sudden there was a change in the schedule, and the Rock Out weekend became available for me to travel. In no time we had a hotel booked and the ferry trips arranged.
Fast forward to Friday, the 10th of September... after a lousy night's sleep on the ferry, we arrived to the Scandic Alvik hotel. Conviniently placed next to the venue and a stone's throw away from the closest metro station, the location of the hotel couldn't have been any better. Had we been autograph hunters, we would've been able to get a nice selection of them, since during the first thirty minutes at the hotel we managed to spot many of the artists arriving. There was Udo having a breakfast, John Corabi checking in, Paul Shortino and Great White arriving... Mr. Rock Out himself (that's Chris LeMon if you didn't get it by now) was also there, trying to be at three places at the same time, yet still managing to find the time to greet us and tell us what was going on.
After a few hours of shopping and relaxing, it was time to ROCK OUT (Yes, I'll be using that phrase again and again!), and we headed to Gamla Tryckeriet, the venue of the festival. Once we got our passes sorted out, we were able to check out the openers of the festival, an oddly named act called KILLER CLAN OF F.U.N. on the TUBE STAGE, the smaller of the two stages. They played to a handful of people only, but that's hardly unsurprising as the time was about four in the afternoon. Their raunchy hard rock with shouty vocals didn't leave much of an impression, other than that the sound of the Tube Stage was quite lousy, way too loud and distorted. They closed their set with "Tattletail", the only song of theirs I knew. Props for the energetic performance.
The first band of the main stage had flown all the way from USA, and they were DIRTY PENNY. They've made a lot of friends with their take on the 80'ies L.A. sleaze/glam rock, influenced by the likes of Crüe and G'N'R. Their two albums have been produced by a long-time RockUnited.Com friend Johnny Lima by the way...
Having seen the bands' videos, I was kind of expecting them to be a more of a glam rock band, but it turned out that they've toned down their image. One could say they've gone from the Crüe to G'N'R, replacing backcombed hairdos with bandanas and baseball caps. Guitarist Johnny Prynce is even starting to look like Slash! Anyway, the band put on a good show and attracted quite a lot more people than the previous band. I'm not too familiar with their material, but they did play the video songs "Midnight Ride", "Crash & Burn" and "If I Were You I'd Hate Me Too". Can't tell the names of the other songs, but most of them had a bit of "Whoa-Oh" in them!
I was impressed by the band's backing vocals and showmanship, especially the drummer Spanky Savage added some entertainment value to the gig with his visual style of playing. Vocalist Binge Daniels was a good frontman, although his ruthless vocal style probably took its' toll on him. I was wondering whether he'd make it to the end of the set, as his voice seemed suffer a bit. All in all, a good set.
DAMN DELICIOUS were the next band on the Tube Stage. The sound was still pretty bad, and since their raunchy hard rock (is there a pattern?) wasn't much to our liking, we decided give our ears a rest and have a "pitstop" at the hotel. We did give them a chance though, and here are the photos to prove it...
For me, the band I was most looking forward to seeing on Friday was WIG WAM. Those crazy Norwegians have been a favourite of mine ever since I got a hold of their 2004 debut "667... The Neighbour Of The Beast". In 2005 they made a bigger splash by representing Norway at the Eurovision Song Contest. I even voted for them in the final, and indeed they got the full points from Finland. They've done pretty well with their latter albums as well, "Wig Wamania" being a personal favourite.
Wig Wam's camp image might be too much to stomach for some, but the crowd at SRO seemed to like them. It took a while for the crowd to warm up to them, but in the end the band had won over most of the "non-believers" I guess. As the band's still promoting their latest album "Non Stop Rock'n Roll", there were several songs from it in the setlist, but of course we got to hear the hits like "Bless The Night", "Gonna Get You Someday" and "Hard To Be A Rock'n Roller". The Eurovision song "In My Dreams" was saved as the last track, and it ended the set in a bombastic way.
The band's vocalist Glam is an absolute star on the stage and his vocals were truly awesome. He's got his tongue firmly in cheek throughout the set and with his theatrical antics he really puts on a great show. The other members were were a bit overshadowed by him, but I don't think they were too bothered. Anyway, they got their chance to shine during their solo spots.
I might have liked to see some of the "lesser" tracks of the new album being replaced by such monster songs as "Bygone Zone", "No More Living On Lies" or "Slave To Your Love", but even without them, their set was one of my favourites of the festival. I just wonder when they are going to "pay back" the twelve points and visit Finland... if they ever do, we'll be there for sure.
After the set, we actually met Glam in the lobby of the hotel and told him how much we liked the gig. He seemed like a nice guy, and posed for photos with the fans, including a certain photographer of this site...
Non Stop Rock'n Roll
Dare Devil Heat
Do You Want to Taste It
Bless The Night
Walls Come Down
Rock My Ride
Bass / Drum Solo
Gonna Get You Someday
Rocket Through My Heart
Guitar SoloHard To Be A Rock'n Roller
Out Of Time
In My Dreams.
The pattern of raunchy hard rock with less than favourable sound continued on the Tube Stage, as Danish rockers STAR*RATS played their attitude-fuelled sleaze rock. Just like the two previous Tube Stage bands, it became really unpleasant to listen to them, not because they were bad but because of the ungodly volume. I know, I may be too old if it's too loud... or maybe I'm not old enough because I've still got some of my hearing left? Anyway, the photos of the "rats" here...
When a band has to cut down a few songs off their set is usually a bad thing, but I believe that it worked for PRETTY BOY FLOYD's benefit. They had some technical problems with the electronics, and their allotted 70 minutes was reduced to 40 minutes. This meant that they played only the tracks from their glam-classic first album "Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz". As everyone who owns the album knows, it's an album with nothing but chorus-driven glam anthems, and that what we got - hands-in-the-air, shout-along songs delivered by an energetic band. There may have been some turmoil in the PBF camp over the years, but on SRO stage there was a tight unit with something to prove, and they did just that.
Vocalist Steve "Sex" Summers might not be the finest vocalist on earth, but his nasal voice suits the band's glam metal, and he's a good frontman. The festival's most hard working drummer Troy Patrick Farrell, who also played with John Corabi on Saturday gets a special mention for his entertaining drumming style. No wonder he's much in demand. In an interesting twist of fate, on Saturday 11th it was announced that Vic Foxx is the new PBF drummer...
SETLIST (not 100% accurate possibly):
Leather Boyz With Electric Toyz
Toast Of The Town
Rock'n Roll Outlaws
Your Mama Won't Know
I Wanna Be With You
Rock'N Roll (Is Gonna Set The Night On Fire)
Italian Melodic Metal band KILLING TOUCH finally broke the pattern of "raunchy hard rock bands" on the Tube Stage. Although the sound problems continued, they were easily the best band of the smaller stage on Friday. They had only 35 minutes to play, but they took advantage of every minute and played the best songs of their debut album "One Of A Kind", a Deep Purple cover "Burn" and a song called "Heaven Calling", which vocalist Michele Luppi introduced as being intended for his "LOS ANGELES" solo album, but recorded by Vision Divine instead.
Superb musicianship, fantastic vocals and some cool melodic metal songs were the winning concept of Killing Touch, and they'll get a thumbs up from me. They also had quite a few people watching their set, so I guess it was thumbs up all around.
Thy Will Be Done
From Glam Rock to Melodic Metal and then to AMERICAN METAL, if the band's T-shirt is anything to go by... LIZZY BORDEN were the next band to take the stage. Their show was certainly the most visually striking of the whole festival, with big Lizzy Borden logos on stage, colourful characters in the band and a couple of female dancers gyrating on stage every now and then. And then there was Lizzy himself, changing outfits for almost every song, using props to "visualize" the song lyrics and giving the frontrow a bloodbath. Very "Alice Cooperian" I'd say, and somewhat comparable to the Thor show we saw last year at Sauna Open Air... except that Thor's one was a bit ridiculous, while Lizzy's one wasn't. Well, maybe he could've ditched the hooded outfit a bit sooner, it was pretty weird to watch and photograph a "faceless" singer for a whole song.
The Lizzy Borden set wasn't quite based on "Visual Lies" and "Master Of Disguise" as the pre-show press release suggested, but more of a career-spanning one with songs from most of their albums. They actually played only one song from "Master Of Disguise" which was a bit of a disappointment. I was hoping for "Be One Of Us", possibly my favourite LB track, but unfortunately that wasn't in the list this time. Still, it was a good set and the entertainment value was high. Even the bass solo was quite interesting, Marten Andersen playing a bit of "Pippi Långstrump (Pippi Longstocking)" theme much to the amusement of the fans.
The props included several different masks worn by Lizzy, a baseball bat ("Rod Of Iron"), an axe (take a wild guess which song) and fake blood (take another guess). The dancing girls paraded on stage a few times, wearing suitable outfits like stars'n'stripes bikinis. One of the two girls got a severe lovebite from Lizzy, and was dragged away from the stage soon afterwards. Murderous. Lizzy's set was closed with "Long Live Rock'n Roll", played as a tribute to Ronnie James Dio.
Tomorrow Never Comes
Eyes of a Stranger
Under Your Skin
We Come Out At Night
There Will Be Blood Tonight
Me Against The World
We Got The Power
Rod The Iron
Give 'Em The Axe
Long Live Rock 'N' Roll
Making a second appearance at ROCK OUT, Swedish producer guru and a solo artist CHRIS LANEY got the biggest audience of the second stage on Friday. He played a 9-track set of his solo material, followed by the last performance ever by Zinny Zan, who also played a few songs with Laney at the first Rock Out.
The sound problems that had haunted the Tube Stage continued during Laney's set too. It was loud, it was messy and if there are errors in the setlist, please excuse me because it took a while to recgognize the songs. I'm still not sure whether the fourth song was "Get U Down" or "I Had Enuff", he sang something about getting down ot letting go, couldn't really tell. And no, those songs haven't been on my playlist, so I don't really know them that well.
The two Laney albums have a few really great, melodic songs, but they don't seem to make it to his setlists. Maybe it's because they are more of a high-gloss production numbers with keyboards and layered backing vocals or maybe he's trying to establish himself as more of a no frills hard rocker. The set could've used "B4 It Is 2 Late" or "One Kiss Tonight", and goddamn it, where was "Pissed At What You Missed" again? I'm pissed that we missed it.
Swedish cult hard rock hero Zinny Zan chose Stockholm Rock Out as his farewell, no doubt an easy choice after the great reception he got in May. He played three songs, a Zan Clan track I didn't know, the Easy Action track "We Go Rocking" and the Kingpin/Shotgun Messiah hit "I Don't Care About Nothin'". He bounced on the stage like a man possessed, making sure that his Goodbye would be memorable, and it was.
Only Come Out At Night
Last Man Standing
Get U Down
Love So Bad
Make You Cry
Pride B4 The Fall
In the May SRO review I compared Zinny Zan to glam version of Udo Dirkschneider, and in a strange twist of fate the next performer was indeed U.D.O.! I saw the band's gig in Turku earlier this year, and was quite impressed with their set of stompin' piledriver metal. The second time around it wasn't quite as impressive, but still a solid performance. The setlist was pretty identical to the one in Turku, and the band didn't do anything differently, but that's where the problem lies... it was so damn similar, with the same solos and interludes and the songs pretty much in the same order that I got a bit of a deja vu feeling. The only surprising element of the show was when the audience started to sing the intro of "Fast As A Shark" to U.D.O., can't recall that happening in Turku.
As expected, the old ACCEPT songs such as "Princess Of The Dawn", "Metal Heart", "Midnight Mover" and the inevitable "Balls To The Wall" got the best reception. It was a bit sad that the size of the crowd diminished as the show went on, and in the end there were clearly less people watching the gig than there were during the last few acts on the main stage.
And speaking of deja vu... we left as "Balls To The Wall" was ending, as I did the last time I saw the band. Now I knew that there might a be a song or two still to be expected, but it had been a very long day. It was time for some well-earned rest.
Scandic Alvik was the Rock center of Stockholm for the weekend, and we had our breakfast close to a table shared by Paul Shortino and the guys from Keel. There were some other suspiciously rocker-like dudes loitering around the breakfast room... but enough of namedropping, let's move on to the Saturday's bands.
The first few acts were smaller Swedish bands, and knowing that the day would be another long one, we decided to skip them. 16 bands in a day would've been a lot, so we settled on a dozen or so.
We arrived to the venue as DEBBIE RAY was ending their set on the Tube Stage, and even though I only heard one song, I noticed that the sound was much more tolerable and the band sounded pretty good. I may have to invistigate further...
The biggest disappointment of the weekend was the cancellation of CRAZY LIXX, one of my favourite new bands. To replace them on a short notice Chris and Co. had managed to get SISTER SIN. They were the only female-fronted band of the festival, and got a quite decent-sized crowd under their spell despite the early slot. Vocalist Liv Sin worked hard at winning the crowd over, and with their furious hard rock they did pretty well. Interestingly, the band's cover track "24/7" is actually an U.D.O. track... see how these bands connect to each other - "The Six Degrees Of Rock Out" table game soon available!
My thoughts of the Sister Sin set echo those of my review of their latest album - good in smaller portions, but somehow lacking in nuances. Liv Sin is a good singer, but the way she sings is always "full-on", while she could add a bit of light and shade to her delivery. Still, "Outrage" and "Sound Of The Underground" rocked very hard.
Back to the Tube Stage, as DYNAZTY were starting there. These young guys are have just signed to Stormvox Records, and are currently writing songs for their second album, to be recorded in LA later this year. They put on a good show, with guitarist Rob Love and vocalist Nils Molin especially impressing me. Molin has a Sebastian Bach-like quality to his voice and he put everything to his performance. I must admit that I didn't really connect with their songs, they sounded a bit average, but once these guys sharpen their hooks they'll be serious contenders.
JOHN CORABI was a bit of a mystery to me. Of course I knew his background as the vocalist of The Scream, Union and that self-titled Mötley Crüe album, but none of the albums he's sung on have spent a lot of time in my CD player. I may be in the minority here, but I don't actually think that the Crüe album is particulary special...Yeah, I'm a heretic... Anyway, Corabi gave us a good-spirited performance and despite the fact that I only knew a few of the songs, I quite enjoyed it. One of the songs that I didn't know beforehand made a big impression on me, a ballad called "Father Mother Son" originally recorded by The Scream.
Naturally the Crüe-songs in the setlist were the biggest favourites of the crowd. No setlist because, well... I didn't know many of the tunes.
Unlike on Friday, the bands on Tube Stage were more to our liking, and the sound was much better for each one of them. DIRTY PASSION were the next band on that stage, and they sounded really good, melodic hard rock with strong choruses. While the previous vocalist on the stage had sounded like Sebastian Bach, Dirty Passion singer Emil Ekbladh looked like him! The band's currently working on their first album, which I definitely will check out.
Next up, the "two bands in one" combination... TUFF/SHAMELESS. The vocalist Stevie Rachelle and drummer Jimi Lord were the Tuff ones, while bassist Alexx Michael and guitarist BC the Shameless ones... It was pretty clear from the word go that it was a Stevie "Mr. Metal Sludge" Rachelle Show. His sang really well and had the crowd in stitches with his hilarious stories between the songs. Apparently the guys in Veins Of Jenna had taught him the two most important swedish words... "fitta" and "ikea"! He was quite the salesman too, shamelessly (of course) pushing his merchandise to the people.
The setlist consisted of several Shameless songs, including "Steal The Girls" and "Queen For A Day" and the expected TUFF hits "All-New Generation", "Good Guys Wear Black", "I Hate Kissing You Goodbye" and "American Hair Band". Ryan Roxie joined the band on stage for a cool version of Alice Cooper's "I'm Eighteen" , and it got a rousing reception. All in all one of the better gigs of the whole festival, with good songs and good jokes.
Ryan Roxie introduced his new band Roxie77 on the Tube Stage next, and they were quite OK. I didn't know the songs, but they were decent pop-rock with a bit of a Cheap Trick-vibe sometimes. Roxie himself seemed like a nice character, talking a lot between the songs and cracking a funny one-liner or two. And any band who has an Earl Hickey-lookalike as a bass player cannot be too bad, right? And before I forget, John Corabi joined the band for a rockin' version of "Helter Skelter".
The band is was most looking forward to seeing on Friday was KEEL. I wasn't alone in this, as they seemed to have the biggest crowd of the festival. The crowd got what they deserved, a great show from a band that was in top form. Sometimes the anticipated comeback gigs of bands who had their glory days in the eighties can be sad affairs, but not this gig. There were 5 musically and physically fit guys on stage, and they rocked like it was 1989. Ron Keel was in great shape, and his vocals were very good. The whole band had practised some synchronized headbanging and posing which looked cool, and you just gotta admire the band's vocal power - each one of them sang backing vocals and especially drummer Dwain Miller sang some smooth harmonies.
There were some truly "goosebumps" moments for me during the set, including the fantastic "Because The Night", the new album's standout ballad "Does Anybody Believe", "Tears Of Fire" and the anthem "The Right To Rock". I admit that I'm not that huge a fan of the new album "Streets Of Rock'n Roll" (well, gave it a 7 out 10 then so it's not bad by any means), but even the weaker songs of the album worked okay in a live setting. Great, great gig! The icing on the cake would've been the inclusion of "United Nations", which is kind of a theme song of our site... "We Are United Nations, Under The Flag Of Rock'n Roll!"
Reason To Rock
Come Hell Or High Water
Rock'n Roll Outlaw
Push And Pull
Does Anybody Believe
Because The Night
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Streets Of Rock'n Roll
I Said The Wrong Thing To The Right Girl
Looking For A Good Time
Tears Of Fire
The Right To Rock (feat. Paul Shortino on backing vocals)
I've been to three concerts in Stockholm this year, and each one of them has had FATAL SMILE in the line-up. This time they introduced the band's new drummer "Philty" to the people, and his debut went well. The band played their usual crowdpleasers like "Run For Your Life" and "Learn-Love-Hate". They also did a tribute to Ronnie James Dio, with vocalist Blade singing "For The Last In Line" alone on stage (with the piano/strings backing from tape). It's a good song that adds a bit of variety to the otherwise aggressive and bombastic setlist.
The band had cool smoke effects on stage, and as I've said before, they've got the image thing figured out. I'll be looking forward to hearing their next album because it's time for them to step up to the plate and strike a homerun!
When I heard that KINGDOM COME would be in the line-up, I didn't exactly jump around in joy. Nevertheless, I dug up a few albums of theirs and realized that they do have a selection of songs I really liked, so my anticipation towards the gig got bigger. There was also the chance that they might choose those more Zeppelinesque tracks of theirs to the setlist, neglecting the catchy melodic ones, so it was a hit-or-miss situation.
When the band entered the stage, they struck me as a bit of a faceless entity, clearly band leader Lenny Wolf and "his backing band". The three other members were all skinny guys who could've traded their instruments in between the songs and I wouldn't have noticed, they looked so much alike. And as for the setlist... well, they played some of my favourites like "Living Out Of Touch", "Do You Like It" and "Stargazer", but about half of the songs in the setlist were... well, slightly boring to me. Maybe I should've been in a different state of mind to enjoy the "ambient hard rock" of "Twilight Cruiser" or the swagger of "Get It On", I don't know.
Get It On
Living Out Of Touch
What Love Can Be
Gotta Move Now
Do You Like It
I've got a couple of M.ILL.ION cds in my collection, so I was curious to see them live. They had a new line-up to introduce and a new album just finished, so there was a chance that they might have premiered some new material. I have to admit that I don't know whether they did, the song introductions were in Swedish and they weren't so easy for me to understand... The M.Ill.Ion (I hate those dots!) set was a decent one, although none of the songs really stood out. Good musicianship and enough showmanship, but somehow I didn't really get into it.
Saturday's headliners were GREAT WHITE with a stand-in vocalist PAUL SHORTINO. Since the SRO people wanted to give us something special, they arranged this one-off gig with Shortino fronting the band. On the band's recent US dates Jack Russell's shoes have been filled by Terry Ilous of XYZ and more recently ex-Warrant singer Jani Lane.
Shortino is quite a lively character which made the gig quite fun to watch, but more importantly he's a great vocalist who did justice to the Great White songs. Obviously the band hadn't rehearsed a lot together with him, and he confessed having been trying to learn the songs the whole day in his hotel room. He had to rely on his lyric sheets every now and then but I guess nobody really cared about that. Sure, he sounds very different to Jack Russell but I enjoyed his raspy renditions of the songs, and so seemed to do the rest of the people. Maybe the opposition was sitting in the bar cursing him...
The rest of the 'White assisted Shortino by singing good backing vocals and taking charge of some of the lead vocals too. Mark Kendall sang a song from his solo album, bassist Scott Snyder sang "All Or nothin", the only song from the band's latest album in the setlist. Guitarist/keyboard player Michael Lardie sang "Lovin' Kind" from the "Hooked" album. In the end of the set, Shortino did his tribute to Ronnie James Dio by singing "Heaven And Hell" accapella.
Face The Day
On Your Knees
Save Your Love
House Of Broken Love
All Or Nothin'
Heaven And Hell
Can't Shake It
Once Bitten Twice Shy
That was it, a Great (White) ending to a rockin' weekend. We had a ferry to catch early in the morning so we headed to the hotel, but I'm sure that the party continued at Gamla Tryckeriet for a while. At least there were people hanging around our hotel still at six in the morning, when we headed to the metro station. Up All Night, Sleep All Day...
Special thanks to Mr. LeMon for everything! Hopefully the likes of W.A.S.P., Steelheart and Kix make the third Rock Out the success it deserves to be. And anyone reading this and still thinking whether it's worth your time and money to come to the October Rock Out... you'll have a blast! "Be One Of Us"....
Review by Kimmo Toivonen
Photos by Mira Suutari-Toivonen (MST) and Kimmo Toivonen (KT)
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