The mood is feeling right for what is about to be a glorious night with the Scandinavian rockers of the Dark Decadence Tour.
Impatiently, I stand until the doors open, waiting to escape the ordinariness of the city streets and step into the little less ordinary world of The Garage. I plunge into the dark, cozy atmosphere of the venue, which seems like a perfect spot for glam rockers and Gothic vampires to be hanging out.
After the ticket collection, I slowly proceed to the main hall, where people walk around in style, mostly influenced by the glam and hair metal fashion. Some enjoy a drink at the bar, while others have already taken a strategic spot in front of the stage, waiting for the show to begin.
And there they are, the first glamorous stars of the night – Crashdiet storm the stage, they only way they can! The crowd immediately respond to the energetic drum beats, the crushing guitar riffs and the passion streaming from the stage as ‘Down with the Dust’ starts playing. Despite the bumpy ride, the guys have been on, they surely know how it’s done. The salient for the glam rock visual, flashy style, heavy makeup, the blasting guitar solos, the catchy refrains and the performance itself – all seem perfect live. The setlist is short and the time on stage is limited, nevertheless, the Swedish rockers manage to melt a few female hearts and sweep the rest of the audience off its feet. Simon Cruz (vocals) tries his best to break the microphone stand, while tossing it around and dashing it against the floor. There is a bit of warming up and chitchat with the crowd in between the songs, expressing his satisfaction of people’s reaction to the set. The ending is just as glamorous and spectacular as the band. The fans are carried away by the intense sound of the outro and ‘Generation Wild’ give us something to hold onto till the next gig.
Between Crashdiet and Hardcore Superstar the venue gets even busier. People find time for another drink and chill before the next portion of proper rock n roll, while the crew members feverishly prepare the stage for the second act of the night – HardCore SuperStar. They appear to be a very good mediator between Crashdiet and the more dramatic sound of The 69 eyes.
Judging by the audience’s reaction to the grand entrance, Hardcore Superstar’s performance looks promising from the very beginning. The lighting design on this set is particularly impressive. The stage is too small for Jocke Berg’s (vocals) charismatic presence, since it barely manages to fit the energetic moves, the head banding and the distinctive poses of his. Occasionally Jocke spends time on the monitors at the front, having close encounters with the front row punters.
Among the other things, Crashdiet have set a trend for the night, appropriately described as “fight beer with beer”, as beer cups and water fly to and fro the front barrier throughout the whole evening. It is fun, in the beginning… but when certain individuals throw full cup of beer at Jocke and co. that doesn’t look quite entertaining to me (luckily they missed the stage!)
Adde (drums) decides he needs to take a walk around the stage and say hi, so he hands the drums over to one of the crew members, who is just as good. Meanwhile, Jocke Berg states that he is thrilled to see that many faces tonight because of [his] “Good Reputation”, which is a cool way to introduce the song.
One of my favorite parts of the gig is the acoustic performance of “Here comes that sick bitch again”. The experience is just overwhelming!
Undoubtedly, the highlight of the set is when Jocke Berg invites two people on stage to sing along to “Last call for alcohol”. The ending of their gig is even more outrageous and terrific, leaving the crowd completely blown away.
The rad thing about The Garage is the amount of space it actually provides. There’s a kind of backstage area where the merchandise is usually displayed. Most of the times it’s open to public but not a lot of people stay there apart from the band and crew members and just a few fans. There, I catch a glimpse of Jurki and Jussi of The 69 eyes, leaning against the wall for some photo shooting before going on stage. The Crashdiet guys are also on site for a last round of beer and fan meeting before they head back to their tour bus. I manage to chat with Martin Sweet (guitar) for a while. His thoughts about the tour are very positive and apparently tonight’s gig exceeds his expectations. The exhaustion on his face, though, is visible, as he mentions the after party from the previous night in Nottingham. Sleeping in till 3pm doesn’t seem too helpful. Thus, playing on stage is a bit of a struggle, according to his own words, due to last night’s remaining alcohol in his system, topped up by tonight’s drinks. You can’t help noticing his anticipation to crawl back into his bunk and have a well deserved rest …till the next day of craze.
The 69 eyes seem to be the odd-one-out this evening. The hubbub can’t be heard, as Jussi, Jurki and the rest of the 69 eyers appear from the smoke. Despite the thinning crowd, there’s a bunch of devoted fans (including myself) still going strong and singing along their songs. Nonetheless, the Helsinki Vampires pull out a good show in their typical Gothic style accompanied by Jussi’s wild performance on the drums.
Apparently, the night belongs to the Swedes from Hardcore Superstar and yet there is something about the three Scandinavian bands that fascinates me. No matter what they do, it’s always with flair.