Crazy Lixx + Chez Kane + Venomous Rose @ KK’s Steel Mill, Wolverhampton, 7th May

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Reviewed by Paul Quinton

Swedish hard rock band Crazy Lixx made a rare and brief visit to the UK in support of their latest studio album, Street Lethal, although there were only two dates, one of which was a show at the Steelmill which drew a decent crowd on a cool Saturday night.

The openers on a three-band bill were VENOMOUS ROSE, a four piece band from the Derby and Nottingham area. They’re a straightforward hard rock band, who sometimes sound as if they’re influenced by bands like Motley Crue, even Hanoi Rocks. At first they looked a little raw on the Steel Mill stage, but after they played ‘The Devil is a Friend of Mine’, one of the best songs in the set, they seemed to settle down and give us a lively and enjoyable set. Even in short set like this, there was enough to suggest they’re well worth watching, and if they can come up with more songs of the calibre of ‘The Devil is a Friend of Mine’ and set closer ‘Wanna Have a Good Time’, where they managed to get the growing crowd involved, they could have something pretty good going.

CHEZ KANE’s excellent debut solo album came about when Crazy Lixx front man Danny Rexon was looking into developing new artists in conjunction with Frontiers Records, which resulted in him writing and producing one of the best melodic rock albums of 2021. It’s a proper melodic hard rock album, justifying one of Chez’s mottos, ‘Born in the 90s to bring back the 80s’, made for driving with the car window down and the stereo turned up, and the band she’s put together did it more than justice at the Steelmill. Opening with ‘All of It’ and ‘Too Late for Love’ the first thing that struck you was to ask how this was only the band’s 5th or 6th gig, they were tremendously tight, delivering the songs from Chez’s album with real confidence and belief. There were seven songs from the album, plus a cover of Mr Big’s ‘Daddy, Brother, Lover, Little Boy’, which was terrific, although part of me was slightly disappointed they didn’t use a drill for the intro. Next time, maybe. Of the songs from the album, ‘All of It’ and set closer’ Rocket on the Radio’ sounded particularly good live.  As for Chez herself, she’s a great singer, bringing to mid Pat Benatar and Vixen’s Janet Gardner, and with her second solo album in production and a headlining tour set for November, including a date at the Station in Cannock, based on tonight’s set, and what she’s achieved so far, there’s something a little special happening here.

CRAZY LIXX are also a band with influences heavily rooted in the hard rock bands of the 80s, and it was obvious from the start they were here to have fun, and would be doing their utmost to make sure the audience were as well. Singer Danny Rexon, guitarists Chrisse Olson and Jens Lundgren, and bassist Jens Anderson were all over the place, taking full advantage of the big stage KK’s can boast Oddly their live sound seemed much fuller and stronger than on record, although, again, KK’s is starting to gain a much-deserved name for having one of the best stage sounds in the country. Also, perhaps surprisingly, the band only included two songs from their new-ish album, Street Lethal, in a 14-song set. Being honest, it was a bit of a mixed set, some songs standing out more than others. ‘Wild Child’ was particularly good, and the slower ‘Children of the Cross’ had a pleasingly epic feel.

For ‘Walk the Wire’, Chez Kane came out to join the band to duet with Danny Rexon, which was another welcome variation, giving the song an extra dimension, then after ‘Silent Thunder’, Danny donned a fright mask and produced a knife shaped mic for ‘XIII’, from the Friday 13th video game, which earned a big reaction from the crowd. That seemed to be the end of the main set, as the band left the stage for several minutes, with a backing tape playing and KK’s screen displaying the band’s logo superimposed over a stars and stripes flag, until they appeared for a quick burst of ‘the Star Spangled Banner’, before tearing into ‘Anthem for America’, which in turn went into the band’s own anthem, ’21 ‘til I Die’, which included a quick burst of ‘Ain’t No Rest In Rock’n’Roll’, and an excellent Kiss-style fake ending.

This gig was great value for the money, and it was a pity it couldn’t go further around the country. It drew a decent crowd, who seemed to enjoy each band a lot, and there was a fair amount of good music to enjoy. It’s far too much fun not to want to do again.