Review & photos by Lisa Billingham
Following an awesome set at HRH United on Friday 13 March 2015, Hardcore Superstar found themselves at the Slade Rooms on Wednesday night amidst a reasonable crowd for a mid-week gig.
Hailing from Telford, opening band Wolff listed this as their biggest gig to date, and as is normal for a 4 band evening, they played to a small crowd. From the start it was a struggle. The stage was full of kit and apart from the drummer, the other 4 stood on a piece of stage no bigger than 6 ft long and 1 ft wide if that! Having said that they played well to band fans at the front of the stage who sang their way through melodic hardcore numbers such as ‘Wake Up’, ‘True Believers’ and ‘More Than A Man’.
It was a good set but suffered from long pauses between every track for retuning and little engagement with the audience. One to watch again once they’ve had more experience and hopefully the two guitarists will be able to play to the crowd rather than the back of the stage!
Gothenburg’s alternative punk rockers, Nitrodive then took to the stage. Another band new to me, but from the time the first note was struck, you knew instantly what was going to happen. With more room available to them, they strutted and bounded around the stage with ease. The crowd warmed to them very quickly, especially with their version of the Ramones classic ‘Blitzkrieg Bop’. Absobloodylutely fantastic is all I can say and Nitrodive gave it an off beat ending. Yes it’s a classic and yes it’s been covered to hell and back, but this version was something else. They similarly impressed with ‘Sunday’ and ‘Woman’ and their lead guitarist sums it all up perfectly with the tattoo on his arm….. “Whatever it takes”. Definitely one to catch next time around.
The Slade Rooms was filling up nicely by the time Bonafide came on and there is no getting away from the fact that I like this band. With the acclaimed Bombo (2013) and this year’s Devil Denims already getting some real decent reviews, you knew tonight was going to be good. Wolverhampton were lucky as Bonafide had a slightly longer set than normal tonight and their ten songs, which included ‘Dirtbound’, ’50/50′ and ‘No Doubt About It’, were played outstandingly well. You could see the rapport with the crowd and also between themselves; Pontus Snibb and guitarist Anders Rosell in particular. Playing one song after another with very little break in between, the crowd were revved up and enjoying every moment. Groove laden rock n roll with sleazy undertones is the way for Bonafide. Bass player, Martin Ekelund writhes about the stage, his long lean legs bending and twisting into all manner of shapes and then singing so close to his mic he sends the stand flying in all directions and rescuing it with his foot before it goes elsewhere. Bonafide never disappoint live and with ‘Fill Your Head With Rock’ as their final number, the crowd were on a high and ready for what was to follow.
The Sweet’s ‘Teenage Rampage’ plays over the PA heralding the entrance of Hardcore Superstar to the stage. Opening with, what I consider to be one of their best, ‘We Don’t Celebrate Sundays’ really got the crowd going. With their next album, HCSS, due out in April, vocalist Jocke Berg set the scene by saying that they were going to play some new stuff tonight and almost seemed apologetic for it. But at the end of the day, that’s how you get the new stuff out there, getting it played and getting it heard. It’s gotta be done! New songs such as ‘The Cemetery’, ‘Off With Their Heads’, ‘Touch The Sky’ and ‘Don’t Mean Shit’ (played at encore) are certain fireworks on this new album. You know what I mean …… light the blue tag and move back.
These guys were enjoying themselves so much it overspilled into the crowd who wanted more and more. Jocke made several trips to the pit barrier to connect with his fans and connect he did. ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ brought the inevitable girls on stage routine (which didn’t happen at HRH last weekend with the number of security guys in the pit). From what I heard tonight, and the crowd’s reaction to it, HCSS deserves to go viral on release.
All in all a brilliant night of music and one which I would happily do again……….now!!