HRH AOR – On the Road – London – O2 Academy Islington
The "HRH AOR – On the Road" tour package, which consists of The Texas Flood (UK), Bonafide (SE), Hardcore Superstar (SE), and The Quireboys (UK), recently hit the O2 Academy Islington in London and provided hours of great and adrenaline-fueled entertainment. Well, most of them did, but I will get back to that later on.
By the time we arrived at the venue, The Texas Flood were half-way through the first song of the night, and this particular trio turned out to be the highlight of the evening for me. They had a groovy and southern-like sound and vibe that instantly appealed to me, and there were nods to ZZ Top, Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, and the likes. You could tell that they were having fun on stage, and musically they were tight. There was one song in particular that really stood out, namely the anthem-like and instantly catchy "Let the Wind Blow". Before we all knew it, The Texas Flood were done and left the stage, which was a damn shame. I would have loved a longer set.
The Swedish outfit Bonafide is one of the better hard rock bands from Scandinavia in my opinion, and they did not disappoint the London crowd on this particular night. They performed a few songs off the album entitled "Denim Devils" ("One Kiss" and "50/50" if I remember correctly), which sounded really good. Great musicianship all around and you can tell that the members of the band are passionate about what they do and what they play. Tight and solid all the way through not to mention fun to watch. A cool performance.
Hardcore Superstar were simply awesome to watch and listen to. High-octane riffs, great vocals, a highly enthusiastic drummer, wicked solos, and a long line of groovy bass lines. Yes sir, Hardcore Superstar knew exactly how to whip the London crowd into a frenzy. These guys were all energy throughout, and never once did they let up. Not only do they have a bunch of great songs and albums to their name, but also charisma. Vocalist Jocke Berg was at the top of his game at the O2 Academy, that is for damn sure. "Touch the Sky", "Moonshine", and "We Don`t Celebrate Sundays" were some of the highlights of the evening. In terms of energy, intensity, aggression, and sheer joy, Hardcore Superstar simply ruled the stage and the audience with a hard-rocking iron fist. Loud, fast, and dangerous! Fuck yeah!
The Quireboys were quite big back in the day, and a lot of people have told me that they can still deliver the goods on stage nowadays, but, frankly speaking, they were extremely…well, boring and unengaging to watch, to be perfectly honest with you. They can handle their instruments well and all of that, but it was as if they were neither emotionally invested in their song material nor particularly keen on playing their tunes on this particular night. It all looked and sounded routine-like. Spike, the vocalist, did the best he could to get the crowd going, but I think that many of us felt that The Quireboys were a total letdown and somewhat anti-climactic following The Texas Flood, Bonafide, and, especially, Hardcore Superstar. Songs such as "Too Much of a Good Thing", "There She Goes Again", "Mona Lisa Smiled", "7 O’clock", and "I Don’t Love You Anymore" were played, but, again, the show never really turned into something fascinating, captivating, or cool. Maybe next time around.