A last minute call to cover this show left me slightly unaware of what to expect from this evening. Sure, I remembered the Finnish bands success at Eurovision back in 2006, and I remember sitting outside the tent they played in at Donington that year whilst having my Sunday dinner, but that was about as far as I went with Lordi, so I was intrigued to see what the night had in store.
I got to the The Ritz just in time for the opening band, Hostile. Initial thoughts were that the West Midlands mob seemed to have a big love for ‘Cowboys From Hell’ era Pantera, right down to frontman Jay Mills’ hairstyle and stage manner. All thoughts of this are pushed to one side after a few songs as the band settle into their set. The crowd are appreciative from the off and the response and they only got louder as the set went on. The band threw in a cover of Judas Priest classic ‘Breaking The Law’ (KK Downing was involved in the recording of their recent debut, and also wrote a song for them ‘Addiction’ which is also given an airing) to their collection of bruising 90‘s style metal. From the crowd reaction this is a band that could really be onto something. The last couple of songs only drew a bigger crowd and better responses and the band left the stage after a triumphant half hour set, one of the best I have seen from an opening band in a long time. A band worth checking out!
Up next were Italian Power Metal five-piece Kaledon, almost a total opposite style to the previous band. With huge melodies, songs about evil and solos which contained more notes that most bands careers, the ridiculously OTT Romans (check out their concept at www.kaledon.com for this) go about playing a set culled from their fifteen year career. Technically very proficient, and very tight live, their confidence and stage presence shines through. Vocalist Marco Palazzi has a strong voice and big range and leads the band through several massive sounding tunes. As with the first band, the crowd response is excellent and the band definitely feel the enthusiasm of the fans and vice versa. Granted, I don’t know much about Power Metal, but these were pretty damn good.
Lordi took the stage after quite a long changeover and immediately burst into life, bringing the crowd with them. The venue may not be huge, but they make the most of the stage in this theatrical and funny ninety minutes. The nineteen song set flows along with short sketches taking place whilst most of the band went offstage for several well earned breaks. These skits included solos, a beheading and fixing the “Scarbie” doll Ms Hella during a keyboard led intro which keeps going out of tune. Lordi set out to entertain, and they do this and much more. Random guests join the band onstage, a harlequin with circular saw codpiece headbanging during ‘This Is Heavy Metal’ and “fans” joining the band onstage for photos with Mr Lordi during ‘I’m The Best’.
The crowd continued to be on as good form as the bands, joining in when asked to and showing a lot of love for the headliners. With heavy yet catchy tunes show that the band aren’t afraid to wear obvious influences of KISS, GWAR, Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper on their costumed sleeves. A mixture of hard rock and heavy metal, both musically and lyrically. They may never be taken as totally seriously, and that is not the point, but this form shows that they should be remembered for more than just their Eurovision win. I have been converted, will definitely head to see them next time they come over. Three very different bands and three very different sets, but all them added up to an excellent evenings entertainment.
Intro – We’re Not Bad For The Kids (We’re Worse) – Bringing Back The Balls To Rock – The Riff – Who’s Your Daddy? – Blood Red Sandman – Schizo Doll – This Is Heavy Metal – Something Wicked This Way Comes – It Snows In Hell – Drum Solo – Supermonstars (The Anthem Of The Phantoms) – I’m The Best – Guitar Solo – They Only Come Out At Night – Devil Is A Loser
Encore: Hulking Dynamo – Hard Rock Hallelujah – Sincerely With Love – Would You Love A Monsterman?
Photos taken by Sabrina Ramdoyal.