WEDNESDAY 13 HEADLINES ECLECTIC LINE-UP
Outside the Electric Ballroom venue in Camden, fans of the night’s headlining act Wednesday 13 were queuing up at 2pm — a full four hours before the doors opened. Anticipation was in the air for sure, but it wasn’t just all for the headliner, eyes were are also on support acts CrashDiet and Michael Monroe. So it came as no surprise to hear that the night’s show was a sell-out and those lucky enough to have tickets were in for a treat.
There was something mysterious about the smoking barrels positioned at either end of the stage for the first act, and one thing’s for sure, Swedish sleaze outfit CrashDiet set the ‘grave yard’ tone perfectly for the horror rock occasion. Kicking off with “Rebel”, it was clear from the audience’s immediate reaction that this was not just some standard support act and they are well known in this town. Rocking their way through a miniscule set of classics from their ‘Generation Wild’ album, including the melodic “Alive”, it wasn’t long before frontman Simon Cruz whipped out his harmonica (an element that sets this band apart from the rest) for a rendition of “Native Nature”. Overall, a tight set was played, with shit loads of energy and plenty of rock star attitude.
For those in the know, this night was special for the hardcore fans of Michael Monroe, and by no means was it an average night for the man himself or his killer line-up either, because this day marked what would have been Nicholas ‘Razzle’ Dingley‘s birthday (former Hanoi Rocks drummer who lost his life in 1985). It was so special in fact that two girls from Sweden, who eventually pushed their way to the front, flew over especially to mark the occasion — “Michael Monroe is my hero, we couldn’t make it to the show he did in Germany, so we flew over for this instead!”
Storming straight into the killer opener “Trick Of The Wrist”, Michael Monroe and the boys demonstrated best how rock n’ roll is done! Word for word, with gang vocals aplenty, the crowd sang along with the God of glam to this anthemic song that best describes him. It was cold outside, but inside temperatures reached a record high as the band hit “Malibu Beach” and rolled into “Mystery City” — a Hanoi Rocks classics that sent the crowd into complete ‘overdrive’. With the amount of comical hat swapping going on, it was clear that Michael Monroe has handcrafted a hat band and not a hair band, for sure.
Oozing with energy and showmanship as he ran from side to side of the stage, hi-kicked, jumped, hi-fived fans and even did the splits at one point, the sweat-soaked energy pouring out of this man was incredible, and the amount of crowd pleasing being served up here almost led you to believe Michael Monroe was headlining! Playing a handful of favorites off this year’s pivotal release, including the superb “’78” and the sensational “Bombs Away”, it was no wonder Monroe‘s ‘Sensory Overdrive’ claimed Classic Rock Magazine’s 2011 Album of the Year.
With dedications aplenty — “Hammersmith Palais” was devoted to the one and only Razzle — encore after encore, the night’s set was just one big bag of treats, “Taxi Driver” proved the father of all — with Monroe performing in true camaraderie style and guitarists Steve Conte (former New York Dolls) and Dregen (Backyard Babies) delivered each and every chord in their usual trademark, effortless cool fashion. Ending on a high and dedicating “Dead, Jail Or Rock And Roll” (from Monroe‘s ‘Not Fakin’ It’ CD) to Razzle, the room descended into one big birthday party and the bromantic bond between Monroe and each of the boys was electric — one that Razzle would’ve been proud of.
As the lights went out, ready for the headlining act Wednesday 13, the room ignited with “Blood Fades To Black” and screams crescendoed into a dynamic range akin to an arena show. Ready to rock the crypt, five figures appeared crashing straight into anthemic opener “Calling All Corpses” — an instant crowd pleasure to say the least. “Scream Baby Scream” and “Silver Bullets” already proved big hits from the new album, and lyric for lyric the crowd sang along with the God of ghoul. The same reaction was prevalent when earlier favorites from 2005’s ‘Fang Bang’ were reincarnated into “Home Sweet Homicide” and “Happily Ever Cadaver”.
With theatrical prop in hand (a spade sporting a skull on top), and in true B-movie style, it was the ghoulish rendition of “Put Your Death Mask On” where the magic really kicked in — and just like any classic entertainer, Wednesday 13 did everything with sharp wit… “Hello, my name is Wednesday 13 and THIS is the rock n’ roll show!” he announced. Bringing the night’s Halloween reprise to an apocalyptic end, and leaving the crowd like zombies hungry for more, a cover of the Murderdolls‘ “197666” went down a spooktastic treat, while the encores “Bad Things” and “Something Wicked Comes This Way” were plated in gold.
Completing perhaps the most eclectic line-up ever — with CrashDiet‘s ’80s-style sleaze, Michael Monroe‘s punk-fuelled glam and Wednesday 13‘s horror-punk hooks — it was hard to believe a show like this could ever work, but it certainly did and it was clear from the reaction of the Electric Ballroom’s full house that they agreed.