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Skid Row / Backyard Babies / H.E.A.T. / Vega (Sheffield Review) http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/74/9c/ff/Skid-Row-Sheffield-2019-Live-Thumb-53-1551724910.jpg Hot

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Skid Row / Backyard Babies / H.E.A.T. / Vega (Sheffield Review) - O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) - 23 January 2019

In the same week that we received the sad news that Rockingham would not be taking place this year, a mini Melodic Rock festival rolled into town. Now, it's not strange to have three or four bands touring together; however, what is unusual is to have four bands of such a high calibre on the same bill. Another bonus was that I bought my tickets on Black Friday last year, when Ticketmaster were having a two-for-one sale; an absolute steal at just £14.

Being a hometown gig I was able to leave work and get to the venue early doors, so ensuring I got to see the whole of Vega's short, thirty minute set. Fortunately, quite a few others had a similar idea, meaning that Vega had a decent crowd to perform for. They wasted no time and crammed in seven fantastic songs from their impressive back catalogue, starting with the recent set opener 'Lets Have Fun Tonight'. 'Kiss Of Life' is still as impressive today as it was when first released nine years ago! Vega certainly could take the credit for being the "warm-up" act, as it was freezing cold when we first entered the venue, but they were cooking on gas by the time they hit their finale of 'White Flag' and 'Saving Grace', even finding time for a brief sing-a-long.


Vega Sheffield 2019 Live

Setlist: Let's Have Fun Tonight / Explode / Kiss Of Life / Every Little Monster / Worth Dying For / White Flag / Saving Grace

I've often found it a little pretentious when fans say that they just went to see the support band and they blew the headliners off stage. This evening I joined the pompous group, although to say I was a tad biased would be like saying that Mohammed Ali could box a bit! Swedish Melodic Rockers H.e.a.t hit the stage to a hero's reception as they tore into 'Bastard Of Society'. There were a few people around me who had never seen them before, and you could see their jaws drop whilst watching Eric Grönwall bounce across the stage. The charismatic front-man spent a large part of the set at the front barrier and indeed even ventured into the audience at one stage. However, despite Grönwall being the focal point, H.e.a.t are more than just the enigmatic front man; guitarist Dave Dalone, drummer Crash, bassist Jimmy Jay and keyboard player Jona Tee are a band as tight as a duck's arse. They are also backed up with an arsenal of fantastic anthems. 'Emergency' kept up the early momentum, before the ultimate one-two combination of 'Redefined' and 'Living On The Run'. The former song divided H.e.a.t fans when it was first released, but the latter is undeniably one of the Melodic Rock anthems of the twenty-first century. 'Beg Beg Beg' is always a great live song, and this evening contained snippets of AC/DC's 'Whole Lotta Rosie' and Janis Joplin's 'Piece Of My Heart'. That just left time for another fan-favourite and terrific anthem, 'A Shot Of Redemption'. The temperature may have been below freezing, but the aptly named H.e.a.t had just taken it to boiling point inside the Academy.

HEAT Sheffield 2019 Live

Setlist: Bastard Of Society / Emergency / Redefined / Living On The Run / It's All About Tonight / Beg Beg Beg [with parts of AC/DC's Whole Lotta Rosie and Janis Joplin's Piece of My Heart] / A Shot At Redemption

The Sex Pistol's 'Friggin' In The Riggin' (a song I have not heard since I was at school) heralded the arrival of Swedish Sleaze/Punk rockers Backyard Babies. I appeared to be in the minority, this being my first time both seeing and hearing the Backyard Babies. There was still a tremendous atmosphere inside the venue, however, not the feel-good factor of H.e.a.t, but a more serious attitude-fuelled ambience. Initially, I was unimpressed but as the set progressed I found myself warming to the sleazy rockers.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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It was obvious that this was not their first rodeo, the tight rhythm section of Johan Blomqvist (bass) and Peder Carlsson (drums) ably supporting the striking guitarist/singer Nicke Borg and guitarist Dregen (also famed for being in Swedish legends The Hellacopters). The aforementioned rhythm section left the stage and left the guitarists to perform alternative versions of 'A Song For The Oucast' and 'Roads'. The memorable songs for me were the new single 'Shovin' Rocks', 'Heaven 2.9' and 'Th1rte3n Or Nothing'. Backyard Babies are a band all about attitude and tattoos, both of which they have in abundance.


Backyard Babies Sheffield 2019 Live

Setlist: Good Morning Midnight / Look At You / Dysfunctional Professional / Shovin' Rocks / Nomadic / Highlights / Heaven 2.9 / A Song For The Outcast / Roads / Minus Celsius / Th1rte3n Or Nothing / Abandon / Brand New Hate

The intro-tape of The Ramones' classic 'Blitzkrieg Bop' saw New Jersey's Skid Row hit the stage, as they launched into 'Slave To The Grind'. 'Let's Go' and 'Psycho Love' kept the pedal firmly pressed to the metal, but the atmosphere, which had been fantastic all evening, ramped up a further notch with the classic '18 And Life', the crowd almost out-singing ZP Theart. The South African front-man was impressive throughout, and did justice to the old classics and fan-favourites 'Piece Of Me', 'Monkey Business', 'I Remember You' and arguably the heaviest song of the whole evening 'Livin' On A Chain Gang'. Original members, bassist Rachel Bolan and guitarist Snake Sabo, both took time to address the crowd, and endeared themselves further by name-checking Sheffield's finest, Def Leppard. It was not just an easy way of currying favour with the already partisan audience, as they were genuinely fans of Leppard, and saw them as role models who taught them humility. Bolin took lead vocals for a cover of The Ramones' 'Psycho Therapy' (difficult chorus to remember that one). The line-up is completed by lead guitarist, Scotti Hill (who looks like Sabo's evil twin), who has also been in the band from the beginning, and drummer Rob Hammersmith. Following 'Makin' A Mess' the band left the stage briefly before returning for a four-song encore. We may all be thirty-two years older, but we are all still collectively the 'Youth Gone Wild'.


Skid Row Sheffield 2019 Live

Setlist: Slave To The Grind / Let's Go / Psycho Love / Big Guns / 18 And Life / Piece Of Me / Livin' On A Chain Gang / Psycho Therapy / I Remember You / Monkey Business / Makin' a Mess
Encore: We Are the Damned / Ghost / Forever / Youth Gone Wild

Review and photos by Mark Donnelly

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