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H.E.A.T @ JB's Dudley (24/5/10)

posted 25 Jul 2011, 14:34 by Paul Woodward
The opening band tonight is Invisible Idols, a Yorkshire based trio consisting of Matt Black (Vocals / Guitar), Joe Lally (Bass) & Damien Campbell (Drums). The band has a modern rock sound with classic rock influences and an ear for melodic rock. The band manage to gel a few different styles to give them a relevant contemporary sound but also show enough smooth melody in their music to appeal to AOR fans. I have to say I was well impressed with these guys; Matt Black has a strong voice and actually would be the perfect front man for an out and out AOR band. Joe & Damien, give Matt the backing he needs to give the songs some power and energy and give the band that classic rock style groove and swagger. As a young band it will be interesting to see how this band develops, I’m sure these guys would go down a treat with the average Classic Rock magazine reader, if they got the right break these guys have the potential to be huge. I can’t believe these guys were handing out their CD’s for free tonight - The mad bastards!!!!

The band got a decent amount of time on stage to air their music, and we got songs like “Highway Child”, “No More Lies”, “Dance With The Devil”, insanely catchy radio friendly “If You Love Me” and powerful ballad “Forever With Me”. Although the band played to a small audience they did get good reactions from those in attendance applauding and making their voices heard. Matt even raised a chuckle from those watching when after he’d thanked everybody he announced tongue in cheek “we’re not doing this for the applause we’re doing this for the cash”! hahaha! They then rounded their set off with Melodic Rock classic “Once Is Not Enough” which obviously got this crowd going. I really do hope the band trek back down to midlands again; I can’t recommend checking these guys out enough.

I had briefly checked out second support band Neonfly’s music on myspace and wasn’t impressed at all; I just thought it was a noisy thrash metal affair. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the band, I’m not going to rush out and buy their CD’s as it’s bit too metallic for my tastes but I found them an entertaining band to watch perform and their music definitely came across better live. Style wise I would say they are more of a symphonic metal style band but not as aggressive and heavy as most of them, I found them more akin to Powerquest. The band did seem to get a quieter reaction from the crowd, but there was a few young girls down the front loving every minute of the set and singing every word back at the band! Maybe us old AOR fogies’ are getting too set in our ways to appreciate heavier styles of rock.
They also got a decent set length to do their thing and I have to say played as though they were playing to a larger and more receptive crowd, which obviously made them more interesting to watch perform. Amongst their set list were “The Moment”, “Broken Wings”, “Fury”, “I Think I Saw A UFO” and “Ship With No Sails” which the singer dedicated to the memory of Ronnie James Dio. The song that stood out for me was the keyboard heavy rocker “World On Fire”, in fact I wouldn’t mind tracking this song down at some point, But the singer introduced this song with “This is for the ladies” so I may have to track it down subtly, commando style and have my excuse ready to fire just in case of capture “What? it’s not for me it’s for the Wife / Girlfriend / Favourite Prostitute (which ever comes to mind first!)”.

The UK leg of the H.E.A.T tour has been plagued by rumours and bad luck, first there was rumblings of trouble within the band and that lead singer Kenny Leckremo would be leaving the band soon, a few days prior to the UK leg of this tour. Then after arriving late in Nottingham for the first UK show the band played for only 45 minutes, which lead to a lot of ill feeling from fans that night which lead to more negativity and rumours of onstage tension and band turmoil. So what should I expect tonight? I have to say I was a little worried that tonight was going to be a major let down from a band which has built up an amazing reputation as kick ass live band.

The turnout tonight I don’t think was that bad considering it was a Monday and England were playing on the TV with it been world cup year I’m sure many fair-weather fans would choose the match. I do however feel that all the negativity and uncertainty of tonight’s performance, not just set length but in quality as well, did make some fans keep their hard earned cash in their pockets and contribute to a low attendance. Having said that though, H.E.A.T is not the draw some people mistakenly think they are. I love the band and I’ll always be first in line to see them live and their new album “Freedom Rock” I’m sure will get stuck in my stereo this summer, BUT the band are not going to attract larger audiences than Winger or Y&T as much as we diehard’s would love them too! So we just have to make the most of these gigs when they come, because you never know if you will ever get an opportunity to see a lot of these Melodic Rock / AOR bands LIVE again. We’re a dying breed so let’s ROCK! while we can.

From my perspective in my usual favourite spot at my second home I could sense no tension between any of the members of the band, in fact they all seemed to be having a whale of time and Kenny was all smiles and a very vocal and interactive front man, so where these rumours come from I have no idea. If this is a troubled band they hide it very well. The band did only play a 70 minute set, but it was a full on high energy set and I’m sure many would have liked another 20 minutes, but there is no denying what an exciting and enjoyable live act these guys are regardless of set length.

The band came onstage following their usual intro tape of “The Heat Is On” by Glenn Frey to kick off the night with “There For You” to cheers and whoops from the small but excitable crowd. After the applause dies down Kenny takes this opportunity to tell us that this is the venue he’s been most looking forward to playing and they all love JB’s, with this been the bands third trip to the venue they know first hand what a kick ass venue this is and the regulars who turn out always make their voices heard! This statement probably got the loudest roar of the night! There ain’t no denying the loyalty and appreciation of this venue shown by the regulars time and again!

As a young band these guys are very active on stage and throw themselves into entertaining performances and Kenny takes every opportunity to encourage and include the crowd in sing-along’s. Next up we get “Late Night Lady” which is greeted like an old friend by everyone then following that we discover new song “Black Night” was written with Tobias Sammett of Edguy fame - the band they supported at their first appearance here at JB’s! One of my favourites “Straight For The Heart” comes earlier in their set than I expected and it gets everyone singing along and the band’s performance here just shows why fans of this band love them so intensely. Next we get the high tempo melodic rock goodness of “Bring The Stars”, insanely catchy “Everybody Wants To be Someone” from the new album which whilst new to me seemed familiar to everyone around me so got just as good a crowd interaction as all the debut album songs.

They mix up old and new songs without disrupting the energy of the set and given the bands knack of writing instant and catchy commercial melodic rock the new songs fit in like classic standards. As they continue the set with “Straight Up”, “Make It Till the End” & “Never Let Go” which had everyone singing and dancing. Kenny then introduced “1,000 Miles” and asked the crowd to make enough noise so that it sounded like there was 10,000 packed in, the crowd duly responded and they lifted the roof off as the band tore through one of the most commercial slabs of melodic rock of recent times! Definitely a high point in the set for me.

The band kept up the energy as they rounded off their set with “Feel It Again” & “Beg Beg Beg” and not allowing for one minute the crowd to calm down as they continued to keep JB’s rockin’. The band left the stage to a rapturous applause which didn’t stop, even though my hands were starting to sting, until they came back onstage for the solitary encore of “Keep On Dreaming” which has quickly become an anthem to many diehard melodic rock and AOR fans, and was sang along to loudly by the JB’s faithful.
An absolutely stunning rock and roll show which everyone enjoyed, it’s gigs like this that will get me out to as many gigs as possible time after time, does it really get much better than this (or sweatier?)! I hope the band continue to build their fan base and continue to tour the UK when opportunity rises, surely given the right promotion this bands commercial radio friendly melodic rock should see them playing to larger audiences in the future. To my fellow melodic rock & AOR diehard fans out there KEEP ON DREAMING! We’re not going anywhere quietly!