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Jaded Heart @ JB's Dudley (16/5/10)

posted 25 Jul 2011, 14:25 by Paul Woodward   [ updated 25 Jul 2011, 14:27 ]
I’m a big fan of Midlands based melodic rockers Seven Dayz who are tonight’s opening band, so I was really looking forward to another chance to see them.  It’s been a while since I saw them at The Tackeroo last summer, but they do gig as regularly as they can in the Midlands.  I have seen them once before at JB’s supporting Danny Vaughn, but that seems a lifetime ago now.

Considering the headline act have become more of a melodic metal band in recent years and the other support Crimes Of Passion being metal, I was curious how the band would approach this set.  I thought the band would concentrate on their heavier and more groove laden songs so as to not fall upon deaf ears with the crowd. They didn’t, they just dished out what they thought was a strong set, which was risky but they pulled it off!

The band obviously has performing their music down to a fine art and come across really confidently. They are probably more used to smaller stages, but really made the most of their short set, delivering song after song with confidence to a receptive but small crowd. John as always puts on a show as the frontman and enjoys every moment of it as he struts around the stage. Although as he doubles up on keyboards, I think if they could find a dedicated keyboard player it would allow the band to have keys throughout the set and also free John up to concentrate on been the frontman, however this didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the set. Having said that, decent rock keyboard players are a very rare commodity these days - well at least within the Melodic Rock community anyway!

I’m more and more impressed with guitarist Steve Grocutt every time I see him play, I think he excels on the more melodic and AOR style songs in the band's repertoire, and he delivers some great riffs and fantastic melodic solos. Meanwhile Andy Pierce (drums), Dave Wasson (guitar) and Bolty (bass) keep it really tight and the songs come across fantastically well, garnering lots of cheers and applause.  I had worried that JBs, which tends to favour heavier bands in its sound system, may not show the band at its best, and whilst the band did have a bigger slightly ballsier sound than previously, it was never at the cost of the melodies and harmonies the band creates seemingly so effortlessly.

They kicked off with "Signs" which is a great rocker to kick start with and its huge melodic chorus does grab people’s attention. It was the following two songs that really got me rockin’ though, the back to back melodic bliss of "Talk To Me" and "Say You Will".  I seriously cannot wait for their debut album to be released as these two songs are just a melodic rock fan's paradise!

"Natural" has become a constant in the band’s set, it showcases their ability to rock but combines it with an insanely huge and melodic chorus.

Seven Dayz then beef things up a little bit for a trio of songs with a little more groove and bite, "Do It Again" , "Screaming" which is a vastly improved re-working of an old song called "Talk To The Hand" and the dark and quirky "Strange Girl".  They decided to finish their set with two covers of the melodic rock classics "Forever Young" by Tyketto and "Once Is Not Enough" by Von Groove.  John did promise from the stage that they would be back to JBs in the not too distant future, a promise I hope they keep.

A fantastic band that are a great live act who will hopefully continue to keep the British melodic rock flag flying for a long time!
 
Tonight’s turnout wasn’t too good, but the melodic rock diehards turned up as they always do.  Jaded Heart have been around for a long time and have built up a loyal following in the melodic rock scene. I’ve been an avid fan of the band ever since I had their "Mystery Eyes" album was recommended to me.

They have constantly evolved their sound over the years, with their recent output being more melodic metal than melodic rock, but they have still managed to bring established fans along with them for the ride.

I did think their more contemporary metal style may have broadened their fan base and made a bigger crowd, unfortunately the young metal heads I had expected present weren’t there, shame really as this band would go down a treat with Kerrang readers!

Tonight’s gig was a rare opportunity to see JH live, and I wasn’t missing it for no one. I knew tonight’s set would concentrate mostly on the more metal orientated Jaded Heart material rather than a retrospective of the band’s career and I wasn’t wrong as most the material was from the past 3 albums since Johan Fahlberg took up vocal duties.

I’m so glad I made this gig; the band really can cut it live, with a full on entertaining set by all. Johan is an absolutely fantastic and charismatic front man, who demanded the crowd’s attention effortlessly and got it! His vocals throughout the night were on the button, but he still threw himself about the stage at every opportunity and given the guy’s height he comes across visually imposing. When he lets his hair fly I did get a little worried he was going to get caught in the JBs rafters! A top notch commanding front man!

The band as a whole put on great performances and were all very vocal and interacting with the audience, they were determined to get everybody enjoying themselves and getting their hands in the air.

I was really impressed with keyboardist Henning Wanner when I saw him at JBs performing with White Lion, and he did so again tonight putting on a performance from behind his instrument and working the crowd up at every opportunity.

As the longest standing members of the band Michael Muller (bass) and Axel Kruse (drums) made the rhythm section near faultless and years of playing together were plainly evident as the pair give the band the big backing sound they needed. New boy Peter Ostros on guitar played fantastically and seemed like the quiet one of the bunch, but he still created those big metal riffs!

They opened the set with "Love Is A Killer", "Fly Away" and "Justice Is Deserved", which set up the night and I knew then that this was going to be a killer set and performance. All three songs came across exceedingly well, with lots of energy and the big riffs that got the crowd rockin’, but with those insanely catchy melodies at the forefront constantly reminding you of the quality of this band’s talent.

Given that these are my favourites of the recent Jaded Heart material they couldn’t have kicked the set off with a bigger bang and it seemed to get the very noisy crowd quite excited!

Considering the turnout, the noise everyone made was incredible; it’s something I’m starting to think of as the JBs factor. Looking around myself at the start of the night (and I’m sure many others did too) it looked like it was going to be a quiet one tonight – I was very wrong. The band have a great sense of humour and whilst many of the jokes may have been in-jokes like a rather worrying one about zippers between Michael and Johan, their jovial nature added to a relaxed but enjoyable performance.

They continue to capitalise on the atmosphere they had created, throwing at us "Somewhere", "Rising", a surprise inclusion of oldie but goodie "The Journey Will Never End", "Tonight", "Going Under" and "Blood Stained Lies".

It was during the middle of the set that Johan passed onto us the extremely sad news of the passing of metal icon Ronne James Dio, which led to a sombre air around the venue at the knowledge of the loss of a true icon of music regardless of genre.  R.I.P. Ronnie James Dio.

The band pushed on with "Sinister Mind" and my highlight of the set "Tomorrow Comes" which has a fantastic sing-along chorus! Anastasia cover "Paid My Dues" also got aired and believe me it works a lot better than you’d think, but of course, the original sucks ass. Don’t be too shocked by that cover version revelation as they’ve done a few unusual ones in their time including "Larger Than Life" by The Backstreet Boys!

"Hero" from the sinister mind album closes the set before the band head for a short break, drummer Axel Kruse doesn’t even make it off stage as he takes to the mic to wind the crowd up to make enough noise to get the band back on stage, and with the band’s jovial nature at the response they took to the stage for the encore, proving the serious lack of ego’s here tonight.

They then blasted us with the anthemic "Freedom Call". Johan then asked everyone to raise their glasses for the final song "Feels Like Home" as they tore into this full-on rocking sing-a-long classic which finished the night on a real feel good high, even though the band were worried about the planned BA strikes and if they’d be getting back home!

To add to the party atmosphere of the final song, the stage was invaded by a few members of support band Crimes Of Passion, who financed and organised this mini tour. Johan thanked everyone for coming out and seeing the band, which was cool as the band acknowledged their die-hard fans that had turned up.

It was a fantastic show and unfortunately I think the only time we’ll ever see the band in the UK, so if you missed this tour you really did miss out!
 
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