This was one tour that I had been anticipating for quite a while, more so than many others that have travelled through Adelaide over the last few years. As a big fan of glam rock/hair metal of the 80s and early 90s, I was surprised to see this line-up coming to town. While many bands from the US rock scene of the era went on to have huge success internationally (Guns N Roses, Poison, Bon Jovi …just to name a few), there were so many other artists who released fantastic material at the time that didn’t fare so well longer term, or commercially in Australia. This is why I would certainly call the inaugural Glamfest a niche-genre show. Four of the bands included on the line-up (Tuff, Pretty Boy Floyd, Enuff Z’Nuff, and Faster Pussycat all had debut albums that I bought back in the day and absolutely loved! Hence my excitement!
The Adelaide gig was held on a very warm 37 degree day so by the time the doors opened after 4:30pm, the line-up of punters in leather pants, bandannas and cowboy boots were very hot, sweaty, and eager to get inside to enjoy the air-conditioned darkness of the Bridgeway Hotel’s main room.
As soon as the crowd began to file in, the first band, Sydney’s Crosson opened the show. With their catchy hard rock tunes and theatrical show which included two dancing girls and front-man Jason Crosson’s LED light up guitar, they were a suitable opening act for such a gig and they did a good job of capturing the crowd’s attention as they filed in.
The second Aussie band to feature at Glamfest were next up. Melbourne’s Sister’s Doll have played the Bridgeway a couple of times in the past and are a popular band already with the glam rock crowds around the country. They instantly worked the stage well as they always do, getting more of a crowd up to the front of the stage as they worked their way through songs from their first two albums as well as some from their forthcoming third. It’s always a blast seeing the three Mileto brothers proudly flying the glam rock flag and living the dream on stage.
After this, came the first international band of the night, Tuff. When their debut album What Comes Around Goes Around was released way back in 1991, I gave it a glowing review in Adelaide’s biggest street-press newspaper at the time and have continued to keep the band in my hair-metal playlists ever since. As I had yet to see Tuff perform live, their inclusion in the tour was one that I was very pleased about and they did not disappoint! Front-man Stevie Rachelle proved to still be a very entertaining performer whose onstage banter between songs was awesomely comical. Their set contained quite a few songs from their aforementioned debut album, including their power ballad I Hate Kissing you Goodbye, their tribute to rock n’ roll history The All-New Generation, and one of my favourites of the set Good Guys Wear Black. Tuff went down very well with the crowd and they ended their set with the perfect song for the occasion, their 2008 track American Hair Band which pays tribute to the scene we were celebrating at this gig.
The second LA band to make it to the stage were Pretty Boy Floyd. Despite their debut album Leather Boys with Electric Toys being released closer to the days of the grunge era, towards the end of the Hollywood glam hey-day, they had an over-the-top glam look complete with huge hair and lipstick, and thankfully, they have never strayed too far from their original influences and image. PBF were due to appear in Australia a couple of years ago to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this album but due to covid, this was one of many gigs to never happen. For tonight’s Glam Fest set however, we finally got to hear this tribute to that debut album as most of the songs from the set came from it. Pretty Boy Floyd seemed to get even more of the crowd down to the front of the stage as they opened with the crowd pleasing song Electric Boys with Electric Toys before getting through other classics including Rock and Roll (Is Gonna Set the Night on Fire), 48 Hours, their big power ballad I Wanna be with You and their cover of Motley Crue’s Toast of the Town. Steve Summers proved that he was still a very entertaining and energetic front-man despite having to deal with technical stage issues throughout the set as his microphone fell out of it’s cable on multiple occasions. When their set ended with one of their later songs Saturday Nite, Steve let the crowd know that he would be heading out right away to meet everyone when he left the stage. True to his word, Steve was very gracious, spending quite a bit of time by the merch stand, signing autographs and having his photo taken with fans.
Next was Enuff Z’Nuff. When they initially released their debut self-titled album back in 1989, they weren’t happy with being lumped into the glam-metal genre by their record company as they felt they were more of a power-pop band. They definitely had the look of a brightly coloured, psychedelic, long-haired rock n’ roll band though, plus they seem to still be a popular addition to any glam-metal line-up such as Glamfest!
The current line-up of Enuff Z’Nuff features founding member and bassist Chip Z’Nuff on lead vocals and bass, covering the absence of original vocalist Donnie Vie. Despite Chip not being the original vocalist on the classic recordings, it was amazing how similar his vocals sounded to the original releases. They opened their set with a cover of The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour due to the band releasing a Beatles/Paul McCartney tribute album in 2021. Tonight’s set included another two songs from this album, but the songs that appeared to be the most popular with the crowd were Enuff Z’Nuff’s early original songs including their hit ballad Fly High Michelle and their closing song New Thing (causing members of Pretty Boy Floyd to jump back up onstage to help with backing vocals).
The band featured on the line-up that seemed the most out of place to me initially was Eclipse. I was the least familiar with them compared to the other bands, plus they were the only international band not from the US, but from Sweden. Also, they didn’t seem to fit the glam metal mould as much as the other bands, being more melodic hard rock/AOR. Leading up to the tour, I did notice that there was quite a bit of support for Eclipse on social media so I was certainly excited to see their live show.
From their opening track Roses on Your Grave, they had the crowd on-board and showed that they had a very energetic and rocking set, particularly the way front-man Erik Mårtensson and bassist Victor Crusner used the large Bridgeway stage and interacted with each other and the crowd. By this point in the day, my ears had started ringing already and I was considering moving further from the stage for an ear-break but Eclipse were too entertaining not to remain where I was near the front. I just hoped that my ear-plugs could withhold the day!
Set highlights for me included their songs The Downfall of Eden and the set closer Viva La Victoria, which seemed to come around too quickly.
Right after Eclipse had vacated the stage, I was definitely in need of visiting the beer garden for an ear break. Not only had every band been REALLY loud, but with a DJ playing between the sets, there was no chance to reset or have a conversation break with any of the people I knew at the gig.
After this short rest, it was time to re-enter the main room for the set from Wednesday 13. A few minutes into this set, it was apparent that a lot of the punters were here for this. Wednesday 13 had everyone down the front of the stage and seemed to get the best crowd response of the day. Of course the band were all in typical horror glam/punk style with their ghoulish make up and a set list of songs that always make for a fantastic Halloween party playlist. The set contained classic Wednesday 13 songs including I walked with a Zombie and I Want you…Dead, new songs including the very catchy Good Day to be a Bad Guy, and some popular songs from Wednesday 13’s previous band Murderdolls including Nowhere and the set-closer I Love to Say Fuck, which had everyone singing along at full voice, featuring Wednesday 13 brandishing an umbrella with a giant middle finger emblazoned on it!
To finish off the day’s festivities, at close to midnight, Faster Pussycat hit the stage! This was the band featured in the line-up that I have been the biggest fan of for the longest time. In fact, my own band Trash City initially started as a FP tribute as we managed to include 8 songs from their debut album in our own set list! Their set started with the heavy groove of Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way from their second album Wake me When it’s Over. From there, the band worked their way through songs from various points in their career including Cathouse, Don’t Change that Song and Bathroom Wall from their self-titled debut, a cover of INXS’ Don’t Change and their latest single Like a Ghost. Some technical issues unfortunately caused the band to have to stop the set on a couple of occasions and front-man Taime Downe was certainly showing his frustration at he seemed to be having trouble hearing the mix from the stage at times. Thankfully this didn’t stop the band from powering through to the end of the set. Before they were done, their hit ballad House of Pain went down very well with the room as did their set-closer Babylon, also from their first album. Despite Taime being the last remaining original member of the band, the current line-up has been together for longer than the originals ever were and played the songs perfectly. Drummer Chad Stewart kept the groove perfectly with bassist Danny Nordahl, while guitarists Sam Koltun and Australia’s own Ronnie Simmons owned the stage and weaved together seamlessly.
At the end of Faster Pussycat’s set, as everyone filed out of the venue, there was a lot of talk between everyone about how great this event’s line-up was, and it seemed that a lot of people were hoping this could become an annual event, bringing a collection of relatively obscure glam metal acts to the country who may not be able to tour here on their own.
Silverback Touring have certainly been doing a great job of bringing a range of bands to the country that we haven’t had the chance to see here before. I would absolutely be one of the people who would love to see this particular event become an annual event. I can think of a lot of bands from this genre that I would love to see in Australia in the future!