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Gig ReviewsReviews

H.E.A.T. @ Jive, Adelaide 11/09/2022

This is one gig I was quite excited to get to. Initially a double bill of Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T and Crazy Lixx, these were two bands I wasn’t sure I would ever get to see live in Australia. Thankfully we have promotors in this country who have survived the last couple of years and are still willing and able to take some risks and bring out some bands that don’t necessarily have a large commercial following here in Australia. Thank you, Silverback Touring, for this one!

Unfortunately Crazy Lixx dropped out of the tour quite late in the game but after initially being disappointed, my excitement grew quickly again as I continued to read so many glowing reviews of H.E.A.T’s live performances leading up to this night.

There was a lot of buzz about the band coming from social media, particularly once the tour progressed through the other states, before they finished their run here in Adelaide.

The gig in Adelaide was held at Jive, which is a great but somewhat intimate rock venue. There was most certainly a great vibe in the venue as everyone here seemed to be very keen to see out the weekend with a rock gig, before heading back to reality on the Monday. There was a lot of talk amongst the crowd about the great show they were expecting from H.E.A.T.

The beauty of getting to catch some of these tours in Adelaide, rather than a larger city, is that as a punter, you get to see the band in a more intimate setting, up nice and close. I would recommend more people from Melbourne and Sydney get tickets to Adelaide gigs! Who knows which bands you may never get to see in these smaller settings again! Despite this being a more intimate gig, it wasn’t lacking in enthusiasm from the crowd or in atmosphere at all.

Opening the show was Melbourne’s Wicked Smile, fronted by ex-Pegasus vocalist Danny Cecati. With big powerful vocals, riffing guitars, and a super melodic rock style, they sure suited opening for H.E.A.T and went down very well with the crowd.

The second support act was Cassidy Paris. As soon as Wicked Smile finished their set, half the band left the stage while the other half stayed on as Cassidy’s backing band (including her dad Steve on guitar), without a break between sets. Cassidy’s set showed her give a great high-energy youthful rock performance which showcased her songs nicely and further amped the crowd up for the main event. It’s great to see younger rock artists still coming through the music scene.

H.E.A.T kicked off their set at full speed with One by One from their 2020 album H.E.A.T II. Almost right away singer Kenny Leckremo had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he was a ball of energy from start to finish. Despite H.E.A.T being a melodic rock band, often known for the odd power ballad, their set did not contain one mellow tune or a single moment to catch your breath, they just ripped through a great set of big anthems with huge choruses and tons of energy. The next couple of songs also came from their 2020 album with Rock your Body and Dangerous Ground. The first song from new album Force Majeure was Hollywood which seemed to go down just as well as the material from their earlier albums. A definite highlight from the set for me was 1000 Miles from their self-titled 2008 debut album, although the set as a whole, which contained a good mix of songs from their career so far, didn’t have a low point to contrast this with.

By the time the band had worked their way through their set of 17 or so songs, they must have been exhausted. Not only had Kenny managed to keep his energy at 110% for the full set but Jimmy Jay on bass and guitarist Dave Dalone kept up the pace with him at the front of the stage. Rounding out the line-up was keyboardist Jona Tee, whose big synth chords were certainly a major part of the signature melodic H.E.A.T sound and Don Crash on the drums, who looked to be a sweaty mess by the time A Shot at Redemption closed out the set.

From the look of the big smiles on the faces of the band members and also on the faces of the crowd, I think it’s safe to say everybody in attendance had a great night at this gig and it would not surprise me at all if H.E.A.T returned to Australia for a second time within the next few years and played to even bigger audiences here.

To the rock fans who considered catching H.E.A.T but ultimately decided not to go, I hope you do get another chance because this is one band that really puts on a killer show that you don’t want to miss twice.

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Album ReviewReviews

Wicked Smile – Wait For The Night

A wealth of musical experience, a writhing powerhouse of talented individuals, a collective passion for metal and heavy rock, all culminate into this brutally brilliant debut release that is certain to bring a wicked smile to your dial.

Wait for the Night has been a long time in the making and one can only imagine the volume of songs that were left in the wake of this debut album that did not make it to the final cut, because it is immediately evident that Wicked Smile has been thoroughly ruthless in getting this collection just right. 

With the opener sporting a mighty metal title like Date with the Devil, my malevolent mosh monster within expects big things from the first track.This band realises that we purists are sure to play the collection in sequence and there is only one chance for first impressions, but then the album cover makes clear that there is an OG aspect to this mighty debut album.The whole package harks back to the days of exploring a record in the sequenced order presented, just as the band intended whilst the listener stares at the cover, enjoying every aspect of the experience.As the muffled bass intro rises from the depths and surfaces through to our mortal dimension, a devil indeed rises to the fore. The accompanied by a blistering guitar salute, a malign and maniacal dance ensues, doubtless marking that our date with the demon has begun.With Stevie, Glen, Dave, and Jason in full flight within seconds, the vocal might of Danny Cecati puts vocal perfection to this track and a thoroughly sensational journey begins in earnest.Slashed and ripped by the skilfully delivery of riffage from Stevie and neck sore already from the mosh, my inner metal monster is exhilarated with pain-ridden glee, begging for the band to deliver more.

The now well-known and widely enjoyed Wait For The Night flows forth from the speakers to perfection as the delights of a well-celebrated hard rock heritage ooze from this album, but again the sequencing is a joy to experience as the list of suspected influences swirl through your mind.But there is a welcome realisation that despite there being a familiarity with sound, note, style, and delivery, Wicked Smile has achieved a rock elegance in their music that is all their own. But entwined within that sound is a regular homage to styles that have helped craft the band's own brand.I challenge you to enjoy the beginning of We Fall and not be ripped straight back to 1982 in hearing Goanna usher in Solid Rock with the didgeridoo.But just as Shane Howard explains that out here nothing changes, not in a hurry anyway, the I am reminded of the lads from Like A Storm who have melded metal and didgeridoo in more recent years, and whilst pondering this thought the opening seconds, Wicked Smile have snuck in a soaring, stadium shaking behemoth of a rock anthem into the line-up.Chills accompany the chorus as you realise that one day we will be screaming this song back at them in the likes of Rod Laver Arena, thinking I knew this song when the debut album was first released. Wow.

While you are still in the throes of the former, the pace eases with Sign Of Times but the sheer magnificence of the music journey does not let up one solitary ounce. This ballad of somber reflection is especially fitting after the last two years here on earth, but before long this emotive masterwork takes you in its rock embrace and serenades you into a state of momentary and blissful amnesia. Then, snap…just like that…we are back. This brilliant song is a timely reminder of how musicians the world over, help sooth our journey and mark the moments with their creations. With Wicked Smile as no exception, a song like this can whisk you away and guide you to momentary distraction or provide the timely reminded that we are all in this together. Music is indeed the great unifier.

Just like every track before, Daze Of Delirium is perfectly sequenced to provide the bridge back to riff ridden excitement. The rhythmic powerhouse behind this mammoth sound in Glen Cave and Jason Tyro is utterly relentless and keeps the sound alive, pumping and pulsating the energy through each track. Ostensibly, Killer At Large levels the sound and creates some mid album consistency, but this track is lulling you into a sense of stability before Last Goodbye takes you by surprise. Spoiler alert, and with all due respect, this isn’t Jeff Buckley. As the rhythm and lead attest while pounded to pace by Jason at the kit in intro, this song is straight out of the emotive high energy playbook, and before long Danny has your heart soaring in sensational style. I tried my best at 1 minute 20 but going to have to squeeze a lot harder to get anywhere near those lofty vocal heights. Musically and spiritually.   So red faced and hoarse of throat, I feel calmed as a serenading siren beckons me forth into Loves Got A Hold On You. I have no idea if the band intended me to picture the likes of a beautiful mermaid as bait to loves malicious intent, luring me forward but the lyrics and power of this tracks soon confirm that we are indeed on the same track. Well…sort of, but regardless, it’s all bound to end in tears. What a track.

Don’t Wait For Me. I have no words and neither I should. This I leave to the listener to experience for themselves. With one caveat. I beg of you to listen to the song in album sequence and enjoy the experience. 

Stronger. Could the finale title be more apt? Could the collection be completed any better? Again, I leave this to you the listener, but it is rare indeed that vocally, lyrically, and musically and song compels you to start the entire album all over again.

The Wicked Smile protagonists have all the experience necessary to know that a debut has encapsulated the spirit of the band and their belief while knocking the socks right off the first-time listener, but they have taken this a little further with Wait For The Night by taking the listener by the throat, shaking them from their shoes and demanding the attention this mighty first album so richly deserves. Bravura Wicked Smile. A thoroughly brilliant work that deserves a place of prominence in every music collection.

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