In all my blogs to date, the photos have all been taken with a compact camera, because that is what is allowed in venues without a photo pass; but tonight I was on the photographer’s list and would be able to get some quality concert photos for the first time ever.
This dream was almost cut shot when I arrived at The Ritz and the receptionist said that my name wasn’t on the list; I had heard of this happening to many people at this venue so I had brought an email confirmation with me, but that wasn’t enough. I got on the phone to the PR company who had put me on the list and I offered the receptionist the chance to talk to them to confirm my attendance, but he declined and instead he just gave me the pass and ushered me in to the venue. I don’t see why he didn’t do that it the first place, but hey, I was in and on time, so I was happy.
I went over to the stage,security let me in, and for the first time I stood in the pit. After many months of getting sweaty and squashed at the front of the crowd just to try and get a half decent photos with a point-and-shoot camera; tonight I felt like I had a VIP ticket. I had the whole length of the stage to roam around and take photos from all different angles, and all this without getting beaten to a pulp by other fans.
Anyway, enough about how much I enjoyed the experience; L.A rockers Venrez took to the stage at 7pm.
At first glance, frontman Ven (I take it the band is named after him) looks a lot like Howard Stern.
They started the show and the initial genre that came to mind was grunge, but a huge Ramones influence was apparent in the vocals. Personally, the vocals sounded like Joey Ramone and Kermit the Frog entwined.
They kicked into their song Sancity and I really liked this song, the music had groove to it and the lyrics ”Stop putting our hopes and dreams on sale, to the highest bidder of the Holy Grail” were really catchy, the crowd were singing along and the lyrics are still stuck in my head now.
While the rest of the band jumped around and head-banged, frontman Ven stood tall at the mic stand in a very Ozzy Osbourne-eque manner.
I enjoyed their music, it was up-beat American rock n’ roll and got everyone warmed up for the rest of the night ahead.
For more photos of Venrez, please click below:
Soon after, I headed back to the photo pit, and Swedish rockers Hardcore Superstar bounded on-stage.
From the second that singer, Joakim “Jocke” Berg, got on to the stage, he sprung from side to side and to say that he was energetic would be a massive understatement.
They kicked off the set with Moonshine and rapidly followed it up with the crowd-pleaser One More Minute, to which the crowd chorused.
There was a great chemistry between the band members, which was especially notable when bass player Martin Sandvik and guitarist Vic Zino switched places on stage, and Martin stepped on Vic’s Wah-wah pedal at the precise moment it was meant to be played in that song. That showed that they all knew not just their parts in the song, but also the other band member’s. They both had a high-five brotherly love moment after that great show of impromptu musicianship.
They played other great up-beat hard rock songs such as Guestlist, Dreamin’ In a Casket, Wild Boys and a slower but still powerful Someone Special, that he dedicated to the crowd.
This band truly knows how to make sure that their show is memorable. During the song Last Call for Alcohol, frontman Jocke, picked a few girls and one guy (because he was wearing a Foreigner t-shirt and the drummer is a big fan of them) from the audience and invited them on-stage to join in with the chorus and to have a shot of Jägermeister with them. I have only ever seen this on video-clips of bands from the 80’s, so it was very cool to see a band interacting to such a degree with the crowd in this day and age.
Drummer Magnus “Adde” Andreasson, was also very engaging with the crowd and told us how they are from Gothenburg (Sweden) which was a lot like Manchester, and he felt very at home here, so at home that at the end of their set he pulled his bum out and started hopping around the stage.
Frontman Jocke’s vocal range,style, attire and energy is very similar to that of Jizzy Pearl of Love/Hate, and he takes the cake for the best vocals of the night, 10/10!
All in all it was a great show, so great that they turned my very-set-in-his-ways-metal-head friend into a fan of their by the end of the show.
To view more photos of Hardcore Superstar, please click below:
Now, onto the head-liners, Buckcherry.
Frontman Josh Todd did a little warm up dance beside the stage before belting on-stage and ripping straight into their hit song Lit Up from their 1999 debut album Buckcherry.
The crowd erupted and jumped non-stop throughout the whole track and continued to do so for the rest of the set, come to think of it!
The band initially came out fully clothed, but by the time they got to Porno Star, most of them had stripped to the waist thus showcasing their interesting collection on tattoos, including Josh Todd’s large King of hearts playing card backpiece with the words Love and Desire on it.
Mr Todd likes to do a little monologue before or during each song, and for me the most notable and surprising one was that of the song Gluttony from their 2013 album, Confessions. He stated that everyone has confessions to make (referencing their album title) and that now was the time to ”get clean with your shit, like, if when I was young I fucked a cat, or I let my first cousin blow me, you know, that kind of thing”’, I couldn’t stop laughing at how vulgar her was!
A couple of tracks later, they started to play the extremely catchy Crazy Bitch and everyone (including myself) sang the sex-fuelled lyrics at the top of our voices. Nearing the end of the song, Todd went into another monologue reminiscing on when his friend got a blow-job; ”So my friend is getting blown, and he has one of those glow stick thing and he breaks it and starts splashing glow stick liquid all over the walls, while I was right there in the room! I was like, dude I am right here, don’t do that shit. Anyway, I just went and fucked the girl’s friend all night” and then went straight back into the chorus of the song.
Throughout the whole set, you could see the great chemistry between the band members. Guitarist Stevie D and session bass player Kelly LeMieux had massive grins on their faces and shared many moments on stage rocking out together. Guitarist Keith Nelson was on-top of his game and very focused that night, but still found time to shower the crowd with guitar plectrums, as did Stevie D.
Drummer Xavier Muriel drove the show with his hard rocking drumming on his Yamaha kit, and Josh Todd combined his Steven Tyler-meets-Axl Rose attitude,charisma and on-stage antics seamlessly to produce the perfect hard rock front-man.
It was an all-round great night, Buckcherry were fantastic live, very tight as a band and kept the crowd on their toes the whole night with their drug-and-sex-fuelled dirty hard rock.
They finished the night with Wrath, another song from their 7-sins-inspired-album Confessions.
To view more photos of Buckcherry, please click below: