Live Review: FRONTIERS Rock Festival IV ± Live Music Club (Italy), 30/04/2017
Thursday 8 June 2017
After the first, exciting day of the Frontiers Festival, (check here) we went to the venue knowing that, almost certainly, something similar would follow on the second day. By now we knew our way around the place, we saw the friends we had made the day before and we felt that the environment suited us. So the program started and we were expecting another spectacular show.
Check first day here
Greek version here
The performance of Cruzh, a new Swedish group that has just one album out, was the curtain raiser of the show. They play melodic hard rock and they moved quite a lot on stage, doing everything they could to warm up the audience –a bit of a hard task really, since almost everybody was there for the bands that followed. I think they did pretty well considering, but the truth is some more work needs to be done.
Lionville was the second band of the day. They are Northern Italians from Genoa (all except the singer who is a Swede), so, as you can imagine, people from back home were amongst their audience, cheering on when they started playing. Their rhythm was very melodic, their vocals impeccable and the sound of the keyboards captivating. The singer reminded me slightly of Mick Hucknall (singer of Simply Red) because of his distinctive hairstyle. He was very chatty with the audience and I would say he is a real frontman.
The program continued with the Swedish band of Adrenaline Rush (yes, several bands of the festival came from Sweden). Their singer, Tave Wanning, literally stole the spotlight with her explosive stage performance. Her dance studies have really paid off; she can sweep anyone who watches her body moves of their feet. Jokingly, I would describe her as the "Shakira of hard rock". The other members followed at a similar pace and the whole set was extremely good. Their sound was clearly stronger than the previous two bands and elevated the mood of most people, who started dancing and drinking a bit more. Everything suggested that the best was yet to come.
Getting on with the program and without much fuss, the baton was handed over to a very popular guitarist, whom we all know by the songs of Europe: Kee Marcello. Playing with his own band now, he stepped on stage and presented tracks from both his personal discography and the discography of Europe. As expected, while he was playing the songs of Europe total chaos broke out! Everyone was rhythmically singing the lyrics. At the Final Countdown, I began to feel the earth move under my feet! At this point I wondered why this artist has never come to my country to sing this song which is considered a hymn by the Greek rock audience. But let's leave it at that because the answer will displease many. Still congratulations to Kee, who keeps on producing very good work, has chosen outstanding musicians as partners and is always very friendly – after the show he went to the audience, signed autographs and was photographed with those that wanted to.
A group that is very special to me followed. I think you will either worship them to the end or you will never be able to recognize their value. Their name: Unruly Child. They characterize themselves as progressive AOR with special sounds and lyrics. Marcie Free is the band leader, a special presence with a turbulent life, considered one of the most well-known transgender singers. Her voice continues to fascinate despite her 63 years. U.C. is not a band that will make you hit the rails headbanging. You watch them calmly and you follow their dreamy "road". They earned everyone’s applause! The setlist was complete for the time that was given to them and I believe they have loads more to give to their passionate audience.
The next act I could easily parallel with a comet falling on earth. I will try to be objective in the following description but I think it may be impossible. The group that changed the map of rock/metal in the mid-80s and brought the genre of hair metal or sleaze metal to surface was next on the stage of the Frontiers Festival. L.A. Guns, after many years, appeared with their two founding members, Phillip Lewis and Tracii Guns. It was probably the most anticipated gig of the festival and, for me personally, the actual headliners of the day. From the first note, hell broke loose, a wave of enthusiasm flowed and an unstoppable bouncing began all around! I consider signing the L.A. Guns a great success for the Frontiers Festival and I am impatiently hanging around for their new album. The setlist included one of their new tracks and I would say it’s dynamite! Phillip appeared with a snake-skin suit, making his mark as an original glam rock performer and his loud, dirty vocals brought his performance to another level. On the other hand, Tracii, with a beard and a shorter haircut, set the place on fire with his strings. They often hugged each other on stage and seemed happy for their reunion. Tracii’s big moment was when he pulled out the bow and played guitar like another Jimmy Page. The rest of the group gave their best with the same intensity and, overall, brought about many smiles of satisfaction. I think they can fairly claim the award of the festival’s best performance.
Last group of the day and of the festival were TNT. The American-Norwegian hard rock band had many surprises in stock for us! Number one on the list was that singer Tony Harnell, whose mesmerizing voice drew everyone’s attention in the 1987 Tell No Tales album, joined the band once again. Tony was back this year on the 30th anniversary of his great album. TNT announced a tour starting with Frontiers and a new collaboration with the label! Far and away the best surprise. They started with a beautiful intro and Tony grabbed the microphone. His voice honestly left me speechless! It was as if 1987 was just yesterday! High- note singing was performed as smoothly as running water. Ronni Le Tekro, the guitarist and creator of most hits, a figure that had escaped from a 70s live show, making very strong expressions while he played, offered a recital of guitar art. The whole group was flawless and gave a seminar on high technical training and professional sound. The setlist was well structured and included most of the Tell No Tales tracks and other hits, all perfectly executed. I sincerely rejoice when some artists keep their level high for many years. Well, maintaining your voice in the same octave for 30 years is not easy! I think that TNT gave their all as headliners and closed the festival ideally.
Winding up, I would like to congratulate Frontiers publicly for the flawless organization. Being a fan of this music scene, I am very happy that this label goes full way and releases unique works of art, incorporates new promising bands in its arsenal and reunites old forces! In a nutshell, it is striving to somehow revive that unforgettable time, during the late 80s, when glam rock / hair metal / AOR reigned the world of rock music. I am impressed that it is constantly evolving, improving and now is a dynamic force in the European record companies industry.
I wish our Italian neighbors a string of successes and even more pleasant surprises. I hope that FeelA RockA will be invited again next year to a fifth, even better, festival. Again it will be a great pleasure and honor for us to be present and share this experience! Thank you!
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