||JONATHAN CHURCHILL: DEFENDING OUR ISLAND
Highbury Garage, London
Friday 16th May 2014
Words: Johnny Churchill, Photos: Sean Cameron
Well, I guess you just had to be there! But if you weren't, here's how it went down...
Fresh from the critical acclaim of new album, 'Tearing Down The Walls', H.E.A.T. have squeezed in a mini UK tour and tonight was London's turn to quite literally be blown away by one of the most dynamic and entertaining bands on the planet.
Last year's Borderline show was about as much fun as you can have without breaking the law but tonight, with some high-energy new tracks to show-off and a larger venue to fill, the band stepped up to another level. Hitting the stage to the outrageous 80's classic 'The Heat Is On' is the perfect way to lift the roof, and the powerful opening of 'Point Of No Return' and 'A Shot At Redemption' showcased the band's current confidence and new stadium-sized sound. Huge vocals, lengthy guitar solos, big drums and layered keyboards. It's a delirious combination and tonight, it's the only show in town.
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Erik Grönwall has matured into a formidable frontman and in addition to his massive, note-perfect vocals, he has an extraordinary energy that seems to grow throughout the set. He's a revelation and with the rest of the band on top form, it's a night to remember.
The set-list is a joy – each track seemingly more hysterical and energetic than the last. It's melodic-rock perfection, but rather than veer into nostalgia, the quality of the song writing ensures H.E.A.T. have their own unique modern identity. Highlights include the crazy wall of sound and power that is 'Mannequin Show', 'Tearing Down The Walls' with its brilliant crowd sing-along, and the classy, understated 'Downtown', a genuine epic that I hope remains a fixture in the set list. We're also treated to a cool cameo from Dragonforce's Herman Li on the slower-paced 70's-sounding 'In And Out Of Trouble'.
The entertainment continues when the band start to play the heavy-riffed delight that is 'Enemy In Me' and to nobody's surprise, with the sound reaching boiling point, the PA blows a gasket and there are no vocals for the next track! Instead as the band duly plays an instrumental 'Danger Road', the Garage gets to feel the heat close up as Grönwall rips off his shirt and crowd surfs his way through the venue grabbing a beer on the way. Brilliant.
The show ends with 'Breaking The Silence' and 'Living On The Run', two more gold-standard AOR classics, and there's no doubt in my mind that this was one of the best shows I'll see this year. Trust me, you just had to be there. H.E.A.T. are unstoppable right now.
Tonight was about more than just H.E.A.T. and thanks to both support bands. Denmark's Supercharger delivered a brilliant warm up set, ending with the barnstorming 'Hell Motel', and New Device, who are definitely one to watch will also be playing The Borderline in July. Don't miss it.
6 beers out of 5!!
Check out MetalTalk's video interview and album review with H.E.A.T by clicking here...
New album 'Tearing Down The Walls' out now.
Point Of No Return
A Shot At Redemption
Better Off Alone
All About Tonight
Tearing Down The Walls
Late Night Lady
In And Out Of Trouble ft. Herman Li
Beg Beg Beg
Enemy In Me
Breaking The Silence
Living On The Run
Johnny Churchill: MetalTalk.net \m/
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