Ahh Sweden. We love you. We love your practical and boxy cars. We love your practical and flat-packed furniture you stick in the back of them. Lazy generalisation (and mild racism) aside, we love your music. Sweden plus rock n' roll equals awesome and that is just a fact.
It started with ABBA whose ear for a genius pop melody must have seeped into the DNA of every band since. The Backyard Babies, the Hellacopters, Hives etc all rocked hard but the melody was undeniable. Coupled with English as a second language that makes lyric writing fiendishly childlike or forensically studied but always catchy and to the point, and a good dollop of 'not giving a fuck' and you are on to a winner.
We Britishers (and music snob critics) like to think we are the true arbiters of taste and are trying so hard to be cool that there is a tendency to look down our noses at our European cousins. The truth is that books, tv and movies, and yes, music is coming under attack from a Scandinavian Invasion. And they are winning.
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Hardcore Superstar have been fighting the good fight for over a decade and a half and are currently on their uppers with latest album 'C'mon Take Me On'.
In town tonight with Buckcherry on a UK tour, this is no "support slot" but an "earlier stage time". From the roar that greets the band when they take the stage it's obvious Hardcore are not here just to play second fiddle.
Out of the gate with 'Moonshine' the band are fired up and have the place bouncing. Jocke Berg's voice, taking in the lows of Axl and the highs of Jizzy Pearl, is in fine form and the animated frontman wastes no time in making sure every inch of the stage has his footprint on it. 'One More Minute', 'Kick On The Upperclass' and 'My Good Reputation' provoke mass sing-a-longs and this party is in full swing.
The rhythm section of Martin and Adde keep things rock solid and guitarist Vic Zino impresses with crunchy riffs, fluid solos and spot on backing vocals.
The huge choruses keep on coming and 'Into Debauchery' and 'Guestlist' provide no let up. By the time we get to 'Wild Boys' we have Jocke asking us for even more vocal participation. "You're not tired are you?" he teases for the inevitable screamed "No!"
Rounding off their set with new single and instant fan favourite 'Above The Law 'the band should be patting themselves on the back for an impressive show and while Buckcherry are too professional and too good to take an audience for granted they'll have to be on their toes.
A bit of friendly rivalry bodes well for this tour and I'll look forward to Hardcore Superstar's next move. So I say thank you for the music...