28 min read

Review & Photography by Manny Manson for MPM

It’s Friday night and I’m carving my way through rush hour traffic to get to Nottingham’s Rock City once again. It’s another night of gigging without my trusty cohort, ‘Waldorf’.

This evening we have a triple header so doors are early and a queue will no doubt be waiting to get front and centre for these ‘pretty’ boy bands. The Dan reed Network should have been on the billing but unfortunately due a band member having a medical procedure carried out it was decided to pull out of the tour.

The equally awesome ‘The Treatment’ stepped in to cover the spot. A great choice in my opinion, having seen the boys play at the Queens Hall, Nuneaton earlier this year they will certainly not let the night down.

Getting into Rock City at 6pm it was a long 15minute wait until the night begin. It’s nice to see a healthy queue waiting for the doors, the supports are always worth watching and tonight, up first is Angelo Tristan and ‘Collateral’. This effervescent frontman with boundless energy and enough enthusiasm to fuel a space ship is bringing the full ‘Show’ to Nottingham.

Those who have been fortunate to catch a Collateral show will know that this young dad can put a lot of the old guard to shame when it comes to putting on a performance. Hitting the stage on time, the band lead out and are greeted with huge cheers, a great start from the Rock City crowd as there is still plenty of room to move about.

The band fires up into ‘Mr Big Shot’ as Angelo leaps into the fray, grabbing the microphone the band are straight on to this banger from their debut album, interestingly called Collateral. With a digging riff a stunning kick drum and a rattling bass line like a comfort blanket wrapping around Angelo’s vocal.

Todd Winger and Louis Malagodi’s guitars are sharp cutting through as they squeal from this ‘cock rock’ banger! Wingers scorching solo lets you know that these boys mean business as he and Angelo rock out together. Love it a great start.

They follow this up with ‘Lullaby’, again from the first album. The heat is turned up as the riffs fly as does the hair. Angelo is running from side to side making sure the crowd get a good look at him, his smile is contagious, the crowd are beaming as they nod along to Bens thumping foot work. The ‘diphthongs’ are flowing with abandon throughout this one, another happy bouncy number from this young band, as again another scorching solo takes you back to the big hair bands of yesteryear. ‘Promiseland’ is opened with a solid kick drum as Angelo croons amidst plucked guitar. It’s a grower, it builds into an arena anthemic belter.

The enthusiasm on stage is palpable as the band are clearly enjoying the crowd, there are horns in the air and the middle, as in every gig, is bouncing to the thundering beat. We have a great crowd in as they clearly know who Collateral are. A scooped intro sets the scene for ‘No Place for Love’. A familiar sound comforts as the band belt out this slower number.

The guitar tone is killer as the book end the stage, meeting as a three at one point and then Louis rips out a lick followed by Todd’s reply. ‘Sin in the City’ rocks out next and goes down well with the crowd, one I’d not heard before so it was great to hear something fresh to my ears. This led in to the final song of the night, the mighty ‘Merry Go Round’ with its thundering drum intro and acoustic guitar start sounding like something penned by Bon Jovi back in the day.

With drum and guitar layers it shows a more grown up side to the band. With screaming guitars letting you know it’s not the Angelo has an Acoustic show, the song flies in your face, Angelo’s portamenti’s throughout are superb. The crushing drums from Ben hit hard, you can tell he’s only playing at half pace. It’s a great number to finish on, leaving the crowd wanting more, a six-song set hah! They’re worth more. A great set all the same, see them later this year when they tour with The H.E.A.T. and later with SKID ROW.

With the usual ‘all hands-on deck’, we have the efficient Rock City crew clearing the deck ready for, in my book, one of the best bands on the circuit. Being over shadowed by the likes of Those Damn Crows and Massive Wagons, these boys have a back catalogue and a pedigree to be up there alongside them. They have toured with the Mighty Mötley Crüe and KISS, so they can bang a bit.

The band being ‘The Treatment’. As mentioned earlier, they took up the reigns when the DRN pulled from the tour. They are a band that certainly know how to put on a show. The brothers Grey are supreme in their guitar antics, racing back and forth interacting with the crowd as singer Tom Rampton powers out a gritty vocal. Having seen them earlier this year they are a band I’m eagerly looking forward to.

Kicking off with that classic rocker ‘Let’s Get Dirty’ with its AC/DC type vibe certainly gets the party started. ‘Let It Begin’ carries on the energy it’s runaway train is smashing into everyone as the brothers are up front and in the crowd’s face, hair flying and guitar faces aplenty as Tom Rampton belts out a vocal not unlike the legend Toby Jepson in Little Angels.

A sleazy vibe descends as the bass of new boy, Andy Milburn locks in tight as ‘Eyes on You’ oozes from the PA. Tom shows us his hair as the boys scream out a scorching solo, Tagore on stage left’s Les Paul is hot as he plays to the crowd. Tao is up on the wedge, his hair moving to the beat as his fingers rip across his explorer.

Another from ‘Waiting for Good Luck’ follows. ‘Vampress’ takes us back to that familiar early DC vibe of the Bon Scott era. All good as the crowd are bouncing along with the scorching guitar playing. ‘Devil in The Detail’ is a staple of late, it’s one of those songs that is instantly recognisable and a firm fan favourite, full of sleaze and some thundering drum work from Dhani Mansworth, who’s looking cool in his black n white striped ‘Where’s Wally’ top.

Tao finishes the song with a ripping solo stood up on a wedge again, his wet hair seems to have dried a bit as the crowd are no longer wiping their faces. ‘Dirty Money’, ‘I Bleed Rock +Roll’ and ‘Wrong Way’ fill out the middle section, normally where things get a bit more subdued but not tonight as the sonic assault continues with the Def Leppard-esque chorus of ‘Rat Race’. Another crowd favourite has the heads nodding as Tom’s vocal soars throughout while the brothers rip a lead lick or two. The vocal harmony helps bring the song down to huge cheers from the crowd.

Twin guitars herald the beginning of my favourite of the night. The Phil Rudd type drum beat crashes along as Toms vocal brings the party to Nottingham with ‘ Get the Party On’. The guitars scorch as the brothers are running up and down the bouncer step, Tagore is almost falling into the crowd at one point as he leans in.

Rock city is bouncing as the twin guitars fire up again, the bass is bouncing along pushing the song forward at a happy pace as Tom, fist in the arm marks the spot as the guitars rip the main hall wide open. The dynamics between the two guitars is simply breath taking as they kill it and the crowd scream for more.

Tom asks the crowd to “hey” as we go into one more song, the killer ‘Shake the Mountain ‘from the album ’This Might Hurt’ their 2011 debut album, it’s still a phenomenal song and fits into any set with ease.

With the crowd singing back, Tom teases the crowd before dropping the final vocal, finishing with a round of thanks and fists in the air the boys, with one last meaty riff, are done. They exit the stage to a huge round of whistling and cheering, a fine response to the band as they have totally wiped the floor, and set the bar very high indeed. Again, this is a band whose live performance is one to be seen. I’m a huge fan.

Again, it’s time to head to the boy’s room and have a gentleman’s moment, refreshed, there’s time to visit the merch stand and have a quick look before grabbing a cold one and getting back in the pit. It’s an early curfew tonight so it’s an 8:30 start for the headliners, Finnish ‘Sleaze Rockers’ ‘Reckless Love’.

Hailing from Scandinavia, Kuopio, Finland to be precise. And having started off as a Guns and Roses cover band in their native Finland, were they were known as ‘Reckless Life’, they changed their name to Reckless Love in 2001 and have since moved on to great things. Having 5 studio albums to their name, the latest being ‘Turbo Rider’ released this year, 2022. The band kicked off the UK leg of their 9day tour in Glasgow on August 30th, they then travel across the country before it finishes in the Engine Rooms, Southampton on September the 8th. Tonight, Rock City plays host to Olli, Pepe, Hessu and Jalle.

Just a little after half past the hour the lights dim and the stage is bathed in a blue wash, oh no please anything but blue, oh and red. Dressed in what appears to be pale blue suits the band hit the stage amidst a cacophony of cheers from the fans. Rock City is far from full but those in tonight are impressive to say the least. Kicking off with the new song ‘Turborider’, its keyboard intro obviously on a backing track has Pepe, Hessu and Jalle thrashing the beat hard.

Olli runs on arms outstretched as he greats the crowd bathed in blue light, he’s on the mic, posing for the cameras as this Finnish take on sleaze is slammed into the waiting fans.

Both Olli and Pepe are hitting the poses for the cameras, pity it’s in blue light and smoke filled. Olli is wearing mirrored glasses as he points to the cameras, Pepe is filling the night with scorching runs as the crowd go crazy for this Scandinavian band. ‘Outrun’ follows on with its phased guitar intro, the bouncing drum beat gives this one a Eurovision feel.

The guitar soars as Pepe holds it on his thigh, you can’t help but notice his shoe laces glowing under the UV blue light as he rips out a lick before smiling at the crowd and racing back to face his amp.

2016’s Invader album serves us ‘Monster’ a steady drum riff has Hessu giving us some stick tricks between beats. Blonde Olli is moving around the stage like the seasoned pro he is, playing to the crowd as he delivers.

The first visit to the debut album has ‘Back to Paradise’ served up next with its bouncing beat and jangly guitar sound and Miami Vice type drum fills. The Scandinavians have a definite sound, one that is happy and gets you on your toes.

This is segued by Olli telling us about the Finnish ‘Rock Police’ who frequent the venues under cover and report back any wrong doings before ripping out a very good version of Ozzy’s ‘ Bark at The Moon’. OK we didn’t get the full Jake E Lee pyromaniac guitar acrobatics but it was one of the better covers I’ve heard in a very long time, the crowd think so as they cheer and clap Pepe, who worked hard on that one. I think it’s safe to save Rock City liked that one.

Another quick intro by Olli and we have ‘Kids of the Arcade’ followed by the single released in 2020 called ‘Loaded’ a sleazy synth pop rock number, and then we get Pepe up front showing us his blazing fingers with ‘Prelude(Flight of the Cobra)’ a fast fingered exercise before going into ‘Like A Cobra’ with its lasers filling the air above the crowds heads, this is another from the new album Turborider.

Which is followed by ‘Eyes of a Maniac’ and ‘Prodigal Sons’ have more lasers filling the night. The new album is full of Scandi Euro pop rock and its being performed faultlessly. The set is finished off with ‘Prodigal Sons’, ‘Bad Ass’ and from Animal Attraction ‘On the Radio’. Before this gets going, he tests the crowd as they sing it to him before the dirty riff grows and the drum fills hit hard and we launch into this familiar banger with its catchy hooks and singalong moments.

A quick respite and the band are back with more lasers as ‘Animal Attraction’ starts the encore. Olli takes this moment to thank everyone including the Sound and lighting techs, the merch and the band, he gets to Hessu and as he Introduces him, he shouts ‘Night on Fire’ to which Hessu rattles the Miami Vice toms and Pepe gives us the monkey noises, or so Olli tells us. Jumping up and down the band join in. The Anthemic sound bounces around Rock City, the drums are thudding as the song fly’s along.

The chanting starts again as a solid kick drum leads the way. The crowd again sing the opening line, it’s getting hot hot hot hotter than Hell. Olli has the crowd try again and has them hold the note for as long as they can before shouting “We are Reckless Love, and This is HOT’ from 2011’s Animal Attraction.

With a thudding drum and a screaming guitar, the crowd are chanting along to this banger of a track. Which leads us into the final track, ‘Beautiful Bomb’ from the 2010’s self-titled debut album.

This grinding sleaze filled singalong has the crowd in fine voice as Olli gives it full Dave Lee Roth, helping to finish the night off on a high. What a great set. All five albums visited in the 18-track set. The crowd have loved it and ultimately that’s what it’s all about. A couple of hours forgetting about the rubbish the world is now serving us on a daily basis.

As the Rock City crew ret and clear the venue to make way for the Alcopop drinking millennials of today the Merch tables are swamped with people wanting to get their hands-on last-minute goodies. It helps that the boys from both Collateral and The Treatment are there and are being swamped with the girls both young and old such is their diverse fan base’s.

A cracking night of guitar driven dirty rock. Did I have a favourite, I’m not telling get out there and catch these bands at a venue near you soon!

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