STOCKHOLM ROCKOUT Festival, May 30th, 2010, Sweden

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MAY 30th, 2010


If ever, Rarely has one festival organization gone through so many difficulties as Stockholm Rockout faced out during this spring. First, there were many cancellations for whatever reasons. Even some headliners got canceled. Finally, the volcano eruption in Iceland and its ash clouds meant that most of the U.S. bands were not reaching Sweden in time. The organizers of Rockout didn’t give up, and they decided to organize a small-scale one-day event with bands that were now available. The actual Rockout -the festival will then be re-arranged for later next September.

Of course, this new situation was a severe setback for all those people who had bought their tickets, flights, and hotels already months ago. Instead of Keel, Great White, Kix, Steelheart, and others, there was now performing a string of Swedish bands like Crashdiet, Chris Laney, and Nasty Idols fixed up with U.K. glamsters Tigertailz and U.S band XYZ.  Fortunately, organizers understood the conditions and offered free access for everyone who had bought tickets for the original event. In addition to that, the same tickets apply to the re-organized main event in September!


Unfortunately, we were a little bit late and missed some of the bands initially, but when we finally arrived, Chris Laney was just about to start his set. Chris is best known for his work with such bands as Randy Pipers’ Animal and Zan Clan, but now he’s building his career as a solo artist under his name. Chris was always the primary songwriter in his old bands, and for that reason, it wasn’t a big surprise how strong his new material sounded live. Especially “Last Man Standing” and the title track of Chris’s second solo album ONLY COME OUT AT NIGHT sounded excellent.  His backing band did a stable job as well, so this was all in all a terrific show, but perhaps it could have been a great idea to add a track or two from his past bands as well?





Some blasts from the past followed almost immediately when a sort of SHOTGUN MESSIAH re-union took its place next. Original members Stixx (drums) and vocalist Zinny Zan backed up with Chris and his bassist/second guitarist took a stage with storm. A string of SHOTGUN MESSIAH classics from their excellent debut album sounded good. “Don’t Care About Nothing” made people sing along, and everyone seemed to have a great time there.

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XYZ was the only U.S. band from the original band list, which finally made it to Stockholm. XYZ released its classic, self-titled debut album in 1989. Famous Don Dokken produced the album, and its videos got some heavy rotation on MTV with hit singles like “Inside Out” and “What Keeps Me Loving You.” HUNGRY was released two years later but although it had some really good reviews, it didn’t have the same commercial success and the band soon disbanded.  Since then, XYZ has reunited every now and then and their latest studio release, LETTER TO GOD, was released in 2003. Today the XYZ lineup includes original members Terry Ilous (vocals) and bassist Pat Fontaine alongside guitarist Tony Marcus (ex -Vicious Delite) and drummer Joey Shapiro. XUZ took to the stage around 11:00 PM. Gone are most of the 80’s style hair, but musically they sounded tight, and they had lots of energy on stage. Terry Ilious has always been well known for his enormous vocal talent, and he didn’t disappoint. His voice sounds like a good mix of young David Coverdale, Don Dokken, and some great blues vocalists, and all in all, he was easily the best vocalist of the evening! The band’s set included, of course, mostly material from the debut album but also some best tracks from HUNGRY and some rarities as well. This was their first time playing in Scandinavia, and although it is evident that most people in the crowd didn’t know anything about XYZ, they now reached many new fans from Sweden.

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Crashdiet was clearly one of the most predictable performers here at least if you count all that noise that bands younger fans gave when their idols took the stage by storm. They opened with their biggest hit song, “Riot In Everywhere,” and hit the mark right away. Crashdiet had loads of energy on stage, and their new vocalist Simon Cruz proved to be a suitable and right man for the job. The setlist included almost the whole debut album spiced up with some new tracks from GENERATION WILD, but surprisingly nothing was played from the band’s sophomore album, THE UNATTRACTIVE REVOLUTION. All in all, Crashdiet was one of the most vital and most accepted bands of the evening.


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British glamsters Tigertailz were the last band of the evening. It’s been five years since Tigertailz last played in Sweden, and a lot of things have changed within the band since then. The original bassist and co-founder Pepsi Tate sadly passed away in 2007 but the band has managed to carry on with remaining members: vocalist Kim Hooker, guitarist Jay Pepper, drummer Matt Blackout, and their latest addition female bassist Sarah Firebrand.  The year 2010 means that it’s been exactly twenty years since Tigertailz released their “classic” BEZERK album. To celebrate, the band has been playing a series of special BEZERK shows, which means that the whole is played from beginning to the very end, in a way that’s a good thing because BEZERK is the most decent release from this band. They have some great tracks there like: “Sick Sex” and “Noise Level Critical.” Tigertailz took the stage around 02:00 AM and what was notable was that about half of the crowd had already left from the venue at that time. It didn’t help that, for some reason, the sound was quite bad while Tailz was on stage. Kim Hooker is still a good frontman. Jay and Matt both did solid performances but somehow band’s latest addition Sarah was like an outsider on the stage. The band did their best under ongoing circumstances, and they managed to put out such an acceptable performance. The setlist consisted of a BEZERK album plus a string of their newer material, which was mostly ok, nothing more.



All in all, this “mini Rockout” was such an enjoyable and successful event. Despite the lack of the original band lineup, the adjustments worked well, and there were probably around 500 people in the audience, at least during the Crashdiet set.  After facing all these problems the organizers must be respected that they managed to set up even this small-scale event and didn’t cancel the whole thing, which would have been an easy thing to do. Hopefully, everything goes well now, and we will see a stronger, more prominent, and most successful hard rock weekend ever in Sweden next September!!




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