CLUB NOSTURI, HELSINKI
31’st of December 2011
REVIEW AND PHOTOS BY MARKO SYRJALA
2011 was a great year for Michael Monroe. The new album SENRORE OVERDRIVE was a critical and commercial success, and Monroe won several prizes from the media, including the album of the year award from the valued Classic Rock magazine and the band of the year title from Finnish Emma gala. Monroe’s great year ended up with two sold-out nights in Helsinki’s Club Nosturi before leaving for a well-earned three-month break.
The Stooges classic “I Got a Right Play” was played in the background when Michael and company walked on stage. The band seemed to be in party mode as the guys saluted New Year’s welcome exactly at 00:00. Everyone, except Michael, was enjoying a glass of champagne before jumping into “Trick of the Wrist,” followed by two more new album tracks, “God Blood” and “Modern Day Miracle.”
As always, Monroe was in perfect form. The man was jumping and raging all over the stage like a maniac, and he is apparently enjoying his time on stage, and so did everyone in the band. The sound is tight, and the band looks good as a whole. Ginger is gone, and there’s his Swedish replacement Dregen. Dregen’s trash rock image and hyper-energetic stage performance do fit like a glove on this band. Hopefully, man will stay with this band permanently and do some writing in future releases as well.
Everything was working fine, but after witnessing several Monroe shows during the past years, I was hoping for more changes in the setlist because this was a special show. The good part was to note that the set now included only three Hanoi Rocks songs. Although “Motorvatin,” “Back To The Mystery City,” and “Malibu Beach Nightmare” made the crowd go insane, but the fact is that Monroe does have so many great songs by his own, which are often forced to give way for Hanoi songs. Tonight’s set was based on SENSORY OVERDRIVE, of course, a few from Demolition 23 and some from NOT FAKIN’ IT but also many unnecessary cover versions of worn out classics like Ramones’s “Blitzkrieg Bob” and The Stooges’s “1970”. How about doing something like “Man With No Eyes,” “Stranded,” or “Thrill Me” instead?
However, as a whole, this was another strong performance from the man who’s now having the time of his life. It’s hard to believe that Monroe is turning 50 years on next summer, and he’s still capable of bringing out a show like this night after night. It will be interesting how things will evolve from now on, but hopefully, the band doesn’t get stuck into this situation for too long, and we’ll soon hear some new music.