Frontback – HEART OF A LION release party 2017
Mother Mersy – support act
Club Rebel Live, Spegelsalen
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
The first concert I attended in 2017 was the release party for the brand new Frontback album titled HEART OF A LION. The band threw one party in Malmo and the day after the band hosted another one in their hometown of Vaxjo. Frontback put on the event together with the rock club Rebel Live that for the night didn’t hold the party at their own place but at a venue a few meters further down the block called Moriska Paviljongen. The venue hosts three different rooms that inhabit various amounts of people; Spegelsalen was the name of the place for this night and it holds about 450 people. The doors opened at 8 and by 11 everything ended because another club was taking over.
Frontback, led by the charismatic singer/guitarist Anlo Front, released HEART OF A LION on the 13th of January; the album is jammed with some excellent and edgy hard rock/rock n’ roll songs. I have seen Frontback live a few times now. The last time was when they performed at the Malmo festival this past summer.
A restaurant is situated across the room from where the party was taking place and when I got to the club a little after 8, a lot of people were already gathered eating and drinking. Inside I met some friends and saw a lot of familiar faces. It seemed like most of the hard rock fans in Malmo were there to see the band. The first 66 were also greeted with a free glass of sparkling wine and that, along with some already consumed alcohol, made spirits high inside the club. On the left was the bar and beside it was a table set up where you could buy merchandise. Across the room I could see the stage; it was pretty low which meant the bands were practically going to stand on the floor amongst the crowd. The Frontback backdrop was already placed on stage and so was the support act’s gear. I’ve seen support act Mother Mersy before but it was a long time ago. When the clock struck 9 it was time for the music to start and Mother Mersy entered the stage.
“Take You There” kicked off the show and “Your Thing” followed instantly. The four guys brought down applause from fans and friends. The band seemed to be having a great time on stage while performing. Unfortunately the lights were really poor and it was hard to get decent shots. The smoke that blew on stage didn’t make things better either. “Battle in Mind” followed, after which singer Emil thanked everyone for coming to support Mother Mersy and said they’d been given the honor of opening the night for Frontback. “See Right Through” came next; the line up in Mother Mersy is:
Emil – lead vocals
Viktor – guitar
Simon – bass
Erik – drums
The guys delivered a solid performance and it was obvious they had gained some stage experience since the last time I saw them. Emil looked out at the photographers and posed; he seemed really confident. Guitarist Viktor is worth mentioning as well, since he also took the opportunity to connect with the fans.
Mother Mersy plays ’70s rock n’ roll in the vein of Led Zeppelin, Free and Bad Company. Even though their music is not my cup of tea I found myself liking what I heard. As “Devil’s Water” played the fans started to dance around on the floor and it was easy to see that both band and fans enjoyed the show a lot. Emil said that everyone should go home and listen to the band on Spotify after the night was over and fired off “Truth Be Told”. “Get On” followed and Emil used the stage to the fullest; almost standing face to face with the fans. Next up was another song taken from the EP called “Break Away”, and after that followed the last song for the night was “Enough”. The band thanked the fans and Frontback and with that, the 40-minute show was over.
The band sure has developed since the last time I saw them, feeling more secure live. Singer Phil, especially, and guitarist Viktor both did a great job connecting with the crowd.
Take You There
Battle In Mind
See Right Through
Truth Be Told
Since it was about 20 minutes until it was time for Frontback to enter the stage, I went outside to catch some air and met people that were leaving the club after seeing the Mother Mersy show. Back inside, the crew was making the stage set for Frontback. It went pretty fast and as announced, on the stroke of 10, the evening’s headline act showed up.
The band met the fans’ cheers and fired off the first song, which was “Destiny”. It was pretty crowded at the front of the stage and it started to get a bit warm soon into the show. “You Need My Honey” followed, after which singer Front thanked everyone for joining the party and said it was really fun to be in Malmo celebrating the birth of the album. Next up was the first single from HEART OF A LION, “Dead Man on the Road”. Frontback is:
Anlo Front – lead vocals, guitar
Axel Graneskog – lead guitar
Jonas Persson – bass
Koffe Stridh – drums
Front moved across the entire stage connecting with the fans and there was no doubt she loved her time in the limelight. It’s obvious the band is used to taking on larger crowds and they did a brilliant job with firing up the fans this night. “Liar” followed, after which Persson took the mic saying it was an honor to be playing in Malmo again, celebrating the album with friends, family and fans. He also thanked Rebel Live for bringing the party to Malmo. Front took off her army hat and fired off “Fender” as the fans started shouting “Anlo, Anlo, Anlo”.
Music-wise I heard influences from Iron Maiden, Def Leppard and Foo Fighters; I guess the band’s included all their favorite music styles into their own to create the Frontback sound. The show was jammed with energy, tempo and fun, which are pretty much what a Frontback show always includes. Front said it was time to slow down the tempo a bit with the last song on the album which is “Remember”.
Front is an amazing front woman that gives her absolute all on stage, and the same goes for the rest of the band; together they always create memorable live moments. “Honest” triggered dancing in front of the stage and even though HEART OF A LION is pretty new, the fans had already learned the lyrics and sang along with many of the songs. Front once again thanked the audience and the organizers for a great evening and said that the band only had a few songs left to play. She also wanted the fans to give a hand for Mother Mersy. The album’s most unusual song “On and On”, which goes to a disco beat, continued the night. The song is great but it stands out a bit from the rest of the pieces on the album with its unusual beat. The next song up was a song the band hadn’t performed live for a while, “All the Way For Fame”, which the band also shot a video for at another club in Malmo (Kulturbolaget) a little more than a year ago.
That song ended the 45 minute show, but the fans wanted to hear more Frontback music and shouted persistently after encores. The band returned to the stage again and Front said the next song was “Rival Sons” which became the first encore. Front said the band knew it had taken them a while to release HEART OF A LION and that they’ve already begun to write songs for the next album. The next song was a totally new one that the band wanted to play for the fans. The fans shouted “Anlo, Anlo” and the song ended the night and Front once again thanked for an amazing night. Another 10 minutes had passed and together we all got to enjoy almost 60 minutes of excellent rock n’ roll music.
The band is really tight and knows how to take on a crowd; they’re are all skilled musicians that are fun to watch in action. The band never throws a boring concert and Frontback is surely heading for the bigger stages really soon. The set list was nice, with of course the majority of the songs taken from HEART OF A LION, however it would have been nice to hear a few more of the older songs. The only thing that brought down the night a little bit was the bad lighting and the consistent flow of smoke that covered the stage. The stage was way too low but since the organizers had to change venue literally a few days before the show, I know they did the best they could in the situation. The fans seemed satisfied, as well as the band, and overall it was a great evening. Cred to Rebel Live who made the party reality and thanks to Frontback for always delivering some ass-kicking hard rock music!
You Need My Honey
Dead Man On the Road
On And On
All the Way For Fame
“new song” – I don’t know the title
Thanks to Mikko Tweedberg at Dead End Exit Records for help with press pass to the show.
Thanks to Rebel Live for a great event.
More info about the club