Michael Monroe – headline act
One Man Gang European Tour 2019 – leg 1 –
Grand Rezerva – support act
25/10 – 2019
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
The Finnish legend and Hanoi Rock singer Michael Monroe recently released his brand new solo album titled ONE MAN GANG on the new label Silver Line Music and is currently out on tour supporting the release. It follows up the excellent 2015 year album BLACKOUT STATES and it was about time for the iconic singer to unleash some new material. The tour kicked off in Norway at the 22th of October after which Monroe and band traveled on to visit Sweden with two shows in Gothenburg and Stockholm. At the Stockholm show both Dregen from Backyard Babies and Conny Bloom from Electric Boys and who have been a part of Hanoi Rocks did guest appearances with Monroe. In Helsinki the former Hanoi Rocks guitarist Nasty Suicide joined forces with Monroe on stage and I wish I had been attending that particular show for sure. The place for the show this Friday was the rock club High Voltage located in downtown Copenhagen about 10 minute walk from the central station. The show sold out pretty fast and support act this night was the Malmo based act Grand Rezerva. Grand Rezerva was going on stage at 9.30 and after the shows the rock n roll night club takes over until 5 o clock when the club closes. The club hosts a few rock shows every month with mainly cover acts on stage.
A minor line had formed outside the club when I arrived there about 60 minutes before the doors opened. Well inside I walked down the stairs to the club and across the room the bar was located with the stage placed on the opposite side. On each side of the room there were seating areas as well as a pool-table. The club is pretty small and I don’t really know how many visitors it inhabits. As I waited for the show to start I took a look at the stage where a drumset and mics was placed and already eager fans stood waiting in front of the stage for the show to start. There weren’t a photo pit which meant we stood almost on stage with the band, that is how close you come to the bands at High Voltage. The 30 minutes until the opening act was going on stage went by pretty fast and suddenly the clock had turn 9.40.
The band walked through the crowd to get to the stage and kicked off the show with “Bring Me The Thunder” which followed straight away by “She Runaway”. It was really crowded on the small stage and the members didn’t have much space to move around on up there. It was also a bit crowded down on the floor but it was pretty calm amongst the audience still. Singer Svensson asked how the crowd was doing saying here is “Hell And High Water”, the band’s line up consists of:
Michael C Svensson – lead vocals
Andreas Landberg – guitar
Mattias Tiz Nilsson – guitar
Thomas Helgesson – drums
Zoak – bass
Svensson kept on singing but his mic didn’t work and you could hear the back up vocals but not the lead vocals. Zoak tried to help out Svensson and the sound in the mic come and went. The show continued with “Second Coming” and now his mic worked again. The bands classical hardrock/rock n roll didn’t seem to work out too well amongst the crowd that was pretty laid back towards the band and focused on drinking beer. Svensson introduced “Rock n Roll Junkie” and “Hellbound” and the band didn’t pay the lack of attention any mind, instead they gave their all as if they had performed for 1000 enthusiastic fans. The guys felt solid and it looked like they had a great time together on stage which elevated the show a bit. They joked around with each other as well as with the Swedish fans that had traveled across the bridge to see them. Svensson asked if Copenhagen was alive and said it was time for “Enter The Mind” which was followed by “Nowhere Bound”. Svensson thanked for the support introducing “Crimson” as the next song. Since the club is pretty small it stared to become really hot inside and on stage the members looked a bit sweaty. Svensson said the guys wanted to thank Monroe for letting them open for him, are you ready for Michael Monroe he asked and fired off “War”.
He also thanked Martin, the head of the club, for the great night and “Not Like You” followed. The last song for the night was “Guardian” and that ended 40 minute show. I have to be honest and say that the music of Grand Rezerva doesn’t do much for me. Sure the members are really skilled and sure know how to handle their instruments, the weak link is the singer Svensson’s voice. The guys know how to take on a crowd and even though their performance was OK it wasn’t a jackpot for me. Their music is well executed rock n roll but I know many other bands that do it much better than Grand Rezerva. They didn’t convince me with this show but maybe that change in the future.
Bring Me The Thunder
Hell And High Water
Rock n Roll Junkie
Enter The Mind
Not Like You
Time for change of gear which took a while, the club started to get jammed with people and the anticipation of see Michael Monroe was hovering in the air. About 11.10 the band made their way through the massive crowd and it was time for the headline act of the night to kick off his show.
“One Man Gang” opened the show and the fans screamed from the top of their lungs when they saw and heard Monroe on stage. People started to push and shove in order to come closer to the stage which made me really irritated. “Last Train To Tokyo” followed straight away and since the small stage were jammed with musicians Monroe stood on one of the monitors with one hand in the roof maintaining his balance while singing. Monroe’s band consists of:
Michael Monroe – lead vocals, saxophone, harmonica
Steve Conte – guitar
Rich Jones – guitar
Sami Yaffa – bass
Karl Rockfist – drums
”Junk Planet” continued the show and if the tempo was high from the beginning the band increased it the longer into the show they got. Monroe thanked the fans for being there saying it was really nice to be in Copenhagen again, here comes another new song in “The Pitfalls Of Being An Outsider” he said and even though the fans of course loved the song many felt a bit reluctant towards the newer material. The band had this short into the show already played 4 new songs and I guess that many of the fans hadn’t have time to listen to the new album. Monroe asked how many that had bought the album and a few of the fans clapped their hands, well here comes another new song and we’re about to slow down the tempo in “Midsummer Nights”.
A short woman with her friend was standing next to me and both of them was pushed and shoved around by the ecstatic mass, maybe a few security guards would have been in place when a bigger name like Monroe is coming to the club and it’s sold out.
“Ballad Of The Lower East Side” followed and almost everyone in the crowd sang along with Monroe throughout the song. We barely had time to catch our breath until it was time for “Old King’s Road” which is a personal favorite song of mine so I was really glad to hear it live. Monroe walked out to the left side of the stage and into the crowd on the small pillar which he used to stand on quite often. “’78” followed and it was also during that song I and a few beside me was drenched in beer by a guy that was coming through the crowd holding 4 beers and one drink. I have been to thousands of shows throughout the years and nothing makes me as pissed as when people that comes late push and shoves their way to the front of the stage spilling beer and drinks over people on their way forward. If you want to see a band then please be there in time and take your place at the front of the stage, you can buy beer after the show if you’re thirsty. I don’t have any problems with people acting out and being crazy at shows but please show some respect for the rest of the crowd.
Monroe once again said that he had a new album out and asked if we wanted to hear a now song from it, here is “Black Ties And Red Tape”. As always Monroe was the perfect front and show man and really managed to get the crowd going. His voice was as perfect as ever and he showed no sign of being tired in any way. The big problem for him and the band this night was the small stage that didn’t offer the band the space they needed in order to cut lose. It’s really hard to think that Monroe turns 60 in a few years, the guy moves around like a 20 year old. Jones, Monroe and Yaffa noticed that the girls beside me had a difficult time enjoying the show because of the pushing and shoving so Monroe told the crowd he wanted them to take a bit easy and to show some respect for the people next to you. We are all here to have a good time and not get hurt and no one should feel bad when I’m on stage. He gave one of the guys that were extremely rowdy the evil eye and the guys backed a few steps.
The epic “Motorvatin’” followed and if felt like the majority of the crowd now longed to hear a Hanoi Rocks song amongst all the new material. “Hollywood Paranoia” followed and with that song I think Monroe had played 7 new songs until now. Thanks everyone for coming he said and fired off “This Ain’t No Love Song” taken from the 2015 year album BLACKOUT STATES.
“Trick of The Wrist” continued the night of well played glam/sleaze music and the fans went overload when they heard the song. It’s amazing to see the band in action and I can’t understand where the energy of Monroe comes from? The rest of the band was as energetic as Monroe and it was easy to tell that they all loved being on stage. Monroe walked across the stage climbing out on the pooltable singing the rest of the song from there. You might recognize our next song, it’s “Don’t You Ever Leave Me”. Before Monroe left the singing to the fans the audience sang along with him and the song was executed perfect, and as always Monroe played both Saxophone and harmonica during the show.
Once again a few guys in the crowd started to push and shove the women beside me whom Monroe and Yaffa saw and they brought up the girls on the stage so that they could watch the show from there. Once again it’s crazy to not be considerate to the ones standing beside you, but it must have been cool for the women to watch the show from the stage. “Malibu Beach Nightmare” continued the show and lit up the fans even more and when the fans heard the next song which was the cover of the old Creedence Clearwater Revival song “Up Around the Bend” the mayhem was a fact. It’s too bad that Monroe doesn’t perform more in Scandinavia, he mostly tours in Finland nowadays. Monroe thanked High Voltage and owner Martin for booking the band and because of all the fans at the club tonight the band was able to come back in the future. It was to fun to hear the cover song, and for once the original version isn’t better than the cover. Monroe invited the fans to sing a long with him in the chorus and Monroe seemed to be really happy with the support he got from the crowd.
“Dead Jail Or Rock n Roll” ended the ordinary set of the show, in the video to the song taken from the 1989 year album NOT FAKIN IT Axl Rose makes an appearance. The fans singing almost overpowered Monroe that had a big smile on his face during the song. The excellent song ended 75 minutes of music and the band walked off the stage, the fans didn’t settle with that and shouted for encores as soon as the band had left. Monroe and company soon came back and the first encore for the night was “Nothing’s Alright”. The song taken from his old band Demolition 23 was long awaited for by the crowd and the album which I think is great is sadly underrated by the big mass.
Monroe once again thanked the fans saying he loved them all, he felt genuine touched by the warm welcome and he also thanked everyone for not smoking in the club. Here is “Hammersmith Palais”, the song which also is taken from his Demolition 23 days is just another treasure in the golden vault of Michael Monroe. Once again Monroe took a stroll out on to the table beside the stage in order to get closer to the fans, and with Monroe on the table Conte took the chance to crowd surf. While out on the crowd Conte dropped something to his guitar and a crew member ran out on the floor with a flashlight looking for it. Monroe is out on the floor with the fans (since I was standing on his opposite side I couldn’t see what he was doing) and he said in the mic – ok boys I’m fine start the next song and the old The Stooges cover “1970” ended the show and the club now reached boiling point, it was hot like in the topics there and the heat must have taken its toll on both fans as well as on the bad. Monroe returned back on stage only to walk across it out on the other side and on the pool table. Before the song ended the band squeezed in an instrumental medley and when Monroe was back on stage the song ended and the band said goodbye. Monroe introduced the band and then thanked the fans for a fun night together with the band. That ended another 20 minutes of music and the show was over at the club.
The show really blew my mind, I have seen Monroe many times before but am always surprised by how dedicated he is on stage and how slim he still is. The guy is 57 years old but is in better shape than many much younger people. He is a true legend and an icon and his solo shows never let me down. The band was tight and solid as rock and everyone is really skilled musicians. The set list was great and it was fun to hear some old favorites from both Hanoi Rocks and Demolition 23 however it was too bad he didn’t chose to play songs from the older solo albums, I also lack material from the album with Jerusalem Slim.
The stage was too small and the lighting was too poor, but the band didn’t let that have any impact on their performance. The sound system worked well but it was maybe a bit too loud partially. We have handled the pushing and shoving issues in the review already but again, show some respect for the rest of the people who are there to see the band. If the club hosts sold out events in the future it would have been a good idea to hire some securities that can handle the crowd.
But the show was amazing and I’m really glad that the club booked Monroe once again, it’s always a treat to see that icon live and in action.