Hurricane Party / Renegade Playboys / Skandinavia
16 December 2004
Camden Underworld

It`s just over a year since I was first impressed by Hurricane Party at the Mean Fiddler as opening act to Skid Row. Tonight, that band`s erstwhile lead singer Sebastian Bach is at that same venue and it`s therefore notable that the Underworld was packed by the time Hurricane Party took the stage.

First on tonight though were Skandinavia a new band formed by Eliza Newman, former front woman of Icelandic indie band Bellatrix. For her latest project Eliza has taken a harder hitting approach with Zeppelin-esque riffing combined with the alternative edge of PJ Harvey.

Miniature Explosion contains the line "something compulsive about you" and that`s certainly applicable to Eliza. Her voice is simply stunning, effortless reaching soaring high notes and combined with a confident stage presence, good looks and striking blonde hair, she commands your attention.

At times, Claire Wakeman`s rock riffs, on top of the very solid rhythm section of Martin Maddaford and Dave Collinder, brought to mind the kind of grooves The Tea Party create. Eliza occasionally embellishing this with violin.

Female fronted rock bands are at a premium at the moment and the fact that Skandinavia are not directly comparable to the likes of Nightwish and Evanescence is both to their credit and advantage. With a wealth of strong material this band are certainly ones to watch.

Skandinavia set list:
Blue Boy / Mountain / Valkyrja / Miniature Explosion / Queen Of The Solitude / Never To Late / Dog

An extensive UK tour with Dragonforce seems to have done the Renegade Playboys a world of good, with my prior concerns wiped aside tonight on realising that the band were actually quite good. Initially, as the band were playing Good Times, I had noted the rhythm section seemed a bit lumpen. Though at the close of the song, vocalist Krayz D pointed out that drummer K-M was playing with one hand due to a broken arm!

The band seemed more relaxed and confident, though it must have come as a relief to be playing to a crowd more suited to their rock`n`roll, rather than confronted by power metal fans brandishing plastic swords.

Krayz D is a bundle of energy tonight bounding round the stage and trying to pull off some David Lee Roth style star jumps. Meanwhile guitarist Dave and Sebz pose and play with poise. The material played too is much better than what is offered on the bands website, from the power ballad Before The Song Is Over to the oomph of Sudden Rush.

Krayz D, wearing a Cowboys From Hell t-shirt, dedicates the set to Dimebag Darrell, noting that "someday we`ll learn a Pantera song and play the shit out of it …or just play it shit!".

My advice to Renegade Playboys would be to take the old mp3`s down from their site, as they do them any favours, and as soon as K-M`s out of plaster get something recorded as they`re clearly an improved outfit.

Renegade Playboys set list:
For Heaven`s Sake / Good Times / Looking For An Angel / 24 Hour Bitch / Bad Gurlz / Before The Song Is Over / Sudden Rush

The packed Underworld tonight is a testament to the hard work Hurricane Party have put in this year which has not been hurt with high profile support slots with the likes of Europe, WASP and Queensryche. Tonight it`s great to get the opportunity to see them not playing second fiddle and having the chance to stretch out with a longer set.

The band are actually heavier than what you might think, with AC/DC style crashing guitars, and as an opener Killer is a strong statement of intent. That song features on the band`s debut EP release Get This, and every track from it is greeted with gusto. Crown Of Thorns is cut from the same cloth as The Cult`s classic Fire Woman, but with a sleazier edge, whereas Big Rock Show showcases big backing vocals in a Def Leppard style. Biggest reception of the night however is saved for Roadstar, which most of tonight`s audience have no doubt been wearing out on their free Metal Hammer dvds.

This is not to say that the bands other material is unknown, with the likes of Days Full Of Night and the big blues ballad Run getting equally keen appreciation.

This is the bands last gig of the year and there`s definitely a party atmosphere about proceedings highlighted when a huge pair of Christmas decorated pants are flung on stage. The band seem relaxed with none more sure than vocalist Richie Hevanz. This guy is the finished article and as a young band still progressing, the rest of the guys aren`t far behind him.

2004 was a great year for Hurricane Party and the band look set to build on that next year.

Both Hurricane Party and Renegade Playboys will be appearing at Strumpfest at the Borderline on the 29th January 2005 along with Chariot, Mitch, Lunatic and No Angels. For tickets and more details please visit the Strumpfest site at the link below.

Hurricane Party set list:
Killer / Days Full Of Night / All I Want / Liar / Crown Of Thorns / Get This / Last Survivor / Run / Big Rock Show / Roadstar / Let`s Get Started / Steam / Run Run Run / Ready To Go / Motivator

Hurricane Party
Renegade Playboys
The Underworld