|» H.E.A.T. 2012 04 29||
The retirement of H.E.A.T. vocalist Kenny Leckremo in 2010 came as a sad surprise, although some warning signals had been spotted. Something of a revelation on the melodic hard rock/AOR scene in recent years, the band, thankfully, quickly found a fitting replacement in Erik Grönwall, a mighty impressive winner of the Swedish Idol television contest and with a solo career well underway.
Having just released their first album with Grönwall, Adress The Nation, there is much interest around the band. Tonight's gig, however, is certainly different as it takes place at a night club directed towards people around 40, with H.E.A.T. as the live band of the evening. As a consequence, younger fans are not present, and the spectators are not exactly of the rocker type. As the show starts, it is obvious that most of the crowd do not know the songs, but the place is soon rocking - or rather dancing - to the stream of marvellously catchy tunes performed by the young Swedes.
No less than eight out of ten songs from the superb new album are included in the set - a testament of the band's belief in their new material as well as of the sheer quality of the songs. First single Living On The Run is just wonderful, and an awesome version of Heartbreaker get a storming reception. While his band members are tight and put on an energetic effort, it's hard to keep your eyes off Grönwall.
The blonde singer works hard to get the crowd on its feet, and his stage demeanour is dynamic and intense, also revealing tons of confidence in his frontman role. As for his vocals, he proves his great talent and capacity again, and performs older numbers really well, although it unsurprisingly feels a bit unusual at times seeing that he does not really have that a similar voice to Leckremo's.
Unfortunately, the sound is far from perfect tonight, as there are occasions when keyboard parts and guitar solos are drowned out in the mix. And Grönwall's use of a harmonica in In And Out Of Trouble - substituting the saxophone in the studio version of the song - is virtually inaudible. These things take away some of the subtleties and nuances, but the songs themselves are so classy and rock to such a degree that it is no major annoyance.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable display by H.E.A.T., without doubt
serving as tremendous Saturday night entertainment. That said, one is
looking forward to a 'proper' H.E.A.T. show, with better conditions and
loyal followers cheering and singing. In the meantime, there is zero doubt
that the group has survived the changing of frontmen, and that they are
still most well-equipped for greater things in the future.
Performance: 7 chalices