H.E.A.T. at O2 Academy 2 Newcastle on 17th May 2014

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This is the first time for Swedes, H.E.A.T. in Newcastle. Front-man Erik Grönwall exclaims “So this is the famous Newcastle,” Holding up a can of popular Danish export lager: “So what is this bull****! I thought you had your own beer? “ The glam metal five-piece are glad to be here, to a surprisingly good turn-out in the Academy 2. Eurovision may have been last week but we are treated to a continental smorgasbord of rock ‘n’ roll tonight.

Representing Denmark are hard rockers Supercharger who seem like they are the headline act. Lead singer Mikkel Neperus even jokes two tracks in “Hey, do you want to stay for the support band? They’re on after us!” I would believe them if this was the way they had gigs in Denmark, Supercharger are a force to be reckoned with. Despite a slight technical hitch, the crowd are well and truly ‘warmed up’ as Neperus puts it. Ending with ‘Hell Motel’ I don’t think anyone would complain if they continued for another 45 minutes. Douze Points!

Representing Sweden is tonight’s headline act H.E.A.T. ‘The Heat Is On’ by Glenn Frey plays over the PA system and the fans go crazy. The AOR five-piece have a stage presence like we are at a Bon Jovi gig in the 80s. This is what a rock band were designed to look like; weird hair-cuts, cut off band tees, tattoos on the upper arm. Complete with their screaming fans, H.E.A.T. has definitely tapped in to a certain niche. It’s easy to see why; the Swedish rockers are putting on a stadium-sized show in an Academy 2 sized room. Erik Grönwall’s dancing is like a mix of Axl Rose and Ace Ventura.

The five-piece start with material from their latest album ‘Tearing Down The Walls’; ‘Mannequin Show’, ‘Point Of No Return’, the title track and ‘A Shot At Redemption’ as well as material from their back catalogue. It’s hard to believe Grönwall had to audition for Swedish Idol to get noticed when he has such a powerful voice; it seems as if he has been a rock star all his life. Ironically a band called H.E.A.T. have a  certain warmth to them. They might not be a cool, edgy, experimental band. Who cares? We came to see rock ‘n’ roll show; we got a great rock ‘n’ roll show!

Reviewer: Neale McGeever

Photographer: Graeme Baty

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