CHRIS HOLMES MEAN MAN / CARNIVAL SUN
Date: 09th July, 2017
Venue: Rockbåten M/S Harmony
Tickets: 250SEK (€26/$31) in advance - 300SEK (€31/$37) day of
Promoter: Rockbåten M/S Harmony
Photos: Erika Wallberg
It's mixed emotions with concerts at Rockbåten M/S Harmony. The stress of not knowing if I will be able to see anything at all as 5-6-7 people fills the first line really hit me, since it becomes hard to watch as there's no real stage. On the other hand, when getting a good spot, it's absolutely fantastic to see bands in such an intimate place, up-close and personal.
Swedish CARNIVAL SUN were tapped as openers that Sunday night and when they started playing the place was rather empty. People were probably still waiting outside as it was a nice day as more people entered as soon as they started playing. I'm still very surprised that an event like this one didn't attract a full house.
And there wasn't anything to complain about with CARNIVAL SUN's music; it was good quality Hard Rock with some catchy choruses and so on. Both “Sun Of A Bitch” the title-track from the bands full length album and “Soul For Sale” worked fine. I really liked Emil Roos’ voice, the filthy Rock 'n’ Roll touch suited the songs in a very good way. Also brand new “All Time Low” sounded very good. It was a bit mellower and more Rock-oriented than the older stuff. THE HELLACOPTERS came to mind, at least during the late days of the band which got a bit ironic as guitarist Andreas Hall almost was a spitting image of the late Robert “Strängen” Dahlqvist.
I can understand that it wasn't very inspiring for CARNIVAL SUN to put on a special show but I think a bit more effort to interact with the crowd would have done them well. The silence between the songs didn't build the energy and even, as I said, it all sounded good it's not enough to keep the interest up. I was waiting for something to stand out, both in the music and visual performance. It came in “We Come To Rock” which was a bit faster but it felt like it came a bit too late in the set. But absolutely, CARNIVAL SUN sounded good and did a good job playing.
CARNIVAL SUN setlist:
01. “Blind Man’s Aim”
02. “Sun Of A Bitch”
03. “Soul For Sale”
04. “All Time Low”
05. “Wicked Ways”
06. “Walk On The Edge”
07. “We Come To Rock”
08. “Sentenced To Hell”
(click to enlarge)
I had no idea what to expect from the Chris Holmes set. Although, he's been doing very good on stage on the occasions I've seen him before, both with W.A.S.P as well as with WHERE ANGELS SUFFER. Chris himself is no grand vocalist and I guess that could have contributed to my hesitation on what was to come. It felt like a mess to start with as there was just a lot of noise on stage and Chris walking up to his amp adjusting some parts and cranking it up and all of a sudden the show had started. But after the first verse of “Shitting Bricks” all my skepticism was gone. The music was loud as HELL but it sounded awesome. And with the attitude in the musical performance and the whole sound, Chris' raw voice worked really well. It's not neat in any way but that wasn't the music either so it suited together perfectly. And since the place filled up decently to show start the intensity was immense due to the intimacy and volume.
“Let It Roar” was another favorite of the Chris Holmes solo material, all three songs initiating the set was from the “Shitting Bricks” release but the last of the three certainly is a favorite.
For the main part of the W.A.S.P classics guitarist Thomas Cesario took over the lead vocals. What a voice! He had the ability to copy Blackie Lawless to perfection but what I really liked about it was that he did that here and there only, in most parts he sounded like himself. And of course his abilities to play guitar was also outstanding. That Vigier double-neck with one fretless sure looked spectacular and sounded the same.
But standing there up front being able to study everything in detail I realized that Chris never have gotten any credits for being an excellent guitarist. That really stood out here his fines and creativity with the guitar was phenomenal. I guess his cuddly bear-like appearance nowadays fooled me but he really should have credits for his musical skills.
It was the W.A.S.P songs that got the biggest support even if everyone on the front really knew everything, “Sleeping (In The Fire)” sounded awesome and I loved the honest Rock 'n' Roll feel to it all. No frills and additions, just music. To my surprise, Chris sounded really good when hitting of the first verse in “On Your Knees”, rough for sure but far more melodic compared to the solo-stuff.
The lack of pre-recorded stuff in the W.A.S.P songs was commented by Chris also, saying they play W.A.S.P songs but doesn't sound like the band these days as he can't do it, what they do. And no matter how you twist and turn it, it is so much more fun to have an honest performance when you get what the musicians can produce on stage and nothing more. This was really put to the test as “The Headless Children” has a huge part keyboards in the beginning. Thomas did this all on his guitar, it sounded different of course but recognizable and damn cool.
The only thing that felt a little shaky during the show for me was “Don't Care”, the character of the song is more mellow than Rock 'n' Roll with acoustic verses the raw character in Chris’ voice it sounded a bit contradictive between the music and vocals. For “Nothing To Lose” and “Born, Work, Die” it was back to the regular high standard again. The place had gotten extremely heated up at this point but that didn't slow down the band as they hit of the final section of the show. Another batch of W.A.S.P classics in “Wild Child”, “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” and “I Wanna Be Somebody”. Again it sounded awesome and I can't think if a show in many years when it's been as fun to hear and scream along to these songs. For the last of the three songs Chris invited anyone from the crowd who wanted to come up and sing with the band. Only two volunteered and I guess the Sunday was the cause of that, not enough beer in the rest of the crowd to accept the challenge. It was more fun than good of course as none of the guys on stage could sing one bit.
Set closer, the Neil Young classic, “Rockin' In The Free World” felt like a very suitable song to end it all with. I normally don't like it when bands add covers to their sets but for this one, first it sounded like a mix of Chris solo songs and W.A.S.P, a very heavy version and second, a perfect way to wrap the whole thing up.
I was overwhelmed with feelings after the set; it was touching to see everything in such an intimate place, to be able to study everything going on onstage. Also, the honesty and vulnerability portrayed by Chris as a person made it all feel very personal. On the other had it felt a bit sad, the band certainly deserve more than this (again, I love seeing bands at the place but it's not the best and definitely not the biggest and most visited place) as they worked really hard and sounded fantastic. And for me, I never thought I would gather enough energy to enjoy this one fully as we got home from a three-day festival adventure, turned around the car and went off to Helsingborg to see this. But it worked out, I got more energy on the way home. And that should say it all.
CHRIS HOLMES MEAN MAN setlist:
01. “Shitting Bricks”
02. “Get With It”
03. “Let It Roar”
04. “L.O.V.E. Machine” (W.A.S.P. song)
06. “Sleeping (In The Fire)” (W.A.S.P. song)
08. “On Your Knees” (W.A.S.P. song)
09. “The Headless Children” (W.A.S.P. song)
10. “Don't Care”
11. “Nothing To Lose”
12. “Born, Work, Die”
13. “Wild Child” (W.A.S.P. song)
14. “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” (W.A.S.P. song)
15. “I Wanna Be Somebody” (W.A.S.P. song)
16. “Rockin' In The Free World” (Neil Young cover)
CHRIS HOLMES MEAN MAN
(click to enlarge)