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Harmony 400 - Plug, Sheffield, 25/2/2008

  by Peter Allison

published: 22 / 3 / 2008

Harmony 400 - Plug, Sheffield, 25/2/2008


Out on the road to promote their latest album, 'Ribbed Music for the Numb Generation', Peter Allison watches reformed 80's heavy metal band Hanoi Rocks play an acrobatic and energetic set of both new and classic material

The Plug in Sheffield is a good venue for live bands. The stage is high enough that a good view can be enjoyed from anywhere in the room. The acoustics are also better than average for a club-type venue. It, however, seems that they don’t believe in providing seats – at all! With three bands, plus set changes, it gets rather hard on the feet standing up the whole time – especially if you happen to be 6 ½ months pregnant, as my partner is, at the time! The first band on, Scrim were a local band. Musically they were a subtle amalgamation of modern and classic rock influences. Musically they performed a good set, although their stage presence is still developing. They nonetheless thanked the Plug for giving them a chance on the main stage. Unfortunately they then forgot who they were supporting and said they hoped everyone “enjoys the... erm... main band!” The following band was the London based Soho Dolls. Their name is suggestive of both the New York Dolls, and Soho Roses. Musically, they describe themselves as electro-sleaze, and sound not dissimilar to a bizarre marriage of Siouxsie Sioux and Garbage, but it cannot be denied in that it works quite well. Much of this has to do with the fantastic vocals of Maya Von Doll. Despite an initial disinterest from the crowd (who were all here to see Hanoi Rocks), the infectious presence of the Soho Dolls, and Maya's catchy lyrics, had soon ensnared the crowd’s interest. Of particular note is the punk-influenced 'Trash the Rental', which had the compulsive chorus of “Trash it trash it! It's just a rental”. This line, if anything, encapsulates Maya's lyrical format, being a rhythmic punk-influenced narrative. Overall, the Soho Dolls took many by surprise, and had this reviewer sufficiently interested to look for their latest album, 'Ribbed Music for the Numbed Generation'. At long last, Hanoi Rocks emerged onto stage with all their blasé panache and infectious energy which soon had the crowd bouncing along to their music. Hanoi wisely knew that the crowd were to see them, and that is exactly what Hanoi Rocks gave them: an undiluted live-music experience, relying on ability and performance, rather than gimmicks and pyrotechnics. Although the tour was primarily in order to promote their latest album, 'Street Poetry', their set list included tracks from the entire breadth of their work, rather than focusing purely on their new album. From their first album, 'Bangkok Shocks, Saigon Shakes, Hanoi Rocks', they included 'Tragedy', while from 'Street Poetry' they played both the title track and 'Fashion'. Diverse wardrobe changes throughout the night marked Mike Monroe’s performance, but not to any detrimental effect. These wardrobe changes were made during guitar solos, and thus allowed the guitarist to rightfully enjoy the spotlight. Mike Monroe also proved that he can still do his trademarked splits, high kick, and other stage acrobatics; with an energy that would have Jackie Chan handing in his nunchucks. Towards the end of the gig I noticed a familiar face beside me. After few moments it clicked – it was Tyla, the former singer of the Dogs D’Amour and now a well-established solo singer and musician is his own right. Before Hanoi came back for the encore, I had a quick chat with Tyla. It turns out that he was in Sheffield having played a gig earlier that night at The Corporation, supporting ex-Wildheart Ginger. This explained why the crowd for Hanoi Rocks wasn’t as large as expected. There would have many people in the area who were fans of both Hanoi Rocks and Wildhearts/Ginger/Dogs D’Amour/Tyla, since it’s the type of music that would tend to appeal to the same people. Tyla certainly seemed to enjoy the end of the Hanoi gig anyway! Hanoi Rocks closed the set with their classic cover of 'Up Around the Bend', which had everyone in the room – including the bar staff – dancing along! Hanoi Rocks proved to any detractors they still have a lot to offer to fans both old and new alike. The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Peter Allison.

Picture Gallery:-
Harmony 400 - Plug, Sheffield, 25/2/2008

Harmony 400 - Plug, Sheffield, 25/2/2008

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