AOR gigs are a bit odd. So many damn old people everywhere. Most of the gigs I go to I AM the old one but here I'm probably slightly below the average age of all the gig goers gathered for some good old fashioned AOR wimp rock. The funny thing is all three bands on tonight's bill were much younger by far than most of the crowd!
This gig was billed as a one off Houston gig with support from two up and coming UK AORsters in the shape of Serpentine and Vega. However since then a Houston tour has been confirmed with 3 more giants of the AOR underground for later on in the year which should be fun.
Anyway first of all we had a fun Friday night of melodic rock to get through. The Borderline is a venue I have never been to as of yet, so that's one more venue ticked off of my list. It's a rather cosy place that would be packed with 300 or so people in it and to my surprise it was packed to the rafters more or less. It was quite busy already as I walked in around 7.40 and got gradually busier and fuller as each band played and finally I'd say it was a sell out more or less.
Whilst the AOR scene is pretty minute, I'd say it's not completely dead either judging by the attendance here and the band's made no secret of their pleasure at the turn out and said so on more than one occasion from the stage.
First up was Vega who released one of the best AOR albums from last year in Kiss of Life. The band is made up of the Martin bros and Nick Workman. The sound was a little iffy at first but got a little better. The band sounded in fine form and got a good response out of the crowd and more than a few were singing a long. The songs aired were all pretty good and most of the catchier songs from the debut were aired ending with Kiss of Life which went down best of all.
Next up were Serpentine showcasing their first ever live UK gig it seems alongside their brand new singer Matt Black who took over from Tony Mills of TNT/Shy fame. I must admit their Touch of Heaven album from last year didn't make too many waves with me. It was a pleasant enough AOR record but it was a bit sterile and pedestrian sounding and I'm not a huge fan of Tony Mills' vocals but anyhow he was gone and now they had a new young buck on the mic. As soon as he started singing it was pretty amazing to be honest. This young guy had a huge set of pipes on him that's for sure. Sometimes almost shrill and giving our ears a good going over on the high notes but his tone and style in general were perfect for the band. The new song they played called Philadelphia sounded much crisper and catchier than their older material.
The guys played with big smiles on their faces and I think the audience were very appreciative of the band and they went down very well and much better live than what I remember them sounding like on record. The new album with Matt Black should be something special for AOR fans if this performance is anything to go by.
Finally it was time for Houston. Now I know the Swedes had two members but I was wondering how they were going to round out the band and to my surprise they took to the stage with two girl guitarists yes that's TWO one rhythm and one lead and all members provided backing vocals of course. The sound was the best of the night too. The singer and mainman sounded in fine smooth voice and the band were tight with the melodic guitars and catchy choruses galore. It's hard to pick a best song of the night as all the songs from the debut album are pretty damn catchy to be honest. Some typical slightly awkward Swedish humour from the stage as well and after about a 50 minute set it was all over.
It had been a very fun night of melodic rock goodness proving that this music can still be a draw and it ain't completely dead and buried. On a side note can I say that the most bizarre person was at the show. I couldn't quite believe my eyes to be honest. During the Serpentine set I noticed two girls standing opposite me at the far end, one was a blonde and the other was a brunette. Now I had to take a double take, and screw my eyes carefully cause the brunette stunner was a dead ringer for UK pornstar Lolly Badcock! Very very odd indeed. The blonde girl was also quite familiar to me and I had a feeling she might be in the same game so to speak but what in the hell were doing at an AOR gig??? Anyway I slowly cottoned on to the fact that the blonde one maybe in some way attached to some member of the band in some way and most probably the singer Matt Black. Lo and behold a bit later I saw the blonde girl and Matt smooching away and talking. Lolly and he friend actually walked right past me to get a drink and whilst she's around the same height as me she's as thin as a rake and make no mistake. I was almost gonna pluck up courage and say hello Lolly I've spilt mucho seed over you in my time and can I have a kiss and a picture but it was just too loud and she wouldn't have heard me! Yeah right as if I'd say that! Anyway the whole thing was completely odd and I wonder what she thought of it all. Obviously her friend the blonde one was married to Matt and she's come along for the night. I didn't see he again but she might have been out back blowing one of the guy's from Houston the horny minx!
OK enough about that. I'll probably go and see these guys again in May with Serpentine, Miss Behaviour and a mystery band.