I made my way to the Barfly for the 3rd time in 2 weeks and this tiny venue is turning out to be a cool little room for gigs of this size. It filled out quite nicely by the end of the night with about 150 or so people inside. I was actually expecting less but the AOR aficionados turned out pretty well.
First support band were Big Time from Sweden. Actually it was an all Svensk night hehe so there's not much point mentioning their origin. I came across these big time (if you excuse the pun) hair rockers a few years ago but not heard of them much since. I enjoyed their songs on youtube especially Julia which is very catchy and the song they started their set with. There was a whole heap of hair on that stage indeed! The guitarist had an odd 80s shock of hair which made him look somewhat odd when he had his head down and rocking the guitar as the picture below proves. The front man had a real solid voice though to go with his big 80s perm do. The guys didn't have a long time but I guess they didn't have many songs. They also played a cover of Dio's Stars which was sang very well by the front man. A real enjoyable fun little start. I hope the band progress more and release some music.
Next up were The Spin who are not strictly an AOR band at all. They mix up slightly punky pop rock with some nice clear vocals from the energetic front man. Their tunes are easy on the ear but a little childish for my taste and far too bubble gum poppy and lack a little maturity. But the crowd seemed to enjoy them a lot and there was a lot of dancing going on. I doubt I would listen to them on record but live they made a very passable 30 minutes until the lush AOR of Houston would arrive.
Finally Houston took to the stage with new members in place and sounded pretty cool but there was something just a little subdued about the performance overall. I mean they were all good and played well but the guitar sound was not very clean at times and made the songs sound a little dirtier than they sound on record. I still enjoyed the melodic aor bliss of songs like a 1000 Songs, Runaway and Truth Slips but I was a bit disappointed that no songs were played from the new Relaunch II album as there's some awesome tunes on it like Justice For One, Downtown and Our Love or even one the Lady Gaga cover would have been nice. A cool night of smooth aor from the Swedes overall but could have been a bit better with newer tunes and a more polished sound I guess. I am being a bit picky though and I'm glad I went to the show especially as I think Big Time were my fave band of the night!