For the first time ever, the monstrous Lordi dared to venture down to Exeter with Dirty Passion and Hollywood Groupies in tow. As soon as I was offered the chance, I had to take it…all that was going through my head was LORDI!!
People were queuing outside early, so when Swedish rockers Dirty Passion took to their first UK stage in two years, a mere fifteen minutes after opening time, a fair few had got their first drink, and were ready to rock!
As soon as they started playing, those at the bar rushed to get to the stage, courtesy of a strong opener. Throughout the set, the crowd warmed to the band, reacting accordingly, including for new single, ‘Los Angeloser’, lifted from their eponymous album.
Dirty Passion must have felt the love. There was quite a bit of playful banter on stage, and also going out to the crowd, which fuelled the fantastic atmosphere further. Frontman Kriss announced that bassist Nasty, had a ‘personal issue’ with ‘The Bitch’. It seemed that most people in the crowd did too, causing them to involuntarily jump about, spill beer and cheer! It was a great start to proceedings, Dirty Passion leaving the crowd well and truly warmed up and energized.
Next up, with barely time to catch our breath, was Italian five-piece Hollywood Groupies, slapping the crowd in its collective face with opener, ‘Helter Jester’, with Condor’s bass, assaulting us from within! Throughout the set, lead guitarist Kelly impressed with her exquisite solos. Vocalist Foxy encouraged, feeding off, and further fuelling the energy of the crowd. Guitarist Ace was also keen to interact, and drummer Mirko was lively and smiley all evening. This was Hollywood Groupies first gig in the UK, and what a marker they made for themselves, ‘The Empress’ just one of the many songs that had us hooked by its sheer infectiousness. People were moving to the beat throughout, and even in between songs they were sloshing their drinks in the air and cheering. Considering that this was their first gig in the UK, I would say that they definitely earned a batch of new fans in Lemon Grove.
So, we came to our much-anticipated headliner… Lordi. What typically understated entrance! In line with their latest album ‘Scare Force One’, a lady came on stage dressed in airliner uniform. She had two aircraft marshalling wands, which she waved dutifully, as ‘Sir, Mr.Presideth, Sir!’ played. When the doors opened, and the band members came out, the crowd went wild. The set kicked off with a beast of a track from the new album, ‘Nailed By The Hammer Of Frankenstein’, and straight into ‘This Is Heavy Metal’, shortly followed by their Eurovision winner, ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah!’, at which point, I felt nine years younger… in a good way, of course. Needless to say, this was a real crowd-pleaser, that had everyone united, from the simply curious, to the ardent fan.
Mr.Lordi’s banter with the crowd ranged from the cliché “How are you doing tonight/I can’t hear you, I said…” to the gig-specific. Lines about being worried he might accidentally learn something (technically Lemon Grove is based on the University of Exeter campus), for example!
There were little intermissions between some songs, which lesser bands may have had as dead air, but Lordi put on a show, not just a collection of songs! At one point Mr.Ox (bass) and Mr.Mana (drums) had a very entertaining drum/bass off. During another, Mr.Amen (guitar) donned an Egyptian headdress, took centre-stage and shredded, whilst LED flame machines on each side of him did their thing!
Lordi are a band that know how to entertain and keep their crowd. Their costumes were fantastic, Mr.Lordi even showing off his unfurled demonic wings. Every little detail, the costumes (obviously), the performance, including spraying the crowd (and venue staff) with water), the lighting, the sound etc..was designed to impress, and by God, did it!
They have so many amazing tracks too… ‘Devil Is A Loser’, ‘Sincerely, With Love’, ‘Deadache’, and two of my personal favourites….’How To Slice A Whore’ and ‘Hell Sent In The Clowns’…..at which point I just lost my shit, momentarily stopped being an impartial reviewer, and had to get closer to watch them!
Each band on this line-up brought something different to the table. It was a fantastic night filled with smiles, strange dancing, head-banging and hard rock. To those that didn’t go to the show, you seriously missed out on an epic night! Unlucky!
Review by Cassandra Irving
Photography by Jamie Sweetlove
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