A Finnish double header hits Glasgow tonight, as Reckless Love and Santa Cruz hit town for some hair metal mayhem. I walk down a freezing cold Glasgow street and head up the stairs filled with bands names who have played this venue. As I enter the main hall I could have been in The Whisky A Go Go 30 years ago. The crowd has done it’s homework and I see nothing but mullets, bandanas, spandex, vests and an anorak – I have no idea what was going on there, must have been a tourist – but these people are here to party in the biggest way.
It has been a while since Santa Cruz have been up this far up north. I get all excited when I see the usual UK tour announcement and then, disappointingly, Scotland is not there. It is rare but it does happen so the first thanks of the evening to Reckless Love for bringing the guys along. The second is for giving the guys just shy of an hour on stage. That will just about cover me till they make the trip back here.
They kicked off with “Bonafide Heroes” and with a rowdy Glasgow crowd what better way to get a reaction than screaming Fuck Yeah straight off the bat. It got the fans going straight away. The part of the crowd here for Reckless Love weren’t too sure yet, maybe too abrasive to start?
The profanities continued flowing form Archie’s mouth with Velvet Rope. I was in my element here but the crowd reaction was a bit lacklustre and to be fair it was not until “6(66) Feet Under” that everything started to pick up. I suspect that this was due to it being an earlier track and more along the lines of what the main part of the crowd were here to see and hear. I do love the new direction but there is no mistaking that the early stuff is 80’s loaded and full of fun.
From here on in the set exploded, the band were on fire and loving every moment. For me I was wondering would Reckless Love be able to top this. It was a big ask as this was a storming set.
Within minutes of Ollie and the boys taking that stage and bursting into “Animal Attraction” my above fears were shot down as quickly as the ladies bottom jaws dropped. No disrespect to Santa Cruz, as I rate them highly, but Reckless are a different animal altogether. With “So Happy I could Die” you can tell why, with the crowd chanting Whoah at the top of their voices you are transported back to those heady days(some of us can remember them first hand), when MTV was nothing but hair metal, videos were huge and everything was just that much more fun.
“Monster” is the first song from new release, “InVader” tonight and it is far heavier live than on the album. I will let you make your own minds up about the new direction but as Ollie dons his Rob Halford cap(yes, he done it before Axl) and sings about ladies with the love of the surgeon’s scalpel, it is at this point I really take in Ollie in all his glory. He is basically the offspring of Diamond Dave and Michael Monroe. He has the moves, the energy, the twinkle in his eye, the love of the camera lens and the golfing gloves.
The man is a born entertainer, he was meant for the stage and the shop that sells spandex. Men and women alike go weak at the knees, they hang on his every word and do exactly what they are told as was evident when his mic died completely before “Beautiful Bomb”. He gets the crowd to go deathly quiet while he speaks to everyone until the mic is sorted, although I wonder if this is a ploy to get his rear end fondled by the sound tech.
As the songs come thick and fast and Ollie’s patter has us all laughing I have to hand out my third thanks of the review…the man pronounces Scotland as we say it here( no D) and although they do have an American accent there is no bad repetition of the annoying way the American nation say it.
Now, this isn’t all Ollie, this band is no one trick pony as Pepe is one hell of a guitar player and also seeks out the camera but mostly for a laugh and the awesome rhythm section just gel, this band as tight as the trousers on show tonight. They are showmen one and all and their years in front of a TV and turntable have melded them into one great live unit.
As they finish “Night On Fire” and what should be the walking off the stage encore piece we are told they are not going to go through that(basically as they are too lazy with backstage actually being behind the crowd) so another thanks as that does wind me up. We do, however, get Ollie stripping to the waist(my, has it just got very warm in here) and showing off his wares. Dave Lee Roth would be very, very proud.
We finish with “Weekend” and “Hot” and it is all over. An outstanding set from a brilliant band. their fans love them as would anyone who just likes to go out and have a good time. I could not imagine a better evening with a beer in my hand and watching a band do a great service to what was a huge part of my life. You are carrying the flag guys and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Review and Images Ritchie Birnie
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