Live Music + Gig Reviews

Young Heart Attack + Viking Skull + Kill: Stereo @ The Road House, Manchester

12 April 2004

Currently touring the UK to promote Mouthful Of Love – their superlative debut album – Young Heart Attack stopped at The Road House club in Manchester to celebrate their 150th gig, and proved that they’re already authentic rock ‘n’ roll professionals.

As for the support bands, well such words of kindness cannot be used to describe how the night begun. To be candid, but I’m sure the seemingly apathetic crowd would say justifiably harsh, Kill: Stereo were awful. They produced a terrible sound, merely a noise band without any sense of rhythm. They lacked talent and stage presence in every respect. A tedious bore.

Viking Skull, a side project of Raging Speedhorn who played a more bearable set despite the ludicrous banter of the frontman. Looking dishevelled in a denim jacket covered in patches and jumping up and down on stage, he must surely have thought of himself as Bruce Dickinson – he was cringing to watch. Credit due to them, at least Viking Skull had more of a sense of rhythm than the aforementioned support act. But with song titles like Rape, Pillage and Burn and Beers, Drugs and Bitches it is very difficult to take them seriously. I have to ask, are they for real?

Fortunately, headliners Young Heart Attack simply rocked. Hailing from Austin, Texas, they sound like a heavy fusion of Southern blues and old school rock, but stripped from all of heavy metal’s pretensions. Comparisons with Aussie legends AC/DC and classic British underdogs Motrhead are inevitable, and far too obvious. Perhaps it’s fair to say that they’re more like contemporary rockers The Strokes and The White Stripes, but heavier. It would then be a more apt description to call Young Heart Attack a very loud garage rock band, who sparks memories of early Alice Cooper and the Detroit rock scene of the early ’70s.

To say lead vocalist Jennifer Stephens was mind-blowing is an understatement. Oozing sexuality, she has the rhythm and soul of Janis Joplin with the voice to match. She gave herself completely to the enthusiastic audience – strutting her stuff on stage and never stopping. She’s great!

The audience were wildly excited at every song that was played. An excellent cover of MC5‘s Over And Over was played, as were their other two singles Misty Rowe and Tommy Shots. All were played with zeal.

With a memorable first album, a good band name, obvious talent and verve, bigger arena venues do not seem too far away. A sweaty and energetic one-hour set proved that they have a very promising future ahead.

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