HRH 2015: States of Panic & Hardcore Superstar
With the doom stage closing off after Diesel King’s muscular performance, and with the stage transcending into the Sleaze Stage for the remainder of the day, I was fully expecting things to go a bit soppier. What I got, while indeed the songs becoming more about love and romance, was one of the surprise packages of the weekend. States of Panic married punchy sleaze rock with electro-synths, punk undertones and…seven string guitars. It was the last place I’d expected to see such low tunings, but it added a robust vigour to their set that helped make the transition from doom to sleaze a flawless one.
Playing to very much the same crowd as the doom bands had previously – apart from a few stragglers waddling over from the AOR stage – they held a crowd which may not have been predominantly their demographic. And that was testament to their abilities as a live band, it was good fun, it was catchy and thoroughly entertaining.
Visually they were the polar opposite of their predecessors, where they were all dirty jeans and band shirts, States of Panic came out with matching outfits and eyeliner – you couldn’t help notice the impact that had. Yet it didn’t take long for the doom loving sceptics amongst the crowd to start bopping along to their convincing swagger. A job well done.
I can’t remember when I last listened to the highly respected Swedish rockers that are Hardcore Superstar. What I do remember though, is being infatuated with their 2007 record, Dreamin’ In A Casket which was a great blend of Guns N’ Roses fashioned sunset strip pomp with a more metallic menace to it – frontman Joakim "Jocke" Berg being every bit an Axl Rose on steroids. They had the riffs that made you dance about the living room and they had the melodies that infected your ear drums enough to make you slave over repeat listens, broad smiles stretching across your face.
It’s getting late by the time they take to stage, and to a sizable crowd to. They then set about pulling out a show that made my inner 15 year old giddy as hell, as well as making me gulp down my pint at a pace I probably shouldn’t have. They’re bouncy, more energetic than a toddler on sherbet and they go down a storm. Dreamin’ In A Casket itself is stonking and, yes, they click every cliché in the little book of rock n’ roll shows, but they do it with such charisma and vigour that you can’t help enjoy it a little too much.
Words: Phil Weller | Photos: Phil Goddard