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Houston, Crashdiet, Serpentine, Vega & Miss Behaviour - 04-05-2011 | FESTIVALPHOTO

Houston, Crashdiet, Serpentine, Vega & Miss Behaviour - 04-05-2011



Tonights show is going to be a busy night - five bands on one bill. Originally advertised as a Houston headlining tour, it was later changed to a Houston/Crashdiet co-headlining tour, but judging by the queue outside where most people seem to be wearing Crashdiet T-shirts then you could easily assume it was a Crashdiet headlining tour. Tonight Crashdiet will be headlining (they've been alternating with Houston), and judging by reports from other shows where Houston have headlined and half the crowd have left after Crashdiet then its probably a good job that Crashdiet will be the last band to play tonight.

The other bands on the bill tonight are Serpentine and Miss Behaviour, both of whom have been on the rest of this UK tour, and they are joined tonight by Vega.

First band tonight is "Miss Behaviour", a five-piece band from Sweden. GOing on stage barely 5 minutes after the venue doors opened, its not surprising that the crowd is fairly sparse. The band seem very confident and move around using the stage well - the singer in particular was very active moving around the stage and leaning over towards the fans. His voice is very reminiscent of Joey Tempest from Europe. As their set went on, the applause after each song grew louder - possbily due to the audience size growing steadily, but partly I think because before tonight most of the people here hadnt listened to Miss Behaviour before, and as they listened to the band they were getting more and more impressed. They got a huge round of applause from the crowd at the end of their set (impressively loud for the relatively small audience).

It became clear as the night went on that the low turnout for Miss Behaviour wasnt just affecting them - the turnout for the entire night was poor - the venue wasnt even half full. This may be due to the timing - after two long bank holiday weekends, the shock of being back at work means not many people have the energy to go out mid-week for a concert.

Second band up (eventually) were Vega. I cant tell you anything about this bands background as searches on Myspace, Facebook and Google all failed to find anything about this band - something they really need to do something about if they're going to try and build up a fanbase. Vega got off to a bad start - they played a stupidly long intro tape, which is inexcusable on a packed lineup like tonight - they should have cut out the intro tape completely and played an extra song instead. Sadly when they took to the stage after the intro they had technical problems with the bass players leads so there was an even longer wait. Its at times like this that experienced bands can salvage a lot by talking to the crowd, but Vega did nothing. This six piece band are all clean-cut looking apart from the bassist who looks as though he'd be more at home in Motley Crue.
Once they started playing, Vega were very good - a good AOR sound, and they certainly went down well with the crowd. The fact that they had two guitarists rather than one like Miss Behaviour gave the music a bit more power.

Third up tonight was UK band Serpentine. The band released its first album (A touch of heaven) last year with singer Tony Mills (Shy & TNT), and he wil be the vocalist on the bands second album due later this year, despite having been replaced by Matt Black - a slightly odd situation due to contractual requirements. As such, tonight could be a surprise for people who have listened to a few tracks before the gig as they'll be hearing Matt Black tonight instead of Tony Mills. Its always a challenge for a new singer joining a band as the songs have been written with the previous vocalist in mind, and its only when new material is written for the new singers voice that they can truly shine. Despite this generalisation, Matt Black is superb tonight and you'd never know the songs weren't written with him in mind. The band have a 35 minute set tonight (the downside of having 5 bands on the bill is that they all get short sets), and set out to impress the audience. They went down very well with the crowd and looked to have made some new fans. The band looked confident and made good use of the stage space, moving around a lot, and Matt Black worked the crowd well, getting them clapping along etc.

Up next was Houston. The band actually only has two members (Singer Hank Erix, and Freddie Allen) - the rest of the band is musicians recruited for the tour, and its a totally different lineup tonight to the one that played the Borderline a couple of months ago.
The theme from Rocky plays as an intro tape before they come on with singer Hank Erix dressed in a boxers robe.
For "Truth slips", the band are joined by a female vocalist (the song on the album is a duet with Helena Alsterhed). Houston play great AOR music along the lines of Journey or Foreigner - very radio friendly and they have some great singalong songs. I can see this band going down well at the Download festival later this year where they are due to play, but I'm not sure they're the right choice to support Cinderella in June - Crashdiet have a much more compatible sound. Houston end their show with cannons firing shiny silver paper into the air - a great way to end the night, but it just doesnt feel right when you know there is another band still to come.

The night ends with the band that most of the fans are clearly here to see - Crashdiet. They are an odd choice of band to be on this tour - the other bands are all AOR, but Crashdiet are a much rockier sleeze band. As a result they stand out from the other bands straight away. The fans start cheering as soon as the first band member is spotted getting ready to come out on stage, and hardly stop till the end of the night. A lot of the fans here tonight obviously know the songs well as they are singing along to most of the songs. The band put in a very energetic performance and are very impressive - a band I will look forwards to seeing again.
At the end of their set, the rest of the bands join them on stage (making it very crowded) and sing a cover version - "Forever Young" by Tyketto. An excellent way to round off the night.

Tonight was an excellent lineup that deserved a much bigger crowd. All the bands were excellent. Crashdiet were the most impressive for me, but Serpentine and Houston were also particluarly good, with Vega and Miss Behaviour also impressing. All the bands are worth checking out if you get chance. Having only listened to Houston's album, I look forwards to listening to albums by the other bands and getting to know their songs better.

Crashdiet photos:
Houston photos:
Serpentine photos:
Vega photos:
Miss Behaviour photos:

Serpentine setlist:

A touch of heaven
Lonely nights
Let love rain down
In my blood
Whatever heartache


Writer: Anthony May
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