Live report: Frontiers Rock Festival IV – Live Club Trezzo Sull’Adda, Milano Italy – Saturday April 29th.
Every melodic rock fan knows that the label Frontiers music stands for loads of quality albums from bands within the AOR and melodic rock genre. Now and then they even connect people to form a new band or project. So, when a label organizes a festival you won’t be disappointed. The fans got to see bands they all love. That’s the best part of this kind of festivals. It focuses on a special genre of music. It’s a gathering of music lovers who attend the festival to have nothing but a good time and enjoy the music. My Italian buddy Gianni and I arrived at the venue a half hour before the fourth edition of this festival kicked off. Plenty enough time to pick up my photo pass and press wrist band. When I entered the venue we immediately checked out the merch stand from Frontiers music. The label has a load of CD’s for sale with reduced prices! Also limited edition vinyls could be bought.
The first band on the bill was the Swedish Palace. The band was founded by lead singer and guitarist Michael Palace (who earned his stripes with bands like Find Me, First Signal and Cry of Dawn). The debut album “Master of the Universe” was released in 2016 and I particularly liked the many 80’s influences. It’s always a stressful and risky task to open a festival. Palace experienced some trouble with the sound and Michael clearly had loads of stress, because he didn’t always stroke the right note. The man has an incredible voice and I heard him shine the day before during the acoustic evening. The setlist is a good mixture of a faster track such as ‘Master of the Universe’, the pure 80’s rock ‘Cool Runnin’, the poppy ‘Matter In Hand’ and the pure AOR delight of ‘Man Behind The Gun’ and ‘Part Of Me’. Despite the small problems the young Swedish lads got this party started.
This year in March I was hugely impressed by the debut album from One Desire. So I was really looking forward to see and hear these Finnish guys. The band took the crowd by surprise, because it was a big bang from the first note! Andre Linman proved to be a powerful singer and handled his guitar with great skills. You can definitely speak off the Eclipse effect here. The songs are played way heavier on stage than you hear on their CD. ‘Hurt’ was simply awesome, but also the more melodic tracks like ‘Apologize’ and ‘Turn Back Time’ sounded great. The band wasn’t afraid to bring a sensitive ballad. ‘This Is Where The Heartbreak begins’ filled the Live Club with romantic fibes. Other tracks that stood out where the extremely catchy ‘Whenever I’m Dreaming’ and the hard edged (co-written by Erik Martensson) ‘Buried Alive’. One Desire sure won a lot of melodic hearts and was the surprise of the day for me personally!
Crazy Lixx is a returning band, because the guys where also present on the first edition of the Frontiers Rock Festival in 2014. But the line-up has been updated. Two new guitar players are present with Chrisse Olsson and Jens Lundgren. They got my attention during their set on last year’s Rockingham festival. Above that the new album “Ruff Justice” is a great collection of tunes. They seem to got the spark back from the early days. The freshly released new album is represented with opener ‘Wild Child’, ‘XIII’ and the more melodic ‘Walk The Wire’. Singer Danny is an excellent front man and makes the crowd moving and singing along with the tracks. A track like ‘Heroes Are Forever’ is always a shot in the bull’s eye. The band seems to have the time of their lives on stage and especially bass player Jens shows his appreciation for the overwhelming response from the crowd! Their second album “New Religion” is strongly represented with the ‘Blame It On Love’, the party cracker ‘Rock And A Hard Place’ and the excellent set closer and crowd favorite ’21 Till I Die’. Crazy Lixx injected the first day with a good dose of attitude and rock ‘n roll.
A band that receives a huge amount of love from the Italian fans is Eclipse. They are here for the third time already and keeps getting better. The band has been on a roll since they released “Bleed & Scream” in 2012. That album made a great impression by many melodic rock fans. Eclipse always throws infectious hooks and absolute killer guitar riffs into the crowd. Once again the power is dripping from the stage. Opener ‘Vertigo’ makes my head spin. I like it when a band emphasizes on their new stuff and the tracks from “Monumentum” are basically the half of the set list. During the catchy ‘Jaded’ Michelle Luppi comes on stage to sing along. ‘Hurt’ is another highlight for me, because it has a darker sound and lyrics. The groovy ‘Black Rain’ lets Erik shine and gets many heads shake to the beat. Their participation to the Melodifestival ‘Runaways’ is also present! Magnus Henriksson delivers many furious fast guitar solo’s. Their blistering set is concluded with ‘I Don’t Wanny Say I’m Sorry’. No guys, you don’t have to apologize for such an energetic performance!
The next band was a real treat for the fans of melodic rock, because Revolution Saints had never performed before (accept the night before on the acoustic night, to be fair!)! Many people were very eager to witness these guys. The band is an all star project with Jack Blades (Nightranger), Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake) and Deen Castronovo (Journey). The first three tracks (‘Back On My Trail’, ‘Turn Back Time’ and ‘Here Forever’) were done while Deen was behind the drums. The sound from Deen’s microphone wasn’t 100% perfect but with a voice that reminds us of the great Steve Perry we aren’t gonna bitch around that fact. He shined like the Pole star when he came on stage and sang ‘Locked Out Of Paradise’. The band had almost more fun on stage than the people in the audience. Doug Aldrich is a very impressive guitar slinger and his solo spot proved his skills for sure. The sensitive ‘In The Name Of The Father’ was dedicated to Frontiers main man Serafino. But let us not forget the man behind the keyboards! Alessandro Del Vecchio wrote most of the songs and the lyrics on that stunning album. We even got a heavy version of Whitesnake’s ‘Love Will Set you free’, which was actually written by Aldrich. The set continued with the Damn Yankees hit ‘Coming Of Age’. This extraordinary gig was concluded with a Journey track. ‘Higher Place’ was written by Jack Blades and made the fans reach that higher place: the melodic rock heaven!
A band that never disappoints is Tyketto. Band leader Danny Vaughn still got the looks and the voice to pull of some stunts. Tyketto blew the minds of many melodic rock fans all over the world when they released “Don’t Come Easy” upon mankind. That album is still one of my all time favorite collection of killer tracks! Well people, when Danny Announced that they were gonna play that album in its entirely I almost started to cry! But they did it backwards, from end to start. So, the set kicked off with the acoustic intro from ‘Sail Away’. It became immediately clear that we would be witnessing a special event! Danny’s voice has stand the test of time perfectly and still sounds warm and powerful. A magic moment was the harmonica intro from Danny himself during the sensual ‘Strip Me Down’. The gig went over the swinging ‘Nothing But Love’ to the heavier ‘Walk On Fire’ and the heartwarming backing vocals on ‘Lay Your Body Down’. The ballad ‘Standing Alone’ released again many emotions among the crowd and became one of the highlights. But the finale was simply stunning! ‘Burning Down Inside’ got a strong and powerful build up, ‘Wings’ overwhelmed us with his infectious riffs and the smash hit ‘Forever Young’ still is the ultimate rejuvenation cure! I never thought that I could hear this album played in full. What a magical and mind blowing performance. There was still some time left and Danny granted us the uplifting ‘Rescue Me’ from the “Strength In Numbers’ album and the title tracks from the latest two albums. This was the best performance of the evening!
Headliner on the first day was the American Steelheart with Miljenko Matijevic on vocals. The debut album was also released in 1991 (just like Tyketto’s debut) and got global praise for the stunning vocals from ‘Mike’. The gig started with two songs from the “RockStar” movie. Miljenko did the vocals for the band Steel Dragon on the soundtrack. ‘Blood Pollution’ and ‘Livin’ The Life’ aren’t the biggest hits and some people didn’t heard them before. But Miljenko’s pipes are impressive. The man sings with an immense amount of power and attitude. When he starts ‘Gimme, Gimme’ I can only see smiling faces in the crowd. They all join in to sing along. ‘Like Never Before’ is the ultimate track to let the people hear what Mike’s voice is capable off.
Steelheart is going to release a new album this year on the Frontiers music label and Miljenco let’s us taste from that with the song ‘My Dirty Girl’. The track rocks big time and can be seen as a blend of the good old days with some modern influences. Looking forward on hearing more from that album. The third album “Wait” gets his place in the spotlight with the tracks ‘Live To Die’ and ‘Cabernet’. I would have liked a couple of songs from that awesome second album “Tangled In Reins”, but just like on the Rockingham gig last year it didn’t happen. But the finale was a real party! Miljenko strapped on his acoustic guitar and gave us a sublime version of ‘Everybody Loves Eileen’. It got kicked in the butt by the rocking ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll (I just wanna)’. Before that we heard a spectacular version of the vocal extravaganza ‘She’s Gone’ and Mike pulled that same stunt with ‘I’ll Never Let you Go’. The first day was closed with the “Rockstar” hit ‘We All Die Young’. The track holds some very sensitive parts combined with real belting… A great way to close a wonderful evening filled with excellent music. All hail Frontiers,,,