HARDCORE SUPERSTAR – Tavastia, Helsinki, 04.12.2009

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Photo from Ankkarock 2009

Hardcore Superstar… it’s quite easy to think that a band with a name like this must be pathetic and clearly over-estimating themselves. But after seeing them live, one would know that the name is pretty self-explanatory because it is what they are. If you are longing for a good dose of street metal with a taste of the 80s, Hardcore Superstar is exactly what you need.

This Swedish band visits Finland fairly often and is always warmly welcomed. The same thing happened on the night of December 4th, 2009, in Hellcity, when the Swedes took over the sold-out Tavastia club and completely nailed it an hour and a half later.

They started the set with a song called “Beg for It” from its cognominal album, and from that moment onward we were taken on a truly hardcore sleaze rock ride. The following songs were played in no particular order: “She’s Offbeat,” “Medicate Me,” “Wild Boys,” “My Good Reputation,” “Bag on Your Head,” “Into Debauchery,” “Shades of Grey,” as well as a sensitive ballad from their 2005 self-titled album, “Standing on a Verge.”

If I could describe Hardcore Superstar’s gig with one word, that word would be “hot.” Hellishly hot, in fact. The band was blasting, people were dancing their souls away, and the temperature was rising. Jocke Berg’s crazy energy and stage charisma could easily set Tavastia on fire. And if it did for real, Jocke would be still kicking it while the firemen carried him out.

At first, standing in the crowd was unbearable – people were almost walking over each other and at times it was impossible to see the band on stage through the thick forest of raised hands. Later, the crowd’s enthusiasm was still at the highest critical point, but some of the physically weaker fans had to retire to the bar area and watch the gig on the screens, sipping a cold beer.

One needs to be in a good physical condition to keep up with the band’s pace – Hardcore Superstar played a set full of fast songs with nearly no pause for a break. But either the audience has been trained well for such gigs, or they also had the same feeling as I did – you HAVE to jump, scream, and “beg for it” when you get such a high voltage energy outburst from the stage.

Not only was Jocke’s performance smashing, but naturally, each member of the band added their own significant part to the madness on stage. Guitarist Vic Zino and bassist Martin Sandvik were just as flammable, blazing with their instruments. Adde Andreasson is not your regular drummer either. He is probably the only drummer I’ve seen so far who tends to leave his instrument so often instead of just sitting there, being unnoticed. He either hides behind the speakers or comes to the front to interact with the audience. Put that hot Nordic man in the spotlight!

Hardcore Superstar finished their set with “We Don’t Celebrate Sundays,” which can be considered without any doubt to be the sleaze rock anthem and one of the best party songs ever. The audience was still driven bananas and seemed as though they could go on and on forever. The band’s energy level, enthusiasm, and total belief in what they are doing makes Hardcore Superstar one of the best Scandinavian rock bands of the moment, which brought them a Swedish Grammy Award nomination this year.

The show was one of the most enjoyable live performances of the 2009 autumn season – a magnificent essence of rock ‘n’ roll at its best. It comes as a surprise to me that such a great and promising band is still smaller than they deserve to be. Hopefully their road to success will lead them to the huge arenas worldwide, packed to the fullest only for Hardcore Superstar. They’ve got it all: the music, the energy, the looks. So what’s your problem, world? Open up your arms for these guys!

Text: Tanja Caciur | Photos: Jana Blomqvist | Ed: Amy Wiseman

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