Hardline/Doomsday Outlaw/Wolf Within –
Corporation, Sheffield, Friday June 1st, 2018
The last time that Hardline reached Sheffield, by way of an Extreme support slot in 1992 I was a 15 year old school child and saving the coins aside for such opportunities was not something easily achieved.
Having finally made up for it by catching their comeback show at Gods 2002, I find myself waiting a further decade and a half for the opportunity again, so it's just as suiting that Johnny Gioeli has made up for it by including not one but two appetising support outfits today.
Openers, Wolf Within are a great new local hard rock act featuring with a familiar face or two to boast. Deadline/Crimes of Passion shredder, Andy Lindsay's first musical machine after right years in the wilderness sees him teamed up alongside singer Stuart Craig (ex-Bumblefoot). This crunchy four piece have me plus the near- eighty already in the Corp's big room, hooked by two tracks in.
The set incorporates a fair slice of stuff from the recent four track EP, especially my favourite 'Gonna Be A Long Time', plus 'Fools Paradise ' - with a crafty snippet of 'Hot Cherie' at the start. Mr Lindsay inevitable succeeds to dominate proceedings, using his one foot placed against the amp guitar almost vertically upwards posture as he pummels out those priceless solos that have always been his trademark. Tonight's tastes of his latest machine moves me even towards thinking why a higher profile act haven't come by this chap decades back..
With the singer openingly vowing to hang about by the bar later and talk people into buying CDs and T-shirts, somehow he might succeed a little tonight. Cracking start Andy - just not another eight years wait please.
Our second support for tonight are Derby six piece, Doomsday Outlaw who have many slayed to start with, not to mention anyone who dares let any loose limbs invade the stage during their half hour spot. Their boisterous blues-based hard rock bounces and jives as much as the singer and both guitarists, scoring the highest on the stage presence board tonight.
Huge tracks such as 'All Or Nothing' with its acerbic drive, find me on my toes and tapping them all the way at that. Their lead guitarist also bears an unhealthy resemblance to Mackenzie Crook... at least until he puts his black trilby on for the last track, while keeping a face of someone who has just opened his fridge and found his leftover lager can leaked overnight.
Despite only fitting five tunes into the set, it's just as well as our energy levels would have been dangerously drained by the time Hardline hit centre stage.
For a band that have not played Sheffield for over 25 years, most would have had their wager on Hardline opening with something off their iconic 'Double Eclipse's album. Johnny Gioeli obviously likes to remind us that they have released other albums since then, as they walk on with 'Where Will We Go From Here' from their impressive newbie 'Hunan Nature', raising more or less the same volume of applause.
Setting out to reciprocate, Johnny and the lads lay into age-old dance floor anthem 'Takin' Me Down' and 'Dr Love', the very two songs you'd expect they save to finish the evening with. The comedy comes thick and fast too with Johnny joking about his arrival here at 5 this afternoon having newly allowed him time for a chicken sandwich, while one ditzy over-exuberant fan at the front of the barrier shows her dedication with her hand held banner reading 'Call The Doctor'.
Racing into the title track from the new platter followed by 'Trapped In Muddy Waters' - the only tune for the night that drags in momentum -the drum solo at the end thankfully makes up in some people's opinion by ending after only two and a half minutes (strictly no insult on Francesco Jovino who has done a fantastic job in his seven years with the band to date.)
'Life's a Bitch' ensues with its grinding blues guitar line which is enjoyed by new axeman Mario Percudani and still one of my own favourites in spite of its under-repeated chorus. 'Love is gonna to take you home' sees the rest of the band step aside to let Gioelli and keyboardsman, Allessandro Del Vecchio deliver this astounding ballad as a twosome.
Manic cheering justly abounds with 'Fever Dreams', definitely their best latter-day composition with a feel of Danger Danger classic 'Under The Gun' and the chorus that keeps with you until you reach the door of your home. Moving on into the longer-established classics, we reach 'D.E.'s haunting closer 'Hands of Time' with it emotional bridge melody and tingling end outro, which Josh Ramos pulled off unforgettably at Gods 2002 all those years ago. 'Everything' is the final word of the frank but emotional thank you Johnny has ready for the fans for stopping around this last quarter of century before their other rock club cornerstone 'Hot Cherie' comes in behind.
Deciding very clearly not to disappear and return for the encore,' I'll Be There' with its magnificent gliding movie credit chorus raunch keeps anyone from standing still as it stands and swaggers alone at a much faster pace in relation to it's recorded original. Leaving us with the song I've been waiting for all night, my personal 'Line favourite 'Rhythm From A Red Car ignites the entire room, pogoing a plenty in the frontmost rows. Suddenly after 82 minutes all 5 of them are bowing - literally - out at stage front.
Disappearing into the back and not to be seen again, Gioeli, being the sole core member from the classic era has to be the last one to leave, very much trying to thank us each one by one. Nicely improved in set structure since that show in Bradford 16 years ago, it would have been appreciated of them to have played the entire 'D****e E*****e' collection tonight, as some had been led to expect by the ' 25th anniversary' reminder on the front of the poster.
However, using the exact best 8 songs as they did that previous occasion and a good helping of their latest material, it looks as if Gioeli at the tender age of 50 is still vowing rightfully to stay. Let's put it this way - he'd better.
By Dave Attrill