Live Report: H.E.A.T, DangerAngel, D3lta @Gagarin 205, Athens, Greece (30/3/2019)

One of the most anticipated concerts of the year in Greece, for me and for many others, took place on Saturday, March 30th, when Swedish melodic hard rockers H.E.A.T had their first show in Athens. A few months earlier, the band had made their first ever appearance in the country at Chania Rock Festival and since I wasn’t able to attend that one,  this time all the roads (and airports) were leading to Athens. I knew that I could not miss this show.. And as it turned out, it was a night that will hardly ever be forgotten and I even dare to say it was the concert of the year!

But, first things first. I arrived at the venue some time before the scheduled door opening hours, and to my surprise there were already people waiting. Don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that H.E.A.T is a band that deserves all the queuing in the world, it’s just that it had been a while since I last attended a melodic rock live show in Greece with people waiting outside the venue before the doors open. Now that I think about it, this should have been my first clue on what was about to unfold, but I still kept wondering how many people will show up and if they will be enough. How foolish of me, ha.

Of course, I stopped wondering soon enough. Actually, when the first band took the stage, the crowd was already growing. The first band was D3lta. A Greek-British act consisting of a singer/guitarist of the same name and three other members for bass, drums and lead guitar, respectively. Honestly, one thing I was not expecting at all when going to see H.E.A.T, was an acoustic support act. No offense here, these guys were really good on stage, the sound was cool and they seemed rather talented, but I just can’t understand on what criteria were they selected as a support for that particular concert. They did present both their own work and cover songs from bands such as Muse, while in general their style of music is alternative, very brit-rock sounding. They were good in terms of performance, but they didn’t fit at all to the whole atmosphere of the evening. However, they deserve a round of applause for their nice gig.

Shortly afterwards and while more people kept arriving, DangerAngel took the lead. The Greek hard rock act with a singer from Brazil, in one of their rare appearances on greek soil, was clearly a more suitable choice for support and managed to excite the audience, big time. I heard some complaints about the sound, but since I was in the front I didn’t notice anything wrong with it at all. Quite the opposite actually, I really liked what I saw and heard, and if I hadn’t kept thinking "When’s HEAT gonna come on stage? When’s HEAT gonna come on stage?" I would probably have enjoyed it even more, haha. DangerAngel had a lot of energy and enthusiasm and they looked really tied together as a band, although I can assume that due to circumstances regular rehearsals and gigs don’t happen that easily. They reminded me quite a lot of Sixx: A.M., which I love, especially their singer, in both voice and appearance. Also, how cool of an instrument is the keytar? Just epic! The band took the stage for more than 45 minutes and they certainly managed to ... ideally warm us up until the temperature was raised to the top with H.E.A.T later on! The tracks with which they closed their set, "Not An Angel" and "Call My Name" highlighted their show, and they left everyone in the crowd satisfied and more than ready for what was coming up next.

Dead In The Water
Dia De Los Muertos
Who You Are
How About Right Now
To Kill A Saint
Devil’s Waltz
Will You Follow
Don’t Die Young
Not An Angel
Call My Name

After the necessary break, but without any delay in the schedule, around 22:30 the intro started sounding and H.E.A.T emerged on stage like a freaking tornado. You could see they all were in a wild mood and ready to tear everything down from the very first track, which was "Bastard Of Society" from their latest album "Into The Great Unknown" (2017). After that, it’s really hard for me to find the right words to describe what took place that evening. We’re in 2019 and I have been attending concerts in Greece and abroad over the past 15 years, yet now I struggle trying to bring in mind a band with such incredible energy, mind-blowing  performance and the purest rock 'n' roll attitude as that of H.E.A.T on Saturday night.

Erik Grönwall, like a ticking bomb ready to explode, although not in the band until 2010, turned out to be the Swedes’ most prominent figure, since we are dealing with one of the most charismatic, vigorous and at the same time talented frontmen of our time. Yes, we’re already familiar with his incredible voice, but the stuff he did on Saturday night really proved that the guy is not just a great singer, but a phenomenal performer overall. In a set that lasted more or less one hour and thirty mins, I can safely say that he spent most of the time under, rather than ON stage. Whether it was during "Beg Beg Beg" when he asked the audience to take him to the venue’s  bar while crowdsurfing, or during fan-favorite  "Living On The Run" when he just joined the audience singing with them during the whole song, Grönwall was fueled with adrenaline and could not just stay calm. He really lived every moment to the maximum, and I have to admit that it’s very enjoyable to witness something like that, especially nowadays. The only time that he may have calmed down a bit was when he took his guitar and acoustically performed “Laughing At Tomorrow”, but then again, he still managed to be captivating.

Of course, the resulting greatness wouldn’t have been the same without the fantastic chemistry of H.E.A.T as a whole. With the talented Dave Dalone on lead guitar, fierce Jimmy Jay on bass, Jona Tee on those amazing keyboard melodies and of course the crazy and forceful Crash on the drums, H.E.A.T just have the whole package and it’s working out excellently for them. The selection of songs for the concert was also ideal, featuring some cool songs off of the latest record, such as "Redefined", "Shit City" and the previously mentioned "Bastard Of Society". In addition, we got to listen to classics like "In and Out of Trouble" ,"Breaking The Silence" and "It's All About Tonight" from the commonly favorite album "Adress The Nation", as well as old songs from the time when Erik’s predecessor, Kenny Leckremo was in the band. We also enjoyed many songs from "Tearing Down The Walls", like the title track (the chills were strong in this one!), “Emergency”, “Mannequin Show”, and “Point Of No Return” + “A Shot At Redemption”, with the last two working as an encore and writing down the perfect epilogue for this magical evening. In fact, during the latter, Erik Grönwall brought a young, 10-year-old fan on stage, pointing out that rock ‘n’ roll still has a future, and younger generations are making sure of it. Then, he lifted him on his shoulders and unstoppable as always he kept rushing through the stage till the end of the song. It was a very sweet, beautiful moment that surely put big smiles on many faces.

Bastard Of Society
Breaking The Silence
Danger Road
Shit City
In and Out of Trouble
It’s All About Tonight
Living Of The Run
Beg Beg Beg
Laughing At Tomorrow
Late Nite Lady
Mannequin Show
Tearing Down The Walls
Point Of No Return
A Shot At Redemption

Summing up, after the concert I was left in awe and was completely stunned. Actually, it took me like 1-2 days to get back on track completely. And I’m pretty sure I was not the only one. H.E.A.T managed to set Athens on fire (and cause an earthquake, as we were later informed :P) in one of the best gigs I have ever been to, that turned out to be the concert of the year for many of those in attendance. Huge amount of talent, a perfect stage presence and a powerful, intense performance!  On Saturday night, H.E.A.T has proved in the best way possible why they are not only one of the best hard rock/AOR bands today, but also an act that you simply NEED to see live. These crazy Swedes are on the peak of their career and hopefully this will last for many years to come.
Greece definitely felt the heat and we hope for a comeback as soon as possible!

Report: Sofia Douska
Photography: Peter Papapetros