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H.E.A.T., Camden Underworld, 18 March 2009

In a genre that looks back to the eighties, the emergence of young Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T. has caused a major stir- indeed the enthusiasm of some of their supporters on the message boards led to a backlash from those feeling they were being overhyped.

After appearing at Firefest and opening up for Edguy, the first night of their debut headlining tour only saw about 150 present, although the Underworld turnout had been no greater for established names like Alannah Myles and House of Lords.

The band, all in their early 20’s but with hair and clothes straight from 1989, sauntered on to the strains of the Heat is on and, never looked back from the keyboard intro to There for You, building a fantastic rapport with an enthusiastic crowd.

It felt like one catchy anthem from their album after another - Late Night Lady, Straight from Your Heart, Never Let Go and Feel the Heat to name just four. Because of their nationality, Europe will always be the first point of reference but my friend seeing them for the first time correctly spotted the influences of Bon Jovi, Survivor, Danger Danger and Journey also to the fore.

Vocalist Kenny Lekremo has a powerful set of pipes and a great stage manner; if I was being critical he was straining too hard at times, but on the ballad Cry (which tips a wink to Cutting Crew’s I just Died in Your Arms tonight) he turned in an astounding performance. After a new song (and Eurovision entry!) 1000 Miles, Keep on Dreaming ended the set before they encored with a cover of Separate Ways.

Just as The Answer, Airbourne and Black Stone Cherry have found success by tackling varying classic rock styles with youthful vigour, H.E.A.T can do the same and prove that bouncy, feel-good melodic rock has a future as well as a past.

Review by Andy Nathan

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