It may come as a bit of a surprise but against all odds your favorite Rock-Reporters made it on time to catch the first band on stage of this year's edition of Coq Rock. The festival was already on its 11th edition and this time around all of the bands on the bill fell nicely within the glam/sleaze category. Headlining the festival were Fatal Smile but before the Swedish band took the stage the event was kicked into gear by Belgian act...
...Roxx Action. Described by fellow members of the press as a young Mötley Crüe this foursome took the stage with energy in spades. Biggest problem they had to face was that their songs were unknown to most of the audience present. They countered this slight misfortune with pure energy, balls & attitude and 2 sleazed-up covers, namely Joan Jett's 'I Love Rock 'N' Roll' & 'Fight For Your Right' from the Beastie Boys. The influences of the band reach back to the early & humble beginnings of the L.A. glam-scene, when youngsters were still doubting between punk & a more radio-friendly sound. Currently the band has only one EP out, 'Young, Wild & Running Free'', but there's a new one on the way. As a taster we were treated to the title track 'Loud, Fast & Dirty'. Bottom line: this was a enjoyable getting-to-know of these Belgian rascals and a fine start of today's proceedings.
Up next were Aesthesia. Our initial encounter with these Parisians was earlier this year, when they supported Tuff/Shameless on their European tour. And since we look back on this experience with pleasure our expectations for today's concert were rather high. Those expectations, by the way, were met on all fronts. Aesthesia, with at the helm Nico Marlyn, who not only sounds uncannily like one Axl W. Rose but also has similar stage moves, seldom lets their audience down when it comes to bringing a high energy rock 'n' roll show. The bands plays and sound like a loose freight train not in the least due to their never ending touring, partly in Belgium and neighboring countries. With 2 full length studio albums under their belt the set list contained tracks from both. However the biggest crowd reaction came when they aired 'Under Sixteen', 'Lyna Red' & 'Greed Machine', all songs coming from their latest offering 'Shattered Idols'. Aesthesia can be considered the first highlight of the day and we can recommend any sleaze/glam fan to catch them live the next time they come to a town near you.
Another band that seems to be on a never-ending tour across the world is Dead City Ruins. Lynchpin of the band is no doubt vocalist Jake Wiffen, who covered every inch of the stage and when that wasn't enough started climbing on speaker cabinets, appeared on top of the drinking counter and so on. The vocals of mister Wiffen are a bit blues laced which suits the musical exploits of this classic hard rock combo just fine. The endless touring resulted in a well-oiled, hard hitting machine that plays tighter than a duck's ass and the crowd ate it raw.
Fourth band on the bill were the - to us - noble unknowns Hellectrokuters. One of our friends in the audience informed us shortly before the gig that the band, raised and not so well bred in France, had 2 nut-cases on guitar in the line-up and if you fancied AC/DC we would be in for a real treat. And much to our surprise our friend was right on the mark with his predictions as the band fired on all six through their set. They quickly got a big part of the crowd cheering and clapping along with their infectious tunes but reached the boiling point when they churned out a medley containing bits and pieces of well-known 80's tunes including 'Metal Health', 'Killed By Death', 'Ain't Talking About Love' and so on. The rest of the gig was given food for the now rowdy audience. Nice job, boys.
The band we most wanted to see on this year's edition of Coq Rock 2012 was Hollywood Burnouts. We missed out on them on previous occasions not once, not twice but three times. So not seeing these Germans was not an option. And let us tell you, they didn't disappoint. And that wasn't an easy task: a chat before the gig learned us that half of the band had gone haywire so they were fulfilling their concert obligations with two temporary members. On top of that the ever amicable singer Mike was suffering from a nasty cold. But as we just mentioned that didn't affect their performance one bit, on the contrary, they seemed to really enjoy their time on stage. The fans were treated to a cool selection culled from their recently released 'Excess All Areas'-platter and their self-titled debut EP. And to spice things up a bit more they also included The Cult's 'Sweet Soul Sister' & set-closer 'We Will Rock You' from Queen which was given the full Hollywood Burnouts-treatment! To sum it all up: it was well worth the wait and we won't miss out on this band the next time around.
To our ears Hell In The Club was the real headliner of the day but the Italian stallions had to come through to convince same ears. And low & behold, the band delivered. We know it's starting to sound repetitive but we wouldn't want to keep you from the truth and nothing but the truth. The band released a mighty fine first fruit of labour, last year, with 'Let The Games Begin' (which naturally took up a spot in our infamous end of the year list) and most of the set list originated from that very album. But just like some of the acts that went on before them they threw in a couple of well chosen cover songs. This time around by the likes of Buckcherry, KISS, G'n'R & Aerosmith. The crowd went wild. Especially during 'Wild Side' of the equally infamous Mötley Crüe. By now we could already say that this year's edition of the annual Coq Rock-festival was an outstanding one. And the real headliner still had to perform.
Well, and we have to say, Fatal Smile was a worthy closing act. The band came with a full show consisting of copious amounts of pyro, smoke, fire & brimstone. Add to that a back-catalogue of four studio-albums and you know they can easily fill one hour of stage time. Naturally the biggest part of the songs aired tonight can be found on the band's latest CD '24st Century Freaks' but they didn't forget their earlier work with songs such as 'Run For Your Life' & 'Sick Son Of A Bitch'. The Swedes had the crowd eating out of their hands and the dudes with more make-up on their faces than the average girl closed the festival in style & grandeur.
A big shout out to Jansy Debusschere & crew for providing a day filling program of bands not often seen in Belgium and catering to the every need of 2 very demanding reporters.
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Coq Rock 2012 (Fatal Smile, Hell In The Club, Hollywood Burnouts, Hellectrokuters, Dead City Ruins, Aesthesia & Roxx Action)
July 7, 2012
Marktplein, De Haan