H.E.A.T / Lazy Man’s Load @ Gagarin 205

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It sounds absurd and almost unbelievable but it’s been more than 2 years since we last saw a hard rock show here in Greece due to the whole pandemic situation all around the globe. So, it was a no-brainer to go to the H.E.AT concert in downtown Athens as the Swedish outfit is rightfully considered a great asset in the modern hard rock scene with commercially and critically acclaimed records under their belt. In addition, the fact that Erik Gronwall has recently joined Skid Row while the band’s first singer, Kenny Leckremo, returned as a permanent member were sufficient enough to gather once again the spotlights on them.

At 9:00 sharp the opening act Lazy Man’s Load appeared but the truth is that they didn’t win over the crowd as their Sabbath-esque style of music was totally out of place and naturally left the fans wondering what the hell those guys were doing there as an opening act for H.E.A.T. Having said that, they were well-rehearsed and professional and the overall sound was crystal clear. I am sure that if they will do better in a more fitting live environment for them.

With the scheduled programmed running like a Swiss watch, the first notes of Glenn Frey’s classic “The Heat Is On” rushed through the speakers and we all know that this was the cue for one certain thing: H.E.A.T was about to hit the stage. And they did so with a triple sonic assault right out of their latest album “II” as they played back to back the already classics “One By One”, “Rock Your Body” and “Dangerous Ground”. Naturally all eyes were on Kenny Leckremo as this was his first time in Greece and we were eagerly waiting to see how he will cope as the band’s frontman. Unfortunately, it was plain obvious that he was sick and he was struggling to hit some notes. Additionally, the sound was too “loud” and not that clear thus not creating an ideal situation for a live show. Having said that, and this might come across as a paradox, Kenny was both the weak and the strong element of the H.E.A.T organization that night! He might have been sick but he was giving 100% on stage, constantly moving and jumping around while at the same time having his time of his life. A true professional!

H.E.A.T presented a well-balanced set with almost all the fan favorite cuts included while the new song “Nationwide” went down extremely well. Needless to say that the absolute highlight of the whole show was the back to back performance of “1000 Miles” and “Living On The Run” with the fans screaming their lungs out!

After 90 minutes, H.E.A.T left the stage exhausted and we left the venue with a bittersweet feeling as the show was great but we wish that Kenny would be on a better vocal form. Any comparisons with Erik is pointless, but I truly believe that Kenny as a frontman is phenomenal. Congrats to the guys who organized the whole event for a highly professional job.

Sakis Nikas