Pretty Maids @Sticky Fingers(SE),Amager Bio(DK)

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PRETTY MAIDS / DEGREED (SE) / Mike Tramp (DK)

Date: 24th November, 2016 (SE) & 12th December, 2016 (DK)
Venue: Sticky Fingers (SE), Amager Bio (DK)
Tickets: 270SEK (€26/$28) / 225DKK (€30/$32)
Promoter: Triffid and Danger Concerts (SE) / Amager Bio (DK)
Photos: Erika Wallberg


“A note on the door” is an expression used in Sweden when an event is completely sold out and no tickets are available for purchase at the time of the event. And this applies to both of these shows. It’s actually quite rare to see club shows packed out to the last spot, leaving people outside in the cold wishing they would have been more proactive and bought tickets while still available. I think I’ve only seen PRETTY MAIDS in Sweden once before, at the ‘December Festival’ in Gävle, hosted only once and that was in '90 or maybe '91, and then at a ferry between Sweden and Finland. Packed out venues showed they’re definitely not here enough, so it was bound to be two good nights.

At Sticky Fingers, DEGREED opened the event; another Swedish band that seems to be quite established but has completely passed me by. I’m constantly surprised by these bands, they sound extremely professional most of the time and I wonder how they managed to stay off my radar as they are rather close by. Anyway, as I mentioned, DEGREED sounded really good with the precision and perfection in their musical performance being remarkable. Especially guitar player Daniel Johansson stood out with his technique being fantastic. I also was fascinated by his use of a scrunchie to mute the feedback from the strings... (he could have picked a black one though...)

However, I must admit I was a bit disappointed when the first thing I saw was a computer being rigged. I guess, this is standard with keyboards these days but it might also mean pre-recorded stuff. No matter what, the whole sound was as many modern records, maxed out in every frequency which make it all a bit dull and lifeless. And frankly, I got bored after a while. So, perfection isn’t everything if there’s no Rock ’n’ Roll, perfectly played or not. But I must give DEGREED a chance because overall it sounded pretty ok.

DEGREED (SE)

Degreed @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Degreed @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Degreed @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Degreed @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Degreed @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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When Mike Tramp was announced as the opener for PRETTY MAIDS at Amager Bio, I had a hard time to believe it. WHITE LION must have been bigger than PRETTY MAIDS back in the day and Mike still drives a big crowd out at the festivals. But how should I know what’s right and wrong, perhaps he’s not a prophet in his home town? Or, it was just a fantastic opportunity to present what he’s up to these days. Even if I never really was a fan of WHITE LION, it’s a little too soft for my taste Mike Tramp and his - at that time very young band - impressed me very much on ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ which made look forward to this gig very much. And to realize he had the fantastic Soren Andersen on guitar (he also impressed me at ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ but with Glenn Hughes that time) was a great surprise.

The strange thing with this show was that I kept thinking that this is too soft for me but then just to be very surprised that the show was over already when Mike and the rest said goodnight and realizing they’d been playing for an hour. Sure, it was soft but with the facts in hand and my reaction it was damn good, it’s the only way to explain it. And I guess the style doesn’t really matter when we’re talking musical perfection, when you have the groove and dynamics. Then it doesn’t have to be all that heavy and powerful, it will be fantastic anyway. And who could have imagined it before the summer that I would have heard “Little Fighter” live three times before Christmas? At ‘SRF’, also the acoustic set from Jimmy James at the ‘PH Cafeen’ and this time also. So, nothing more to be done than to get tickets for the release-fest in February and REALLY do my homework to make sure I’m more familiar with Mike Tramp’s solo records at that time. Because after this I’m definitely up for digging into them. Awesome performance for a full venue which started to heat up for real at this point.

Mike Tramp (DK)

Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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The times I’ve seen PRETTY MAIDS live they’ve been fantastic, so my expectations were set extremely high for these shows. Also, the addition of Chris Laney to the line-up was an another boost. I’ve been a big fan of PRETTY MAIDS since I’ve first heard them, but I think the production on the albums since Morten Sandager came in, has become more like MERCENARY than the classic PRETTY MAIDS sound. I understand the intent to refresh the sound but on occasion it was a bit too obvious. Chris is both a fantastic songwriter as well as musician, so this should work out well. I had no doubt that the new songs would work at Amager Bio but I wasn’t as convinced about the Swedish show, so it was a great pleasure to see the crowd literally explode when the show started. Both “When God Took A Day Off” and “Kingmaker” worked really well. And then, especially in Sweden, everything rose another level up for “Red, Hot And Heavy”. In both places, the atmosphere was fantastic, people seemed to be very happy to be there and to see PRETTY MAIDS play, and the response must have boosted them.

“Heavens Little Devil” and “Face The World”, also from brand new “Kingmaker” went down really well too. Both are fantastic songs and sounded awesome live. The difference though, to compare these new ones with two of my absolute favorites from PRETTY MAIDS, “Yellow Rain” and “Rodeo” from one of my all-time favorite albums “Future World”, was apart from the trip down nostalgia was the dynamics. Again, that modern maxed up sound really kills the energy in the music and the difference was significant. Even if I thought it all was great up until then (should have reacted for “Red, Hot And Heavy” already of course but I was busy shooting at that point), the vibrancy of these two went up yet another notch.

In the middle of the show, the band apart from Ronnie Atkins and Chris Laney left the stage, and I knew from the first note what was about to come and so did the crowd in Denmark. At Sticky Fingers, it took almost until the chorus line for the crowd to really wake up; the hit single “Savage Heart” from “Jump The Gun” seem to have passed by the Swedish crowd totally unnoticed. It really sent shivers down my spine and I was really amazed how damn good Ronnie sounds. The crowd was full on at Amager Bio which made that one really special; still, it was the Gothenburg show that won. It seemed like Ronnie had to struggle a bit in Copenhagen and he had to push himself rather hard to reach all the notes.

First time I saw PRETTY MAIDS in Denmark, “Please Don't Leave Me” came in as a real chock - for me, it had been a set-filler, so it was a massive surprise to see the whole crowd go bananas and start dancing. It was no exception this year, while in Sweden it was received ok. I think it’s fascinating to see shows in different places, especially when the reception of the band differs so much as it did for PRETTY MAIDS between the shows at Gothenburg and Copenhagen. Even if the setlist was basically the same, it was two completely different shows, mainly due to the crowds’ reaction for songs. Also, it’s far from enough to just hear these fantastic songs live only once when there’s more opportunities. And of course, the surprise in the encores at the Amager Bio show, perhaps it wasn’t that big a surprise that Mike and Soren joined in for “A Merry Jingle”, still a very cool thing to see. To have Jesper Binzer from D.A.D on the other flank laying down choruses came in as a bigger surprise. A very cool feature if you’d ask me. So, musically I prefer the Gothenburg show, but the Amager Bio show was more fun from a total picture, because of the atmosphere, the guests at the end of the set and also that Mike Tramp did such a good warm-up gig. So, as you see, one wouldn’t have been enough.

PRETTY MAIDS setlist (Gothenburg):

01. “Intro”
02. “When God Took A Day Off”
03. “Kingmaker”
04. “Red, Hot And Heavy”
05. “Heavens Little Devil”
06. “Face The World”
07. “Yellow Rain”
08. “Rodeo”
09. “Bull's Eye”
10. “Savage Heart”
11. “Pandemonium”
12. “Another Brick In The Wall Part 2” (PINK FLOYD Cover)
13. “I.N.V.U.”
14. “Please Don't Leave Me” (John Sykes cover)
15. Intro - “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” (Carl Orff Song)
16. “Back To Back”
17. “Love Games”
18. “Mother Of All Lies”
19. “Little Drops Of Heaven”
20. “Future World”
21. “A Merry Jingle” (THE GREEDIES cover)
22. Outro – “Sit On My Face” (MONTY PYTHON song)

PRETTY MAIDS setlist (Copenhagen):

01. “When God Took A Day Off”
02. “Kingmaker”
03. “Red, Hot And Heavy”
04. “Mother Of All Lies”
05. “Heavens Little Devil”
06. “Face The World”
07. “Yellow Rain”
08. “Rodeo”
09. “Savage Heart”
10. “Pandemonium”
11. “Another Brick in the Wall” / “I.N.V.U.”
12. “Please Don't Leave Me”
13. Intro - “Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi” (Carl Orff song)
14. “Back To Back”
15. “Future World”
16. “Little Drops Of Heaven”
17. “Love Games”
18. “A Merry Jingle” (THE GREEDIES cover)
19. Outro - “Sit On My Face” (MONTY PYTHON song)

PRETTY MAIDS (SE)

Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Sticky Fingers, Gothenburg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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PRETTY MAIDS (DK)

Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Pretty Maids @ Amager Bio, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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