Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK)

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Mike Tramp / SUPERLOADER / JUNKYARD DRIVE

Date: 24th-25th February, 2017
Venue: Beta2300
Tickets: 200DKK Day / 300DKK Weekend (€27/$29 / €40/$42)
Promoter: Mighty Music
Photos: Erika Wallberg


It’s strange when that feeling appear; when you feel you just HAVE to get tickets to an event or just to see a band which I hardly paid much attention to before. Ok, the Mike Tramp show at ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ really impressed me and that sure fed the urge to get tickets for this event, plus WHITE LION has been with me since my teens. But that I got a weekend ticket in the end was a surprise. On the other hand, seeing Mike opening for PRETTY MAIDS at the end of last year confirmed too that it was the right thing to do. And I just could pick one day, so what do if not take the safe before the sorry and get it all at once.

For the Friday show, JUNKYARD DRIVE were the openers; this is a Roskilde-based band which released its debut album “Sin & Tonic” a few days before this gig. This band is like Mike Tramp connected to Mighty Music, a label with a lot of bands and many unknown to me. I must remember to check out some of them since most all have been really good so far. Including JUNKYARD DRIVE and they sure did a good job warming the place up. Their '80s influenced Hard Rock went down well even if their visual appearance was more contemporary than traditionally is. Kris’ voice suited the dirty sounding songs perfectly. So, JUNKYARD DRIVE was a pleasant encounter for sure. As my Danish sucks, I couldn’t follow all turns and what was said in between the songs. If getting it right, the last song out was a cover, Danish legends GASOLN’ perhaps... I’m not familiar with that band either so I didn’t know the song which apparently everyone else in the Beta2300 venue did. There’s no doubt that the crowd was there to see Mike Tramp as the opening acts was announced just before the event. And then, to have the whole crowd sing along, not only to the chorus but the whole last verse (in Danish) and almost override the sound from stage was really fascinating. I started to wonder what Swedish band/song would get a Swedish crowd to react like this but couldn’t think of anything really.

JUNKYARD DRIVE

Junkyard Drive @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Junkyard Drive @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Junkyard Drive @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Junkyard Drive @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Junkyard Drive @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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SUPERLOADER were the first to appear on the Saturday show, and just by looking at the band, I expected more Punk than was served. It was actually rather basic Rock. And no, I’d never heard of SUPERLOADER either before. But again, a good band that presented a nice set of songs and I’d say I really enjoyed about half the set. The rest just sort of passed by, but maybe it’s different when you’re familiar with the band’s music, right? There was one in the middle that stood out a bit, a more QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE stompy as compared to the rather basic Rock of the rest of the songs. Also, in the absolute last song, there was a massive instrumental, very fateful passage with guitar - a duel between Søren Andersen and Kristoffer Kristensen which I enjoyed very much. Even if it’s cool to save the great epic to last, to compare with the standing ovations JUNKYARD DRIVE got and the effect of this, they’re miles apart. So perhaps it would have been better to have a hard rocker at the end instead. But SUPERLOADER did good too, even if the crowd was much harder to please this Saturday evening. The Friday show packed out the place as soon as the doors were opened, for the Saturday people were standing by the bar or relaxing in the back instead of fighting for a position in the front.

SUPERLOADER

Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Superloader @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Sometimes it’s hard to understand how much bigger an artist is in his home-country as compared to everywhere else. For sure, Mike Tramp drew a very decent crowd at ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ and of course, Beta2300 is not a massive place but it was packed and I suspect more people wanted to go but couldn’t get tickets. There was a very special vibe in the room mixed with anticipation and excitement. The dedication the Mike Tramp’s fans and friends showed was spectacular. The front row was completely occupied from the second the venue opened until the last note had faded away.

I didn’t know what to expect from this show getting there, would it be the whole new “Maybe Tomorrow” played from start to end to celebrate the release or would it be a more normal set with a mix of songs. It was the latter which is good, even if the new record sounds fantastic it is brand new and most people in the audience don’t know it yet. And it all started off very good, “Better Off” is a super-song and from start the band sounded fantastic. The set was basically the same both days since Henrik Berger had to fill in for Soren Andersen as he didn’t make it back home after the Glenn Hughes tour for these shows so basically there was no time to rehearse more songs. Still, Henrik did a fantastic job as he is also a fabulous guitar player so it was all good to have him in the band for these shows. One song that became one of the favorites from the set was “High Like A Mountain”; I loved the mellow groove and flow of this one.

The major difference between the nights was that Mike spoke Danish the first night and to my luck, switched to English for the second. A few more from outside Scandinavia made it to the second show so it was fair doing this. Regardless of the language, the shows had the same intimate feel. It was like being at a private party listening to a few good stories and getting good music served in between.

There was no doubt that the WHITE LION songs would receive good response; both “Tell Me” and “Little Fighter” worked perfectly. I had actually done my homework fairly ok for this show and studied Mike Tramp’s solo releases as I had promised after ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ already. Still, I failed to immediately recognize “What Am I”. It got a new VERY heavy suite here, almost touching upon the same heavy gnawing beat as BLACK SABBATH’s “Warning” or “Into The Void”, very cool. And it all sounded amazing.

And so then there were the new ones; “Would I Lie To You” was the first one out and it is a good one, although it’s a little soft for my taste live version it worked. It’s very common that songs, especially softer ones work better live. The intensity and dynamics in Mike and his bands’ performance really did to the trick. The nerve in the music was there and performance was flawless.

One of my absolute WHITE LION favorites is “Lady Of The Valley” and I remember getting the “Pride” album for Christmas in '87 or for my birthday in '88, so it’s been with me for years and it still sounds as fantastic as it did 30 years ago. I think the tone in Mike’s voice works so well in the mellower and melancholic songs. And his voice is fantastic these days too, so it was a great pleasure to hear this one live.

As Mike grew up in Copenhagen, he has a lot of stories about the city and as fate had it, the bully from down the street where he used to live entered the venue just when it was time for “Cobbelstone Street”, the story was of course good to hear but it at the same time gave more depth to the song. This was a favorite among the ones in the front row and received massive cheer as it was introduced. And it continued on high after that too; “Give It All You Got” is another Mike Tramp solo favorite. It’s hard to pinpoint the exact difference between the nights. But it felt tighter, more intense during the Saturday show. If this had to do with Mike speaking English, me getting a better spot or if everything just came together better for the band I don’t know. But the elation I felt straight through the Saturday show wouldn’t really come the night before.

Just before “Why Even Worry At All”, Mike shared his struggle finding his identity and the will to play over the year. This song is another one from “Maybe Tomorrow” and is one of my favorites from that. A story like that is actually much to share in front of a crowd and even if it had a funny twist it still felt very genuine and personal. That he still got it, that he still is considered a hottie, a sex object among his fans was clear as him taking off his jacket showing off in a tank top instead brought on the loudest (and most high-pitched) scream of the whole night. And yes, the first few rows were mainly women, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of distribution in a show before as there were a lot more women than men at the show.

The fantastic “Broken Heart” was another show highlight but seeing “When The Children Cry” listed brought some mixed feelings. Of course, it’s a super-track but there are other ones just as good I’d preferred to hear. On the other hand, the version presented here (just because Mike can do it when being asked by his band why he keeps changing and does new version of old songs continuously) was fantastic. The Friday version had a slight Reggae feeling almost. On Saturday, it was a bit more straight forward Rock song, both version far away from the original ballad though.

Last song out of the main set was another new one - “Coming Home” is the opening track of “Maybe Tomorrow” but it worked as a closer of a set also. It’s mellow as the rest of the record but this one too has that fantastic nerve and melancholy and this is where I think Mike sounds the best, also that the song is amazing and felt like a very natural ending of a great show.

Before the real encore on the Saturday gig, Mike had gotten a request to play “Sun Goes Down”, the THIN LIZZY classic. He started it and left Henrik rather confused as this wasn’t a part of the set. It’s cool to see talented and experienced musicians perform though as he appeared to play along but was just softly following adding a small lick here and there. That worked too! I normally always say that I prefer originals in front of covers but this I certainly didn’t mind to hear. But then, the real encore, GOLDEN EARRING’s “Radar Love” I would gladly have traded for another original. Yes, WHITE LION did this one too but still, there are sooooo many good originals to choose from so why bother with a cover? But that one too sounded great of course. But I appreciated the rest of the set more.

So yes, the Saturday show won, if I have to select one and this is for the above mentioned reasons. But it sure was a very good weekend and it felt right to attend both nights.

Mike Tramp setlist:

01. “Better Off”
02. “Trust In Yourself”
03. “Tell Me” (WHITE LION song)
04. “High Like A Mountain”
05. “Little Fighter” (WHITE LION song)
06. “What Am I”
07. “Would I Lie To You”
08. “Lady Of The Valley” (WHITE LION song)
09. “Cobbelstone Street”
10. “Give It All You Got”
11. “Why Even Worry At All”
12. “Broken Heart” (WHITE LION song)
13. “When The Children Cry” (WHITE LION song)
14. “Coming Home”
15. “Sun Goes Down” (THIN LIZZY song, Saturday only)
16. “Radar Love” (GOLDEN EARRING song)

Mike Tramp (Friday)

Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Mike Tramp (Saturday)

Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Beta2300, Copenhagen (DK) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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