Graham Bonnet @ Rockbåten, Helsingborg (SE)

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

GRAHAM BONNET BAND / WISHING WELL / FAT NELLY

Date: 18th April, 2017
Venue: Rockbåten M/S Harmony
Tickets: 350SEK (€34/$38)
Promoter: Rockbåten M/S Harmony
Photos: Erika Wallberg


It's rather strange to have a legend like Graham Bonnet on a small stage as Rockbåtens is. However, I really love these events because when the show gets intimate and personal it feels like a privilege to get the opportunity to attend. But it still is rather crazy that he's playing here.

But before the GRAHAM BONNET BAND show was due, the place needed to be heated up. First up, there were local boys of FAT NELLY who really impressed. Their DIO/RAINBOW type of classic Heavy Metal went down really well. There's no doubt they have great skills when it comes to musical performance and also to the songwriting. The epic “Promised Land” really stood out with the great melodies and very interesting structure. This really made me feel curious and then I started wondering why I hadn't heard about the band before. And of course, how could I get to hear more of it. Thinking about it, I've seen the name on a few occasion but written it off by the name only as some silly After Ski/Beach cover-band without digging further into it. So much for being open-minded and not hasty to judge...

Anyway, I'd say that this is one of the most interesting Swedish bands I've come across lately, it felt very honest and with a vocalist like Michalis Rinakakis (ex-AIR RAID) FAT NELLY really have a good foundation. He really nailed everything, screams, dynamics and melodies. He also manage to lure the shy crowd down to the front to support the band. So, this was a very nice surprise and I definitely hope it wasn't the first and last time I get to see them play.

FAT NELLY

Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Fat Nelly @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


Next up was Finnish WISHING WELL who immediately made me think of the classic band BAD COMPANY. Again, a new encounter which, just as FAT NELLY is rather invisible online. But in general the assumption was right; it was partly classic Hard Rock at least. But on occasion, it turned over into some really heavy. I think it took until “Sands Of Time” before I started to get a grip of what was going on. It all really sounded good but the impression of the band was sprawling. Vocalist Pekka Montin looked rather brutal and his moves onstage said ‘attack’, more like a Nu-Metal band than this type of classic Hard Rock. This shouldn't matter and I don't think it will next time I’ll see them but for a first impression it was quite a bit to melt. Heavy “Sacrifice” sounded fantastic; I loved the dynamics in the song. Another real highlight of the show was “Hippie Heart Gypsy Soul” which Graham Bonnet sings on the record. He couldn't do it here so Pekka got to handle that one also. The main difference between this song and the rest was the vocal lines; they felt typically Graham. Pekka pulled this off with grace and sounded amazing. Also the two songs ending WISHING WELL's set “Pilgrim Caravan” and fast and furious “Science Fiction” sounded really good. The conclusion is that when I've went pass the rather confusing first impression everything fell into place and sounded very good.

WISHING WELL setlist:

01. “Chasing Rainbows”
02. “Luck Is Blind”
03. “Holy Mountain”
04. “Sands Of Time”
05. “Sacrifice”
06. “Children Of Paradise”
07. “Sleepless Nights”
08. “Hippie Heart Gypsy Soul”
09. “Wheeling And Dealing”
10. “Pilgrim Caravan”
11. “Science Fiction”

WISHING WELL

Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Wishing Well @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


And then the time had come and I made sure to get a place in the front row as there was no chance I was going to miss this. That's the disadvantage with Rockbåten; there's no stage so it's very hard to see anything at all if you're not right up at the front. It all worked out and it felt surreal to stand a meter or so away from Graham. And what a start of the show with the ALCATRAZZ classic “Too Young to Die, Too Drunk to Live” that was! But ok, the sound wasn't fantastic from the first note and it took the first song to sort it out but after that it sounded perfect. It's amazing how Graham sounds these days and it's not like he has reduced the power he uses to get the notes out. It's all very strong but he really nailed it all. From “All Night Long” and forward the crowd was on to it as well and this song got a particularly intense cheer.

Of course, I was hoping for some Graham Bonnet solo songs too and a lot from the fantastic GRAHAM BONNET BAND “The Book” album and a few came. First of them was “California Air” from the recent release. Graham took the opportunity to announce that the band was working on more songs so I guess the next release shouldn't be that far off.  “Night Games” is a true hit if you’d ask me and this one too sounded amazing.

The mix in the set was really good, there's no doubt most people are familiar with the bands Graham has been a part of rather than what he's released under his own name. So “God Blessed Video” went down really well. I really like the “S.O.S” song from the “Line-Up” album but the response for this was mellower compared to before and after. The IMPELLITTERI track “Stand In Line” went down really well and I started hoping for a few more from that album.

I'm actually very happy with the set so there's no complaining about the songs even if it feels like there could have been room for more. Opening track from “The Book” LP, “Into The Night” is amazing and I was really happy that they played that one. There's no doubt that Graham had his fair share of moody guitarists during his career. And one story that stood out in particular was that he was fired from the MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP after just one gig and after releasing the fantastic “Assault Attack” record. Luckily, he seems over that now and served “Samurai” and “Desert Song” (and also the title track later in the set) from that album. And I have to give guitarist Conrado Pesinato a lot of credit here. Richie as well as Yngwie and Michael might be grumpy but they're hell of players and vary in style quite a bit. Conrado really pulled everything off, copying the tone and feel in the songs with grace; at least when it was necessary. He's an incredible guitarist that's for sure.

Since the only way off stage is out through the audience there was no break for encores, just a small breather before it all took off again. Another very cool feature in the set was the RAINBOW song “Eyes Of The World”, it's not the first song coming to mind when thinking of the Graham Bonnet era of RAINBOW. But that too sounded fantastic. But what was the real gain was the interaction between the musicians on stage and that they seemed to have a very good time together. Also, looking at the interaction between Graham and beautiful bassist Beth-Ami Heavenstone was really amazing. It all didn't have much to do with the music but it sure contributed to the joy of watching the show. And that's what it's all about, it must be fun doing to be fun watching. This show left me wanting much more of GRAHAM BONNET BAND and he could easily have played for another hour here without the set have felt too long. So yes, he still got it and he has one hell of a band backing it all up!

GRAHAM BOINNET BAND setlist:

01. Intro - “Shooting Star”
02. “Too Young To Die, Too Drunk To Live” (ALCATRAZZ song)
03. “All Night Long” (RAINBOW song)
04. “California Air”
05. “Night Games”
06. “God Blessed Video” (ALCATRAZZ song)
07. “S.O.S.”
08. “Stand In Line” (IMPELLITTERI song)
09. “Love's No Friend” (RAINBOW song)
10. “Island In The Sun” (ALCATRAZZ song)
11. “Into The Night”
12. “Samurai” (MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP song)
13. “Jet To Jet” (ALCATRAZZ song)
14. “Desert Song” (MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP song)
15. “Rider”
16. “Skyfire” (ALCATRAZZ song)
17. “Since You Been Gone” (Russ Ballard cover)
18. “Assault Attack” (MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP song)
19. “Eyes Of The World” (RAINBOW song)
20. “Lost In Hollywood” (RAINBOW song)

GRAHAM BONNET BAND

Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Graham Bonnet Band @ Rockbåten M/S Harmony, Helsingborg (SE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)