Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES)

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CLOVEN HOOF / CRAZY HAT

Date: 27th November, 2017
Venue: Sala Rocksound
Tickets: €14/$16
Promoter: Metaltrip
Photos: Erika Wallberg


It's always very exciting to see new places and get acquainted with new bands. That goes for the Rocksound venue and the show openers CRAZY HAT. CLOVEN HOOF is not new to me and in fact, they were the reason to get on the plane and hang out in Barcelona for a few days.

The place was rather empty when it was gig time for CRAZY HAT. Ok, the place had just opened when they hit the stage so people came sliding in and took place in front of the stage during the first few songs. What was fun and amusing with CRAZY HAT was their stage presence and performance. They have a lot of energy and it all became a little fast. A little too mad for a first encounter perhaps so definitely crazier than undividedly good but absolutely not bad. The band has definitely a lot of talent, musically it ranged from the Joe Satriani type guitar-hero complexity to MTV-generation Hair Metal. A combination that definitely will work and be very interesting with a little more structure.

What I enjoyed with CRAZY HAT also was that they shared the musical and vocal duties in a very cool way. After the first few tracks vocalist Iron brought out the acoustic guitar and combined his singing with that. Just to hand over the microphone to guitarist Josh a few songs later. Towards the end, just before the closing cover of Neil Young's “Rocking in the Free World” also bass-player José Luis sang lead on a song. All three had a unique character when singing but it still kept within the concept. It was unexpected and I like that. That the set featured two covers felt unnecessary though, earlier on the THIN LIZZY classic “Cold Sweat” was played. Both these are fantastic songs but felt a little misplaced style-wise towards the rest.

And there was much to like about CRAZY HAT, musically they did a very impressive performance and they have some really good things going for them. Their energy on stage combined with fantastic musicality being two. They're hard to place and their sounds is not like much else I'm coming across these days which is another plus. As said, it all gave a rather messy impression and when they get sorted CRAZY HAT is definitely to be reckoned with.

CRAZY HAT setlist:

01. Intro - “Into The Final Waltz”
02. “Humanatas”
03. “Cold Sweat”
04. “Mountain Spirit (Running Wild)”
05. “Living For Tonight”
06. “Anne Bonny's Son”
07. “You”
08. “Like Yours”
09. “Purgatory's Troop”
10. “In The Night”
11. “Rocking In The Free World”

CRAZY HAT

Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Crazy Hat @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)


You know that feeling, when the anticipation for something to come is so high that it almost gets to being nervous the last minutes before it happens. It happens on occasions, even if it just is a concert, and that I know the band will kick-ass no matter the conditions. Still, I can't let it go until it takes off. And that's the thing with CLOVEN HOOF, for me they're absolutely spot-on musically. The addition of Danny White on drums and George Call on vocals is a perfect match and as a live-band they're phenomenal. Still, I almost crawled out of my skin before the show started.

It took until “Highlander” before I could relax and just enjoy myself even if it all was perfect from the start. How good it all sounded was amazing, even in a concrete bunker like Rocksound. I mean, it's a small and squared place and yes, the volume was intense but the sound was crisp and clear. Then, how well in sync and tight guitarists Chris Coss and Luke Hatton are nowadays, is amazing and it looks so damn easy when they play. “Highlander” sounded fantastic; a favorite, yes, but then on the other hand, all of them are. And the set was a really good one, a great mix of songs from the start to present time. That “Deliverance” from the last LP “Resist Or Serve” was picked up in the set I really enjoyed. It's definitely a record that didn't get the recognition it deserved when it was released, and for all the wrong reasons as it holds the same high CLOVEN HOOF class as the rest.

The complaints when Joe Whelan fronted the band about not being Heavy Metal enough should be gone by now. For me, George Call is a perfect Heavy Metal frontman, he can take a crowd, regardless if it's full on from start or if some work needs to be done to get everyone going. And his voice totally suites CLOVEN HOOF's music too. It was fun to see the crowd's reaction though, the place had been filled up nicely for CLOVEN HOOF but it was clear that, at least for the first half of the set it was the old school stuff that cut it for the ones present. For “Gates Of Gehenna” the first storm of headbanging came and the front-line at the tiny club got rather frantic. From there on the support for the band got pretty intense, just an occasional bear-break here and there.

One of my favorites from the fantastic new “Who Mourns For The Morning Star” is “Bannockburn” which came in halfway through the show. Here again Luke and Chris showed their skills off and how attuned they are to one another. The mellow intro of the song sounded fabulous. The build-up, with Lee Payne first and then the rest works perfect for the stage and adds to the visual aspect of the show. As did the rest of course but that part really gave me goosebumps. One could think it was too sweaty at Rocksound for the hairs to stand straight up on my arms and in my neck. Perhaps that's another sign of how damn good it all sounded. Another really cool feature was “Kiss Of Evil”, George’s voice really suites all of the older stuff.

I was really happy that “Star Rider” was fitted in the set (as well as “Time To Burn” in the beginning of the gig) too as it had to be cut out last time I saw CLOVEN HOOF play. Towards the end, it wasn't just the old school stuff getting a response. And no wonder, it's high quality Heavy Metal we're talking about and you need to be really stubborn (or outright stupid) if you're a Metal Head and look past these fantastic new tracks. That the last two in the set, “Laying Down The Law” and “Reach For The Sky” would go down well there was no doubt about. Both were received extremely well at the 'Trveheim Festival' earlier this year and they sounded just as amazing now as at that time.

It's hard to find the right words to describe the show and I'm kind of running out of superlatives. There are a few bands rising above all when they hit the stage able to turn things up even if it's just the music and musical performance we're talking about. It's the nerve and intensity in the music that gets to me and it becomes an overload of emotions. All good ones! CLOVEN HOOF is definitely one of those bands. As I said, I expected it to be this good. This is what CLOVEN HOOF always does, I'm still amazed by their performance each and every time and they sure are a great band to see live and always leave a huge smile on my face when done. No exceptions here!

CLOVEN HOOF Setlist:

01. “Cloven Hoof”
02. “Time To Burn”
03. “Highlander”
04. “Deliverance”
05. “Inquisitor”
06. “Gates Of Gehenna”
07. “Bannockburn”
08. “Crack The Whip”
09. “Kiss Of Evil”
10. “Nova Battlestar”
11. “Star Rider”
12. “Laying Down The Law”
13. “Reach For The Sky”

CLOVEN HOOF

Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Cloven Hoof @ Sala Rocksound, Barcelona (ES) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

(click to enlarge)