There were plenty of people enjoying the early summer heatwave outside tonight’s venue, the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham. With a club night scheduled later and two support acts, Ulysses and BlackWolf, it was an early start for the gig. I caught up with BlackWolf for their set – although they were the second support act it was a bit sparse in the crowd, but there were some hardcore fans who weren’t fazed by the quiet venue. Despite the lower numbers, BlackWolf played a lively set, providing the crowd with plenty of action to watch on stage. For me, the performance felt a bit dated, however there were plenty of power ballads providing chilled-out rocking on a summer’s evening.
Before the Von Hertzen Brothers took to the stage, the venue filled up while a huge amount of atmospheric smoke was pumped onto the stage. The brothers seemed very excited to be playing in Nottingham and they have a good following; devout fans lined the barriers (one had even brought flowers) and lead-singer Mikko von Hertzen gave a shout-out to ‘Margaret’ who had flown in from Dublin especially to see the show. The first part of the gig was one meaty song after another, including ‘The Destitute’ and ‘Coming Home’, Mikko’s vocals being not too dissimilar to Chris Cornell of Soundgarden. The connection the three have as brothers adds something to their live show, in particular how well their voices blend together. Elements of their songs sounded distinctly Scandinavian, and the xylophone intro to ‘Flowers and Rust’ and the frequent inspiration from nature in many of their lyrics are two points that stand out. To add to the feel of this relaxed summer night, the smell of hog roast was wafting through the door from outside: somewhat surreal but not unpleasant.
Midway through their set the band changed pace to some slower and newer material, playing ‘Trouble’, ‘Black Rain’ and ‘Love Burns’. This caused a lull in the crowd, perhaps because everyone is not yet familiar with their latest album New Day Rising, although when Mikko asked who had already listened to it he received a big cheer. The brothers then reverted back to some old favourites, ending the gig on a high, but ending it all too soon. Mikko blamed this on the upcoming club night; this is a recurring problem at Rock City and the Rescue Rooms on a Friday, and fairly frustrating.
Following on from their sold-out tour in Finland, the Von Hertzen Brothers played a confident gig and have cemented themselves as an international band, with a strong fan base in the UK.