It was a special night in Utrecht on December 5th. First of sll it was Sintaklaas, the Dutch version of Santa Claus, which has almost the same importance in Holland than Christmas Eve. And secondly one of the heaviest storms in the last 10 years caused damages and problems that day. Those were the circumstances when Imperial State Electric snd Dregen came to Utrecht. The Swedish power rock package brought another storm into the city. It was a rock'n'roll storm.
When I arrived at the Tivoli de Helling, the 'small brother' of the Tivoli in Utrecht, it was a around 20:00. Based on the described circumstances the venue was not too packed. But the ones who have been there enjoyed an excellent evening with two great bands.
Imperial State Electric made the start. Some of you might know the band from the support tour for Guns'n'Roses in 2010. The band of frontman Nicke Andersson (The Hellacopter, Entombed) entered the stage and started directly with the opener of their latest release. "Emptiness into the void" was a great start into the evening. The song, which reminds me to the old Rocky Horror Picture show times, is a great rock'n'roller with a good party vibe. The band itself was also in a good mood and had fun standing on stage. The setlist was a mix between old and new. My favorites from the new album like e.g. the rocker "Faustian bargains" and the great "Underwhelmed" found their way on the setlist as well as older tracks like "Uh Huh" and "Sheltered in the sand" from "Pop war". With "Lord knows that I know that it ain't right" even a song from the 2010 debut was played by the band.
Amazing also to see how excellent the four guys are as musicians. Eventhough the vocals were mainly done by Nicke, "Stay the night" was sung by Tobias Egge and for "Repile brain music" Dolf de Borst took the mic while Tobias played the bass. This is professionalism combined with passion and capability. Imperial State Electric became one of my highlights this year.
After 70 minutes in which time was flying, the band left the stage under a big applause from the crowd. What a great start. And I wondered if Dregen can live up to this level.
And I can say already at this stage: Yes, he could. Dregen and his band entered the stage and were present from the very first moment on. My god, how much energy has this guy. He didn't stand still on stage for one single second. That was great entertainment combined with good sings. In addition that also the sound was perefct from the beginning.
The majority of the songs came of course from his debut album which he released earlier this year. Tracks like "Bad situation" and "Gig pig" are already great on the album, but live they are even better. Also my fave of the album "Flat tyre on a muddy road" was played by the band. It's a great song which is very much based on Blues. On the album Dregen shares the vocals with Titiyo, but also the live performance with only him doing the vocals was really good. Next to the songs from the debut Dregen also performed e.g. "Minus celsius" from the Backyard Babies - another band he is busy with, eventhough not at the moment.
The best came in the end. 50% of The Hellacopters on stage. Of course something which we thought could happen, but it also happened. Dregen and Nicke Andersson together on stage. Just a great thing to see and highly appreciated by the crowd.
A funny side note: I was talking about the storm in the beginning. When I left the venue after the show the storm outside was gone. It almost felt like the Swedish rock package has blown the storm away. Well done ;o)
It was a great Thursday night in Utrecht and I can absolutely recommend to go to a show of those two bands. It's a great Swedish rock'n'roll storm with experienced and passionated musicians. And all this for EUR 13 for a ticket and EUR 20 for a shirt. Amazing from A to Z and real value for money. Go out and visit their show.
Setlist Imperial State Electric:
- Emptiness into the void
- Uh Huh
- Deride & conquer
- Redemptions gone
- Faustian bargains
- Stay the night
- Leave me alone
- Sheltered in the sand
- More than enough of your love
- Lord knows I know that it ain't right
- Get off
- Down in the bunker
- Reptile brain music
- Throwing stones
- Divisions of me
- Just like that
- One man army
- Bad situation
- Star war
- Gig Pig
- Flat tyre on a muddy road
- Pink hearse
- Blank canvas
- Minus celsius
- Gotta get some
- Mojo's gone
Location: Tivoli De Helling, Utrecht, The Netherlands