The sun is out and the smell of hairspray is in the air, we can only be in one place? 1985 on the Sunset Strip you say? Nah we’re in present day Sheffield and the Rock gods are smiling on us with the weather this weekend (although we are principally indoors). The venue is packed and backcombed to the rafters and has a bountiful amount of Sleaze, snakebites and hotdogs on offer for the masses. Let’s get stuck in!

First up for me is Gypsy Pistoleros on the main stage. An intriguing mix of sleazy riffs, singalong choruses and some fantastic moments where you feel like you’re listening to a Spaghetti Western score. Overall they’re frenetic and anthemic but dreadful in between song ‘banter’. Props to the excellent drummer though.

Next up over on the 2nd stage, it’s Rock ‘n’ Roll stalwarts Paradise Alley. A much-needed shot in the arm of Glam Punk for the day’s proceedings! Frontman Steve Vincent certainly has the voice of the weekend, serenading the audience and throwing in a few stories for good measure. At times the band’s performance is a bit shambolic, at other times good, but overall shambolically good. Which is a winner for me! Will definitely be checking them out on tour in the future.

Back over to the main stage to check out Kickin Valentina. Clearly a crowd favourite here at Sleaze this weekend, the audience has swelled in size with anticipation. This is a band that has never clicked with me on record but they definitely win you over with their swagger and workmanship. It’s nothing I’ve not heard before but they serve it up confidently and bolster their fans into a frenzy.

Heading further into the evening of day 1 we are treated to headliner-worthy Hardcore Superstar. A force so commanding it’s like they just turned the House PA up to 11! The atmosphere in the venue is electric, the band hitting the crowd with sonic blunt force blows with every note played. Fan favourites are supplied in abundance in the form of ‘wild boys’, ‘we don’t celebrate sundays anymore’, ‘last call for alcohol’ and early career classic ‘liberation’. Those assembled are all but won over, the point is truly hammered home with anthemic closer ‘you can’t kill my rock ‘n roll’.

It would be fair to wonder how Michael Monroe would compare after following Hardcore Superstar on the bill. As soon as the band hit full pelt into the first number, all doubts are cast aside and seem ludicrous in retrospect. With a set consisting of Monroe’s superb solo album offerings, choice numbers from Hanoi Rocks and Demolition 23, plus a few covers thrown in for good measure. Tonight’s set is certainly the showstopper everyone has been hoping for. With a band that must be one of the best in the business (Sami Yaffa, Steve Conte, Rich Jones & Karl Rockfist) they burst into a non-stop Rock ‘n Roll show, expertly led by Monroe, an awe-inspiring performance packed with boundless energy.

Stand-out tracks for me today would have to be ‘last train to Tokyo’ and the recent single ‘everybody’s nobody’. Not only does Michael rock your socks off, he has the lovable charisma to charm your sock off also. I find myself literally unable to stop smiling throughout the entire performance, I genuinely feel sorry for anybody unable to find joy in watching the show tonight.

With Day 1 over, everybody is leaving happy and appetites are satisfied with equal amounts of Sleaze and Hooch. 

Author: Dan Kasm