All Those Wasted Years - Hanoi Rocks
1 CD(s) - Pop Metal - Label: Castle Music - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 23/04/2001 - 5050159118625
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Review of "All Those Wasted Years - Hanoi Rocks"
musician, scribbler, historian, gnostic, seeker of enlightenment, asker of the wrong questions, delver into the lost archives, fugitive from the law of averages, thinker of deep thoughts, quantum spanner, zenarchist. People have woken up to worse.
Axl Rose once admitted that the only reason that Guns n' Roses became successful was because of the void in the market that had been left empty by the demise of Hanoi Rocks. There may be other reasons for the formers success but it is easy to see Hanoi Rocks as the instigators of a whole glam/hard rock scene that spawned not only Axls band but the likes of Faster Pussycat, Bang Tango and L.A Guns. Managing to mix a glam image, hard rock cool and a punk attitude, Hanoi rocks posed and preened their way from being a small time Finnish novelty to darlings of the British rock scene and finally to a global super group. Studio albums never seemed to do justice to the powerhouse of energy that drove the band, but their live shows were a otherworldly experience, an ultimate high of pure adrenalin and 1985s "All those Wasted Years" went some way towards bringing that force of nature into your home. Recorded at London's famous Marquee Club, then in Wardour Street, this small venue created a small, intimate and highly charged atmosphere for the band to bounce their highly charged show off of.The show opens to the strains of O Fortuna (people will note that this is the second music review in a row where I have mentioned this track, but I assure you that this is a coincidence and not some personal crusade) before launching into a short punked up rendition of the stalwart "Pipeline". This intro piece ends to the crowd cheering the appearance of front man Michael Monroe (which I agree isn't a very Finnish name) and with a swift 1,2,3,4 its into the first proper number "Oriental Beat". Like much of their material this song delivers a hybrid of punk driven rock beats and a sleazy "blues on speed" guitar riffs. It's straight four beats to the bar and packed with attitude. Also during this opening assault we get a blast of Monroe's saxophone playing in the briefest of solos. And this sets the pace for the show. "Back to Mystery City" and "Motorvatin'" continue in the same vein, an aggressive mix of Monroe's in your face vocal and Andy McCoy's razor guitar and all the time the relentless powerhouse delivery of the other three driving the show onwards towards meltdown.
Amongst the hard rock posturing are a number of songs that show a more laid back side to the band. "Don't Never Leave Me" was one of their biggest hits and although now dated in the eyes of a generation subjected to one to many soft rock ballad, Hanoi Rocks quieter moments, and this song in particular manage to retain an edge to them a combination of the underproduction of the time and the spiky nature of the band.Underlying their songs is a strong rhythm and blues strain, though it has been subjected to an attitude change and a rock make over. Be it the infectious groove of "11th street Kids" or the slower, darker menace of "Taxi driver" they wear their influences openly on their sleeves. Whereas the opening end of the album is full of big impact hard hitting songs, the second half is a slightly later affair, more sleazy than aggressive, more spacey than driven but no less catchy for it. Finishing off with a few rock standards, this 18 track live show shows the band capabilities nicely. Although it's difficult for any live album to capture such a force of nature this is a great snapshot of a band on their way to the big time. It presents you with great music and all you have to do is imagine the rest (unless you buy the DVD of course). Shut your eyes and you can picture Monroe, a shock of blonde hair and eyeliner strutting his way across the stage, mike stand in one hand, beer bottle in the other. Andy McCoy duck walks through the band throwing away great guitar licks as if there is no tomorrow, Rhythm guitar Nasty grooves and spins like a whirling dervish, Sammy Yaffa, one foot on the monitor in true rock stereotype draws thunderous grooves from his four string beast and an avalanche of beat bedlam resonates from Razzle from behind his kit. The band seem to stand with one foot in cool and the other in Spinal tap but their brilliance won the day.
This is the Gun n' Roses of its day, trashy, energetic, musical and out to deliver a good time. As a piece of history it has its place in the hall of fame and as a damn good live album it should sit pride of place in any rock fans record collection.
Product Information : All Those Wasted Years - Hanoi Rocks
Manufacturer's product description1 CD(s) - Pop Metal - Label: Castle Music - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 23/04/2001 - 5050159118625
Listed on Ciao since: 12/01/2006