On my way to the venue, given it was the same night as the sold out GLORYHAMMER show, it was difficult to know what to expect with regards to audience size. The last time KISSIN’ DYNAMITE were in the UK, they were the opening band for POWERWOLF. They were now doing their own headline tour and they were making a stop in London. No better place than The Underworld, Camden; the alternative heart of London.
As I arrived, it was great to see people there already. Some of them had seen the band on the POWERWOLF tour; others were long-time fans of the band who had been waiting to see them in the UK. Whether fans were securing their space to watch the bands, buying their first drinks or browsing the merch; the atmosphere was buzzing with excitement and anticipation.
The first band to take to the stage were London based SERPENTYNE. Sometimes when a band is a completely different style to the rest of the line-up, this can pay off massively or back fire immensely. Their haunting sound consisted of angelic vocals, brilliant guitar work, some energetic stage antics (one including the guitarist jumping on top of the drum kit) and orchestral pieces on the system. The only criticism I have regarding their set was that sometimes you couldn’t quite hear these orchestral parts, then again, that could have been to do with the sound system. Overall, they were a great choice to open up proceedings.
French Hard Rockers BLACKRAIN were the main support act for the night. From the moment they took to the stage, it was clear they weren’t here to mess around. They brought no nonsense MÖTLEY CRÜE and AIRBOURNE style rock to The Underworld. This stadium like atmosphere was reinforced by the fact that fans and new listeners were already singing along to their songs. The setlist consisted of a mixture of songs from across their discography, mainly from their latest album Dying Breed that was released this year. If closing with a cover of TWISTED SISTER classic We’re Not Gonna Take It didn’t get them nice and warmed up then who knows what would have?
Regarding headliners KISSIN’ DYNAMITE, I came across them a few years ago through the song DNA when casually browsing on YouTube. In turn, I discovered the album Megalomania that was released the same year. I was finally getting to see them headline a UK show at one of my favourite venues.
They kicked off the night with anthems I’ve Got The Fire and Somebody’s Gotta Do It. I’ve Got The Fire is one of my go-to songs when I need to smile and need that morale boost. The power of the song increased when it was performed live and it instantly lifted those spirits.
The thing with stadium shows is that they are built up with magical moments that are unforgettable. I know this wasn’t a stadium show but given the way they performed; you would have thought you were at one. I will never forget their live performance of Heart Of Stone with a piano; it was a great way to tone down the wild atmosphere for those few moments. I was also highly impressed that they were able to lug a huge piano down to the basement stage in a venue with no lifts.
Another moment was the song I Will Be King, especially where vocalist Hannes Braun sang whilst sitting on a silver throne and wearing royal garments. Like the piano, getting the throne onto The Underworld stage was impressive. A personal highlight for me was when they performed DNA; this was the first song that got me into the band so it was great to experience the energetic performance of this song.
I should also mention that Ana Bruner (EXIT EDEN) joined the band on stage for a few numbers, including their duet Ecstasy. The title of this song is incredibly apt because of the energy that comes across. When it was performed, this energy transitioned to the crowd. Ana’s powerful voice and her passionate energy on stage made her a great addition to the band.
They closed their remarkable set with You’re Not Alone and Ana joined them one last time for Flying Colours. These gave the audience one last blast before ending the night on a literal high, with Hannes Braun standing on top of a mini pyramid.
I deliberately made the notes after the show as I was busy soaking in every aspect of their mind-blowing performance, sometimes literally soaking from all the sweat. It was clear the band worked incredibly hard to pull out all the stops to give The Underworld a stadium like atmosphere. Hannes Braun was in control of the crowd that night, his charisma and passion to give fans an unforgettable show shone through.
Judging from the crowd’s reaction and the band’s mind-blowing performance, it is more than safe to say they will be welcome back to the UK anytime.
Words: Lotty Whittingham
Photos: Natalie O’Neill