HARDLINE / MIDNITE CITY / DEPARTED  Muni Arts Centre, Pontypridd - 02.06.18


The Muni Arts Centre in Pontypridd is becoming a major gig venue in South Wales, giving more people outside the major cities of Cardiff and Swansea the opportunity to experience some great gigs. Getting HARDLINE to include this small Welsh town in their short European tour was a major coup for promotor Big Day Productions. As I arrived at the venue, it was good to see the stage with only one drum kit - it meant that all the bands would have plenty of room to engage with the expected audience of around 250.


A few minutes later than expected, the first of the support bands, DEPARTED, took to the stage.  Instantly, the band engages with the small but growing audience, making full use of the stage. There is an energy in the band, and they enjoy playing their set as much as the audience enjoyed watching them. Connor’s solid drumming, with his brother Howie on bass, makes a rhythm section that underpins the guitar-led music. Every guitar solo is performed with feeling and emotion which hooks the onlookers. Departed is a band that look and sound fantastic and are picking up some great gigs, which is well deserved. Next for them is a Download slot later this week. This will bring them many more fans to join the ones they made during their short slot here. I had a quick chat with Mark and Ben after their set. They said they’d enjoyed performing and were looking forward to coming back to Cardiff in December with The New Roses. Judging by the applause that followed them off the stage, there will be a few people who saw them tonight who will make the effort to get to Cardiff and beyond to see them again.


All I want
Steal Your Crown
Pretty Little Thing
Are you Ready?
Soul Shaker
Come On


Departed are:
Mark Pascall (Vocals)
Ben Brookland (Guitar)
Connor Spring (Drums)
Howie Spring (Bass)


Check them out at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/departedbanduk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/departeduk



MIDNITE CITY, a 5-piece from Nottingham, were second on the bill. They are a band I’d heard of, but not managed to see until now. The first thing that struck me was that, for a band who have only been together a year or so, they are performing like a seasoned and experienced band. Some of that stage presence comes from their experience in previous bands - both originals as well as tribute bands.


If you haven’t seen them yet, I can thoroughly recommend them as a great, entertaining band. Musically, their roots are in AOR, or Hair Metal, and their appearance is, on the whole, true to that, with guitars that match sneakers, hair and make up that is perfectly presented, they took me straight back to AOR masters such as Bon Jovi in their heyday. They are animated on staged - using every inch and making sure every audience member gets to be part of the show. Miles, on lead guitar, concentrates deeply as he plays the riff-laden tracks and seems touched by the audience when they sing him Happy Birthday (even if it is a couple of days early!).


Rob Wylde, on vocals talks to the crowd as the hall fills up. He engages the audience who lap up the fantastic musicianship they are watching. After making the thanks, he tells us he is going to slow it down for ‘Nothings Like Losing You’, which gives the band - and the audience - a chance to catch their breath. They have a great stage presence sparking off each other as they move around the stage. Rob talks about their debut album as he introduces ‘One Step Away’ which is the current single. With its thunderous drumming and catchy chorus, it is a great melody driven track to pick as a single.


The set contains many tracks off their album and they move into ‘Think About You’ - which demonstrates Rob's strong vocals and the solid rhythm section perfectly. Taking a breather, they strike up ‘Everything’. It’s a power ballad that encompasses everything a power ballad should. Emotion, harmonious vocals and audience participation as they light up the Muni with their phones.


AOR is alive and kicking and Midnite City are up there with the best of them. Their seasoned performances in other bands is paying off as they look to have a great future, their music is melodic with riffs and guitar solos which are executed with emotion and feeling. Rob is a great front man - he engages the audience who feeds off their energy. This was a great set, they are a band to watch out for, and I look forward to seeing them again.


Set List:

We Belong
Last Beat of my Heart
Ghosts of my Old Friends
I Just Can’t Take It
Nothings like Losing You
One Step Away
Think About You
Everything You Meant to Me
Can’t Wait for the Nights
Summer of our Lives


Midnite City are:
Rob Wylde - Lead Vocals
Pete Newdeck - Drums & Backing Vocals
Miles Meakin - Lead Guitar
Shawn Charvette - Keyboards & Backing Vocals
Josh 'Tabbie' Williams - Bass & Backing Vocals


Check them out at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/midnitecityuk
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/midnitecityuk



After two top-class support bands, the crowd were ready for the main act of the night, HARDLINE. This was the second UK gig as part of the Double Eclipse 25th Anniversary tour. To rapturous applause and cheering, the band one by one took their places. Finally, Johnny Geoeli appeared sporting a tee shirt bearing his name. Instantly, he demonstrated why, after so many years, he is still regarded as one of the best frontmen. He is animated, engaging and has a voice that has weathered the storms of time exceptionally well. There are no signs of ageing - he sounds as good as he did back in 1992.


They kick off the set with ‘Where Will We Go From Here?’, off their 2016 album ‘Human Nature’. As the track came to a close, Johnny tells us that the band will “take us on a journey from 1992, one song at a time”. Exactly what they did. Performing a mixture of tracks from three albums, from the beginning - Double Eclipse - the 2012 album Danger Zone and the most recent album - Human Nature - they were as good as their word. Johnny also teased us, hinting that new music was on its way.


The venue is now packed with a loud crowd, most of whom were keen to join in the singing and thoroughly enjoying the show. The audience reaction gave away the fact that many of them had seemingly been Hardline fans since way back in 1992.


Midway through the set, the band get a break, with the exception of Francesco Jovino who, from his position on the drum riser, high above the stage, demonstrates power, skill and talent in his drum solo, captivating and enthralling the audience as it seemed the whole building shook from his thunderous kick drum.


Johnny quietens down the show with a duet - just his mesmerising vocal talent accompanied by Alessandro on keyboards on the stage as they deliver an emotional and captivating rendition of ‘Take You Home’ another track from the 2016 album.


As the final notes bring huge appreciation, the rest of the band return to the stage and begin ‘Fever Dreams' (Danger Zone, 2012) which brings the rock back into the room. The double kick drum shakes the building as the track builds to its climactic crescendo before finishing to a thunderous applause from the fans old, young and new.


Johnny tells the moving story behind the writing of ‘In The Hands of Time’, which starts with a guitar intro before, again, we are treated to the fabulously velvety smooth voice. The audience knows this track well, and join in the chorus as we get bluesy riffs echoing around the room. The setlist is varied and flows well, and with each song, Mario makes his guitar sing as he delivers solo after solo, riff after riff.


After nearly 90 minutes on stage, ‘Hot Cherie’ sees Johnny dancing around the stage only marginally slower than he did at the beginning of the set as the show draws to an end. Instead of a traditional encore, the band just move into the final two tracks on the set list. The audience knows that the show is nearly over, and the excitement in the room is palpable as they start ‘I’ll be There’. The band are as enthusiastic in their delivery now as they were at the beginning - the rhythm section keeping it all together with a huge kick drum and heavy bass tones. The final track, ‘Rhythm From a Red Car’ is one that we all know so well and everyone is keen to help Johnny out with his lyrics. Everyone shows their appreciation as, during the song, Johnny introduces the rest of the band, the clapping and cheering are clear demonstrations of just how much the set and the night were enjoyed by all.


All too soon, it is curfew, and the show is done. What a night!


Set List:
Where Will We Go From Here?
Takin’ Me Down
Dr. Love
Human Nature
Trapped in Muddy Waters
(Drum Solo)
Life’s a Bitch
Take You Home
Fever Dreams
In the Hands of Time
Hot Cherie
I’ll Be There
Rhythm from a Red Car


Hardline Are:
Johnny Gioeli - Vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio - Keyboards and backing vocals
Mario Percudani- Guitars
Nicola Mazzucconi (standing in for Anna Portalupi ) - Bass
Francesco Jovino - Drums


Check them out at:


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