San Francisco, CA
March 25, 2013
By Dan Wall
Set List: Change the World, Circus, Tikket, Anarchy, Rebel, In the Raw, Breaking the Chainz, Riot in Everyone, Cocaine Cowboys, Generation Wild. 50 minutes.
There are so many bands out there that get the tag “best band you’ve never heard of” that you could fill a large book with them. Groups that have the talent, the looks, the songs and the attitude, but for some reason, never get as big as other acts that don’t have the same qualities listed above.
Crashdiet is another of those bands. The Swedish-based sleaze rockers are much bigger in Europe than in the States, and like so many others, have a hard time getting to America. After seeing the band in San Francisco recently, I can see why bands like Crashdiet (along with Mama Kin, Hardcore Superstar, Backyard Babies, The 69 Eyes, etc…) don’t want to waste their time here.
Crashdiet was presented in the second room at the DNA Lounge, a room so small that the band could hardly fit its anvil cases from past European tours in it. The stage was so small the vocalist Simon Cruz kept getting his Mohawk stuck in the roof. It was so small that there was no room for much other than the drums and a couple of amps, and the band members could hardly move. It was not the best way to present a band to a new audience in a new city.
But I can hardly blame the club, aside from the fact that there was virtually no promotion done on this show. The club’s regular sized room is too big for the barely 100 hardy souls who ventured out on a Monday night to see a band that has hardly received a mention on local radio here. It’s simply a sign of the times, in a city that once represented the West Coast rock scene as well as anywhere-whether it’s the economy, the time of year, the day of the week, the price of the ticket (not a big deal here) or the failure of record companies to break new bands, the simple fact is live rock and roll just isn’t selling like it once did.
Now, this whole mess shouldn’t be put on a band like Crashdiet, because it certainly isn’t the group’s fault. But it must piss these boys off that the group could be bigger here, and probably would have been 25 years ago. The quartet has the look, the songs, the smell (that’s important) and the attitude needed for great sleaze rock, and after seeing the band live, I can see how Crashdiet would be really good on a bigger stage, at a European festival, with people that know its songs.
For what it’s worth, Cruz can belt it out with the best of them, reminding one of Sebastian Bach (with a little Mike Tramp thrown in for good measure). Guitarist Martin Sweet is a riff machine, and the rhythm section of bassist Pete London and drummer Eric Young hammer away happily. There’s tats, leather, spikey hair and enough sweat for ten guys.
Song wise, “Breaking the Chainz” should have been a major hit anywhere, and the band has put out four great albums filled with very few stinkers. But for all its talent, for the great songs, for a band that looks and sounds great, these guys are not going to make it in the U.S. while the climate for live rock and roll remains the way it is here (even in the Midwest-during summer).
So, to sum it all up, Crashdiet is worth your time-read the internet, go to the band’s website and search out the band’s albums if you like Motley Crue, Skid Row, GNR and the other giants of sleaze that have made it. Bands like Crashdiet will never be big in America, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the band from afar-which is probably how you’re going to have to do it after this tour.