I’ve come to terms with the fact that there are brilliant musicians I will never see live. Jimi Hendrix, Soundgarden, Linkin Park, the list goes on and on and one of those on the list is Turbonegro. Although I don’t think I’ll ever have the chance to see the band as a whole, I had the chance to see their best known vocalist (long story) Hank Von Hell last night and honestly that may be good enough for me.
Spiders from Sweden kicked things off right at 8:30PM. Without any warning, the four piece took the stage and jumped into their dirty rock n’ roll set with a sense of power and strength that felt like so much more than just an opening act. Vocalist Ann-Sofie Hoyles had a very stunning presence about her. Well, the whole band did, but my eyes seemed to be drawn to Ann-Sofie majority of the time. There was just something so carefree and fun about her but also something that proved she takes this completely seriously and is a damn good vocalist. A mix of Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, and your friend’s garage band, this band clearly pulls their influences from all over the place which made this set fly by. Although they played a good list of songs, I could tell that this band has so much more to offer and I plan on spending my time in the car on my way to Duluth digging into what else they have and falling deeper in love with this amazing group.
The crowd wasn’t sold out like I had been expecting but it was a busy night with a crowd that was clearly excited to see the legend in the flesh during his first visit to the country in around ten years. Although there were only a couple of Turbonegro songs thrown into the setlist, I felt familiar with Hank Von Hell’s solo stuff. He has such a distinct sound and vast influences that there is never any question as to who it is. Taking elements of punk, glam-rock, hard rock and sprinkles of everything in-between, Hank Von Hell’s music is so unique and so strange (in a good way) that it’s damn near impossible to not fall in love with his music.
I expected a great show from this man and his band. I expected loads of energy and a crowd shouting along to every word. What I wasn’t expecting was the sense of personality that radiated from Hank. The crowd laughed along with his quirky anecdotes between songs. From explaining how devil horns aren’t punk rock, flipping the bird is, to admitting that he is only back on tour because he is still trying to find that major success that everyone is always looking for (which is apparently not measured in money but french kissing and kissing in general), this man had the audience roaring with laughter. Beyond the funny stories, there was just something about the way he moved around the stage that brought a smile to your face. Maybe it was the juxtaposition of this sinister looking man with black paint around his eyes and then the way he would bounce up and down on the stage and lean into the crowd while singing along or maybe it was just the way that he always had a smile on his face and would struggle to get through his own jokes because he was laughing too much. Regardless, there was something strikingly lovely about this man and his bandmates that I think is lost when you are just listening to his recorded music and not watching him live.
I’ve been on a bender lately and there’s no end in sight. Most people would be passed out from exhaustion by this point but not me. I’m crossing off so many amazing names from my bucketlist that I can’t stop. Sure, I don’t think I’ll ever see Turbonegro live but seeing Hank Von Hell last night definitely made up for that.