Eleven, Stoke On Trent, 24th March 2017
Glasgow- 27th April 2013
(13th December 2014, O2 ABC, Glasgow)
WELCOME TO GLASGOW, ROCK CITY by Amy Maguire
Glasgow – a city that revels in diverse cultural and musical tastes, and brings fans young and old into perfect harmony with one another. A city that welcomes individuals to be captivated by the music it produces, as well as that from overseas. The people who live in this mesmerising area will tell you that it is specific aspects that attract tourists and travelling musicians here, for example, night-life, history, or patriotism. But what of the musicians? Is it the atmosphere? The crowds? The people? We spoke to Hotter Than Hell’s Marty McStravick and Rory Judge to find out what makes Glasgow so appealing to tribute bands, in particular. Hotter Than Hell are a European tribute band, paying homage to legendary glam rockers KISS. Formed in 2003 by Martin McStravick, the band aims to closely mimic the mindblowing performances of the masked Gods of Thunder. Bassist Rory tells us: “KISS are a band that aren’t only known and loved for their abundance of top quality rock n’ roll anthems, but also for their spectacular stage show, tremendous theatrics and iconic image.” The band composes of four members – lead–vocalist and rhythm guitarist Marty, vocalist and bassist Rory, lead guitarist Patrizio Di Serafino, and drummer Glenn Gray – all musicians of a professional standard. Rory continues: “When it came to finding members, nothing but the best would do, hence the reason the band is classed as European, with members coming from as far as Italy.” So, now that you know who Hotter Than Hell are, we find out more about what makes Glasgow a popular destination, and what aspects of the city in general that the band loves. First of all, there must have been something that tempted the band here. But what was that something? “Starting out as Hotter Than Hell, we always got gig promoters and venues in Scotland asking for us to play, and eventually we did in 2007.” tells Marty. Rory also mentions, “On a regular basis, fans will get in touch asking if we are, or would consider, playing their home towns. We aim to please as many fans as possible, and to play in front of audiences who really appreciate what we do.” “Glasgow is a city renowned for culture, arts, vibrant night-life, and also its love and appreciation of music, in particular rock. It’s a city we always had our sights set on performing in, and when the opportunity arose, we gripped it with both hands.” says Rory. Hotter Than Hell’s debut Glasgow performance took place at The Barfly in 2007. A gig in a new city for tribute bands is undoubtedly unpredictable, perhaps even daunting – the audience alone rates the show they are given. But the band took the stage by storm, dazzling the Glaswegian crowd. By the end, they certainly had this city’s KISS Army in the palm of their soon-to-be star-studded hands. Both Marty and Rory were blown away by the reception they received in Glasgow. “We got an immense reception, very like Belfast, I thought. Everyone made us feel special, and we were treated well,” recalls Marty. Rory, whose first gig with the band took place in approximately February 2013, tells us that: “Our first show in Glasgow couldn’t have gone any better.” “We had a packed house full of crazy KISS fans, just looking for a good night of entertainment, enjoying the music of their favourite band. There was plenty of cheering, chanting, and just as much singing coming from the crowd as there was the stage.” From such recollections, it is clear that the people of Glasgow took a shine to this tribute act. For many musical legends, the city is considered one of the top destinations for touring. But what were the thoughts of a band who, by this point, were proving that they were just as good, if not better than their idols? We asked the Belfast rockers about this aspect of touring. Would they consider Glasgow to be one of their favourite venues? “It definitely is. I find in some venues and audiences that they tend to be a little reserved – not a bad thing, as a lot of people like to watch the show,” says Marty, “but in Glasgow, they are a lot more atmospheric at gigs.” Rory adds: “We enjoy every show that we do, no matter the location, size of venue, or crowd.” “But there are some places that are just very special to us. Glasgow is one of them. The Glaswegian people are very kind, friendly and sociable people. Also, I’m not sure why, but Glasgow, possibly more than anywhere else in the UK, is a hotspot for true KISS fans.” Therefore, as readers and viewers, it is easy to see that Hotter Than Hell, along with many other tribute acts, receive a fantastic reception when they play in Glasgow. As mentioned by Marty, “It’s nice to be appreciated by the people saying how they enjoyed our gig, and seeing their expressions on their faces makes it all a fond memory to us.” Hotter Than Hell are, of course, tasked with playing the part of one of rock’s most recognisable bands. This would encourage apprehension in some individuals – I mean, those are some pretty big platform boots to fill (literally!). However, as proven by their epic performance, across multiple venues in Glasgow, it’s definitely clear that we love a bit of Hotter Than Hell. In fact, they have returned to our city at least once annually since their blistering, relentless debut. Now that they have been able to see the city for how it really is, what do our Starchild and Demon think about Glasgow’s acceptance of tribute acts in general? Do we live up to our reputation of being some of the best (not to mention craziest) crowds out there? “I think it’s a very accepting city in general. It has a vast music scene. And a lot of the UK’s premiere tribute bands hale from Scotland, such as Gallus Cooper and Whits’ Nake. Then you even had your very own Scottish KISS tribute in the form of DESTROYER.” “Glasgow is a city loved and revered by musicians of all calibre for its appreciation and respect for all of the arts.” Marty agreed, adding “When original bands play the UK, sometimes they miss out the likes of Glasgow and Belfast, so people want to see the next best thing, and the bonus is they don’t have to travel far, thus they accept a tribute band to the artist.” Well, there we have it. Glasgow loves tribute acts, and the tribute acts hold a special place for us too. Give yourselves a pat on the back, rock fans, and throw the horns, you’ve earned yourselves the title of some of the best fans out there. Hotter Than Hell are ‘Comin’ Back’ to Glasgow on Saturday the 16th of April, at their usual venue of The Ferry. Go and see them, if you haven’t before. Like Rory says, “fans are guaranteed a Crazy, Crazy Night.