The Borderline, London

Santa Cruz

Strap yourself in, boys and girls, this one is going to be not just about “once upon a time there was an awesome band”, there were two. And damn, they rocked!

It was an ordinary Tuesday night and I was rushing off to the gig after a long and stressful day in the city. Luckily arrived just on time to see Damn Dice getting on stage.

You don’t have to be into (dare I say it?) good old almighty glam to appreciate their music, but it helps.

So here I was, after an exhausting day by the bar waiting to be served when my almost comatose-like state was shaken off by the high pitched screaming of Damn Dice’s vocalist Alex. “Bloody hell”, I thought, “that’s one hell of a voice”. They guys jumped straight in with one of their energetic tracks “Power”. Self explanatory, really, a track with such a name gotta be powerful, and it was. To be quite frank, I was not familiar with the band’s music and haven’t seen them perform live before, but was unexpectedly pleasantly startled. Guys kept moving from one dynamic track to the other following with “Driven” and utterly catchy “What now”. Personally, I think “What now” stood out for me the most with it’s hymn-like chanting and memorable melody. I won’t be surprised if it made it to one of their top tracks such as “Caught in the ride”. Fortunately “Damn Dice” played it too. By then things got a little messy as a mischievous lady with a full head of overly back-combed and soaked in hairspray green hair initiated a mosh pit. I have never had so much fun as watching lifeless people with straight faces dashing aside from her. Anyhow, most folk had fun and the venue shined with sweaty happy faces jumping up and down. Thunder like “Rock (like you mean it)” was replaced by another quite a recognized tune “Take the fight”. That’s a proper head slammer I thought. Whilst the band performed acrobatic windmills with their glossy hair and threw shapes, the crowd willingly headbanged along. But all good things must come to an end (little Motley reference here, the ones who know will understand, for the ones who don’t: Motley’s one last tour which is happening veeeery soon is titled “All bad things must come to an end”).

Damn Dice

By the time “Santa Cruz” climbed on stage slightly tipsy and warmed audience was gagging for it. I’ve heard a few of their songs before, but most of the stuff they played was unknown to me. Spinefarm Records made a good job and the guys had enough tracks behind their belts to be going for 3 gigs, not 1.

The first time I saw “Santa Cruz” in Southampton about a year ago as a support band. This year they came back to the UK as a headline act. They returned heavier, stronger, hungrier for more.

The band opened their set with strong and vigorous “Bonafide heroes”. The response from the crowd was pretty impressive, but not as intense as to “Anthem for the young and restless”. That’s a good old tune that I knew of, so I decided that the crown didn’t have enough lunatics in there and joined in. There were a few typical metal references in “Bye bye, Babylon” and “66(6) feet under”. The track that stood out for me the most was “Let them burn”. I found it strong and solid from start to finish. Otherwise, I felt that a creation process of a few more recent tracks from the self-titled latest album was a little rushed. Listening to “Can you feel the rain” I couldn’t stop thinking that it reminded me so much of Reckless Love’s “Hot Rain”. Give it a listen, the melodies are somewhat different but the idea and the whole ambience is so similar it’s striking.

Santa Cruz

“Santa Cruz” rounded their act up with 3 strong numbers “We are the ones to fall”, “Wasted and wounded” and “Aiming high”, the tunes that have already gained its popularity. As I mentioned above, they came back much stronger this year, but I still prefer “Santa Cruz” I have seen before. Something has changed: their style of performance and musical direction took a slightly different turn. In their defence though, they’ve really put themselves out there on stage and gave it their all energy.

Santa Cruz & Damn Dice

Set Lists
Santa Cruz
1. Bonafide heroes
2. Velvet Rope
3. My remedy
4.Anthem for the young n’ reckless
5.Bye bye Babylon
6.66(6) Feet under
7. Let them burn
8. Can you feel the rain
9.We are the ones to fall
10. Wasted and wounded
11. Aiming High

Damn Dice
1. Power
2. Driven
3. What Now?
4. Down
5. Caught In The Ride
6. Rock (Like You Mean It)
7. Take The Fight


Words by Veronica.

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