The Anvil, Bournemouth

Santa Cruz

It is the last week before Christmas and instead of expecting Santa Claus, local promoter Dom Patience of Chalk Inc has got “Santa Cruz” coming to town! Santa Cruz is a four piece Rock band from Finland who formed in their hometown of Helsinki by Archie Kuosmanen and Johnny Parkkonen in 2007. They have just released their 3rd album “Bad Blood Rising” and arrive at the Anvil on the penultimate show of a twelve date UK Tour. As well as the headliners there are two supports with Skarlett Riot and local Bournemouth Rockers Saints of Sin. The tickets for this evening’s show sold out days ago and the place is packed as the opening band arrive on stage.

Saints of Sin boast having one of the largest local fanbases around and as they arrive on stage there is hardly space to be had in this basement venue. They kick off with the title track of their debut album “Welcome to the Circus”, with ringmaster Rui encouraging the audience like the true showman he is. The band openly take the influences from the Los Angeles “hair metal” scene of the 1990’s and have built up a reputation for playing full-on live shows. The band have two excellent guitarists Marcus Sparxx Jenkins and Sophie Burrell, both get the upmost out of their six strings with some amazing fretwork. Despite the lack of stage space the band manage some great choreographed moves, while belting out tunes like “Rocket” and live favourite “21 Shots”. This band certainly know how to entertain a crowd and their 30 minutes set time is far too short. They leave the stage with the crowd wanting more.

The evening’s momentum is kept up next with Skarlett Riot, a four-piece band from Northern England who take to the stage to promote their recently released album “Regenerate”. Opening with “Break” the band show their new heavier sound with Martin’s epic-sounding five string bass, Danny’s creative effect-laden guitar and Luke’s quality sticksmanship. Vocalist Chloe brings all this together with an impressive passionate vocal and some well-executed stagecraft getting the audience involved at every opportunity. The new tunes such as “Outcast” and “Calling” have a much harder feel to previous material and go down well with the attentive crowd, who seem to thoroughly enjoy what Skarlett Riot have to offer.

Skarlett Riot
Skarlett Riot 12345

Santa Cruz appear to have everything you wish from a band, they like Saints of Sin have their influential roots set in the Los Angeles music scene of the 1990’s. The four have copious amounts of long blonde hair with sleeveless t-shirts, tattoos, low slung guitars, attitude and swigging Jack Daniels from the bottle. So they indeed look the part, but are they pretenders to the void left by Motley Crue? The two guitars light up and after a few notes the dance floor is a mass of moving bodies. Archie and Johnny take turns at lead guitar duties, with each of them skilfully showing the full extent of their skills on their Gibson’s.

Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz 1234567

Many their songs are about excess and the pitfalls that indulging can bring such as “Bad Habits, Die Hard”, “Drag Me Out of the Darkness” and the epic “Wasted ‘N’ Wounded”. They are a joy to watch and seem to know every trick in the book on how to lift a crowd. Their momentum is slowed briefly for the obligatory acoustic number and there is a lovely tune from the new album by the name of “Breathe”, which is delivered perfectly with the audience willingly singing along to the chorus. They end with the full-on “Aiming High” after around 90 minutes of a high-octane performance. This year there have been many top bands perform here at The Anvil, but I have to say Santa Cruz certainly put on one of the best shows of 2017.

Set Lists
Santa Cruz
Young Blood Rising
My Remedy
Let Them Burn
6(66) Feet Under
Bad Habits, Die Hard
Drag Me Out of the Darkness
River Phoenix
Relentless Renegades
Let Me (Lay My Love on You)
Voice of the New Generation
Back From the Dead

We are the Ones to Fall
Wasted ‘N’ Wounded
Aiming High

Skarlett Riot
Empty Inside
The Wounded

Saints of Sin
Welcome to the Circus
Feed the Fire
Wasted Nights
21 Shots


Words & Pictures by David Chinery (Chinners).

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