There’s this thing about having certain memories of a band. And there’s this thing about having collective memories about a band and a time when you were young and the world was open to explore. For me and two of my mates who also happen to be here at Copenhell this year, PRETTY MAIDS happen to be part of a collective memory from our teenage years.
You see, the veteran hardrockers come from the place we come from. The provencial town and the area around it was where we grew up, and when we started to listen to the harder music, PRETTY MAIDS were part of the picture. They were local heroes, like it or not.
Starting their career in 1981, Ronnie Atkins and Ken Hammer have been in this game forever. They’ve seen ups and down throughout the years, are hugely respected in Germany and Japan and have a diehard fanbase in Denmark. Since Atkins and Hammer were joined by younger forces during 2000s, the band has been revitalised and their albums have gained a new edge, which is of course very positive.
I have to say, though, that the last time I saw Pretty Maids, I wasn’t overly impressed. It was the first evening of a Danish club tour, and it was, to be perfectly honest, below standard. Ok, it was a poor performance.
Today is a world of difference. Pretty Maids are a festival band. They come to life in a completely different way, and it’s not exactly the first time I’ve seen them shine on the big stage.
In this element, Ronnie Atkins is unstoppable. Constantly inciting the audience to sing along, the 54-year-old struts aound the stage, and even if my reviewer colleague complains about auto-tune and whatnot, I’m not too bothered; Atkins sounds good. Period.
Ken Hammer is more or less the antithesis to the rest of the band. Unlike bassist René Shades, keyboardist Chris Laney and Atkins, the heavy weight guitarist moves very little on stage. But, nevermind, he plays well, and all is good.
The set is a fine mix of old and new, “Pandemonium” and “Kingmaker” being the finest of the newer songs. As long as they stay away from the blasted cover of ‘Please Don’t Leave Me”, I’m fairly happy.
For me, even if they’ve almost reached the point of being clichees, “Red, Hot and Heavy” and “Future World” are still unbeatable. Nothing quite beats the songs of your youth. We’re having a small party in front of the Helviti stage, that’s for sure.
2. It Comes at Night
3. We Came to Rock
4. Yellow Rain
6. Mother of All Lies
8. Little Drops of Heaven
9. Back to Back
10. Red, Hot and Heavy
11. Future World
12. Love Games
Ronnie Atkins - vocals
Ken Hammer – guitar
Rene Shades – bass
Chris Laney – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
Allan Sørensen – drums