Wicked Smile @Newcastle Trillians, November 13 2022
If Wicked Smile’s set was as long as lead singer Danny Cecati’s hair then the Trillians faithful would still be rocking hard well into 2023.
The Melbourne band’s mane man must get through gallons of Aussie Shampoo Miracle Moist during the average overseas tour.
And at times it’s impossible to take your eyes off Cecati’s flowing locks as the Rapunzel of hard rock glides from one side of the stage to the next.
So much hair.
But no hair metal.
You see, Wicked Smile are the heavier, angrier image of founder and guitarist Stevie Janevski.
Best known in the UK as the Kip Winger-esque sidekick for The Radio Sun’s Jason Old, there’s always been more to the baseball-capped six stringer than meets the eye.
And, as if to prove the point, Janevski did his very best impression of North East favourite Janick Gers on a night when Newcastle was treated to some seriously riotous old school riffage.
Thematically, Wicked Smile shy away from metal’s hackneyed takes on fantasy, war and wanton debauchery.
You’re more likely to be faced with thought-provoking takes on bullying, societal ills and mental health.
But those deep — and potentially joyless — messages are wrapped up in melodies so supercharged and uplifting that the overall package works a treat.
And Cecati’s voice is every bit as big as his hair.
So quietly spoken between songs, it’s almost like this most gentle of souls is transformed into a ball of octave-skipping rage once Janevski and Dave Graham give him the nod.
Opener Killer At Large saw Cecati immediately hit his stride and introduce the on-point vocal harmonies that would become a defining feature of this hard rock masterclass.
The mid-set juxtaposition of Love’s Got A Hold On You and Last Goodbye showcased Janevski’s talent for pairing an affecting vocal with a scorching riff.
And when Cecati joined forces with opening act Cassidy Paris to deliver a spellbinding version of Ozzy’s I Don’t Know, the baying crowd demanded more.
But there was no more.
Nine songs was never going to be enough from one of the best new bands of the decade.
But Wicked Smile had fans grinning from ear to ear following a ferocious introduction to Janevski’s favourite Newcastle venue.
Syt Back And Enjoy The Ride
Support Syteria were back at a familiar venue for the second time in a month.
And yet again the Jax Chambers-fronted quartet crushed a typically frenzied set.
Fronted by pocket rocket Argentinian Julia Calvo, Syteria straddle metal, punk and rock with effortless zeal.
And expectations are sky high ahead of next year’s new album with Curtain Call Records.
Newcastle University graduate Calvo might have mixed up the setlist — Chambers did the same minutes later — but there was no mistaking Syteria’s blazing brand of fret-burning fury.
Gutsy opener Guilty set the tone before It Hit Me revived memories of one of the feelgood hard rock hits of the summer.
That smouldering track was paired with the reflective Pause For Peace back in May.
And that AA side delivered the standout moments of another Trillians triumph.
As things stand Syteria aren’t due back at Tyneside’s most famous rock club in December.
But on this form nobody would forgive Syteria a monthly residency.
Opener Cassidy Paris went down a storm at Hard Rock Hell earlier this month.
Selling out her merch and making the biggest noise of the weekend, rumours are rife she’ll be back as a main stage staple in 2023.
And no wonder.
Evoking the very best of the 80s hair metal scene, Paris brings the thunder from Down Under in a style synonymous with Vixen, Femme Fatale, Lita Ford et al.
Heaven Tonight (not the Malmsteen/Turner version), Talk About It and new single Danger underlined the 20-year-old’s supreme talent.
But it’s her stagecraft and canny connection with the crowd — as much as those radio-friendly anthems rooted in MTV’s golden era — that make Paris one to watch.
This is only just the start for melodic rock’s most exciting Wannabee.
Exclusive images courtesy of Adam Kennedy