They caused quite a stir at HRH Mag HQ with 2016’s brilliant self-titled debut so we sent Simon Rushworth to check out Suicide By Tigers in the flesh…

 

When Suicide By Tigers return to British shores it’s a given that the crowds will be bigger, the buzz far louder and the clamour to catch a piece of the classic rock action so much greater. Sure, their UK debut hardly had fans queuing around the block but a sparse gathering was no reflection of the Swedes’ creative quality and riveting stagecraft.

Built around a keen appreciation of heavy blues born out of the 60s and 70s (think everyone from Cream to Free and Deep Purple to early Whitesnake), this is a band destined for grand stages and critical acclaim.

Right now, however, the Tigers are earning their stripes. And credit to them.

Gigging in the home of their classic rock heroes has been a long-held dream but there’s an acceptance that nothing comes easy for a brand new band with one album under its belt.

The four members of SBT are ready for the hard slog. They’re determined to do things right. And they’re convinced that a tried and tested songwriting craft, rather than manufactured and ultimately meaningless hype, will be enough to carry them to the next level.

Everything here suggested that the band’s self-belief and self-confidence is well founded: undeterred by the paucity of punters, SBT somehow created a crackling atmosphere and a genuine sense of joy as they raced through a 10-song set that added intriguing hints of stoner and post-grunge to the basic ingredient of heavy, heartfelt blues.

Tight, focused and yet full of cheek, the Swedes tossed out Ball Of Fire – the penultimate track on their magnificent self-titled debut – before the punchy Pack Of Wolves ratcheted up the power. It was an almost overwhelming one-two to kick things off but any fears that Nils Lindström and co. would fail to sustain the momentum were quickly and triumphantly dispelled.

Creating a bubble of retro goodness, carefully wrapped up in Petter Rudnert’s addictively angular riffs, SBT ensured this landmark show would long be remembered as a pivotal staging point on the road to long-term success. Crack rhythm section Peter Broch and Johan Helgesson allowed their colleagues to stray beyond the parameters of the band’s best studio work by laying the foundation for some seriously old school jamming.

SBT might be the new kids on the classic rock block but they’re not kids. And it was apparent from the outset that experience would count in their favour. Nerveless – yet never cocky – the endearing quartet played like a band with a slew of platinum-selling albums under their belts rather than a little-known Scandinavian four-piece finding their feet on foreign soil.

Homegrown heroes and main support Heartbreak Remedy might be familiar faces at Bannermans but the Cumbrians are still in the process of starting all over again. Settling into life as a three-piece – and finally getting to grips with an unfamiliar situation – this was an opportunity to showcase new songs written with the streamlined line-up in mind, prior to next week’s stint in the studio.

Back To You, in particular, hinted at an exciting future for the increasingly diverse and fiercely ambitious trio. Watch out for a new EP later this year.