TREAT, Klubben, Stockholm 2016 – 04 – 30

TreatThis thing was really a release party for the band’s brand new record Ghost Of Graceland and a bit of a celebration that since the release, April 15th, the album had charted in many European countries and also in the US. But a release party usually happens like this: You get in the venue where the album is played in the speakers over and over and over and the band comes out and mingles a bit until it’s time for them to take the stage. Usually five or six songs are being played, most of them new ones and after that, it’s time for signing records and shirts and stuff while we all party like it’s 1999. It didn’t happen exactly like that this night. This was more set up like an actual gig with a signing session afterwards. Nothing wrong with that, but the whole night ended pretty quick after the band had played their gig and the fans had got their stuff signed. Some more heavy partying wouldn’t have hurt, but a few of us hit the town instead so we did get our share of beer anyway.

The gig itself should have been concentrated on the new album. I love the record so to get to hear the tunes live felt really great. They opened with the new album’s title track, “Ghost Of Graceland” – a brilliant opener. The song is a bit darker and heavier on record and with huge melodies and the catchy refrain, the tune grows into a monster live – so brilliant! Another new track, “Better The Devil You Know”, follows and it’s a pretty hard rocker that works like a charm. By the looks of it, everyone in the crowd have heard the new record so the first two songs already feels like classics. “Nonstop Madness” was the reason I didn’t give the latest album a 10/10 review. It’s not a bad song at all, but I found it too much pop and frankly, it would have suited a boy band better than a hard rock one. Drummer Jamie Borger texted me after reading my review and said “just wait til you hear the song live!” Now I have and I have to give him the benefit of a doubt. The song is a different beast on stage and turned into a rocking monster and judging by the reaction from the crowd, the song is a hit. I’m guessing this will be the next single and I will probably listen to the song differently in the future. Organized Crime from 1989 should have made Treat superstars in a fair world but it didn’t. “Ready For The Taking” have some big Led Zeppelin / Whitesnake “Still Of The Night” influences and is one of my favorite Treat tunes and it should always be played live. The groove is imminent and always kicks some major butt. The band’s last album Coup De Grace have turned into a true Treat classic and seems to be loved by every fan of melodic hard rock – and it deserves to be. “Paper Tiger” was the big hit that never became a big hit, for some reason, but every person in the crowd knows this amazing pop-metal number and when played live, it always gives me goose bumps – brilliant! “Do Your Own Stunts” from the new album is another hit to be. The tune is more of a half-ballad on record but live it really rocks and fits the stage like a glove. Another newie, “Endangered” also comes with a big hit alert. The chorus is so catchy it’s ridiculous and live they really rock it up. “Gimme One More Night” from Organized Crime has always been a big fave with me but it’s been off the set list for too long, so the song’s come back was a real treat (pun intended) for me. “We Own The Night”, the uptempo pop ballad from Coup De Grace have never been big with me. Yes, it’s catchy and it gave them a small hit, but it’s too light-weight for me. But every band needs at least one “time for the bar” song. This one is that song for me. So, with a new cold one in hand, “Roar” from the same album rocks my socks off right on the spot. It’s a brilliant melodic hard rocker, very direct and a striking chorus that sticks to the brain like glue. Of course, no Treat gig would be complete without their biggest hit to date, “Get You On The Run” from their 1985 debut Scratch And Bite, later re-recorded and bettered on Organized Crime. The fact that that song didn’t make Treat a world-wide hit already back in 1985 is one big musical question mark. “Conspiracy” from Organized Crime closes the first set and even though the song was never a hit per se, it has turned into one of those classics that must be played. It’s a fantastic song and guitarist Anders Wikström’s solo is one of my favorite guitar solos ever. Can you say underrated guitar player? Of course, an encore is a must and just like “Conspiracy”, “Skies Of Mongolia” (Coup De Grace) was never a hit, but it’s a song that everybody just love and they will never be able to exclude it from their set list and it’s easy to see why. The place always go nuts over the song. They close the whole thing with “World Of Promises” from 1987’s Dreamhunter and even though I really like the song, they have lots and lots of better songs. But I get why it have to be played, it’s a song that was a hit back in the day and many fans gets nostalgic over it, plus the fact that it is one of the songs that gets the crowd really crazy. Yes, it’s a great song to close a gig with.

I must say that the date of the release party, Walpurgis Night, is a somewhat strange day to hold such an event. Treat’s audience consists of a more mature crowd and many of their fans have families and children which usually makes for more family oriented activities like watching the big bonfires, eating hot dogs and socializing with other families and friends which in turn could make for a smaller attendance for a gig like this and for a while, things did look like it really was the wrong day for a thing like this. However, right before the band started playing, the club had been filled well. It wasn’t sold out but it was a big enough crowd. I did find it somewhat surprising that only five of the fourteen songs were from the new album, I mean, this was a release party and the new album should be in focus. I’m not complaining because the old stuff is really awesome, but there are many new tracks that I would have loved to hear live: “I Don’t Miss The Misery”, “Alien Earthlings”, “Together Alone” (I really had hoped for this one, to see Wikström perform his first ever lead vocal live), “Too Late To Die Young”. We also need to talk bass players here. Bass player usually don’t get noticed that much but the fact is, two of the most brilliant bass players – and I don’t talk only Sweden here, I’m talking world-wide – has played in Treat: Nalley Påhlsson (Therion, Martina Edoff, Royal Mess) and his replacement Pontus Egberg (ex-Poodles, now also in King Diamond). I’ve seen Pontus play many times and he always leave me super impressed. With a drummer like Jamie Borger, both a showman, a technical time-keeper and a groover from Hell, the rhythm section is pure perfection. I know I write this every time I write about Treat, but when in bloody Hell will Anders Wikström get the recognition he deserves? Back in the 80’s everything was Malmsteen, Norum and Marcello, leaving Wikström in the shadow. Wikström is – and have always been – a phenomenal player and easily as good as the ones I just mentioned. To sum it up, live, Treat is a monster and even though there might be the odd backing track here and there, these guys are just amazing. If they ever play somewhere around your corner and you don’t have a very legit reason not to go see them, you are – and I mean this will all the respect in the world – a lazy couch potato.

Other Treat reviews:
Ghost Of Graceland
Coup De Grace
Treat Live At Debaser

9/10

Setlist:

1. Ghost Of Graceland
2. Better The Devil You Know
3. Nonstop Madness
4. Ready For The Taking
5. Paper Tiger
6. Do Your Own Stunts
7. Endangered
8. Gimme One More Night
9. We Own The Night
10. Roar
11. Get You On The Run
12. Conspiracy
13. Skies Of Mongolia
14. World Of Promises

Photo. Hanna Henrikson

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