The Hot One Two/Skam/The Forsaken

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The Portland Arms, Cambridge

Saturday, December 8th 2023

Review and photos By Smudge

This new wave of classic rock thing is gathering pace with some phenomenal bands putting out some world-class products AND proving their talent with some superb live performances. In recent weeks I’ve been lucky enough to catch the likes of Lavire and Pryma and now The Hot One Two, Leicester’s finest Skam and a new act to me The Forsaken.

The night was primarily an album release show for The Hot One Two and to help them out they asked Skam to play a few and as Kev Baker (guitarist with THOT) is co-manager of The Forsaken it made sense to have them on the bill too.

The Forsaken were prompt and kicked off with a heavy southern rock-tinged opener ‘My Guiding Star’ that according to singer/bass player Dan was the ‘ballad’ for the night. Dan also stated that the songs were about mental health issues, addiction and recovery. ‘No Cage’ was properly heavy then the next couple were heavy and angry with great melodies before ‘Pain’ which was written by Dan whilst in rehab. ‘My All’ ended with a positive bang. The Forsaken gave us a metal attack with punk aggression and hopefully a cathartic experience for Dan who has had quite the life.

I’ve seen Skam a couple of times, and they never fail to entertain. They have great songs and singer/guitarist Steve Hill has an Iommi-like gift of the riff plus he can shred too. Kicking off with two absolute metal bangers in ‘Green Eyes’ and ‘Iron Cross’. That got everyone warmed up for the alt-metal of ‘One Track Mind’ and the new gem ‘Circles’. Their classic ‘Take It Or Leave It’ tore the place down before the heavy-duty stop/start of ‘Bring The Rain’. ‘Massacre’ was immense and featured Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ before they ended on some righteous blues boogie with ‘No Lies’.

The Hot One Two didn’t show any nerves they were all excited about the night to come. Opening with ‘Bleed On Me’ they were heavy on the heavy, heavy on the melodies, heavy on the fun and heavy on the energy. ‘Move N Shake’ brought some down-and-dirty rock n roll which got the ladies in the house moving and let me tell you if I was wearing a collar it would have been hot underneath.

‘Is It Hot?’ (yeah, red hot!) was huge with big expensive riffs, and arena-sized hooks and these continued through the rest of the set on ‘Something Real’, ‘You’ve Got It’ and ‘Playing With Fire’. They brought some Christmas feeling with ‘Pints Of Cheer’ before they blitzed us with ‘Tie Me Down’ to end a superb night.

This was one to remember. All three bands brought their ‘A’ games and all three are destined for bigger stages. The Forsaken might be heavy and dark but they have a positive message. Skam are equally as heavy and have that power-trio freedom then The Hot One Two have it all in abundance. The best bits of Guns N Roses, AC/DC, Skid Row, Gotthard and the like – heavy, hard rockin’, energetic and melodic.


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