Gig Reviews

Hotter than hell: the H.E.A.T is on in Tokyo

H.E.A.T on stage in Tokyo Photo: Hiroyuki Yoshihama
H.E.A.T on stage in Tokyo
Photo: Hiroyuki Yoshihama

As Swedish melodic rockers H.E.A.T returned to Japan for the first time in six years, they gave their Japanese fans an almost two-hour long set of smoking melodic hard rock in Shibuya on 17th September.

As I enter the venue I immediately spot a few Europe band shirts in the audience – which makes a lot of sense as the two bands are not just from the same town, there are more than a few hints of Europe in H.E.A.T’s music. As could be heard on H.E.A.T’s recent “Live in London” album, H.E.A.T is a band that is a lot rockier and heavier live than in the studio.

H.E.A.T on stage in Tokyo Photo: Hiroyuki Yoshihama
H.E.A.T on stage in Tokyo
Photo: Hiroyuki Yoshihama

This evening in Tokyo, when the band plays to a packed club in Shibuya, marks the final gig on their “Touring Down the Walls” tour that has kept the band on the road since they released their latest album “Tearing Down the Walls” in April 2014.

The band kicks off the Tokyo gig with a smoking “Point of No Return” followed by “A Shot at Redemption”. The crowd loves it and the band loves the crowd loving them. It quickly turns into a love fest and great rock party with an energetic band that gets more energy from a crowd who adores them.

H.E.A.T has great songs and they’re a tight band. But more than anything else, the have a great singer and front man. Vocalist Erik Grönwall has a great, rather unique voice with a distinctive rough edge that gives H.E.A.T a rockier tone than they had in the early years prior to Grönwall joining the band in 2010. Grönwall is not only a great vocalist, he’s also a born front man and his enthusiasm seems to rub off on the rest of the band. Together they seem to have a lot of fun on stage. Apart from a few slower songs in the set, the band keeps rocking out on the stage like there is no tomorrow. Grönwall’s only 27 years old and wasn’t even born when Joey Tempest and the boys in Europe released “The Final Countdown” in 1986. But, oh boy, he’s one of the best front men to have emerged on the Nordic rock scene in many years.

H.E.A.T on stage in Tokyo Photo: Hiroyuki Yoshihama
H.E.A.T on stage in Tokyo
Photo: Hiroyuki Yoshihama

He made himself a name as a solo artist prior to joining H.E.A.T five years ago. That Grönwall should join an established band when he was already successful on his own wasn’t an obvious choice. Neither was it an obvious move for H.E.A.T to recruit a well-known solo artist as its new singer. But that unholy union has really paid off for both the band and the vocalist. They make each other much better and as a result the world gets better rock music. Now let’s hope that they will bring some of this energy into the studio and that we will get to experience the same rockier H.E.A.T on the next studio album.

Set list – H.E.A.T – Tsutaya O-West, Shibuya, Tokyo – 17th September 2015

  1. Point of No Return
  2. A Shot at Redemption
  3. Better Off Alone
  4. Heartbreaker
  5. It’s All About Tonight
  6. Inferno
  7. The Wreckoning
  8. Tearing Down the Walls
  9. Mannequin Show
  10. Late Night Lady
  11. Beg Beg Beg
  12. All the Nights
  13. Downtown
  14. Enemy in Me
  15. Emergency


  1. Breaking the Silence
  2. There for You
  3. 1,000 Miles
  4. Living on the Run
  5. Laughing at Tomorrow
  6. Johnny B. Goode

H.E.A.T – band members

Erik Grönwall – vocals

Eric Rivers – guitars

Jona Tee – keyboards

Jimmy Jay – bass

Crash – drums /