Hard Club, Porto (Portugal)
23rd November 2013
Since I’ve joined the Valkyrian Music team that I’ve been showing you how much more there is to the Portuguese metal scene than Moonspell. Today I give you another icon of our metal history: R.A.M.P., who have been touring across our country in celebration of their 25th anniversary.
Yes, unlike W.A.S.P., there is a reason for those dots – R.A.M.P. is the combination of the original members’ initials, Ricardo, António, Miguel and Paulo. A few line-up changes have occurred ever since, the latest being new bass player Sales, who brought a new life to the live performances, with his good spirits and talent with the four strings.
The venue wasn’t exactly full, but thankfully they didn’t change the event to the smaller room, so R.A.M.P. had the stage, sound and lights that they deserve. Also the crowd was totally responsive, but just like any other singer, Rui wasn’t satisfied with the first screams he got from us. What was new to me was the way he made us scream louder: not the usual “is that all you’ve got?” or “yesterday we played in City X and they did a lot better”; he said “if we were a German or a Swedish band, this is where we’d say ‘you’re the best crowd in the fucking world!’. But we know that here in Porto you can get louder than that!”. And of course we did.
Among hit songs such as “How”, “Alone”, “Behind The Wall” or “Black Tie”, he told us about how he and his brother were called of junkies by their neighbors just because they wore long hair and black clothes. And then some guy down the street died of AIDS. Another of hepatitis. A third one of overdose. All of them with “good looks”. Almost everybody in that venue could relate to that story.
Except maybe for the really young ones. “Thoughts” was released 21 years ago, and Rui wanted to know if there was anyone just as old or younger than that in the room. A girl raised her hand slowly and Rui told her not to be shy, because everyone else in that room was thinking “I’m jealous”. And then, to those others, he said they should be rejoicing the fact that she was there instead of with all those depressed kids who listen to One Direction. Now this one made me laugh hard.
Another “urban legend” regarding metalheads was that they couldn’t speak, just grunt, and none of them would go past the 4th grade. Rui mentioned how in 1985 Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider proved them wrong in a Senate hearing defending heavy metal eloquently against the PMRC. The ticket for that night’s show was the buying receipt of the band’s ‘best of’ album, so everybody knew that this story was the introduction to Twisted Sister’s cover “We’re Not Gonna Take It”, that R.A.M.P. recorded for that album. “Fuck You” – a song with a “very deep and philosophical message”… – followed suit and the band left the stage for a while. And “For A While” was precisely the first song of the encore, where all members (except drummer Paulinho, of course) came forward and sat on the edge of the stage to play that ballad. Also most of the audience sat on the floor, creating a pretty magical moment.
The Bangles’ “Walk Like An Egyptian” sped up the rhythm again and the show ended with a very suitable song for the current hard times we’re all going through, one way or another: “Try Again”.
25 years have passed. May another 25 pass with the same passion and devotion. After all, Rui said that one of the first shows he’d ever attended (AC/DC) had a singer older than his dad, so I guess I’m not asking too much. (5/5)
Full gallery in our Facebook page here.
Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino