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H,R,H, AOR Final Day 11th March 2018


H,R,H, AOR Final Day 11th March 2018

First band of the day were going to be on stage two, I liked the name of the band before I even saw them, tHE Idol DeaD. Five lads from Leeds: Polly.. lead vocals, K.C… guitar/vocals, Tim… Guitar, Dan…Bass, ..and Nish…Drums. The minute these guys step on the stage you know you’re in for a good time, looking like a cross between the Sex Pistols and the Clash, they list some of their influences as Bowie, Pistols, Dogs Da’mour, N.I.N. and Johnny Cash. They play a mix of punk and metal or as K.C. told me afterwards “Rock n Roll punk with soul”, they definitely have soul: they delivered an explosive performance with K.C. at one time jumping onto a fan’s shoulders and kissing his head. “I’ve been wanting to do that for years” he screams out to the large crowd who were pogoing and generaly loving everything they did, Polly forever bouncing around looking like the bastard son of Johnny Rotton, (that’s a compliment buddy not an insult). They did a forty five minute set that I would have loved to have gone on longer. Hopefully they will be back again at HRH and on the main stage where they definitely belong.

What a great start to the day and this band were without a doubt one of the highlights of the weekend.

Hung around for next band which was Nasty High from Nottingham, a heavy/glam rock band formed in 2015 whose influences are Winger, Mr Big and Def Leppard and Dan, singer and guitarist gets the award for the best hair of the weekend. I didn’t envy them having to follow the Idols and only stayed for a little bit of the set, they seemed nervous playing but Dan is a good front man and has great personality.

Main stage 1st band were Blood Red Saints. Formed in late 2014 this melodic/hard rock band from Manchester quickly released their first album Speedway and in January this year released their second, Love Hate Conspiracies. Considering this was the first band on, the room was pretty near full and when the band got going I could see why. They have amassed a big following and this five piece comprising Pete Godfrey vocals, Neil Hibbs guitar and backing vocals, Lee Revill guitar backing vocals, Rob Naylor bass backing vocals & Andy Chemney drums backing vocals. They managed to play a big set and crammed in a lot of songs in forty five minutes which was surprising as Mr Godfrey never stopped joking on stage throughout and anyone who attempts to get a hard rock crowd to sing a Take That song is definitely taking a risk, at one time he made a joke about Godfrey being gay and losing his voice in the toilets, the crowd laughed their heads off and the band found it hard to shut him up. But Pete when you do finally sing you have some great chops on you. Stand out songs for me were Mercy, Another Freak and Live and Die, but Back for Good, ahem maybe not.

Band no 2 on main stage: Joanovarc. I saw them at HRH 10 and was really impressed so was looking forward to another set by them. Formed in 2004 by sisters Shelley and Sam Walker and following in the footsteps of Girlschool, Deborah Wildish joined the girls and for about five years they went out as a trio until Laura Ozholl joined and they became the four piece we know and love. These girls from London and the home counties are Sam vocals/bass…Shelley lead guitar backing vocals.. Laura rhythm guitar/vocals and Deborah drums. They have the accolade to have played the famous Hollywood Viper Rooms, have played biker festivals all over Europe and the UK and have an endless list of bands they have supported.

After Blood Red Saints had finished the crowd had got a lot smaller so when the girls came on they noticed this and knew that they had something to prove. Sam has amazing vocals and a great high range. Shelley really showed she could play, maybe just a little bit overdone but then Laura took lead on a few songs and she has a much more soulful voice. Playing songs from their album Ride of your Life the hall soon began to fill again. These girls have the balls to finish their set with Freebird and Shelley doing it justice with her incredible guitar skills brought an end to another wonderful set from them. See you in Ibiza girls.

I saw a little of Hand Of Dimes fronted by local Welsh boy Nev MacDonald, from what I heard of them he had a good voice with a nice blues feel and as much as I would have liked to have seen more of them, with the clash in stage two I was heading there to see the next band.

Chasing Dragons: having seen only a small part of their late set last November at HRH 11 (clashes again) I wanted to see a full performance by them. This five piece, tonight four, a guitarist down. Hailing from Leeds they are a fuel injected grab you by the throat heavy metal with a big slice of punk band and, being a big fan of Avenged Sevenfold, who these remind me of a lot, I love them. They have a female fronted vocalist, Tank who has a voice not dissimilar to Lizzy Hale, brilliant female drummer Kate who beats the skins like there’s no tomorrow, Adam guitar and Simon guitar/vocals and the wonderful Murf on bass they create a fantastic rhythm section and yes it’s a sound you’ve all heard before, but they do it in there own inimitable style. I can’t praise these guys enough, come on HRH crew it’s time they were put on the main stage. They introduced the two new replacement guitarists at the end as both Simon and Adam are leaving.

Back to the main stage and considering it was only five o clock it was getting pretty full, awaiting Little Caesar, this Los Angeles crew were formed in 1987 by ex-bouncer Ron Young. They are R&B bluesey hard and heavy good ol rock n rollers looking like the Drop Kick Murphys with their flat caps. They also play a bit of celtic sounding rock and even thow in a bit of country, Merle Haggard being one of Ron’s heroes. Their mix of music and style was a joy to watch, I had heard of the band back in the day and was glad to finally see them perform.

I was stopping in main stage now as the place was packed. Next band to come on was Enuff Z Nuff, a melodic glam/psychedelic rock combo hailing from Chicago. They were definitely the weirdest band of the night with lead singer, bassist and general nutcase Chip Z Nuff dressed in a huge cap and boots adorned with sequins and a pair of glasses that looked like ski goggles, along with founder member Donnie Vie since 1985 have continued to perform and have released well over 20 albums. Their influences are listed as the Beatles, Mott The Hoople, Bowie, Cheap Trick, and Oasis. They are definitely fans of british glam, and the huge crowd: a lot of them glammed up to the nines, were ready for them. With the departure of Vie in 2013 the current line up is Chip, Tory Stoffregen guitar ex-Ultravox, Tony Fenelle rhythm guitar and Daniel B Hill, drums. What I loved about these guys was that they didn’t take themselves seriously, dressed like he does how could they? Considering the length of time they have been going I was surprised that I didn’t know any of the songs despite this, I thoroughly enjoyed them. Chip went on a lot about drugs mostly coke and chicks and coke, and joked around a lot but he sings and plays bass as well as any of them and they have a big fanbase including radio jock Howard Stern, and Kiss’s Paul Stanley.

Dare were next to play: a rock band from Oldham formed in 1985 by Thin Lizzy keyboard player Darren Wharton, who is now frontman and singer. I wasn’t overly impressed with them although they did a nice unusual verson of Lizzy’s Emerald, but it was hot in the arena now and I was gasping so I weaved myself to the bar to get a beer and I can remember Wharton saying to the crowd, “We’re from Oldham, anyone from Oldham here?” A few cheers, then he let his excitement make him look a complete dork, he shouted is there anyone from Wales? I nearly spat my beer out, errr mate we’re in Wales I think there might be some here don’t you? Anyway the crowd enjoyed them.


The glam had been joined by the eyeliner and bandana brigade for next on was The Quireboys, rocking now for thirty-four years these lads from London with connections to Newcastle never fail to please a crowd. Flamboyant frontman Spike and the guys play good ol fashioned rock n roll/blues with style. Spike always known to be a hard drinker looked like he damaged his foot as he limped around the stage all night, but he had bottles of water with him and said there was no drink involved, I’ve stopped drinking people, he said and went down to a girl in the crowd and told her to taste the bottle and say no booze in here. She shyly did then Spike and the gang, did their playing all the peoples favourites. I had waited a long time to see these guys and it was worth the wait. When Spike roared, “What time is it?” the crowd screamed, It’s 7o clock and off they went into their famous anthem: it ended with Spike saying for those of you wanting me to fall over F*”K OFF, a great set and a great time had by everyone.

I have since learned that Spike broke his foot on a boat in Florida and has continued to perform concerts despite this. You’re a true showman and a brave man, well done sir.

Finally we come to the main headliners Skid Row, originally fronted by the classically trained Sebastian Bach, who I had seen many times back in the day. I was concerned if the new boy South African singer Z.P. Theart was going to cut it and impress me enough. He did that straight away: coming out, swallowing two bottles of water, jumping on monitors and bashing his cheeks together wetting the front row then commencing to open two more bottles and swinging them all over the crowd: a great start to a show. Theart took one look out at the huge audience, looked back at the band and said, “Are we gonna have some fun tonight”. They were formed by bassist Rachel Bolan and Dave Sabo guitarist, still together in the band. They are hair/glam heavy metal icons, and although Theart hasn’t the full throttle vocal range of Bach he still does a pretty good job of singing and his personality shines on stage. They played all the favourites and we all certainly had fun with Slave to the Grind, 18 and Life, an anthemic version of the Ramones cover Psycho Therapy which had the whole crowd echoing the words all over the hall, and my favourite of theirs Youth Gone Wild. Let me tell you, Skid Row you came to entertain and enjoy the night, well you most certainly did that.

What a terrific end to the Festival. You did it again HRH crew, you should be proud.

Finally a quick mention to two bands my partner saw while photographing them.

S.I.N.: Bez the drummer from Devil’s Playground, who we’d seen at HRH Metal last month, stepped in last minute and their lead singer said he coped very well.

And finally Silent Victory, in Carol’s words I wish the vocals had been. They commented the places they usually play in are about the size of the drum riser, musically good but the vocals were not the best, sorry.

Ok boys & girls that’s me done see you at the next one.


H,R,H, AOR Final Day 11th March 2018

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Review Dave Martin Photos Carol Henson aka Lady Gigger.