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Hard Rock Hell Hafan y Môr Friday 9/11 18. Day Two

 

Hard Rock Hell Hafan y Môr Friday 9/11 18. Day Two

Today the bands were kicking off in stage two, the more intimate of the stages.

First band on, from the NWOCR stable of musicians who are setting the music scene alight at the moment, was Dead Man’s Whiskey.

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This London based five-piece Nico lead Vox, Billy lead guitar, Elliott rhythm guitar, James bass and Charlie drums know how to please a crowd and the size of the audience so early in the day just went to prove that. Their fans ‘or whiskey chasers’ were all out there to enjoy their performance. Havin seen these guys before and reviewed their album Under the Gun, first I will say Nico’s voice gets better every time I hear it, they don’t just play music they throw in some fun moments and enjoy themselves, this is why they are so popular and amassing a huge fanbase now. Starting with Live Loud and Ready getting the crowd singing straight away, then later a cover of Seal’s Kiss from a Rose, very different to the original, and the vocal and guitar battle that Nic and Billy have during Hoe Street is both amusing and clever as it gets to show Billy’s guitar skills, as well as the incredible voice range of Nic, the drumming and bass work is also perfect, what I’m saying is these guys are the full package and are heading for big things. Buy the album, go and see them live, then try and tell me I’m wrong.

Staying on the second stage for Blind River

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They play hard and heavy rock and blues rock and although the crowd had emptied a bit it was still pretty big for an early slot and the band with the throaty vocals and heavy bass blues sound kept them happy. Having played Bloodstock last year for the first time as this band, they had previously been there in their bands Godsized and Pigiron, Earls of Mars, and Alzir; they’re just back from playing at Croydon rocks and are ending the year at Gravesend Beastfest.

Over to the first band of the night on the main stage, Vambo.

2018-11-09_03-Vambo-4 A 70s influenced band. Charismatic front man Jack Styles has great stage presence and a good voice to match, I was surprised to see such an average audience for them as they deserved more, the other members of the band are Pete Lance guitar, James Scott bass, and Steve Price drums. There was a nice cover of Deep Purple’s Burn to end their set. They are currently working on a debut album.

Back to 2nd stage for Renegade Twelve.

2018-11-09_04-Renegade12-5 Having seen a short set last night at the after party, I was keen to catch a full one today. They didn’t disappoint, this Suffolk five piece have a great sound going on with all their metal influences showing through, great melodies, rich vocals from Sam Robson and terrific dual guitar work from Jacob Meyes and Dan Potter, heavy tub thumping from Joe Evans and impressive bass work from Josh Barnard completes the line-up and the exceptionally large crowd loved everything they did. I am pleased to say I will shortly be reviewing their album for them, so keep an eye out.

Main stage now for Thunderstick,

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the legendary Samson drummer complete with blingy luchador wrestler mask.  Barry Graham Purkis, as his known by his friends, is a character full of theatricals and a stalwart of the NWOBHM bands. Now playing in his own band the craziness hasn’t stopped, immediately on stage came Vixen, also lead singer with Black Rose, dressed in some weird bird of prey costume with huge wings, lots of applause and quite a lot of laughter too from the crowd. Thunderstick is the pioneer of masked rock bands, think Slipknot, Ghost, well this dude was doing it long before any of them. He has recently reissued all his old albums on cd so that should keep the fans happy once again a small crowd presence. I like the tongue in cheek attitude, but the music was average and I prefer Vixen in Black Roze where she can be more serious and show off her stage presence and vocals more.

Stage Two

Voodoo Blood:

2018-11-09_06-VoodooBlood-1Now my photographer partner LadyGigger has a great memory for band members faces as she’s snapping them all the time and instantly recognised Kim from Myke Gray the previous night. I should have known, for as soon as she started singing those awesome vocals from her and then once again going bat shit crazy on stage it couldn’t have been anyone else, this woman must run on Duracells she has so much energy, and she never forgets the crowd: straight over the pit and in with them headbanging and gyrating. She is also so versatile, from the bluesy melodies last night, this was a transformation: straight up in your face no holds barred metal with at time death growls and roars, but what a voice and what a stage presence; I have never seen such interaction with the audience. The other members of the band that don’t mind taking a back seat to Kim but accompany her perfectly, are Sean Owens guitar, Will Lewis drums, and Chris Norris bass. The highlight of this set was when Kim got most of the audience to crouch down and then said when I say f**K…. YOU ALL JUMP UP so she screamed and they all jumped up together like some metal Mexican wave in reverse, it was brilliant. If you like your music loud, if you like to have fun and dance with a lead singer go and see this band somewhere if only to witness the incredible powerful voice of Kim Jennet.

Already into their set on the main stage are Blitzkrieg,

2018-11-09_07-Blitzkrieg-5 formed in Leicester in 1980: immediately again my missus recognised Brian Ross, lead singer as also being in the band Satan who we had seen in December at HRH NWOBHM. Now another member of Blitzkrieg is Brian’s son, guitarist Alan Ross, so we have now christened him Son of Satan (sorry mate) the other members are Ken Johnson guitar, Matt Graham drums and Huw Holding bass. This band, soon to celebrate 40 years together, are another one of the legendary NWOBHM bands; starting the set with Armageddon from their first album, A Time of Changes which had the fans singing along straight away, then another classic Reign of Fire and treated us to some songs off their new album: Judge Not, All Hell Is Breaking Loose, Loud And Proud and Angels and Demons, also a terrific cover of Judas Priest’s The Hellion, which showed that Brian still had the voice. Ending with the song Blitzkrieg, it was a really entertaining set.

There were just too many good bands playing on stage 1 today plus it was getting quite full so I decided to stay put for the evening.Next

The Vintage Caravan

2018-11-09_09-VintageCaravan-3from Iceland, currently on a month’s tour and enjoying every moment, they are Óskar Logi Ágústsson lead vocals, guitar, Alexander Örn Númason bass and backing vocals and to complete the trio Stefán Ari Stefánsson drums, percussion. With styles ranging from Classic rock and early metal, to prog, with nice deep bass and infectious riffs and hooks I was really impressed with the feedback and harmonics that was produced throughout their set, a bit of psychedelic stoner rock was heard as well, these guys can’t be any more than twenty-four or five and showed a maturity in their songs and style worthy of any of the veteran bands on tonight.

Dan Reed Network:

2018-11-09_12-DanReedNtwk-1 I had heard a lot about this band and was interested to see how the crowd would like the funk sound that he performs. Hailing from Portland, Oregon he is the lead singer and also plays guitars and piano. They are currently on the Origins tour. Completing the network are Brion James lead guitar and Vox, Rob Daiker keys, Melvin Brannon jr electric & acoustic bass and Vox and Dan Pred drums and percussion. Dan is another master of capturing an audience and their set consisted of some excellent funky numbers, blues and even heavy rock. The highlight for me was a medley of Frankie goes to Hollywood’s Relax, Enter Sandman, Infectious Groove, and I was Made for Loving You all done in a funk style, ‘brilliant’, you can’t help but like Dan; he chats to the crowd about his younger days in the States, he lets each musician do a little solo, he went into the crowd and shook their hands. It was a masterclass of musicianship with amazing bass guitar slapping, excellent keyboard and guitar work: everything I had heard about this band was true and more. I look forward to seeing them on the road again.

In the middle 70s the new wave of British heavy metal was kicking up a storm, but was all male dominated. Step forward Girlschool

2018-11-09_14-Girlschool-6England’s answer to the Runaways, soon getting noticed by Motorhead’s manager Doug Smith, he quickly signed them to their label and they never looked back after that. Forty plus years later, they still dominate the all-female rock bands and have paved the way for the likes of the newbies such as JOANovArc and the Amorettes. It was a welcome return to HRH for the girls and the crowd roared when Kim, Enid, Jackie, and Denise took to the stage, a familiar siren echoed through the hall for the start of Demolition Boys, no pause and straight into C’mon let’s go, where Enid had some trouble with her bass and Kim decided to tell a rather naff drummer joke to fill in time which the crowd didn’t completely appreciate (never mind Kim I forgive you). All the hits were there Hit and Run, Screaming Blue Murder, Kick it Down, the excellent Gun cover Race With The Devil and their 90 minute set flew by, finally ending with crowd favourite Emergency. The girls tonight showed why they are still the Queens of female metal and have no reason for handing over their crowns to anyone else just yet.

I was really surprised to see the hall not completely rammed, for the headliners tonight were going to be the Yorkshire legends Saxon.

2018-11-09_16-Saxon-5 Once again, another band to be associated with the Motorhead stable as they helped their career to blossom in the early days and for over forty years now have been playing their very loud metal to thousands of fans all over the world. Frontman Biff Byford comes onto the stage with the loudest cheers of the weekend so far and says “Were going to be playing for two hours tonight, so hope you like it loud?” to even louder cheers. Then the band: the guitarist that’s been there from the start Paul Quinn, Doug Scarratt guitar, Nibbs Carter bass and HRH award winning drummer Nigel Glocker played us a catalogue of old and new songs starting with the title track of their latest album Thunderbolt, nothing was left out in this two hour plus set Motorcycle Man, Strong Arm of the Law, Dallas 1pm, 747, And the Bands Played On; the hits kept coming and coming and the crowd sang along with everything. Biff slowly walking around the whole of the stage, looking into the crowd: getting the light turned up so he could see everyone, forever telling stories of the old days with Lemmy and the crew before playing his fetching tribute to the great man and band, They Played Rock and Roll. Then if it wasn’t hot enough in there and him wearing a long tailcoat he asked for a jacket from the audience and put on a denim cut-off to sing Crusader and end with Princess of the Night, and before returning it signed the jacket for the fan.

But it wasn’t the end, cries of “SAXON SAXON” from the audience and the guys were back! and indeed played on, for another four-song encore, The Eagle Has Landed, Heavy Metal Thunder, Wheels of Steel then this time having two more jackets thrown from the crowd, handing one to Scarratt they finished the gig with Denim and Leather and once again signing them for the lucky fans. The crowd didn’t want them to go and Biff said to them “we would play all night but they won’t let us “and I truly believe he would have. A fantastic set and everyone left ears ringing with smiles on their faces.

Back to stage two to end the night with Everyday Heroes

2018-11-09_19-EdayHeroes-5a local Welsh four piece who play blues rock and whose new ep The Other Side of Nowhere is out now, playing tracks from this and their self-titled ep, Luke vocals, Daniel rhythm guitar, Lewis bass, and Jay drums, were playing their first big fest and were excited to be at HRH. They had been waiting since the afternoon to get on stage and were ready to show the audience what they could do, they impressed me a lot, especially Luke’s powerful throaty vocals, born to sing the blues, they played a full hour set with nice booming drum beats great hooks and deep bass, good original material and even a new Delilah song from Wales. Finishing their set with a blistering version of Credence’s Proud Mary. Hearing some blues after the sensational set by Saxon rounded off the night perfectly.

Review by Dave Martin & pics by Carol Henson, aka LadyGigger.

Hard Rock Hell Hafan Y Môr Friday 9/11 18. Day Two

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