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HRH 12 Hafan y Mor Pwllheli Thursday 8th November 2018. Day One

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HRH 12 Hafan y Mor Pwllheli Thursday 8th November 2018.

Day One

As always on the first day all the bands were on the main stage. and it may have been wet and miserable outside, but inside it was going to be hot and heavy. The opening ceremony was the hot as the HRH fire dancers came on stage to do their stuff, and then it was on to the heavy.

The band kicking off the proceedings were multi-national rockers

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Eden’s Curse, with five albums under their belt since their first self-titled one eleven years ago it was time to bring out a best of album and their latest Testament is just that, so fans of the band were expecting a catalogue of songs tonight. Arriving on stage to a fairground theme their Serbian lead vocalist Nicola Mijic seemed a bit taken back by the huge crowd awaiting them, and the first two songs Break The Silence, and Masquerades Ball, didn’t really get the crowd going but into their third song and with lots of egging on from the singer, they eventually joined in on Unbreakable but their forty minute set seemed a lot longer at times with the monotonous double boom boom sound of drummer John Clelland on many of the songs and despite competent work by German guitarist Thorsten Koehne, Scottish bassist and founder member Paul Logue and keyboards the wonderfully named Chrism, the band didn’t really rock my world and apart from the fans in the front it was a tepid start to the festival.

What a contrast to the next act

2018-11-08_03-MykeGray-4 Myke Gray, the former Skin, Schism guitarist, despite the billing tonight this wasn’t about Myke it was all about a little lady by the name of Kimberley Anne Jennett, coming onto the stage like a roadrunner on speed and screaming at the crowd and within minutes having everybody in the palm of her hand. Now the special part! what a voice this woman has, she is a star in the making, her powerful vocals echoing through the hall throughout their set and a permanent beaming smile on Myke’s face, to say she knows how to milk a crowd would be an understatement, before she finishes her first number she climbs in to the crowd and dances and sings with them going totally apeshit the audience soaking up everything she does. The set was filled with classic numbers House of Love, Take me down to the river, all delivered with incredible energy and vocals to die for. She never stopped moving all through the whole performance and ended back in the crowd for the final number Shine a Light. With the guitar skills of Myke and an incredible band to back her up, this was an amazing performance and we were only in to the second band.

Next band up were

2018-11-08_04-RockGoddess-5 Rock Goddess: despite having formed a year before Girlschool, they didn’t release their first album till 1983 and I think because of this they have always been slightly in the shadow of the other band who released a classic in 1981, and of course being associated with Motorhead helped a lot too. Despite this through ups and downs they continue to play hard and heavy metal in their own style with lead singer Jody Turner’s powerful, if at times tonight a little flat voice, and sister Julie on drums bashing out old and some new numbers from their as yet unreleased new album along with new girl Jenny Lane on bass they treated the crowd to Back to you, Heavy Metal Rock and Roll, “Start Runnin” and new songs Why do we never learn, and new single Are You Ready.

Penultimate band of the night, former thirty year Motorhead lead guitarists own band,

2018-11-08_05-PhilCampbellSons-4 Phil Campbell and The Bastard Sons. Playing fast and loud and keeping the Motorhead sound alive along with aforementioned sons Tyla bass, Dane drums, and Todd guitar, accompanied by vocalist Neil Starr, they delivered a powerhouse performance tonight creating the first mosh pit for Born To Raise Hell, the first Motorhead cover that had the audience going wild heads banging in unison which also had a guitar solo from Phil that showed why he had won the title of Axeman the previous night. On the track Born to Raise Hell Phil asked the audience all to raise their middle fingers which of course everyone did. R.A.M.O.N.E.S created another mosh pit and to finish the night three Lemmy songs: Hawkwinds’ Silver Machine where everyone in the crowd sang, and the two Motorhead tracks Ace of Spades and Bomber, where you couldn’t hear yourself think for the noise of the audience. I was at the original Bomber tour, no sleep till Hammersmith and this was the best version I’d heard since then. Phil! you and the band f***ing rocked tonight.

Final band tonight

Michael Schenker Fest, now before I start let me say everyone has different opinions; there were mixed reactions to this performance tonight: most of the people I had spoke to after seeing the performance of Phil Campbell were either disappointed or just completely confused, I fall into both of those categories. I can only describe the fest, as Schenker likes to call it, as the most bizarre cabaret act, I have ever seen. Coming on to AC/DC’S Highway to hell the crowd singing along were excited, then Michael himself comes on: instead of blasting out one of his famous riffs or songs he plays a soo2018-11-08_06-MichaelSchenker-5thing version of Scorpions Blackout then goes on to chat to the audience about his long career and disses his brother and UFO, and to call the Scorpions “that band”, ahem Mr Schenker, who are still playing the big arenas and who’s in Wales in the pouring rain. Then instead of ending with the classic Doctor Doctor as everyone expects they start with it, and then wait for it not one but four singers come on stage, these being Graham Bonnet, Dougie White, Garry Barden and Robin McAuley dressed in all different types of attire from leather jackets, cowboy hat and Bonnet’s usual black shades and white shirt, all looking like some kind of spaced out Village People. The rest of the band, legendary guitarist and keyboard player Steve Mann, bassist Chris Glenn and drummer Ted McKenna complete the line-up. Dougie sings a solo of Vigilante Man really well then a new song Take me to the Church; totally bizarre for the fact all four sang it together making it look like a Las Vegas showtime act instead of a metal group, and they sang out of time with each other, a few more rehearsals needed I think. The rest of the band were great and of course taking nothing away from Michael’s guitar skills, especially on Rock Bottom where he did an endless guitar solo then picked up a camcorder and filmed the crowd whilst still playing the solo, amazing incredible skills. All the songs were there: Shoot Shoot, Only You Can Rock Me, Armed and Ready. BUT it was just so weird, as individuals the singing of the songs was great, it was when the four of them got together it just didn’t work! On one occasion I saw two guys behind the four singers in suits dancing some screwed-up Saturday night fever dance ITS TRUE. Garry Barden you are a true legend man, but please it’s time to call it a day your voice was painful to listen to, people were walking out. As I said at the beginning, I don’t expect everyone to agree with my opinion and I’m sure many people enjoyed this experimental show but for me it was one step too far. A lady said to me after it had finished “Have I just smoked something I shouldn’t have?” that summed it up for me.2018-11-08_07-Renegade12-2

Both LadyGigger and myself were lucky enough to go the VIP after party where two bands playing on stage two tomorrow morning were going to play short sets: Renegade Twelve and 2018-11-08_08-DeadMansWhiskey-2Dead Man’s Whiskey; a nice end to an excellent first day.

Review by Dave Martin & photos Carol Henson aka LadyGigger.

HRH 12 Hafan Y Mor Pwllheli Thursday 8th November 2018. Day One

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