PHOTO CREDITS: LINDZRS MEDIA PHOTOGRAPHY
The HRH brand has grown exponentially in its 10 year life and tonight’s award ceremony is testament to that growth. Now a staple in the festival calendar, HRH delivers three nights of live music but before the serious fun begins, there is the matter of the award ceremony to enjoy.
Hosted by Chic Festivals founder Jonni Davis, it’s more than an awards ceremony - there are live bands and the all important opportunity to meet old friends and mix with the nominees. Attendees are treated to a red carpet arrival where the media are out in force to capture the occasion.
The awards cover a range of areas and the first winners of the night are pitched among strong opposition. The first of the night were -
Angels of Rock - Tequila Mockingbird
Stoner Lords - Orange Goblin
Rising Stars - Those Damn Crows
The first band of the night are Collateral, a British rock band who only recently appeared on the HRH Crows bill and who are energetic, bright and a great choice to kick off the musical element of the night. Angelo Tristan (guitar/vocals), Todd Winger (guitar), Jack Bentley Smith (bass) and Ben Atkinson (drums) have a swagger and confidence that draws a strong reception for this knowledgeable audience.
The second awards reach beyond bands and add the musicians into the mix -
Axeman - Phil Campbell
Young Blood - Footprints In The Custard
Metal Maniacs - Saxon
The presence of Phil Campbell and three of the mighty Saxon was always a suggestion of what was to come but their willingness to pose for photos with the punters added an extra dimension to an already awesome night.
Second band of the night are Devilfire who keep the momentum bubbling along with their melodic rock. Alex Cooper (vocals), Baz Blackett (guitar), Jamie Downes (bass), Lars Wickett (drums) and
Kieran Topp (guitar) have the looks and the chops for this stage. They have played HRH AOR before and this is a well timed short set to keep them fresh for what looks like a busy year ahead in 2019 -
The third awards of the night cast a wider eye on the international side of the business - something HRH has embraced through the years. The winners were -
Global Hero - Michael Monroe
Tub Thumper - Nigel Glockler
The third band of the night are the highly-regarded Gorilla Riot. Their bluesy, rock n roll is perfectly timed in a part of the night when the free bottles of Fireball and Burnt Out Wreck Whiskey have taken their toll on some. Arjun Bhishma (lead vocals & guitars), Liam Henry (guitars & vocals), James Degnen (bass), Charly T. (guitars & vocals) and David Thomas (drums) deliver a punchy and uplifting set and the use of an acoustic song to open the performance before moving to full-on delivery makes for some nice texture for the evening -
The final awards of the night are arguably the most prestigious with lifetime commitment being recognised. It was no surprise that two legends were given the accolades -
Legend - Biff Byford
Mjolnir Lifetime Achievement Award - Dave Brock
Byford was present and gave a humble (but cool) acceptance speech with Brock providing a suitably quirky video of thanks, his award being picked up by Phil Campbell who confirmed his commitment to play with Brock’s Hawkwind at the HRH Ibiza Festival in 2019.
Closing a night like this was always going to be a challenge given the audience, the late hour and the temptation to imbibe. The UK music business has a few rising stars just now and Those Damn Crows are one of these who have the talent to nail the night’s close.
Shane Greenhall (vocals), Ian "Shiner" Thomas (guitar), Lloyd Wood (bass), Ronnie Huxford (drums) and David Winchurch (guitar) played a blinding set that involved singalongs, people on their feet and at least one person losing their balance through the excitement of the moment. These guys are hotly tipped - they will be the next Inglorious -
With another year’s awards done, the festival kicks off in earnest on the Thursday night. Night one done. Bring it on.