(Photos: Lindzrs Media Photography & MB Photography Scotland)
Nursing strained voices and ringing ears from the night before, the revellers amassed in the coffee shops and bars taking a moment to take in the happenings of the previous two days whilst restoring energy levels ready for the final epic night of Hard Rock Hell.
With a packed line-up of new bands and old, Saturday started early with Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters opening Stage 2. This honorary Welsh wonder and her band certainly woke the early crowd up. Beth has a strong voice and the band certainly delivered too.
‘Western Sand’ a four piece from Bournemouth brandished their Southern Hard Rock all over Stage 2. Formed in 2008 the band, Tyler, Jimmy, Nathan and Findlay are well seasoned on the live scene, supporting some big names along the way plus numerous headline shows. They also performed a short acoustic set straight after their stage 2 appearance which was a real treat. The songs stripped, back were lighter and more melodic very suited to the dim lights and chilled environment of the acoustic area. Due to hit the studio again soon, this band are definitely going places winning many new fans from HRH.
The stages were up and running simultaneously and ‘Buffalo Summer’ opened stage 1. With a couple of albums under their belt, this bluesy rich rock band were a good choice to open. ‘Bad Touch’ have gathered massively in momentum over the last few months with their single ‘Baby Get It On’ with Mollie Marriot receiving extensive airplay and deservedly so. This ensured that the Stage 2 arena was full. The guys are touring and this showed in their set. This was hugely enjoyable and I was reluctant to tear myself away but a soon to be released DTF interview with Kie Von Hertzen beckoned.
Fighting my way through an absolutely solidly packed out Stage 1 Arena, the mid-afternoon slot was to be filled by ‘Toseland’. An absolutely rocking set was delivered expertly and energetically by the band. This was the second date in their current tour run and if you can get tickets and catch them at a local venue, please do. High energy from the start with ‘Puppet On a Chain’, ‘Burning The System’, the ever popular ‘Singer In A Band’, the list goes on, one track after another of well written, well performed melodic rock. Read about the band’s very recent announcement of signing to Frontier records, touring, new music and much more in a DTF interview with James Toseland.
‘Burnt Out Wreck’ fronted by Gary Moat gave Arena 2 a treat. Their brand of classic feeling melodic rock was supremely delivered by the former Heavy Pettin’ drummer and his band to rapturous applause. It is so nice to hear Gary sing, hidden behind the drum-kit all those years, I think we missed out, he has a strong melodic voice and I for one am happy to see him shine.
‘Von Hertzen Brothers’ brought a mix of their numerous album tracks and single releases to Arena 1. A new album for these Finnish prog infused hard rockers meant some new tracks being aired which were well received. 3 incredibly talented brothers and a solid band. They obviously love performing and it was a great set.
“Gun’ replaced the prog rock on stage one. Hugely popular and full of power filled riffs and opening with ‘She Knows’ the guys were going to keep the crowd happy. ‘Word Up’, ‘Don’t Say It’s Over’, ‘Better Days’, an hour of one great song after another.
‘Louder Still’ were raising the roof in Arena 2 while ‘Gun’ were playing Arena 2 so I only caught part of their set but the guys from Reading had said in an interview with DTF earlier in the day that they named the band after the way they played and they weren’t lying. An excellent hard rock band and one very much to watch for the future.
The classic Bands kept on coming one Arena 1 stage. American rockers Lynch Mob riffed their way through an awesome set. George Lynch is an absolute legend and although clocking up the years, he played perfectly, beautiful clean soaring riffs from the former Dokken star. Their new single ‘Miles Away’ from their new album ‘Brotherhood’ sounded great live. Currently touring the band felt very gelled and at home for the hour-long set. ‘When Heaven Comes Down’ and “Into the Fire’ both Dokken tracks stood out for me but each song was spot on.
‘Reef’ held the mid evening slot and beginning with ‘Just Feel Love’ before settling in with ‘Higher Vibration’ ‘Stone for Your Love’ ‘Ball and Chain’ ‘Consideration’ and then surprisingly ‘Place Your Hands’ before continuing to enthral the crowd with an energetic, maraca waving, tambourine flourishing performance.
A set change and an opportunity for the Arena to again fill to capacity, excitement building, you could just tell from the mood of the crowd that this is what they were waiting for. “All Hell Breaks Loose’ kicked things off as they meant to go on form the mighty ‘Black Star Riders’. The sound was epic, the staging, the lighting, the set list, the energy, the riffs! This was the band of the weekend for me. From that opening it just continued ‘Finest Hour’ ‘Heavy Fire’ their new single ‘Testify or Say Goodbye’ ‘Soldierstown’, ‘Before the War, ‘Dancing With the Wrong Girl’, ‘Hey Judas’. It’s hard to put into words just how awesome these guys sounded. This was a well-honed glut of greatness.
You could not get anyone else in that room – it was heaving and judging by the number of teeth on show and singing going on, it wasn’t just me who was enjoying this.
Cheers erupted as ‘Jailbreak’ was played, more Black Star Riders own tracks and finally the one everyone there wanted to hear. I got goose-bumps from the opening, ‘Whiskey in the Jar’. What a way to end HRH!
This has been a thoroughly enjoyable weekend, 3 days of new bands and the more established to out and out legends. A great mix of music and really great people.
The highlights for me without a doubt were, Tyketto, Y&T ,Wayward Sons, Toseland and Florence Black. But the new finds for me are probably more important, new music coming through and keeping rock alive are Louder Still, Those Damn Crows and Black Aces.
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