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Pontins, Prestatyn, North Wales 3-5 December 2009
waking up with a Hard Rock Hell Hangover it was time for a few cups of tea
followed by a pick me up of a good ole full English breakfast with all the
trimmings, which did the trick followed by a quick shot of JD which put me
back ready for action for another day of full hard rocking action.
(Travelodge need to catch up -ed)
There was so
many bands in the first half of the day that I wanted to see, there was no
time to stop at all. In fact, so much so, that I was a good boy and
didn't visit the bar until some six hours later, my friends thought they
should call me a doctor. (But Dr Mark Taylor doesn't sound right
Clovenhoof were due to perform their last ever gig in the Queen Vic pub,
but after moving earth wind and fire pulled out at the last minute and
Attica Rage took their place performing for the third time this
I was at
Stage Two to see London heavy weights Pig Iron. A few days
before the gig bassist Hugh Gilmour expressed reservations to me about
going on so early, but he had nothing to worry about, as the hall was
almost full. Their style of heavy harmonica blues went down very
well, ending the set with the modern day classic of 'Lord Kill The Pain'.
Pig Iron won themselves many new fans today.
Over at the
Queen Vic Dumpy's Rusty Nuts were winning over a new generation
with a well oiled set. The Glitterati were one of my most
surprising acts of the week. For some reason I've ignored them over
the last few years but they quickly got my notice with their sleazy catchy
hooks and licks. Anybody into the glam rock punky scene should check
them out, they deserve more.
Girlschool are a band I've loved since their collaboration with
Motorhead on 'Please Don't Touch' EP back in the early eighties, and over
the years I've always enjoyed their set.
are perfect fodder for HRH with their feel good factor of heavy metal.
Today was one of their best performances I've ever witnessed. Coming
on stage at 2pm, they set the day up perfectly. With their jovial
interaction with the crowd, had me singing out of their palms.
like 'I Spy' and 'Never Say Never' settled in nicely amongst the classics
of old. Over thirty-five years ago in the the filming of 'Holiday On
The Buses' here, Olive lost her bikini in the swimming pool, and today
someone lost their pants as they were thrown on stage.
McAuliffe placed them on Jackie Chambers' mic-stand. She didn't sing
in that mic again. Girlschool are as traditional as beer and fish 'n
chips and were the perfect ingredient. My band of the weekend.
With a few
minutes spare I sneaked off back to the Queen Vic to see old legends
Marseille who were at the forefront of NWOBHM and who were rocking us
tonight. I wish I could have seen more of them, but with
Tigertailz about to start in the adjacent hall I was left walking on a
years HRH Tigertailz stole the the show with a show stopping performance
in the early hours that left everybody for dead. Another fun rock 'n
roll band that are perfect for holiday camp capers.
recent successful London Borderline show where they played the 'Berzerk'
album in it's entirety, the 'Tailz thought they would repeat the same
trick here. I didn't think it would work so early in the day but
after the second song 'Love Bomb Baby' the show had been won.
Another top winning performance.
The best was
yet to come when Kim Hooker invited a couple of gals from Girlschool to
join them on stage for a metalized version of 'Ace Of Spades' with Kim
McAuliffe delivering the line of 'That's the way I like it baby, I don't
wanna live forever'. Fantastic.
I needed a
beer, but there was no time as I really wanted to see another old NWOBHM
band Saracen back in the Queen Vic. I only caught the last
twenty minutes. This was a band that I remembered from a old Friday
Rock Show session.Playing tracks from the classic LP 'Heroes Saints
&Fools' ending with 'Crusader' this was the nearest thing to progressive
rock with a metal twist you would've heard all weekend. Glorious
stuff. Check them out.
I was like a
yo-yo all day, going back to see the Quireboys. A bit too
early in the day for their brand of drinking good fun rock 'n roll.
Would've been better suited to playing in the early hours like they did at
the Cambridge Rock Festival, but at least it meant that Spike and the boys
could get in early at the bar (which they did.), but a good time was had
I caught the
last minutes of Elixir who did a very good Maidenesque set, and
also Witchfynde, a band I love with their no nonsense approach to
metal, a band I've seen a few times but by this time I needed a breather,
but they gave the crowd hell.
previous night's no show for Four Wheel Drive (See Day 2
report), the Twickenham boys were given a last minute slot at the Queen
Vic, and I'm so glad they were.
often that you've met the band, but not know the music and I was so
surprised how a bunch of nice young lads could make such a great almighty
racket. Coming across like a mix of Airbourne and the Georgia
Satellites, this was a high octone mix of rock 'n roll at it's very best.
These high rollers will not be running out of gasoline for a long time
yet. Four Wheel Drive were in fifth gear and set to be in poll
Angelwitch are a band reborn. Only mainman Kevin Heybourne
remains from the original line up, but with a new backbone of a band
giving Angelwitch a much more fuller sound.
were tight and brought the songs from the debut LP a new lease of life.
The mosh pit exploded into life with the self titled anthem 'Angelwitch'
with the very metal sing-a-long chorus of ''You're an angelwitch...you're
an angelwitch'' metal lyrics at their finest.
into the day and I was drained, my ears were ringing and I treated myself
to a bottle of wine and a quick smoke outside. With only a rest of
twenty minutes I came to my first proper full clash of the day.
on the main stage but I've seen them many times before. It was
another NWOBHM band that i really wanted to see for the first time.
Demon were a band that rarely played in London and I owned those
early classic albums, so whilst the majority of rockers went into the
adjacent hall to see Blackie Lawless and Co, I stayed inside the Stage 2
area with a hundred or so fans to witness a great gig by the Midland band.
disappointed either. Singer Dave Hill (No, not the Slade guy) is a
charismatic frontman who breathes a storytelling life into the classic
songs of 'The Plague' and set ender 'Don't Break The Circle'. The
unexpected guests did one helluva gig. I only caught the tail end of
W.A.S.P who were buzzing.
Queensryche were billed as the main headlining band of HRH, but I felt
they were out of place here. The thinking man's metal was not the
ideal situation for the zombie-fied brains of the hard rock hellers here
performed Operation Mindcrime parts I & II on the last tour, the band
decided to completely abandon those albums this time around and just
perform tracks from new album 'American Soldier' as well as 'Rage For
Order' and 'Empire', making it a somewhat disjointed set, and I soon lost
interest. Operation mindless.
It was at
this point my night completely fell apart. Sara Harding from Total
Rock dragged me off to the media VIP bar and we joined Girlschool, members
of Tigertailz, Pig Iron and Quireboys as well as other media types from
Komodo Rock and Metal Hammer and demolished the bar toasting ourselves to
a successful weekend.
Lizst has a new meaning. Which meant I missed the
New York Dolls (You can read my
friend Jim Rowlands report here) and also Lauren Harris and Spit Like
This, a band I spoke to earlier in the day who by all accounts went down
very well in the early morning hours.
I've been to
many great festivals over the years, the Knebworth Fair, Monsters Of Rock,
Reading Festival, Wacken, even Rock In Rio, but Hard Rock Hell tops the
lot. I made many great friends this weekend, the whole site has a
feel good factor to it with security who know the meaning of common sense,
please replace those hi-vis jackets with redcoats. Hard Rock Hell is
the best. It's hard, it's rock and - after three solid days - it's
Hard Rock Hell Part 1 (3 Dec)
Hard Rock Hell Part 2 (4 Dec)
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