I didn’t realize it has been one year since the previous Hard Rock Hell! The place and the faces in Hafan Y Mor are so familiar now that I thought it’s been only a month since the last Hard Rock Hell festival. The truth is that at first, the line up seemed to be “poor”, especially after the cancellation of the performance of Nazareth. However it wasn’t so “poor” after all.
Thursday, 28 November 2013
Arriving at Hafan Y Mor after travelling by trains and buses for eight hours from London (it’s better for someone who is coming from another country to go there through Manchester) I realized that I wouldn’t catch the performance of Uli Jon Roth since I had to stop at the media reception to get accreditations and room keys and of course go there and leave my baggage. At least I made it on time for the press conference of that great and also my favorite guitarist, that I already gave you an idea however it will have a continuance!
The first performance I watch for HRH VII is this of Bernie Torme at the second (small) stage. It was a very good performance of a true rocker with a great career. Top moments were his hits with Gillan, “No Easy Way”, “Trouble” and “New Orleans” that closed his show. However, above all, the top moment was his own presence and talent on stage for seventy minutes!
Setlist: Wild West, Bullet In The Brain, Turn Out The Lights, Getting There, Star, Golden Pig, No Easy Way, Lightning Strikes, Mystery Train, Rocky Road, You Can’t Beat Rock n Roll, Trouble, New Orleans.
Arthur Brown, the ‘‘old dog’’ of theatrical rock, took turn on the same stage, the only one operating today. With a full package of actors, props, fires etc., he presented, as always, an interesting show with elements from those of Alice Cooper and the crowd watched transfixed for (only) an hour. It was a very good experience, especially for someone who watched the show of Arthur Brown for the first time, especially the performance of “Fire”.
Setlist: Zim Zam Zim, Want To Love, All The Bells, Devils Grip, Kites, I Put A spell On You, Muscle Of Love, Voice Of Love, Apple Creation, Nightmare, Fire Poem, Fire, Green Manalishi
He was followed on stage by the very beloved to the British public in the last years, Attica Rage which gain the audience’s attention with a pure metal performance and noticeable dynamism on stage presenting with… furious performing, material from their last two albums and their new single “Long Ride Home” and closing after an hour with the cover of “Crazy Horses” by the Osmonds.
Setlist: Beyond Forever, 36 Insane, Close Shave, Contradictions, Killer Carousel, Fight 181, Long Ride Home, Ashamed, Through The Inner Eye, Crazy Horses.
Then the performances of Fireroad and Krusher followed, however I shall give my apologies to the two bands because my feet and my head weren’t in perfect condition…
Friday, 29 November 2013
Today the menu is definitely bigger. At noon are scheduled four twenty-minute to half an hour acoustic performances on a small pub stage of Hafan Y Mor. I always liked stuff like this. The beginning was made with Mia Klose, a rising Swedish metal singer who has just released her first album entitled “London” and for half an hour she gave a hearty show that ended with an excellent performance of “I Remember You” of Skid Row. Due to commitments in the press room I didn’t catch the performance of Massive Wagons” however I did catch the one of Bernie Torme who also shined at the acoustic part. The ”acoustic festival” closed with Benji Webbe and Mikeydemus, vocals and guitar of Skindred, a unique show with Webbe not stopping his incredible gags.
On the small stage of the main festival Scarlet Riot were really good, with impressive stage presence and outstanding performance. However, I can’t say the same for Enuff Z Nuff who performed on the first stage later on. I would describe his performance as rather anemic, lacking of nerve and the energy that the bands of this kind are supposed to have.
Next is the great Phil Campbell, who hasn’t let the break of Motörhead go by with no action and accompanied by a band of very good musicians, he presented a set that started with “Children Of The Grave” and continued with “Cat Scratch Fever” of Ted Nugent. However the largest part of his performance was based on the repertoire of Motörhead. A very good performance from a band which is nothing more than simple project, with very good performance from the young singer, and Phil Campbell as we all know him.
Setlist: Children Of The Grave, Cat Scratch Fever, Iron Fist, Nutbush City Limits, Born To Rise Hell, Dog Faced Boy, Orgasmatron, Over The Top, Killed By Death, Ace Of Spades, Jumpin’ Jack Flash, Communication Breakdown
The time for the headliners of the second day of Hard Rock Hell had come. It was obvious that the crowd was waiting especially for them, and of course the concert hall was overcrowded. And the fans were right!
Incredible performance by great and very experienced musicians, with a set based on their latest album “All Hell Breaks Loose” but also classics of Thin Lizzy. Very good performance by Gorham, Mendoza, Degrasso, Johnson, but I would like to highlight the performance of Ricky Warwick, one of the leading performers of our time. In a word, incredible! Shortly before the ninety-minute show of Black Star Riders ends, Phil Campbell came on stage to enrich it even more with what else? “Rosalie”, a song often played by Motörhead.
Setlist: All Hell Breaks Loose, Are You Ready?, Bloodshot, Bad Reputation, Before The War, Jailbreak, Hoodoo Voodoo, Massacre, Kingdom Of Lost, Hey Judas, Southbound, Kissin’ The Ground, Valley Of The Stones, Emerald, Bound For Glory, Cowboy Song, The Boys Are Back In Town, Whiskey In The Jar, Rosalie
The day closed with Skindred. Although their music isn’t to my taste, (metal with doses of hip hop, industrial and anything else that someone can imagine) I have to admit that whatever they do, they do it well. Amazing performing and incredible fun were the features presented by the band. So, it’s by no means accidental the big steps forward they’ve done the last years. This singer, apart from his great voice, was incredible on stage! Congratulations to them!
Setlist: Ninja, Babylon, Bruises, Rat Race, Doom Riff, State Of Emergency, Selector, Cut Dem, Kill The Power, Trouble, Sad But True (Metallica cover), Pressure, Nobody, Breath, Warning, Nobody Does Is Better.
Saturday, 30 November 2013
Shortly after 13.00 The Treatment catch my eye on stage 1 with an excellent as well as professional performance. This way shall the metal bands play these days.
A little later on the second stage, a band of five young girls steals the show, looking on stage like being possessed! Fake Club, a fresh band that promises a bright future and the first steps have already been made and you will soon read about them in the interview they gave us. They are really good!
Back on the big stage for Snakecharmer, the new band of Mickey Moody, Neil Murray, Harry James, Chris Ousey, Laurie Wisefield and Adam Wakeman. It’s a band that only strong emotions can offer. What else can you feel listening to the classic hits of Whitesnake from the original guitars and bass? For this has also helped the great voice of Chris Ousey and the excellent binding of the band with the great and experienced musicians. Of course, a great part of Snakecharmer performance was captured by their brand new self-titled album. In my opinion, the best and most touching moment was the performance of “Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues”, the first song of Whitesnake I listened, about thirty years ago…
Setlist: Guilty As Changed, A Little Rock & Roll, Ready An’ Willing, My Angel, Accident Prone, Falling Leaves, Walking In The Shadow Of The Blues, Nothing To Lose, Mickey Moody guitar solo, Slow An’ Easy, Here I Go Again, Fool For Your Loving
I didn’t catch the performance of Blaze Bayley due to some obligations in the press room (goes with the job) however I caught up a big part of Paul Di’Anno performance. For million reasons I don’t estimate him very highly (unlike Blaze) and his performance… didn’t mean much to me.
The only songs I listened were those of Iron Maiden that he keeps on abusing, calling the best metal band on the earth, Spice Girls! Really, is there something of his own to present? It’s been ages since I listened something by Killers or a solo album by him. Shortly before the end of his set, performing (literally executing) Iron Maiden he called Blaze on stage and I saw a duet that I wouldn’t believe it unless I had seen it with my own eyes. I don’t know whether Blaze believed it when he called him “Legend” (The legend). Then Blaze left and the performance of the problematic in every aspect Di’Anno closed with “Holidays In The Sun” by Sex Pistols.
Setlist: Sanctuary, Purgatory, Wratchild, Murders In The Rue Morgue, Remember Tomorrow, Genghis Chan, Charlotte The Harlot, Killers, Phantom Of The Opera, Running Free, Transylvania, Iron Maiden, Holidays In The Sun
The next is none other than the one and only and to my opinion unappreciated by the system, Michael Monroe. He is an amazing performer, the definition of a poser, but also a great musician. For one hour, he was pacing the stage, jumping to the fans which were ecstatic by his voice and moves as well as his saxophone that plays with great success. A really great performance and he was especially praised in “Motorvatin” and “Malibu Beach Nightmare”, songs from the time of Hanoi Rocks. Whenever you have the chance, don’t miss him for any reason!
Setlist: Horns And Halos, Trick Of The Wrist, TNT Diet, 18 Angels, Ballad Of The Lower East Side, ’78, Stained Glass Heart, Soul Surrender, Child Of The Revolution, Got Blood?, Modern Day Miracle, Motorvatin’, Hammersmith Palais, Malibu Beach Nightmare, Dead, Jail Or Rock & Roll.
Are they a copycat of AC/DC? Maybe yes. So, what’s wrong with that? Airbourne followed on stage and the concert hall becomes crowded. Joel O ‘Keeffe and his band give an absolutely incredible show, answering why a band that was considered from its beginning as a tribute band of AC / DC, has high reputation as well as in terms of numbers. With very good and uplifting tracks and an impressive presence on stage, they won the audience which was delirious when Joel passed between them (with the help of security of course).
Setlist: Ready To Rock, Too Much Too Young Too Fast, Girls In Black, Back In The Game, Diamond In The Rough, Black Dog Barking, Cheap Wine & Cheaper Women, Stand Up For Rock n’ Roll, Live It Up, Raise The Flag, Runnin’ Wild
Returning to the small stage for a bit, I definitely wanted to catch Spit Like This. Lord Zion, Vikki Spit and the rest of the band gave their all. Unstoppable and very connected with the fans they impress with their performance, playing songs from their two studio albums, but also a bit older material.
Back to the main stage where The Answer are closing the festival, at least in terms of big names. They are also great; they win the audience that has considerably decreased. However this gives the opportunity to Cormac Neeson to jump to the fans and close with them Hard Rock Hell VII.
Setlist: New Horizon, Come Follow Me, Burn You Down, Speak Now, Under The Sky, Concrete, Nowhere Freeway, On And On, Moment, Spectacular, Memphis Water, Waste Your Tears, Preachin’.
Another Hard Rock Hell had come to an end with great success from every point of view. The most interesting aspect which concerns all the young musicians is the fact that the main characteristic of the bands that participated, with two or three exceptions, was the excellent performing. Besides you’ve read this word several times. It is one of the basic standards of producers for choosing a band and let’s put this in mind those who think that they are Rolling Stones or Metallica but they have no money and haven’t been spotted yet by a great American manager.
I would once again like to thank the people of the production of Hard Rock Hell, Claire Lloyd, Seven Webster, Jenny Stanley, Terri Chapman and the rest who once again gave their all for Rockpages.gr and personally for me.
I will not say “until next year”, probably we’ll be there once again very soon…
Text and photos: Dimitris Kazantzis