Rockposer Dot Com‘s Stephen Brophy gives a round up ahead of HRH AOR 6 (photos Tears Of Fire©)
Here’s a bit of a preview of the upcoming HRH AOR 6 which once again will be taking place in the beautiful surroundings of Hafan Y Mor, Pwllheli, Wales just at the base of the Snowdonia Mountain Range. Having attended all of the HRH AOR events to date there is no doubt that the excitement has started to build, especially with the return of some fan favourites that have graced the HRH Stage previously.
So lets start with the returning alumni –
Thursday – well all of the bands playing this years opening night have previously played HRH AOR, it’s a really strong opening night to be honest and each of the bands are already fan favourites, so it really should be a great way to get the party started.
Stalwarts of the UK AOR scene Newman have always been known for putting on a great show, with the enigmatic Steve Newman leading from the front, a really talented bunch and they will be introducing their new drummer Harry Younger to many of us at HRH, and also tracks from last years release ‘Aerial‘. Always a pleasure to see this band.
The last time I saw Dante Fox at HRH AOR was at the second year, and the first at HRH Base Camp at Hafan Y Mor, the band played on the opening night of the event which at that stage was paired with HRH Prog and HRH Blues, since then each of the individual components have grown to have their own separate Festivals. The band should need no introduction to most, fronted by the terrific vocals Sue Willets and a guitarist that always has one of the best tones at any event he plays Tim Manford they always put in 100% and are never anything but entertaining, with an excellent back catalog and continuing to produce very relevant new music, do not skip the guys. Back in 2014 I wasn’t photographing gigs, but here are a couple of my point and click snaps for reference.
One of the best live bands on the scene at the moment are Sweden’s Eclipse, having released one of the albums of the year in 2017 in ‘Monumentum‘ and they are just one of those bands that never let you down, fun and powerful melodic rock. Such a talented bunch it almost makes you sick, if they weren’t really good guys along with it. This is a hell of a line up for the Thursday night.
Joe Lynn Turner
JLT is without doubt a legend of Hard Rock, and returns to HRH AOR after headlining the Friday night back in 2016, Always a pleasure to see him and hear that awesome voice, no doubt we will get a set full of classic tracks from right throughout his career and some wonderful stories to go along with the songs. Bound to be a highlight yet again.
Fridays Lineup sees the return of –
A revitalised Iconic Eye return to HRH AOR, the band has gone through some very difficult times over the last few years, but with this new lineup, now fronted by the excellent Jane Gould, and a new album, we can all really look forward to seeing the guys at this years event, busy times ahead for Iconic Eye.
Another band that is sure to really kick things up a notch are Sheffield’s C.O.P. UK who will always bring bucket loads of energy and put on a terrific show. Enigmatic frontman Dale Radclife will demand your attention.
Another UK band, Lawless have graced these stages before, containing members of some very well known UK bands it really is a shame for they guys that they drew the short straw and have a time slot during Night Ranger’s set, but I have no doubt they will still play a great set.
The Radio Sun
The Aussie AOR maestro’s have been well and truly welcomed with open arms by the HRH AOR family, and rightly so after some excellent performances in 2016 and 2017, returning for the third time in a row we see a different lineup top the band, with mainstays Steve Janevski (Guitar) and Jason Old (Vocals) joined by Gilbert Annese on Drums and Anthony Wong on Bass. The bands wonderful harmonies is definitely something to look forward to every time we see them and long may their visits continue, not only a great band, but great guys too. Will be great to hear tracks from their latest album ‘Unstoppable‘ which came out in the later part of last year.
A magical headline set back in 2015 where neither the band nor the crowd wanted to stop but people had to beds to go to, this one is sure to be the most eagerly awaited set of the weekend. With a couple of really good albums released over recent years and a back catalog to die for, just add the sheer talent in the band in to the mix and you have something unmissable. Very few bands have more than one top quality singer, this band essentially has four, and it really makes a difference to be able to share the load, and have backing singers that are singers.
Finally on the Saturday of HRH AOR 6 the returning friends are –
Blood Red Saints
BSR have just released a brand new album, and it’s a cracker, so I’m certain that some of the new tracks will be getting an airing during their set, that along with some of the tracks from the excellent debut ‘Speedway‘. The guys are always very entertaining and a lot of fun on stage, so as with pretty much everyone, try not to miss out on these guys, you would regret it if you did.
What can I say, since DARE started playing again on a more regular basis they have gone from strength to strength, in demand on the UK Festival scene and themselves having released an excellent album in ‘Sacred Ground‘ back in 2016, the guys have a lot of work going on over the next 12 months, with re-releases and new albums, and other projects yet to be unveiled, this, as always, is sure to be a terrific set. And be sure to check out the guys faces while they are playing, a band that really love what they are doing.
Way back at the first HRH AOR in the Magna Center in Rotherham we got to see Skid Row on the main stage, back then the debates were perhaps more ferocious than they are now with regards to seeing the band without original frontman Sebastian Bach, but in reality as long as the performance is good nobody will care at all. They have enough quality songs to keep the crowd entertained and send them home happy at the end of the 2018 version of the Festival. So should be an interesting one.
And onto the newcomers. And at any Festival these days it’s great to see either new bands or bands that have never played either the Festival or the Country before. There is some terrific talent to come and they will I’m sure be split between both stages, which will make us all busy trying to catch different bands that may be clashing with each other, but that’s the life at a Festival isn’t it. This years batch of inductees include –
BulletBoys – American rockers BulletBoys are a welcome addition to this years lineup, still being led by Marq Torien (RATT, King Kobra) we are sure to get tracks from the new album ‘From Out Of The Skies’ which will be released just after the Festival, and of course tracks from the early albums ‘Freakshow‘ and the self-titled debut would be great.
Degreed – love the self-titled album released last year and can’t wait to see what they are like live. Their set may well be scheduled for a late night slot after the Headliners Night Ranger have finished in the Main Arena but should be well worth checking this band out.
Naked – yet more classy AOR from Sweden in the form of Naked, although we haven’t heard much from the guys since their 2015 release End Game (which featured both Paul Logue and Pete Newdeck), but this set should be very interesting.
Jac Dalton – all the way from Austrailia the excellent voice that is Jac Dalton, still making really good albums as 2013’s Icarus will attest definitely another one to check out at in the Main Arena.
Aaron Buchanan And The Cult Classics – one of the last minute additions to the lineup this band have been getting a lot of positive press of late and it’s easy to see why, could easily be one of the great surprises of the Festival.
The Room – a band that could easily fit into the lineup of either Prog or AOR, The Room are an excellent band. Their music blends around the barriers of genres and with a couple of terrific albums behind them they will certainly be a band I hope to catch some of.
Midnite City – have been picking up steam since they arrived on the scene last year, a very successful debut album launch has brought a lot of deserved high praise for these guys. Go check them out on Stage 2 while you can in the more intimate venue as they will no doubt elevate towards the main stage soon.
Enuff Z Nuff – need no introduction, certainly on the sleazy end of the Rock spectrum, they will no doubt leave a dirty mark with their set, always one to look forward to seeing. Will be great to hear ‘Fly High Michelle‘ again on a big stage.
A fair batch of Swedish Melodic Rock as always, and some very interesting bands thrown into the mix. Really looking forward in particular to catching Degreed (who sound great and have created quite a stir in recent times), Naked (the possibility of being one of the surprise acts of the Festival) and Jac Dalton (have wanted to catch him live for quite a while now). There have as usual with Festivals been some last minute pull outs and additions in the lineup. With still one more Main Arena special guest to be announced it should be an interesting and as always rocking weekend.