HRH AOR VII – Day 1 – 14-03-2019

Presthaven Sands, Prestatyn

Review: Stephen Brophy

Photography: Stephen Brophy 

Sometimes you look at a Festival and just find it hard to believe that it’s the 7th year it’s been running and you have attended every year, this year as HRH transition to a new home base in Great Yarmouth we are visiting Prestatyn for a brief visit.

The day begins with some short Acoustic set for HRH Dark Circle members who got to see the excellent Gorilla Riot. The it was time for the main stage to open and to get everything kicked off..

The New Breed

The first band to hit the stage are The New Breed from Manchester and they went down a storm, with lead singer Jay paying homage to one of this evenings other acts, Dave Bickler, with a very fetching t-shirt. These guys wasted no time at all and went for it straight from the moment they hit the stage. They really tried to get the crowd involved whenever the opportunity arose and also were very appreciative of the support they were receiving, which is always nice to see. Definitely a band to keep an eye on, look forward to seeing them develop and move up the billing at Festivals like this, they play a brand of Rock ‘N’ Roll that has something a little different and as the songs develop there’s lots of promise in what you hear. Great way to open the Festival and one I’m sure the guys won’t forget.

Knock Out Kaine

This appearance was tinged with a little sadness, being the last show by this lineup and being known as Knock Out Kaine, not that the guys are disappearing, but still when a member moves on the dynamic often changes, and these guys were clearly going to go out with a bang. Having always thought that this band should have been bigger it’s no surprise that when in top gear the songs sound terrifc. And they really do have some banging songs in the repertoire, and as always Dean Foxx is a frontman with presence, not just a cracking voice but power and emotion to boot.

Clearly some big KOK fans had moved to the front and centre of the barrier and you could see the infection spread with killer version of “Ain’t Your Kind” bringing more in the now large crowd into the fray. and then the ability to drop the pace down for “Coming Home” was effortless and held onto the momentum they’d built. Lee certainly enjoyed his farewell making a foray into the crowd to say goodbye, and then it was back to a smashing finale, look forward to seeing Dean and the guys in whatever guise they are on the road in next, always put in a big performance, and perfect for a party night.

Dave Bickler

Having appeared for the first time on a UK stage only a couple of years ago it was great to see the former Survivor frontman Dave Bickler making a return trip for HRH AOR. And this time armed, finally, with his new solo album Darklight and a new band for this run of UK Dates, which includes FM’s excellent guitarist Jim Fitzpatrick, they work their way though a set littered with Survivor hits alongside some of Dave’s solo tracks.

Sadly it’s quite obvious from the start that something isn’t quite right with the vocals this evening, and Dave apologises early on for a croak in his throat, however he doesn’t make excuses and powers on, with some tracks coming across much better than others.  Perhaps he should have looked for a little more audience participation from that start, but as attested to by a number of people the voice was in much better shape at shows earlier in the week. Either way I will always commend an artist for pushing through the pain and trying to give the crowd as good a show as possible under difficult conditions. Back to the music, for me it’s the Survivor tracks that hit home most, again Dave paid tribute to another Survivor legend Jimi Jamison who we so sadly lost in 2014 with “Burning Heart” and not also a tribute to the recent passing of ex-Survivor Bass Player Stephan Ellis, which was nice to see. Dave always comes across as being a very amiable type of guy, loves music, but doesn’t always look the most comfortable  frontman on stage, that being said he definitely gets into the spirit of things when needed.

Highlights for me and I’m sure a lot of others were “Rebel Girl” which sounded great, “I Can’t Hold Back” and of course the song that most people were waiting for, the massive “Eye Of The Tiger” which was really good and definitely aided by Dave getting the crowd involved a little more, so many singing along, clapping along and just having a great time, it was a fantastic way to end the set and get everyone ready for tonights Headline act.

Tyketto

This band has over the course of 30 years gone through just about everything, and to see them still wowing crowds, and more importantly absolutely loving what they do is a sight to behold. Add to that the fact that Danny Vaughn still has an amazing voice and somehow managed to find the fountain of youth, we have all the elements of a wonderful show here, and that’s exactly what we get.

Rather than play the “Strength In Numbers” album from start to finish as it was recorded, often that sort of order just doesn’t fit the show, creates a slightly odd flow to things, so rightly the guys have thought about it a bit and fitted the tracks in and around some classics, some newer songs and a golden nugget or two. But Tyketto are known for blowing the roof off, and when you open your set with.a rasping version of “Inherit The Wind” and the pumping anthem that is “Meet Me In The Night” you are in no doubt that it’s on.

The band is on absolutely top form right now, with a solidified lineup, Chris Green (Guitar) seems to be just getting better and better, and that massive smile says it all, his solos are just electric. Despite the band living in different States and Countries it’s like they all live in the same house, a family indeed. Have noticed more and more in recent shows just how damn good Ged’s backing vocals are alongside the excellent work on keyboards, Greg Smith (Bass) has fitted in so well and really there’s not much more I can say about either Michael (Drums) or Danny (Vocals) to still show the hunger, still put everything into every show and leave the stage smiling from ear to ear, it really does warm the heart, this is what Rock music should be, great playing, great songs and a full house of fans singing and dancing into the night.

From the beauty of “The End Of Summer Days” and “Write Your Name In The Sky” to the bluesy interlude of “Why Do You Cry?” and into the balls out rock of “Rescue Me”, “Strength In Numbers” which really seems to have taken a life of it’s own on this run of dates. As always you leave the venue wanting more and never feeling that you haven’t been involved in a special event.

Long may we get this band playing shows and Festivals in the UK, they are still a force to be reckoned with live and it’s so hard not to sing along to the classic tracks. This time around it was great to hear some of the tracks from Strength In Numbers that don’t very often get an airing, alongside a track most people have never heard and the undeniable force that songs like “Forever Young” (where Danny was joined by VEGAs Nick Workman) and the wonderful set closer “Standing Alone”. Terrific way to end a really great evenings entertainment with the knowledge that there’s lots more to come on Day’s 2 and 3.

Track list:

Inherit The Wind

Meet Me In The Night

All Over Me

Catch My Fall

The End Of Summer Days

Wait Forever

Big Money

Ain’t That Love

Write Your Name In The Sky

Why Do You Cry ?

Rescue Me

Strength In Numbers

Forever Young (with Nick Workman)

Encore :-

The Last Sunset

Reach

Standing Alone

copyright 2019© RPR Media UK / Tears Of Fire Photography

Elles Bailey – Whelans (Upstairs), Dublin – 07-03-2019

Review: Stephen Brophy

Photography: Stephen Brophy

Over the last couple of years Elles Bailey has become a force to be reckoned with on the Blues/Roots circuit and following on from some very hard work promoting and Touring her debut album ‘Wildfire‘, she is making a trip to my home town, Dublin,  in order to promote the follow up, the superb ‘Road I Call Home‘ and play her first headlining Irish date.

Opening the show this evening is Northern Irish Blues singer/songwriter Dom Martin, who plays a really good and gritty set. Prior to Dom hitting the stage though we get another insight into Elles Bailey, it is not very often in this day and age you will see a Headline act introduce their support for the night to the crowd, a very classy thing to do and generates a really cool atmosphere to kick things off. The songs are really good and the guitar playing even better, just creating a very nice sound, although the crowd at this stage of the evening was small they were certainly enjoying Dom’s set and that was very understandable. With songs from last years ‘Easy Way Out‘ EP, and probably the highlight being ‘The Rain Game‘, he certainly picked up some new followers tonight. Tracks like ‘Mercy‘ sounded great in an all too short set, always a great sign when a set flies by and you want to hear more.

Then it was onto the main event of the evening, for me I’d first seen Elles supporting Jo Harman in the Jazz Club in London, and I was hooked, not just from the music and delivery, but there’s an extremely engaging persona on stage, and the between song banter makes you feel a lot more involved in the show than perhaps with other artists. The band are extremely good, and the sound is great for a small room. The majority of the new songs were written in Nashville, some with renowned songwriters likes Bobby Wood and Dan Auerbach, and the fruits of this process are once again evident when you hear these songs live, just take the new single ‘Little Piece Of Heaven‘, it’s a cracker of a song, and is uplifting live. Plenty of highlights in tonights set ‘Deeper‘, ‘What’s The Matter With You‘ and ‘Medicine Man‘ from the new album and the title track of the debut ‘Wildfire‘ wonderful stuff. The musicians in this band all play a significant part in the show, and gel so well, but special mention has to go to Will Edmunds on guitar, who although spending the entire set in almost total darkness played beautifully, had there been one more light directed in the right direction it would have made a big difference, but he still made his presence felt.

When reviewing Elles new album I had picked out the closing track ‘Light In The Distance‘ as being one of the highlights of the release, but at the time did not know the back story from it, and as Elles told the crowd it elevated the song even more, this particular track, one that was written closer to home has a very personal feel to it but when you hear Elles singing it you automatically associate with the sentiments, it’s a piece of beauty especially with the keyboards and vocal powering through.

As Elles star continues to shine brighter this . This was for me always going to be ones of those “wow, I was there nights” I don’t think we are likely to see this artist again in venues like this for long, and as good as it is to be so close up and personal, you know that her music deserves to be heard by a wider audience. Can’t wait to to see Elles again and the pieces of magic from the album are even more magical live, go see these shows if you can.

Setlist –

Wild Wild West

Miss Me When I’m Gone

Deeper

What’s The Matter With You

Little Piece Of Heaven

Wildfire

When I Go Away

Perfect Storm

Light In The Distance

Hell Or Highwater

Medicine Man

Woman Like Me

Help Somebody

Road I Call Home

Howlin Wolf

Encore

Girl Who Owned The Blues

Once again the Monsters Of Rock Cruise has been and gone after yet another fantastic line-up.

One of our photographer friends, Randy Cook from Horns Raised, has sent us the following photos. As with any festival etc it’s impossible to cover every band, so here’s a selection:

(All photos copyright© Randy Cook )

 

Eclipse

Faster Pussycat

Queensrÿche

Vixen

Brian Howe

Lies Deceit & Treachery

Skid Row

Tom Keifer Band

U.D.O.

Bulletboys

Extreme

Femme Fatale

Kix

Metalichi

Richie Kotzen

Saxon

Tesla

Tora Tora

Y & T

Rose Tattoo

Quireboys

Michael Grant & The Assassins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Collateral – The Black Heart, Camden, Feb 7th 2019

Reviewer / photographer – Dan Mann

The last twelve months has seen Collateral get a foot in the door to the next level of rock stardom.

Their appearance last night at The Black Heart, Camden certainly kicked off 2019 in style, introduced onstage by Planet Rock‘s Paul Anthony, the band launched into a set of original material in front of an enthusiastic sell out crowd who happily sang along to every song.

This was a showcase of how a hungry young rock band should perform, their enjoyment and enthusiasm clearly showing, as they stormed through their set, ending on their current single ‘Midnight Queen‘, a song that’s undergone a new mix by Romesh Dodangoda  and is currently on Planet Rock’s playlist.

If you’ve not yet seen Collateral play, then grab the chance now before they’re playing arenas!!

Set List:

1 – Calm Before The Storm

2 – When Faith Breaks

3 – You Were the Only One

4 – Going With The Wind *

5 – Coming Home

6 – Move On

7 – Just Waiting For You *

8 – Promise Land **

9 – Merry Go Round **

10 – Lullaby Encore **

11- Midnight Queen * + **

*Denotes songs from ‘4 Shots! EP‘ **Denotes songs from forthcoming debut album

all images copy-write© RPR Media UK