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

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.

Newman

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.

Dante Fox

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.

Eclipse

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 –

Iconic Eye

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.

COP UK

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.

Lawless

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. 

Night Ranger

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.

DARE

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.

Skid Row

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.

 

 

HRH AOR 3

HRH AOR 3 (12-14 Mar 2015)

Reviewer: Peter Scallan

Photographer: Stephen Brophy

Day 0

Hard Rock Hell AOR has grown as an event since its launch in 2013 at the Magna Centre in Rotherham. I thought this venue was excellent but it caused a lot of logistical problems for organisers Chic Talent. Therefore, last year they moved it to the spiritual home of HRH at Hafan Y Mor in Pwllheli, North Wales. While maybe not quite having the quirkiness of the Magna, the venue delivers an excellent experience. The festival is in essence a two day festival and day 0 is a party night on the Thursday evening. Unfortunately due to a combination of travelling and some very fine single malt whisky, I only managed to see the last two bands.

Angels or Kings (AOK)
Angels or Kings (AOK)

I caught Angels or Kings (AOK) set and the guys were running through songs from the debut album Kings of          Nowhere. For me what really sets AOK apart from the competition is vocalist Barrie Jackson’s rasping but melodic vocals. The sound out front was poor but the band rocked along and certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves, and deservingly got a good reception.

Stephen Brophy ©
Chris Gould (Serpentine)

Headline act for the party night were Serpentine who also played at the inaugural 2013 event. However, they seem to have undergone some lineup changes since then. They now sport vocalist Adam Payne in the place of Matt Black. These guys also suffered a poor out front sound but new singer Payne is certainly impressive and carries some of the mediocre songs. Admittedly I am not overly familiar with Serpentine’s back catalogue but the song quality was a little inconsistent but the performance sound and gain they deserved the reception they got on the night. Both bands I would think will have done themselves little harm with their respective shows.

Day 1

Stephen Brophy©
George Aspiotis (Kingdragon)

And so to the festival proper! Due a late breakfast shared with the wonderful Ashcrofts and a brisk walk on the beach being required to shake off the single malt after effects, I didn’t get to the main stage until just before Kingdragon from Greece hit the stage. They certainly came across as polished musically sounding a little progressive in places. They had some decent songs, the best of which for me was ‘Dreams are Broken’ (if my sketchy notes are right).

These guys were followed by Night by Night who had lost their vocalist and seem to be making an unfortunate habit of this! They need to be more careful. New Device vocalist Daniel Leight stepped into the breach and I don’t know how much preparation he had, but I thought he did a sterling job. He proved to not only have a great voice, but also to be a great frontman. The guys ran through a set of great British melodic rock with some great individual guitar contributions and some great harmony guitar work. Not being familiar with the material, most of it was grabbing me on the first listen and I need to check these guys out more.

Although looking forward to Vega, by this time hunger and thirst pangs had got the better of me and I missed these guys (much to my annoyance) and The Poodles, whom I have managed to live without my entire life so far with little impact.

Stephen Brophy©
Michael Lee Smith (Starz)

I returned to the main area to catch Starz, more out of AOR curiosity I must admit, as the owner of their 1979 effort Coliseum Rock. More novelty value than anything else, the guys looked like they were having an absolute blast running through material older than some of the audience. They certainly brought something different to the day and live renditions of their material only served to remind more of the Kiss influence! More for AOR geeks, I don’t think they quite fitted the audience and/or event.

Stephen Brophy©
Darren Wharton (Dare)

Next up were Dare, whom I must confess I have never been a huge fan of. However, the mix Celtic influenced rock and AOR on the night really worked for me with Darren Wharton gently wooing the audience and Vinny Burns smacking them round the head with his guitar playing and even playing the second half of the set with a Flying V. It did get a little too Celtic in the middle but they kicked up a gear with songs from the first album including the awesome Abandon, Into The Fire, The Raindance, and King Of Spades in quick succession. A superb set and lead us quite nicely the next act.

 

Stephen Brophy©
Eric Rivers (H.E.A.T)

 

Who were of course Swedish rockers H.E.A.T Having seen these guys three times in the last two years they have got to be one of the most consistent acts on the circuit and you just know what you are getting. These guys just rock and opened with Point of No Return and drew predominantly on the set for the Live in London album. This included mostly songs from albums Address The Nation and Tearing Down The Walls as well as some earlier songs. The sheer energy from these guys is phenomenal, especially singer Erik Gronwall who bounces about like Tigger on acid and never misses a beat or a note in his performance. They provided an accomplished and energetic set and it makes me wonder why these guys aren’t even bigger than they are. My only complaint on the evening was it seemed incredibly loud and distorted, but maybe I am just getting too old for this stuff! Certainly set us up nicely for the Saturday!

Day 2

Stephen Brophy©
Jules Mills (White Widdow)

By the time this old guy got his act together and got down to the AOR hall, Australian act White Widdow were hitting the stage. Jules Mills seemed to be struggling a little vocally, but when he hit his stride he was good. In addition, I thought he was a pretty awesome frontman and showing some real flashes of humour, especially his comment about the Poodles talking about traveling so far which went along the lines of ‘try coming from Australia’! Guitarist Enzo Almanzi proved to be no slouch either. Add to that for me these guys were the first genuine AOR band I had seen all weekend, I thought they were great. Drawing from their three albums, with some new songs from the Caught in the Crossfire album I thoroughly enjoyed the set and look forward to seeing these guys again the next time the hot these shores.

Stephen Brophy©
Erik Mårtensson (Eclipse)

Next up were hot melodic hard rock sensations Eclipse. Now I totally get just how talented Eric Martenson is in terms of vocals, guitars, songwriting and production, but it just doesn’t work for me I am afraid. Excellently executed by superb musicians, it just leaves me cold and sounds a little fabricated. I know that will make me the odd man out, but music is subjective and not objective and I left after four songs to grab some food.

Stephen Brophy©
Hank Erix (Houston)

 

 

 

 

I returned to catch Houston’s set which I was looking forward to. The band has undergone a line-up shuffle and Hank Erix has come in for some criticism for his live performances. For me the only disappointing aspect was the size of the crowd! These guys were the bona fide AOR band of the weekend and played a superb selection of polished songs from both their original and cover albums. Favourite for me by far was Return My Heart but the guys have superb cache of original songs. They maybe played more covers in the set but the standout cover for me was Carrie from Michael Bolton’s first solo album. It truly showed how accomplished Hank is as a vocalist and the new single Standing on the Moon bodes very well for the next album – just hurry up and get it out Hank!

Stephen Brophy©
Merv Goldsworthy (FM)

I ducked out of Romeo’s Daughter to suitably refresh myself before returning for the mighty FM. Having just realised what I consider to be their best album since Indiscreet I was looking forward to this immensely. Like H.E.A.T these guys always deliver and you know what you are getting. However, as if it were even possible, they have got even better live. Steve Overland who is most definitely ‘the Man’ seems to have accepted he is the band frontman and has started putting down his guitar to great effect. Really engaging with the crowd has taken FM’s live performances to another level. I also happen to think that Jim Kirkpatrick presence in the band is now really being felt live. He brings an edgy, blusier feel to live sound and really adds something to the mix. Perhaps the Man’s confidence in his ability is one of the reasons he feels comfortable after all these years being the Man at the front. Absolutely, gob-smackingly marvellous they were! Rumour even has it that Night Ranger closed down the back stage area so they could watch FM!

And as for Night Ranger themselves, well I witnessed possibly the best display from any band at HRH AOR since its inception. Considering how long these guys have been about, the energy from them was amazing. Jack Blades was all over the place and Brad Gillis had such a manic smile on his face he could be the Joker in a Batman movie – and what an awesome player! The band has recently been joined by Keri Kelli from Alice Coopers touring band and he fits in perfectly both musically and personality-wise. And he is no slouch either, giving Brad as good as he got! Kelly Keagy steps from behind the drums to sing a couple of songs and his voice seems to be even better than it was in 80s/90s. Playing mainly songs from the first 4/5 albums and of course the new album, the guys threw in a couple of curve balls covering their other projects including Damn Yankees and Alice Cooper’s Schools Out and Ozzy Osbourne’s Crazy Train. While some might question throwing these in, it all just added to the absolutely awesome party atmosphere the guys created and they give the kind of professional kick-ass display you would expect of a band with 35 years plus experience. And of course, closing with You Can Still Rock in America – how can you fail to be impressed! Superlatives fail me! Night Ranger were indeed fitting closing act for another great HRH AOR weekend.

Well done Chic Talent and I look forward to next year already!

 

DR FBTE COVER FRONT

Daylight Robbery – Falling Back To Earth

Reviewer: Dan Mann

It’s great to finally get to listen to not only new material from Daylight Robbery, but their second album no less.

I really enjoyed the band’s first album ‘Cross Your Heart’ and their performance at the inaugural HRH AOR in Rotherham went down well with fans & critics alike.

The keyboard infused intro of ‘Into the Arena’ launches you into territory which for those of you familiar with the band is instantly recognisable as Daylight Robbery. Tony Nicholls vocals, strong as always, with just the right mixture from the rest of the band. I say that because there is a tendency with some releases to overemphasise certain instruments, at the detriment of the others and the over all mix.

The rest of the band being keyboardist David Billingham, who by adding piano into the mix as well as the usual keyboards enhances the feel and vibe. Guitarist Mark Carleton gives the album good solid guitar work without making the breaks overindulgent and egotistical. And then there’s the rock solid rhythm section of Colin Murdock on bass and Chris Miller on drums underpinning everything.

The album was produced by the band themselves and mixed by Sheena Shea (Magnum, Robert Plant, TNT etc…) And a well produced and mixed release it is too thankfully. I would have been so disappointed if the album had been let down in these areas.

‘Samarah Never Sleeps’ is a track I’m already familiar with it having been released as a single back in the Summer. As I’ve played it quite a few times previously it’s almost like an old friend so to speak.

I absolutely love the instrumental break two thirds into the track ‘Paradise Is Lost’, fabulous stuff indeed.

What you get is a strong melodic hard rock album, one that can certainly stand with it’s head held high.

Listening to this album I begin to wonder why the hell this band aren’t a lot bigger on the scene. This stuff ticks every box, or it does in my humble opinion.

And they’re a great bunch of blokes into the bargain!

Okay, I’m somewhat biased, as I’m obviously a fan of this band. However, those of you who know me, know only too well that if this album hadn’t hit the mark for me, then I would of written a totally different review altogether

On this week’s show I’ve got some Shakra, Black N’ Blue, Kix & House of Lords.

A 2 From 1 from Aldo Nova. Special guest is Rene Shades, bassist for Pretty Maids.

And the first selection of interviews from HRH AOR, Moritz, Romeo’s Daughter, Dante Fox, Danny Vaughn, Mia Klose & Summers.
Yes it’s jam packed folks, two whole hours of great music & great chat.

So tune in this Saturday at 1pm GMT on Firebrand Rock Radio.

RPR -FBRR

 

Well I had a blast at HRH AOR it has to be said.

An amazing venue, the Magna Centre in Rotherham is an old steel works, how metal is that?

I saw as many acts as I could between doing interviews with various artists. Here’s a quick round up.

Day 1

DSCF0649

First on the bill were Spill Sixteen, a local band who despite early sound issues gave us a solid performance full of enthusiasm despite the small crowd. It’s this influx of new young bands that need our support.

Colin Murdock (Daylight Robbery)

Next up Daylight Robbery, one of the bands on my ‘list’ to see. and they didn’t disappoint. Singer Tony Nicholl has the type of rock voice that really appeals to me. They set the bar high for the rest of the bands to follow in my opinion.

Sue Willetts (DanteFox)

Managed to catch most of Dante Fox’s performance. Sue Willetts sounded nervous between songs but those nerves didn’t show during an excellent performance with new material off their latest album Lost Man’s Ground standing up well to a live rendition. Tiim Manford (Dante Fox)

Next up were Romeo’s Daughter with the lovely Leigh Matty on vocals. This is a band who have a real soft spot in the hearts of AOR fans and it was great to hear those great songs from the first album live again as well of course songs from Rapture and their comeback album, Delectable.

Danny Vaughn 2

I was looking forward to seeing Danny Vaughn having not seen him sing live since seeing him with Tyketto rather a long time ago! The crowd was buzzing as Danny gave us a superb performance of solo material from across his albums as well as some Tyketto tunes. There was a technical issue during his set, but ever the professional it did not affect Danny and his bands delivery of a great set. Danny Vaughn 1

Again due to interviews etc I didn’t get to see the whole of the next set from British AOR legends FM.

Steve Overland & Merv Goldsworthy (FM)

They really did deserve to have been bigger back in the 80’s, another well documented case of a UK band who didn’t hit the big time in the way people expected. And not due to lack of talent nor superb material. It’s so obvious how much the band still enjoy playing live, and I’m glad I managed to see them after again more years then I should mention.

And then what has to be one of the bands top of my list to see over the weekend. Jeff Keith, Brian Wheat (Tesla)

That band of course is Tesla, a band I never managed to see in those heady days of the late 80’s/early 90’s. Was I disappointed? Was I hell, I loved every minute of their set which peaked with an absolutely rocking Modern Day Cowboy.

Vega In quite a quirky end to the day’s line-up, Vega came on after the headliners!

It’s a real shame that the audience had diminished somewhat. But that certainly didn’t deter them from playing a great set to an appreciative crowd.

I rushed over to the second ‘stage’, which wasn’t a stage, in fact there wasn’t even a drum riser! Mia Klose

It was rather a long way it has to be said, I kept thinking I was about to find myself in Sheffield.

The reason for the rush was to catch a couple of songs from Swedish singer Mia Klose. Her album London, released last year, is full of  late 80’s feel good songs. Considering the restraints of the second stage, Miss Klose and her band played a very tight set.

Day 2

Niki (Barbe-Q-Barbies)

First band of the Sunday was Barbe-Q-Barbies. I’ll be honest and say I’m not overly familiar with their material having only heard their album Breaking All The Rules a couple of times. But again as like Spill Sixteen, the fact they were on first with a small crowd it did nothing to water down their set. Kaisa Karjalainen (Barbe-Q-Barbies)They remind me in some ways of the likes of Rock Goddess or Girlschool which is no bad thing.

Andrew Hunt (Buffalo Summer)3

Next we had Welsh rockers Buffalo Summer, a band I first heard on Jim Hussell’s Rock Show.

Very much in the Black Crows school of rock, they delivered a very polished performance and I can see them only growing in stature due to their delivery of some solid material. Darren King (Buffalo Summer)

H.E.A.T.There was no way I was going to miss the next band. I’ve been wanting to see H.e.a.t. since their first album.

They’ve only got better and better in my humble opinion. They were without doubt one of the act of the whole weekend with Erik Grönwall bouncing round the stage like Tigger after ten espressos! Erik Grönwall (H.E.A.T.)

The band are just so tight and any signs of the fact they’d barely had any sleep over the two previous days weren’t evident. Yes I sang along during Downtown, my favorite song from their third album Address The Nation.

What they did was left me impatient to see them again, something you always want from a band.

Jimmy Jay (H.E.A.T.)

I missed Ten unfortunately due to my other commitments but I was not going to miss seeing Moritz on the big stage. Moritz 2

The audience rapidly filled up as the band delivered a World class set of AOR & melodic rock. If the audience had known that vocalist Peter Scallan hadn’t sung live, with the exception of a few warm up gigs, since 1989 then they would of been totally gobsmacked!!

Pete Scallan (Moritz)

Any nerves the band had before they hit the stage were not in evidence, and it was plain to see how much this meant to them and how much they were enjoying the whole experience.

I was so pleased to see how they were received by the audience and there is no doubt they left the stage having gained a raft of new fans.

It takes a brave man to take to the stage armed only with an acoustic guitar.

Kip Winger

That man was Kip Winger. People who might only remember him as the front man of Winger will be doing him a disservice as his song writing is exceptional, and Kip delivered us a master class.

Rachel Bolan (Skid Row)  I’ve not seen Skid Row since about 1990 and so I’ve not seen them with Johnny Solinger on vocals.

Now they were most certainly a ‘Marmite’ band at HRH with myself being firmly in the ‘loved them’ camp.

No Seb’s not in the band, Johnny’s been the singer far longer then Seb was. Johnny Solinger

For me they were loud, hard & raw, just how I wanted them.

JSS

Now I didn’t think I’d manage to see any of Jeff Scott Soto’s set seeing as how he didn’t hit the stage until nearly 1am on Monday morning!

But I managed to last long enough to see the first few songs. BJ (Jeff Scott Soto Band)JSS is held in high regard as a vocalist and that is because he is! Plain & simple. Wish I’d seen all of the set as he was joined on stage by Nathan James to duet on Stand Up. If you’ve seen the YouTube footage of this you’ll understand why.

And there you have it, two days full of great music.

I shall be broadcasting the interviews I recorded over the next couple of show.