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Monday, 18 March 2019

HRH AOR VII - Presthaven Sands, Prestatyn, Saturday 16th March 2019

HRH VII - Presthaven Sands, Prestatyn. Saturday 16th March

After the Friday shows, I think we acclimatised to Saturday much better. There seemed fewer people around, I didn’t witness queuing, but that bloke who smelt of piss was still following me around!

Saturday or as I prefer to call it, MSM (military style metal) as its an endurance in standing, and is like a cult meeting/conversion all rolled into one. You come out the end of it a new person’ and with feet like a ballet dancer - fucked!
Those who decided to stay away, or were hungover, or waiting Wales win the Grand Slam (Get in!),  they missed some belters…..

Psycho Kiss were on the bill back in '15, and left me a bit underwhelmed back then.

This time though they got their act together and were not going to let a second chance on the big stage go begging. In this PC world I’m not sure I can say if Helen Ceri Clark had a set of lungs on her, but hey, I'm 52 and not going to change any day soon. She commanded the stage with a lot of energy (she had to as the others up front were as active as mannequins) and her raspy wail was a huge bonus. They started off well, and just got a better response after each and every song, and even got a loud ‘awwww’ when they announced their last song. A definite improvement on their last showing. Highlights were ‘No Good Pretending’, ‘Grieve For You’ and ‘Home’. And a few songs about drinking! Great start.


I had seen some clips of  Saints Of Sin and was expecting something good. What I wasn’t expecting was how fucking good they actually were. They completely shattered my expectations. In a world of cheap imitations,  they were the real deal in fact. They were immediately accepted by the big crowd; they had the looks, energy, were polished and even well choreographed. SoS therefore were not going to take any prisoners. Vocalist Rui Brito could be Gary Cherone visually, but he was his own singer. Confident, with a great voice and even greater stage presence, this guy fucking rocked, as did all of Saints Of Sin. The twin guitar attack of Sophie Burrell and Marcus Sparxx Jenkins was a joy to watch. With bassist Ashley Jenkins adding in harmonies with Burrell and the other Jenkins I was completely sold. Kudos as well to Josh Rose to keep everything hammering along. Oh, and the songs were fab! These guys deserve to go far. My only doubt is they very few bands make any money out of being a hair metal band, but hey, these guys are heroes in my mind for pushing this brand. Closer '21 Shots' is a belting new track that could catapult them. 'Heart Attack', 'Feed The Fire', it was blam, blam blam! Those who were still hungover missed the band of the day for me  ( didn’t need to see anyone else Sat to confirm this), as they levelled Stage 1. What. A. Band.

Daylight Robbery announced that they were a singer short in Tony Nicholl for HRH,
and just posted a pic of a four piece only last week leading up to HRH. We were speculating who was going to sing. Mr Fluffy had his money on the bassist  (Colin Murdoch), me the guitarist (Mark Carleton). We were both right (yay) and also pleasantly surprised as they both alternated lines and shared vocals. To say they were a Poundland Coverdale/Hughes would be rude, but no pair can match these two, so I’ll settle on John Lewis instead. In fact with these two in charge, they upped their game and the songs were fresh and strong. The new dynamic made for a stronger set, even though it was probably similar  to the last time. Any band that has harmonies, uses his whammy bar and has a Hammond organ sound gets my vote!! ‘Digital Preacher’ made me prick up my ears, due to the surprise of vocals from both fellas, and the usual suspect of ‘Samara Never Sleeps’ gets the biggest cheer.

Kane’d are now seasoned professionals at HRH and the crowd had built in anticipation
for them.  I don’t know why there was a lot of blokes in the audience - Im guessing they are fans of triple vocals/harmonies.  Someone else stated perverts! The first time I saw Kane’d I was blown away, the second, not so much. However, three times the charm is the saying I’m searching for, because in Kane sisters Steph, Chez and Stacy, they are three strong, powerful women who can pretty much sing anything! They have been hard at it on the road the past few years and its now showing in their confident performance. With the recent new album, they now have additional material that adds to an already good set of songs. I only caught part of their set, but the likes of lively opener ‘Show Me Your Skeleton’, the fab ‘Guilty Of Nothin’’, and the infectious ‘La Di Da’ they went down a storm. Da Iawn.

I ambled over to catch  Blood Red Saints, also known as ‘TBA’ to see a masterclass in both stand up comedy and 80s rock! Thankfully Pete McIntyre didn’t go on about his ‘man drawer’ and settled in belting out some cracking tunes. ‘Freak’ is a Nickleback sound for BRS, new song ‘Cross To Bare’ from their critically slammed album is a belter. I like the heavier stuff! Godfrey went into the crowd and used the 80s ego ramp (fuck know what it is actually there for!) and dedicated ‘Unbreakable’ to a friend a lot of us know who had some bad news dealt on Friday. This moment would make him and his friends very proud. They did a Steel Panther for ‘Message to God’ where Godfrey shouts out a number and the band play that note, first ‘5 times’ and then ’23’ and was nailed to the incredulity of the crowd and Godfrey! With songs like ‘Dangerous’, I’m Your Devil’, and closer ‘Better Days’ BRS are one of the few actual AOR bands to play HRH AOR. Considering they were a late announcement, their set was bloody brilliant. I’m just glad they weren’t The Quireboys! Next year give them a higher slot as they thoroughly deserve it.

In any other era, but most likely the 1980s, Rob Wylde would have been a rock god. A couple of years back, his Teenage Casket Company had one the sets of the weekend, and in Midnite City they were not going to let an opportunity like this slip either. In Josh Williams, Shawn Charvette, and Pete Newdeck, the combination of harmonies and backing vocals are off the scale! With Miles Meakin that have a guitarist who can play anything. Rob prances around with intent, but not too far away from his stage fan (A Harmony hairspray endorsement is on it way!) and shows he is a consummate front man. It’s very easy to look the part, but Midnite City actually sound the part, and like Vega, their songs are perfect for a festival crowd and are both anthemic and powerful. I get the impression that everything is planned, from the outfits, the hair, and more importantly their stellar performances. There is nothing wrong with planning, as it pays dividends when you want to stand out above all others, and they certainly did so today. ‘Here Comes The Party’ is a cracking opener, and with huge songs like ‘One Step Away’, ‘Summer Of Our Lives’, ‘Life Aint Like This On The Radio’ and ‘Give Me Love’, Midnite City gave one of the performances of the day. These guys should be huge I tell ya, HUGE!

The Electric Boys were the Ronseal band of the day, as in, you know exactly what it
says on the tin, lots of groove laden songs, and in Conny Bloom, a singer who is a rock star from head to toe. Some thirty odd years down the line, he still sounds (and looks), great. If you didn’t think they had enough groove for ‘Groovus Maximus,’ they actually dialled up the groove for Electrified. Their RSD song ‘Gone, Gone, Gone’ was more straight down the line rock, and was a great song. More like this please to liven up the set. The highlight for me was the obvious ‘All Hips and Lips’ a true classic and was the song that most wanted, and expected as a closer. They were good, but it was all very similar.

I arrived half way into the set for Pretty Boy Floyd and I was wondering what the noise was. A wail that can only be described as Jizzy Pearl on helium, whilst being kicked in the bollox at the same time welcomed me, and it was downhill from there for me. Mr Fluffy thought they were awesome, but I though the polar opposite. Steve ‘Sex’ Summers (yeah) talked way too much for my liking, and drew a few comments from around me to ‘get on with it you twat). I suppose this is a plus point, as it meant less singing (screaming) for me. He stated that ‘ we are trying to keep sleaze metal alive’. I thought he is going a long way to killing it off altogether.

The term ‘legend’ is used way too frequently, but in Ted ‘call me Ted’ Poley, the ‘legend’ term is justified. His credentials are second to none, he engages with the crowd, a lot to be honest, to the point where he just wants to be with his people and it makes for a great gig. By ‘Out Of Control’, Ted was on fire, and it wasn’t just his piss that was burning!! Thankfully his stone passed the day before and made for a nice bit of medical history and a good laugh. Little Ted is now fully operational! With Degreed as his band, they were great, and with songs from his solo career, Tokyo Motor Fist and Danger Danger, all basses were covered. For me, it was the Danger Danger songs that were the best - 'Bang Bang', 'Under The Gun', 'Crazy Nites', 'Monkey Business', and the awesome singalong encore of 'I Still Think About You'. The guy is absolutely genuine in his love for his audience, and that love is paid back ten-fold. Ted is King! Please don't retire in three years time while you still have so much to give!

Heavy Pettin’ were on stage 2 to close out the festival. HRH need kicking in the bollox
for putting them on there as they are a bonafide nailed down certainty for the main stage. In my eyes, they should have been in place of Pretty Boy Floyd as they have a set of songs that deserve a packed audience. It’s only Hamie and Bonnar from the 80s, but the new guys (especially Dave Aitken) add some punch to an already great band. I never saw them back in the 80s but was a big fan, and after tonight's performance even more so. The stage is a bit crowded for the five of them but that leads to numerous opportunities for the guys to jump off the stage and milk the crowd for its worth. ‘Love Times Love’, In And Out Of Love’, ‘Break It Down’ and ‘Rock Me’ are massive, and you somewhat forget how great a set of songs Heavy Pettin’ have to fall on. The inclusion of ‘Soul Survivor’ was as big for me as UFO playing ‘Making Moves’ so I was extremely happy. Hamie does not has his ‘yip’ at the end of his lines anymore, but if anything, he is all the better for it. I am just glad that Heavy Pettin’ are back! If you enjoyed Burnt Out Wrecks version of ‘Rock Aint Dead’, Hamie, Bonnar et al showed how it should really be done. If you didn’t catch them, you missed a huge performance. What a way to finish the Saturday…….

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