Pick Your Rock and Metal

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

LIVE REVIEW: Hard Rock Hell X - Day Three: Power mingled with poignancy produces triumphant climax to Year 10

AS Day three of Hard Rock Hell dawned there was a certain poignancy for many.  It was just a day short of the anniversary of the Paris attacks that included the massacre at the Bataclan as the Eagles of Death Metal were playing.

Looking back the shock as we learned the news was quickly overtaken by a sense of defiance - a sense that this was our community and it is a community that does not cower.

Rock and metal musicians moved on and continued to tour. Fans still go out to shows. We mourn and we move on, celebratory but reflective. Hard Rock Hell and all associated keep the faith in the curative, cathartic effect of music.

Thus, come Saturday's bright skies HRH newbies, Vets, Royalty, Dark Circle, reporters and photographers - not to mention the entire Chic Festivals team - once more gathered in bars, restaurant and across two venues to feed eagerly on the buzz music creates that feeds the soul and raises spirits.

On the closing day of Hard Rock Hell X once again there was a plethora of rock, metal and blues to titillate the aural tracts of thousands.

That variety is, as referred to previously, can be an issue when trying to catch bands across the two venues, but then again it's a nice problem to have...

Amongst the highlights on Arena Two - a.k.a. The Boardwalk, were Tequila Mockingbyrd bringing their Aussie blues right down to bare knuckle brilliance and Red Spektor with their sophisticated psych stoner groove.

Angst and anger powering their dark lyrics and elegant three guitar-led music Cross Eyed Mary delivered, with the songs from their 'Nil By Mouth' EP standing out.

Leader of Down is a band that has been a while gelling after they began work with the late Wurzel, but given their performance their forthcoming album (which features two songs with Lemmy singing) will be anticipated by many.

Equally Aaronn Buchanan and The Cult Classics deliver a super set, but given Aaron's pedigree with Heaven's Basement and the assembled experience of the band they will rise to headier heights in the near future.

Ginger Wildheart was a busy man on the Saturday at HRH. First he was up on stage with his power pop/punk project Hey! Hello! delivering frenetic fun. Later on he came on to perform a Ginger Wildheart as expected with attitude and melodies cramming into every second.

Bernie Marsden has attitude, but in a different way as he squeezes every ounce of emotion from his guitar. With Neil Murray - an colleague from Whitesnake - at his side it wasn't just the 'Snake songs that shone but the Marsden solo tracks that were eeked out with precision.

Soil are best remembered by many of the Scuzz and Kerrang! TV channels for the epic 'Halo'. Whilst it was a fitting finale - with McCombs ending the set in the audience - the Illinois foursome featured songs from 'Scars' as well as more recent tracks; all greeted by the crowd down the front with glee.

The panache of Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons was to be expected, there was some apprehension amongst some as to how RATT would be received given that only Blotzer remains and the rest have been playing under the RATT name for less than a year. However, 'Out of the Cellar'-like dark depths of the venue the bogeying and bopping greeted them, as well as singing to every chorus.

It was good to have them 'Back For More' but all were sure that they were still able to 'Lay It Down'.

With many having waited years to see Molly Hatchet there was a real sense of anticipation. With the live album 'Double Trouble Live' capturing so many hearts in 1985 and beyond it was sure that they would feature the tracks from that era, which included so many epics from 'Flirtin' With Disaster' and Beating The Odds'.

North Wales was transported to 'Gator County' as Phil McCormack's down South drawl conjuring up swamps and dangerous journeys through the 'Glades.

It was also a set that was packed with emotional songs, with 'Fall Of The Peacemakers' heartfelt performance powering through any crusts still intact. Dave Hlubeck and Bobby Ingram's guitars weaving the southern rock around the arena like twin snake charmers calling all to rock 'n' roll arms.

Like RATT some may have questioned the validity of the line-up, but half of the members have been under the Hatchet banner since the 80s, and all clearly have southern boogie running through their veins. And, when they play 'Dreams I'll Never See' so well this was validation of why all want to see more from Molly Hatchet.

As the smiling hordes stumbled back to caravans, chalets, apartments and hotels the 10th Anniversary of Hard Rock Hell closed, a success once more. The pain that all in the rock community a year previously will never be forgotten, but neither will the music that formed the people attending, the passion displayed as ever.

Friends, fans and bands united in one cause. Rock and Fucking Roll! Screw the rest, together we are the best.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dave Hlubeck wasn't even with Hatchet, quality reporting