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Friday, March 17, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Hard Rock Hell AOR 2017 Day Two - Slaughter, Michael Monroe, LA Guns

HAVING mastered all things media related such as interviews and the like bright and early, we were ready to hit the stages and devour as many bands as possible on the last day of Hard Rock Hell AOR 2017.

The day’s viewing commenced at the mainstage with yet another Aussie band on the bill (And you thought you had a long trip to the festival!) The Radio Sun. A high energy set from the band with beautiful harmonies and infectiously catchy choruses that we were left singing all day. With their nice-guys-of-rock sound and guitar sequels reminiscent of all the W’s (Winger, Warrant, White Lion) they have an easy-listening quality that pairs well with their set time.

Venturing to the second stage, which ideally we would have loved to have done more of throughout the weekend, we caught the formidable Hell’s Addiction. You can hear the influences of bands old and new, such as Motley Crue and Santa Cruz pouring through the speakers as they play.
With a high-octane set their guitar solos will punch you in the face and leave you with a busted lip – exactly just the wakeup call you need mid-afternoon. These guys embody sleaze through and through and would be a welcome addition to HRH Sleaze in September. (Hint, hint.)

Stone Trigger was also a highlight of the day. Having just bagged themselves a tour wide support slot with LA Guns, this was a band not to be missed. As they took to the stage, with The Terminator theme playing, we’re unsure as to what exactly we’re about to witness. As the band kick in, the room slowly trickles full with their glam rock sound acting as a beacon to guide people in from the outside bars. The Dublin boys delivered a strong set with highlights including ‘Rattle Your Bones’ and ‘Black Venom’ but the piece de resistance of their set has to the Backstreet Boys cover of ‘Larger Than Life.’

Sordid Lies take pageantry and showmanship to whole new level. You may have seen their lead singer, Valen Vain (aptly named) around the site looking akin to a glam rock magpie and single headedly taking the title of ‘Best Accessories of the Weekend’. The band celebrate all things ostentatious and if you stand too close you may well have the singer power-thrust his crotch in your face. But don’t let the feather boa’s fool you, this band are one to watch with their sleazy riffs and high vocals. Definitely one to catch if coming to a venue near you!

Leaving just before the end of Sordid Lies, we hurried back over to the main stage to seal a spot in nice and close to catch newly reformed LA Guns. And we were not disappointed. Although notable sound issues with Phil Lewis’ vocals at the beginning of the set (they were barely audible) the band absolutely crushed their hour long set of firm fan favourites.
With hits such as ‘Sex Action’ and ‘Electric Gypsy’ the crowd were with them every minute of the way.
The twin guitar solo on ‘Over The Edge’ cemented the fact that they are back and better than ever, and the loudest audience en mass singalong of the weekend has to go to ‘Ballad of Jayne’.

Going into Michael Monroe, you have to wonder if the performance of LA Guns can be topped or even followed? But like the seasoned pro that he is, Michael Monroe always delivers.
With hits such as ‘Down with the Ship’ from his most recent album to Hanoi Rocks favourites such as ‘Malibu Beach Nightmare’ and the classic ‘Dead, Jail or Rock and Roll’ Monroe delivered a diverse and pleasing set.
Aside from set choice, Monroe’s stage antics alone were enough to keep the crowd entertained, including multiple hat changes, leaping barriers, crowd surfing and walking precariously along bannisters – all whilst still performing. All in a day’s work...

Slaughter closed the show and indeed the festival, and having not played the UK since 1992 there was a fair amount of buzz around their performance. Self-titled ‘Party Ambassador’ (see my interview with him) Mark Slaughter certainly lived up to the title, bringing his own brand of feel-good rock and roll to the festival.
Ending the set with their hit ‘Up All Night’ (pre-encore) this seems like an apt song and a fitting close to close the festival as after a whole weekend of being up all night, we think it’s fair to say that many HRHers will be sleeping all day tomorrow after a weekend full to the brim of bands.
Review by Lynn Carberry
Pictures by Darren McVeigh

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