Pick Your Rock and Metal

Friday, March 17, 2017

LIVE REVIEW: Hard Rock Hell AOR 2017, Lita and many more

AFTER a painfully early start to the day doing the rounds in media, we finally managed to escape the clutches of press engagements to catch Jizzy Pearl celebrating 25 years of ‘Wasted in America’ with his current UK line-up as the belated first band of the day.

Specially put together for Jizzy’s current UK engagements, the band although only two gigs in, sounded tight as ever. The set was jam packed full of fan favourites with the band playing a combination of hits from ‘Wasted in America’ including ‘Yucca Man’ ‘Happy Hour’ and ‘Evil Twin’ alongside Blackout anthems such as ‘…Dope’ and a quick-fire rendition of ‘Blackout in the red room’. Jizzy commanded the audience throughout and it was regarded by many as one of the must-see sets of the weekend.

Next up, Bang Tango. Although cancelling their other prior UK engagements outside of the festival, they still graced the stage at HRH and thus made this appearance even more of a rare treat. The instant the band hit the stage they were reminiscent of Faster Pussycat in their earlier days with a gritty snot-punk attitude and sleaze oozing from their every pore. Playing to a more passive audience than Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate, their sleaze rock hooks and hedonistic agenda was sadly lost on those beyond the first few rows.

Feel-good rockers Autograph turned things up a notch, as they do best. (Although, no radios in sight this time!) Whilst they are best known for this upbeat anthem, this seemed to be enough to seduce the curiosity of the crowd and draw people in to get to know more. Overall an entertaining and fun set from the band but unfortunately, we had to dash off mid-set for a date with Miss Lita Ford. (That’s not something you get to say often!)

Dashing back up to the arena post-Lita, we managed to catch the remainder of FM’s set. A masterclass in melodic rock and the true definition of AOR. Consummate professionals throughout, FM provide a glossy, high-quality performance and hit the audience with arena-sized anthems such as ‘Let Love Be The Leader’ and ‘That Girl’ – all of which wouldn’t be out of place in the best and cheesiest of 80’s action movies, which is of course no bad thing.

The day finally closed with the lady in red that we’ve all been waiting for, Lita Ford. Although initial sound problems affected the beginning of the set, there was no stopping her.

With an incredibly strong band backing her, Lita is a tour de force of a headliner not to be messed with. She speaks honestly and openly to the audience throughout, just as she as she does in her autobiography, and envelops us with her warm and welcoming aura.

Although an icon, Lita isn’t afraid to have fun on stage, notably demonstrated by her selection of Ozzy ‘Howie’ Osbourne from the audience to mime along with her on hit duet ‘Close My Eyes Forever’ – definitely an uplifting twist on the song! Throwing The Runaways ‘Cherry Bomb’ into the set as well as Sex Pistols cover ‘Black Leather’ kept it fresh and interesting throughout. Ending the night on 80’s classic ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ the crowd retired from day two of the festival with their thirst for rock and roll severely quenched.
Review by Lynn Carberry
Pictures by Darren McVeigh - to view all Darren's pics from HRH AOR 2017 click here.

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