HRH Sleaze Day 2 begins, and already we’ve lost our voices singing along with Vain and Tigertailz last night! Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop us hitting the venue bright and early to catch some phenomenal acts taking the stage today. Unfortunately, not quite early enough to catch the full acoustic set performed by Sister.
Now, I know what you are thinking, Sister? Acoustic? Yep, that really happened – and from the small portion that we did catch paired with audience feedback, it seemed to go down rather well and transferred more easily than you might assume!
Today, unlike yesterday – both stages opened simultaneously. This meant a lot of back and forth the for those who were trying to catch everyone. In our case, we decided to cut our losses and stay camped at the main stage for the majority of the day – as we just didn’t have the manpower to be able to capture both.
Although it was early doors for the Cruel Intentions – particularly for those who like to backcomb, coif and pose their hair accordingly for the genre – they managed to pull a healthy crowd in the venue. Looking around, you can certainly see some alarms were set fairly early this morning! This is only their third UK appearance and they absolutely owned it. (Although this reviewer did have the privilege of having a lock-in with the band in Bannerman’s for her birthday earlier this year!)
Harking back to some Veins Of Jenna songs, the crowd absolutely lapped this up and at one point it seemed there might even be a small version of a pit opening up! This band embodies the definition of sleaze; in fact, they are ambassadors of it. Seeming relaxed and comfortable on stage the band blistered through their set, chucking out free t-shirts and tickets whilst hollering “We’re never gonna be rich anyway”. The boys promised us their new album next year, that is if everything goes to plan, and we cannot wait to hear it. It’s sure to bring back that Scandi-sleaze sound that the scene had circa 2009 - 2011.
Bulletrain were next up on the main stage, and this saw the chaps play their first ever UK show, which as an audience member, was completely endearing to watch. Although perhaps not entirely ready for this festival, the band soldier on. The one elephant in the room we have to talk about is the singer, Sebbea. A topless Adonis of a man that certainly helped in drawing the female members of the audience closer to the stage for sure. Although, I have to say that I felt this band had elements of NWOBHM and might fit the bracket of AOR better than Sleaze.
Next up – Sister. One of my must-see bands of the weekend. This band are the antithesis of bubble-gum glam, engulfed in eyeliner, branded in Killstar and your Mum’s worst nightmare. What’s not to love about them? The band are ferocious on stage and absolutely win the award for the heaviest band of the weekend. A highlight of the set was Spit On Me, wherein frontman and cult leader Jamie Anderson invites the audience to openly do their worst grog on him. An entirely different vibe to the rest of this evenings bands, and I LOVE it. (Although we made sure to stay well away from the front when they played that song!) The bass tone from Martin Sweet rumbles through the audience, collapsing and crumbling the room from beneath us and textured like cemetery dirt. This death procession leads the band throughout their set. A fabulous performance which saw even the poser’s rise to the occasion.
Next, a slight change in pace and style as Spread Eagle hit the main stage. Unfortunately, this sees those who stood up and shouted for Sister dissipate into the shadows as it’s not exactly their thing. We’re not sure whether it’s the time of day, people needing to be fed or what – but there is a definite slump in the crowd, both in numbers and energy. The band carries on and singer Ray West does his best to keep the remainders on side. It’s a real shame as it could have been potentially a great set packed with classics and less of the instrumental breaks in between.
Jizzy Pearl’s Love/Hate soon solve this slump and do so rapidly. Jizzy, entering the stage like a prowling tiger, assaults his audience with quick tempos and a voice that could shatter glass. In our opinion, he’s never been better. The crowd push and pack in for the first time this weekend, all aiming to get just a little closer. Guitarist, Stevie Pearce seems like he’s soloing so furiously at times that his guitar may just fly off and take wings.
And then there’s Christian Kimmett on the bass – can we give this man a round of applause for pulling off those basslines, please? Unlike those bassists (who shall remain nameless) who prefer to play open with one hand and have a drink in the other, Christian barely comes up for air – let alone a drink. The UK band Jizzy has behind him are tight and he knows it and the set was hit after hit after hit. The energy that Love/Hate create is unlike anything else. It encourages your inner angst and brings your anger out – in a non-Slipknot kind of way, of course – so much so that we see the crows tussling and jostling with one another whilst getting into the groove. The only band of the weekend to summon this level of emotional reaction from the crowd.
This wild energy is then juxtaposed and reigned back in by the serenity of Tyla and his anthology of boozy shanties. I’ll be honest, I questioned whether Tyla was right for a festival named Sleaze – don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan and I’ve seen his acoustic sets more than I’ve had hot dinners, but my wondering was would he really translate well to this audience?
Well, I can comfortably say my wonderings were an utter waste of time. The room swelled with people for the sharp dressed man and the audience sing-alongs throughout his set were unparalleled. The beautiful gift that Tyla has, is that you don’t need to know the songs to join in – just give yourself a couple of choruses and you’ll be “Woah-oh-ohing” with the best of them. A phenomenal set from Mr Pallas, the only one of the weekend which seemed to unite the whole entire audience.
Closing the night, and the weekend is Faster Pussycat and we’re unsure what to expect – and given their recent dramas as to whether they’d even make it to the festival. (Good news – they did!) A highly anticipated set, with many in the audience, either having not seen them since the 80s or ticket holders who’ve avidly been awaiting their return to these shores.
Taime demonstrates effortless coolness throughout - shaded, hatted and suit jacketed up. You can feel the sleaze seeping from every pore of Mr Downe – so much so he should have had a ‘Slippery When Wet’ sign poised near him, just in case any fans suffered any injuries! And just like his aura, his performance (and the band’s) was effortless – proving that he can sing all the hits just as good as when they were first penned.
A fantastic weekend – and we can only hope that HRH Sleaze becomes it’s own three-day festival in the usual place to tide us all over between AOR’s!
Review by Lynn Carberry
Pictures by Simon Dunkerly