Hard Rock Hell 12 Day 3
Saturday 10th November 2018
Pwllheli, Gwynedd, North Wales
13:40 - 14:25 Kaleb McKane
15:00 - 16:00 Hawklords
16:20 - 17:20 Massive
17:40 - 18:40 Tygers Of Pan Tang
19:00 - 20:00 John Coughlan's Quo
20:20 - 21:45 Femme Fatale
22:05 - 00:00 The Dead Daisies
12:00 - 12:30 The Bad Flowers
12:45 - 13:30 Ryders Creed
13:45 - 14:30 The Dukes Of Bordello
14:45 - 15:30 The Rising Souls
15:45 - 16:35 Stand Amongst Giants
16:45 - 17:30 Black Star Bullet
17:45 - 18:30 Walkway
18:45 - 19:30 Smoking Martha
19:45 - 20:30 The Loved & Lost
20:45 - 21:30 Riders To Ruin
21:45 - 22:30 Red Hawk Rising
22:45 - 23:45 Demon
00:00 - 01:00 The Wild!
All hail day 3. More rain than hail. As we make our way to the venue, Noah is spotted in the car park breaking pallets for his building project. Save us a space mate. Day 3 follows day 2's format with the two stages and 20 acts shared between them. Again it was a hokey-cokey between the stages, by way of the excellent bars. In, out, in, out and shake it all about.
Opening act on stage two are the marvellous Bad Flowers. The three piece fronted by blonde Tom Leighton with his blonde Tele get the party started with their fast paced Bluesy Rock. With Dale Tonks providing some fast paced bass and Karl Selckis battering the drums it was a great way to blow the cobwebs away as the Flying V through Orange amps proclaimed it was business as usual for the day.
The acts come thick and fast with Ryder's Creed up next (more cowbell.....) The Staffordshire 5 piece produced some more Hard Rock with a hint of Pearl Jam about it although the Classic rRck vein was strong. These lads were award winners at last year's HRH awards and are clearly a force to be reckoned with. The packed crowd enjoyed them. And then madness came to town as the Metal\mental Rockabilly experience that is The Dukes of Bordello from Southern Sheffield took to stage two. As they describe themselves, they are the Rock and Roll trashcan troubadours from the seedy side of town. Well this town hasn't got a good side so they fit right in. A 3 piece of vocals and guitar, full double bass and drums, they got the crowd rocking 'All in the name of Rock and Roll'.
Meanwhile, over on stage 1, opening act Kaleb McKane was cut from an entirely different cloth. Mainly tie-dyed and trippy as far as I could tell. Playing tracks from his 'Universe In Reverse' EP with early Bowie influences mixed with a Classic Rock edge. He's one of those artists that is difficult to pigeonhole, which I guess is just what he wants. Intricate guitar skills are displayed through unconventionally structured songs.
And so begins a day of contrasting styles on the main stage. HRH have always looked to mix it up with the acts that they book, although always within the boundaries of Classic Rock and Metal. Following acts like Hawklords, a Space Rock band formed and frequented by ex Hawkwind members give us, well, Hawkwind style Space Rock. And Massive, the hard working Rock band from Melbourne, although they cite their home town as 'the tour bus'. Like a number of the bands today, they are rising Stars and a familiar sight around the festivals and venues of Britain.
Back on stage two we are treated to Smoking Martha and their full on Aussie Punk come Rock performance. Front woman Tasha, dressed in the tightest shortest leopard skin number left us in no doubt about her credentials. A strong voiced wonder she mesmerized the fans with her Amy Lee sound.
Stage 1 gets our interest as we live the delights of our youth, or even our parents youth, as John Coghlan's Quo take to the stage. The eponymous Coghlan, long time drummer for the denimed giants, has put together a 4 piece that brings a raft of Quo classics back to enjoy again. Opening with 'Caroline', the band play some near note perfect renditions of 'Roll Over Lay Down', '(April), Spring Summer and Wednesdays', 'Break The Rules' and 'Paper Plane' as well as the original 'Pictures Of Matchstick Men' which is 50 years old this year. Emerging from behind his drumkit, Coghlan addresses the raptured crowd and remembers the much missed Rick Parfitt with a heartfelt round of applause from the audience. And in his memory they played the festival defining 'Rain' before raising the bar again with 'Big Fat Mumma', 'Rocking All Over the World' and closer 'Down Down'. Great songs that I defy anybody not to "shake it all about" to.
Penultimate act on the main stage are Femme Fatale, the 1980's girl power band still going strong today despite a couple of sojourns. Frontwoman Lorraine Lewis is one of the originals who has kept the Rock alive thanks to her latest troupe of metal maidens providing the powerful Rock backing to Lewis's vocals. Flanking her are the duo of guitarists Courtney Cox and Nikki Stringfield who are also 'Troopers' in the fantastic Iron Maidens. Opening with 'Fortune and Fame', the Femmes cranked out tracks including 'Rebel' and 'One More For The Road', with Lewis prancing around the front of the stage bantering with the audience and shaking her thing. The set finished with 'Cradle's Rockin', 'If' and 'Big One'.
Closing act, headliners, and the reason I booked the festival last year, are my favourite current Rock band - The Dead Daisies. A collection of proven talent, the Daisies released their third album earlier this year, to critical acclaim and considerable radio airplay, and have been touring almost constantly since. Indeed, the five piece had only just returned from the Kiss Cruise, via a week off in New York, where they were pumping out their brand of classic and classy Rock music in 30 degrees of sunshine off the Florida coast. So similar to Pwllheli....
Entering the stage to Rose Tattoo's 'Rock and Roll Outlaw', frontman John Corabi launches into the opening track 'Midnight Moses' with Marco Mendoza assisting on vocals whilst playing some pumping bass, Rhythm guitarist, and driving force behind the Daisies is Aussie Dave Lowy who plays some sumptuous SG's - I particularly like the matt black one. Dave also happens to be a qualified pilot who flew across the Atlantic at the controls of his own plane. So Rock and Roll. Lead guitarist Doug Aldrich is the fretboard wizard with all the skills and thrills that makes everyone want to pick up a six string. Annoyingly cool, he plays a Les Paul like a God wielding a hammer, smiting any naysayer who dare declare that Rock is dead. And behind all is newboy drummer Deen Castronovo, a self confessed Kiss fan. Guess he enjoyed the cruise then. The band have only been together since 2012 but are so tight, and look and sound like they have been playing top quality guitar Rock forever. But what makes them stand out is how fresh they sound too. They play a near two hour set from across their albums but also include covers of the Stones 'Bitch', The Who's 'Join Together' and Deep Purple's 'Highway Star' to highlight the British influence which has shaped their sound. In addition, each member of the band was introduced with a small snippet of some Classic Rock covers. But it's their own material that I am singing in my head hours after the set - 'Make Some Noise' and 'Leave Me Alone' being just a pick of a fine crop. With an encore of 'Mexico' and the Beatle's 'Helter Skelter', they closed stage 1 with the intensely satisfying flourish that a great festival deserves. Top, top, stuff.
Leaving Stage 1 for the last time we look in on stage 2 for closing act The Wild, who had the honour of closing the festival. A Canadian Rock act that lives up to it's name - wild by name and wild by nature. Loving some of the dance moves fellas. So for the last time, we head back to our accommodation with the bands of the day still ringing in our head. Mainly the Daisies 'Last Time I Saw The Sun' which seemed to sum up the weather. And the Daisies 'Long Way To Go' when i thought about the journey home again. But it has been worth it. It has been another triumph for the HRH team. So goodbye Pwllhelli, and thanks for all the great memories over the last six years. Now lets see what Great Yarmouth has to offer. With Dee Snider, Michael Monroe, Buckcherry, Gun and Toseland already named, amongst others, it looks like it will be a blast.
Dead Daisies setlist:
Midnight Moses (The Sensational Alex Harvey Band cover)
Make Some Noise
Dead and Gone
What Goes Around
Last Time I Saw the Sun
Join Together (The Who cover)
Burn It Down
With You and I
Intros: You Shock Me All Night Long / I Love Rock 'n' Roll / School's Out / Long Live Rock 'n' Roll / It's Only Rock 'n' Roll (But I Like it)
Leave Me Alone
Bitch (The Rolling Stones cover)
Song and a Prayer
Long Way to Go
Highway Star (Deep Purple cover)