Hard Rock Hell XIV Day 3

Saturday 6th November 2021

Camp HRH, Great Yarmouth

And so to the final day. As per previous years the acts tend to get better as the festival goes on but then this year isn't like any other year. Again we have a reduced line up and a notable late start and early finish. So after a late breakfast and an early lunch, we mosey on down to see what the day will bring. Albeit there is only a couple of hours of daylight left. But in the dark of the mosh, it could be any time.

Our moseying brings us to stage 1, where me and me pardners say howdi to the Sons of Liberty, a Southern Rock band from the Wild West - Bristol Yee-haa as they say in the South West. Although only formed in 2018, the band members are no spring chickens. If these are the Sons of Liberty, I can't imagine what the Grandfather's of Liberty must look like... Bedecked in Southern American attire, festooned with feathers and stetson hats, you could be forgiven for thinking the ancestors of Molly Hatchet, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Blackfoot had arrived. And as they launch into 'Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief' you are thankful that the twin guitar quintet have such fine pedigree. They have the skills and the experience to give the aforementioned icons of Southern boogie a run for their money. Although serious and passionate about their music, the band generate a whole heap of fun with tracks like 'Up Shit Creek Without A Paddle' and 'Beef Jerkie Boogie' that are both light hearted and yet seriously kick arse Southern Rock. Front man Rob Cookley may quip about his age, but his vocal pipes are still functioning, and then some, both with power and range that gets the message across. And for all the fun, there are some serious messages too. 'Don't Hide Behind Your Weakness' is self explanatory with 'Damaged Reputation' getting some radio attention. 'Into The Great Unknown' is a fine slow arpeggio which allows twin guitarists Fred Hale and Andy ‘Moose’ Muse to show their considerable skills. The Sons of Liberty are a fine band for one so recently formed and are a fitting start to what will be a fine day's music.

We take a brief visit to stage 2 where we catch the Lords Of Ruin, a five piece from 'The Cold North Of England', who cite an eclectic mix of inspiring artists, but are clearly a Metal band at heart. Frontman Dox, in heavy make up and Gothic style attire would not look out of place fronting a Death Metal band, but is far too eloquent a singer. The twin Schecter guitars of Kev and Stones are harsh, but fair, and provide a heavy backdrop to the piercing voice of Dox. Metal done well, they are an excellent act.

Stage 1 continues to go from strength to strength, to the extent that we rarely foray away, which is unfortunate as there are a number of fine acts on stage 2 that deserve more of our attention than we can give. Keeping us on stage 1 are Nitroville, a London based 5 piece who had performed an acoustic set earlier in the day. Fronted by songstress Tola Lamont (who apparently had forgotten to pack bassist pedals), the twin Les Paul outfit also derive from a Southern Rock heritage, like the Sons Of Liberty before them. But Tola and Cookley are very different kettles of creole with Lamont having strong yet sensual vocals. It would be great to see those two do a duet. They open with 'Apophis 2029', the song named after the asteroid that is due to hit this planet and the year. It had better not hit anywhere near London as it will have a formidable Ms Lamont to deal with. Second track 'Spitfire' could be used to describe her vocals at times. Nitroville's set of a dirty dozen Blues tinged Southern Rock crackers is well received with notable tracks 'Dead Man's Hand' and closer 'Coming On Strong' being particularly pleasing.

Ryders Creed, fronted by Ryan Antony, have become a bit of a phenomenon, with the Midland quartet that only formed in 2017 appearing high on the bill at some prestigious events. That's probably because they are good enough. With this years erratic line up changes it wouldn't have been a surprise to have seen them headline, and they would have made a damn fine go of it too. Their set is heavily drawn from their latest album 'Lost Souls', released in March 2020, just as the world turned upside down. Opener 'Memories' is a great guitar riff Heavy Rock vessel that allows Antony to show off his impressive vocals. 'Believer', 'Lost Souls' and 'Unleashed' are other notable tracks from the new album. 'Believer' is a soulful track, written about those 'in between times' when we all struggle with life. "It's OK to be not OK" cries Antony as he extols the need to share feelings amongst others when feeling down, a sentiment applauded by all. It's a rocking set that has the crowd in fine form. Such that during closer 'My Life', the usual split the crowd in two for competitive chanting was abandoned by Antony almost immediately - "we are one big family today" he cites. Too right.

Piston are another Midlands based band that I had the pleasure of seeing at Ramblin' Man a few years ago. Then they were a young fresh faced bunch of upstarts on the Rising stage of new talent. Now they are the young fresh faced bunch of upstarts on the main stage. And they have earned the right to be there. Handsome frontman Rob Angelico is exported to remove his top from the start, something that Gretsch wielding axeman Jack Edwards says he has never done before. I find that hard to believe. Because the sultry Angelico owns the stage, his powerful vocals interspersed with the thud of swooning women. Launching beach balls into the audience - available from the merch stand alongside band bottle openers and lighters ..... - the band kick off a rocking set with 'Dynamite', an appropriately named track if ever there was one. Whilst there previous sets have been heavy with covers, the band now have a fine repertoire of their own including 'Rainmaker', 'One More Day' and 'Leave If You Dare', but it's the closing cover of 'Proud Mary' that really hits the spot.

And so to the final few bands of the festival. The first of whom, for those of us who have attended all the previous events held in the dark recesses of Wales, have become synonymous with the event. Tigertailz are a band we have followed for many a year with sole surviving member Jay Pepper holding together what has been a troubled ship. The Tailz have been around since 1983, although there was a hiatus between 1996 and 2005 when drummer Matthew Blakout joined the band. But, alongside bassist Betty Burton, its lead vocalist and guitarist Rob Wylde who takes the limelight, although always with due deference to JP. Despite some technical issues that sees their set delayed by 30 minutes, the Glam Rockers hit the stage with tremendous energy. Wylde, with his flowing blonde locks, is a whole bundle of vitality, whose move from bass guitar to vocals in 2015 injected new vigour into the band. The set is a classic of Glam Rock with all the hair, leather, make up and bandanas you would expect, as well as some awesome Rock tracks that have been honed to perfection over many years. There are many die hard Tailz fans in the audience, so it's no surprise that for many this is the band of the weekend.

Tigertailz setlist
Sick Sex
Squeeze It Dry
Noise Level Critical
Love Overload
I Can Fight Dirty Too
Shoot to Kill
Dirty Needles (Poison cover)
All the Girls
Twist and Shake
Call of the Wild
Livin' Without You
Love Bomb Baby

And talking of tremendous energy, that is an understatement when describing vocalist Tony Wright of Bradford based Terrorvision. He just does not stop. Terrorvision are a band that somehow passed me by in their formative and fruitful early 90's years. But not so my companions who idolise them. I saw them perform as support for Thunder years ago at the atmosphere devoid Wembley Arena and wasn't sure what the fuss was all about. Well tonight I am enlightened. Put this 5 piece bundle of pure fun energy in a packed, dark, low ceilinged venue and you get all the ingredients for a fun packed night of power Pop Rock served up hot to satisfy every appetite. Hard rocking tones, great singalong tunes and a visual and audible feast. All these food references - I must have the munchies. That's the way I like it it - which is the music that the band takes to the stage to. We are then treated to a 22 song set of non stop gloriousness that leaves me frankly breathless. Which is how I want to feel. The set includes many a singalong song - it's what the good time party band are all about - including 'Alice What's The Matter', 'Middleman', 'Tequila', 'Oblivion' (Do wup...) and the closer and anthemic 'Perseverance' (whales and dolphins...). But there are some more laid back songs in there too, like 'Didn't Bleed Red' and their nod in respect that is 'The Night That Lemmy Died'. But it's the fast paced frantic fun that will stick in my mind as one of those gigs you never forget. Apparently there was a fire alarm at some time during the set. Nobody noticed and nobody cared. And 'Nobody Does It Better' sang Carly Simon as they finally leave the stage. No argument from me.

Terrorvision setlist

Discotheque Wreck
Pretend Best Friend
Come Home Beanie
American TV
If I Was You
Alice What's the Matter
Didn't Bleed Red
Tequila
Urban Space Crime
Run & Hide
Celebrity Hit List
The Night That Lemmy Died
My House
From Out of Nothing
Middleman
Go Jerry
Oblivion
Some People Say
Babylon
Josephine
D'Ya Wanna Go Faster
Perseverance

And so to the closing act for an unusual end to an unusual festival. Substitutes for the original headliners Skid Row, the nothing like an 80s Glam Metal band, Orange Goblin take the final slot. Fronted by the giant of a man Ben Ward, this die hard Heavy Metal band are unapologetically dedicated to Metal in its purist form. Not that Ward would apologise for anything. He is a force to be reckoned with and the Orange Goblin faithful will follow their messiahs bidding without question. They wouldn't dare. The music is hard and fast and uncompromising. I have seen them headline smaller stages before with their almost fanatical followers pumped up to a frenzy. Unfortunately tonight, the obligatory mosh, usually controlled by the unwritten rules of those of us who love to get physical with like minded dervishes, is the scene of an unfortunate accident that leaves one fan down with a particularly nasty head wound. It was not down to anything that I could see, but just appeared to be one of those chance happenings in what must surely be considered an extreme sport. The security staff where quick to step in and give aid, clearing the venue to ensure that the luckless fan was properly cared for. The venue was subsequently reopened, but by then there were few people sober enough to return so the event drew to a close.

Like the unlucky casualty, who we understand recovered OK, there will be a few sore heads tomorrow. It's been a funny festival, although all quite understandable in the circumstances. But still the core of a great weekend is there - good music, good friends and fine beer - all well organised and handled by the HRH team. So as the HRH teenager disappears back under the duvet for another year, we are already looking forward to his 15th birthday, with Skid Row, The Darkness and Ugly Kid Joe set to join the party. Until then, it's another year of moody rebelliousness. Because we can all be a bit like that, regardless of our age. Oh Mother, it's so unfair ....

Mother