Sunday, December 04, 2011
Saturday afternoon was glam/sleaze on stage 2, so from midday until around 7pm (with a couple of breaks for food and cigarettes) that's where I stayed.
First up, and seeming surprised at the numbers of hungover people who had made it to the stage for midday, were Dan Baird and Homemade Sin. They may have had it even worse than those who partied at HRH into the early hours since the night before they had been on stage at the Borderline in London, but they did us proud. Opening with Baird's past history in the Georgia Satellites, Keep Your Hands To Yourself instantly injected life into the crowd, and from there on in it was foot stompin', no messin', honest to goodness southern US style rock 'n' roll. Very much a crowd pleaser, Baird can show even the most jaded a good time.
Next up was Pat McManus, of Mamas Boys. He has been playing Celtic rock for over 30 years now and while it wasn't as engaging for me personally it would seem I was in the minority. Either that or I was just too knackered to really get to grips with it, so I listened from a corner table and allowed the music to wash over me. Kind of soothing really, with polish and flair, and the occasional outbreak of fiddle-playing. Plenty of people were up on their feet and loving every minute, and that's the main thing - and it was a good performance. Just not for me right at that moment.
On to Dear Superstar. One of the new wave of sleaze metal monsters in the UK looking to challenge the Scandinavian supremacy of the genre, Manchester's Dear Superstar have been touring hard playing alongside some big names and building their own reputation into the bargain. There were a few technical issues which disrupted the flow of the set slightly, something that most bands on stage two suffered on Saturday, but their brand of aggressive sleaze is definitely on the metal side and pretty damn awesome too.
And then, a legend came among us. I have to thank whatever it was resulted in Ace Frehley breaking his wrist - I hadn't been all that bothered about seeing him to be honest. When Ace dropped out with only a few days to go before HRH V, Jonni had to pull out all the stops to plug the gap and he did us proud. Michael Monroe was moved up to the Saturday headline slot, The Quireboys took his original space on mainstage, and that left a vacancy on stage two into which stepped the ever amazing Tyla and the Dogs D'amour.
This guy is ridiculously prolific. To mark his 50th birthday this year he has put out his 37th album Quinquaginta (which I recently reviewed for Black Velvet magazine - see next issue) and is embarking on a short tour, starting tonight in Islington. There was a slightly delayed start, down to the technical troubles again, then it was a party. With 37 albums under his belt Tyla has a lot of great music to choose from so there were the likes of The Last Bandit and No Gypsy Blood alongside some from the new album such as Story of Our Life. It was a fantastic set, and utterly brilliant to get him as a last minute addition.
At this point I took a tactical break for some food, thereby missing most of Reckless Love. They clearly had pulled in a good and admiring crowd who were going wild for the Finns as I returned for the last couple of tracks. Pretty decent stuff and a good performance from what I heard. One thing that struck me, though, was it was all so safe. Yes, they're sleaze rockers, but aside from the standard lyrics about partying and sex that go with the genre the music itself was a bit light and poppy. Anyway, as I say I only caught the last couple of songs, maybe there had been something with a bit more edge to it earlier on.
For edge, we needed Crashdiet. And, man, did they deliver! I heard a girl behind me, one song in, saying they weren't as good as Reckless Love, but to me that's like comparing Poison and Motley Crue. Sure, Poison are a good time band, but given the choice it's the Crue all the way for me, and the same applies here. The Swedes are truly awesome. Sleaze with a punk side, they are magnificently, snarlingly, high octane performers. The one unfortunate thing was their set clashed with The Quireboys signing session, but since I would be getting the chance to drool over Spike later in the evening I stayed put for one of the highlights of the weekend. Breaking the Chains, Generation Wild, Riot In Everyone - the list goes on. Fantastic set, brilliant performance, and one I would not have wanted to miss.
The Rocket Dolls from Brighton closed out the glam and sleaze session on stage two, which was unfortunate for them because that was clearly the point that people opted to get food before the evening's mayhem began properly. A small but enthusiastic crowd remained for their set, and they seem like decent enough player. It's just that following Crashdiet it seemed like a bit of a comedown.
Tactical planning meant a move to main stage for Orange Goblin. I will fully admit that this was purely to get a good position for The Quireboys and Michael Monroe (it worked too!) and that the veteran metallers were not entirely to my taste, but it was a damn fine performance and greeted enthusiastically by the if not quite well-oiled but getting there crowd. Orange Goblin have a new album due out next February so they showcased a few from that which went down really well.
And then there were The Quireboys. And everyone went mental. What I love about Spike and the guys is that from the moment they come on stage and Spike announces "This is Rock and Roll" you are guaranteed a good time. No matter how many times I have seen them I have yet to witness a duff performance. They have a new album due out next year too so played one of the new tracks Mother Mary alongside old favourites like Hey You, Roses and Rings, and rounded off the set with 7 O'Clock, much to the disappointment of the woman beside me who had been hoping for the usual encore finale Sex Party. Spike is always completely drool-worthy (excuse my fan-girl moment) and tonight was no exception. However, either my ears were really going funny by this stage or there was something going wrong with the sound - could have been me, things were sounding fuzzy by that point.
An hour of The Quireboys is not long enough, but that was all we had before the explosion of energy that is Michael Monroe. Seriously, I don't know how he does it - he never stands still, it's high kicks, splits, climbing the lighting rig, swinging around the mic stand (there seemed to be a roadie on permanent standby to untangle the lead) and being restrained by security from leaping headfirst into the crowd on several occasions. World class performer, and winner of this year's Best Album award from Classic Rock too. The set was mainly based on Sensory Overdrive as you would expect, so Trick of the Wrist, '78, and Superpowered Superfly among others, but there was also a quick trip to Mystery City for the Hanoi diehards. Absolutely killer.
At this point I headed back to the chalet, but my roommate tells me that Black Stone Cherry were awesome, even if she did get an elbow to the temple from an overenthusiastic fan at the end of the set. She also got me a souvenir from The Quireboys' set - lyrics to the new song Mother Mary. Woohoo!
So thanks once again to whatever caused Ace's broken wrist. I for one didn't miss him and getting Tyla, Crashdiet, The Quireboys and Michael Monroe in one day was worth the ticket price for the whole festival for me. And that's it for another year. My ticket is booked for 2012 but for now I need breakfast and to pack before heading home. Thanks to Jonni, Fleur and all the HRH team for organising a great three days, and I am looking forward to the four day festival next year.