After a sensational day 2 at HRH XII it was into the final day we all headed with plenty of mouth watering acts to whet the appetite and a few surprises thrown in for good measure.
First surprise of the day and opening the main stage was this young gifted singer/guitarist currently residing from London UK. Backed with a further 4 musicians Kaleb McKane made the most of his 45 minutes in the spotlight by treating us to his amazing mix of rock, blues, psychedelia with hints of Bowie, Bolan, and even a smattering of Hendrix sounding reverb. “The Great Anti Climax” with its haunting intro and soaring vocals and quiet breath-taking guitar work, takes on a life of its own with other songs such as “The Life I Chose Myself” and “Time Is An Illusion” almost becoming a free form jam session with extended solos but all the while each band member knew where Kaleb was going with his thoughts.
Anyone that’s curious should really check out his 3 track EP “Universal In Reverse” to get a better picture of what he’s all about. News must have filtered back to guitar wizard Uli Jon Roth because he has roped Kaleb into his support act on his current tour. Not just sounding good but also totally at home under the lights on a big stage I predict a bright future ahead.
The Rising Souls
This Scottish 4 piece from the capitol City Edinburgh have been making quiet a stir lately so with no persuading required I decided to see what all the fuss was about, and these men really can make a fuss. Songs such as “Walk on” with its crushing riff that reminded me of “Montrose’s” Rock Candy was huge and filled the stage 2 and surrounding metal market stalls with its unrelenting groove. Vocalist “Dave Archibald” proved to be the ultimate showman while the band knuckled down to deliver musical influences such as “Canned Heat” “Blue Cheer” and “Zeppelin” whilst adding plenty of blues and soul.
With so many different styles and genres running through their veins and the ease in which they deliver its not surprising the band are turning a few heads.
Tygers of Pan Tang
HRH certainly know how to spoil the audience !! How fortunate we are to experience one of the major players from yesteryear and still thankfully very relevant today. Formed way back in 1978 in Whitley Bay UK and featuring original guitarist Robb Weir this outfit is tight and note perfect. Vocalist Jacopo Meille did a sterling job on the older numbers, mixing it up with fresh sounding new material worked a treat, “Suzie Smiled”, “Hellbound” and the ageless “Euthanasia” with Robb Weirs fellow guitarist Micky Crystal boosting the sound into the stratosphere.
The highest compliment I can place on a band of a certain vintage is that Tygers Of Pan Tang are still such an important part of 2018 and the future with this line up looks just as important as their past. It would be great to have the band document their currant live gigs with a official release because if it sounds as good as what they produced at HRH XII it will be fantastic.
John Coghlan’s Quo
As soon as the Coghlan was announced for this years event I had a sneaky feeling he was going to be one of the highlights and its not often I find myself saying that I was right. When I walked into the venue I could not get to the VIP area where I had been doing my reviews from. such was the mass of people, instead I had to stand on a ledge at the back of the hall and admire from a distance. If like me you prefer the classic frantic four Quo as opposed to the wimpy pap that’s currently doing the rounds then coghlans outfit should leave you teary eyed and longing for yesteryear. Cut to the chase this is what we were treated to, “Caroline”, “Roll Over”, “April Summer”, “Break The Rules”, “Matchstick Men”, “Paper Plane”, “Rain”, “Big Fat Mama”, “Rockin All Over The World” and “Down Down”. Songs etched in our memory from when we young. Songs we have heard a million times before. Songs we never tire off.
Everyone was singing and I believe everyone at some point was thinking of the sadly missed Rick Parfitt who when John walked to the lip of the stage for a chat got us to raise a glass to his old mate. The band produced nothing extraordinary no pyro, no lasers, no stripping girls, just honest rock music which produced many happy memories from North Wales.
If ever a group had a mountain to climb then it was Femme Fatale, front woman Lorraine Lewis and Athena,Janis, Katt, Nikki,Courtney, had to follow a British Institution in John Coghlan, and proceed the monster act which is the Dead Daises. Hitting the ground running with “Fortune and Fame” and into the classic “Falling In And Out Of Love” The band wasn’t deterred but with a few people now heading to the exit it became apparent that many people were there to see the previous act and many never returned even for the Daises. ”Cradle’s Rockin” “If” and the stand out song “Big One” rounded of a highly energetic set from a group that is always welcome on these shores with the ever bubbly Lorraine working the crowd with her enthusiasm and “Nikki Stringfield” cutting some fret work on guitar.
All in all through no fault of the group maybe a little bit more thought could have gone into where the group were placed because being sandwiched between those 2 acts was almost impossible for the incredible “Femme Fatale” to live up to.
The Dead Daisies
So final band on the main stage is the juggernaut formed by guitarist David Lowy with a ever rotating door with musicians coming and going it certainly hasn’t affected the groups popularity. The individual talent on the stage in front of us is there for all to see, with members also being in previous bands such as. Whitesnake, Dio, Motley Crue, Thin Lizzy, Journey to name but a few. The machine that runs the dead daises must be one of the best in the world, Take one listen to the production on the LPs, take one look at the impressive website, and take another look at the impressive merchandise, everything about the group is huge and colourful. When it comes to the show well that,s a bit like painting by numbers except its rock n roll by numbers, with Doug Aldrich cutting the guitar shapes and Corabi working the crowd with the spot on banter, and bassist Mendoza being the animal that he is.
Opening song “Evil” see’s the group entering the stage to a barrage of lights, with ”Make Some Noise” getting Deen Castronova smashing out his huge drum kit and producing tribal sounding drums. Obviously a Daises show would not be complete without a splattering of cover songs again a very clever ploy from the group because everyone enjoys a cover version when they have a belly full of booze. Tonight we get “Highway Star” by Deep Purple “Join Together” By The Who, “Bitch” By the Rolling Stones, and “Helter Skelter” By The Beatles. Also included when Corabi weaves his magic when introducing the band members is snippets of, AC/DC, Joan Jett,Alice Cooper,Rolling Stones and Rainbow. Taking nothing away from their own material we get a colossal version of “Long Way To Go” and one of their best tracks “Mexico” so there you have it no surprises from the glorious Daises simply put one of the best acts that could be chosen to close a festival superbly and professionally executed.
So after 3 days of the most intense rain we also got 3 days of fantastic music to make the weather seem unimportant. What festival gives you up and coming groups such as the exciting “Voodoo Blood” and “The Dust Coda” to bands from our youth such as “Rock Goddess” “Girlschool” “Tygers Of Pan Tang” to relevant established acts like “The Dead Daises” and “Saxon” with great catering on site and plenty of watering holes and even a market place selling all things metal including 2 Vinyl stalls it was a music lovers idea of paradise.