HRH XII Day 2
The rain was tipping down but that didn’t dampen the spirit of the masses gathered for the rock n roll circus that is HRH XXII. All with that one question on their minds, could day 2 of HRH XII better the rock/metal delivered on day 1?
THE VINTAGE CARAVAN
First band that yours truly managed to see over on the main stage was Icelandic 3 piece The Vintage Caravan. Lead singer/guitarist and man of very long lion mane, Oskar Logi Augustsson, strikes a formidable stage presence, deviating from doom heavy stoner rock to mellow almost prog moments and these different layers to the bands sound keeps me on my toes as what to expect next.
I have to admit I know next to nothing regarding this fine band but songs such as “On The Run” and “Reset” was enough to convert me into a fan, the power that they delivered was at times mesmerising and the musicianship more than inspiring.
CITY OF THIEVES
Over on stage 2, City Of Thieves were a band that I had intentionally set out to watch, hailing from London this 3 piece just play good honest old fashion rip it up Rock n Roll with vocalist/bass Jamie Lailey howling like the reincarnation of Bon Scott. Guitars are handled with typical head down manic enthusiasm from Ben Austwick who reminds me both visually and artistically of Joel O’Keeffe of Airbourne fame.
Certainly a band that can entertain with nothing fancy just some cracking songs such as “Animal” the perfect live band to have a good time to.
DAN REED NETWORK
Funking it up in his unmistakable style and definitely the 2nd best dancer after Thunder’s Danny Bowes with a fan favourite set list and a double whammy start of “Rock You All Night Long” and “Divided” visually fantastic with the dread locked Brion James peeling off riff after riff swinging and swaying a fine guitarist and showman in his own right. “Champion” a particular favourite of many people standing around me and Dan’s face was a picture singing it plain to see he was enjoying the moment “Make It Easy” “Ritual” and closing track “Get To You” closed the set.
The enjoyment Cake had some icing sugar thrown onto it by Dan Reed Network as they threw in snippets of “I Was Made For Loving You” by KISS. Dan Reed network is a group that never fails to leave the paying crowd disappointed such a uplifting experience. And help prove the point that time flies when you’re having fun.
Sirens wailing must mean one thing and one thing only – the arrival of “Girlschool” and the introduction of the colossal “Demolition” that came ripping out the decibel defying speakers. Shame that sound problems with the Bass delayed the start of 2nd number so to kill time singer/ guitarist Kym Mcauliffe thought it would be a great time to share some drummer jokes in her familiar bubbly dry humour, after the technical issues were sorted, it was a dose of “Hit and Run” and a face melting version of new song “ I Spy” from the album “Legacy”. The connection between Girlschool and Motorhead is legendary and “Take It Like A Band” is proof that this song is firmly rooted in the Motorhead DNA. “Never Say Never” works so well with all band members sharing vocal duties for the chorus and gives the song that extra zip. Enid Williams on Bass played a blinding set and her vocals on songs such as “Yeah Right” were spot on with this short sharp snappy number.
“Screaming Blue Murder”, a fantastic song title, was complemented with a brilliant solo from guitarist Jackie Chambers who along with Kim had plenty of stage banter between them. And just when you thought that the band couldn’t keep the momentum going we are presented with fan favourite “Race With The Devil” and “999 Emergency” a triumphant and hugely enjoyable set from the thunderous Girlschool.
Gearing up for next year’s 40th anniversary celebrations Saxon promised us a full 2 hour show and true to their word they delivered. With a mouth-watering back catalogue of material to choose from they could have played it safe with a setlist of classic but that’s not Saxon’s style. Entering under the bright red stage lights they open up with “Thunderbolt” from their new album to a cacophony of noise from both the speakers and the crowd which had swelled to a stupendous amount, with nibb’s carter losing the plot on bass and Doug Scarrett, Paul Quinn sharing guitar duties and the talents of one of rocks greatest drummers Nigel Glockler, then the man himself in his long ankle length coat and silver hair firing the crowd up from the get go. Then its straight into one of Biff’s favourite tracks “Sacrifice” from the album of the same name with its soaring vocals and rattling guitar solo from Scarrett this was one of the best songs in the set.
Still not interested in touching any of their older material they dive into “Nosferatu” from their newest release and to me this was certainly the one downside to the gig but saying that it shows the confidence the group have in the newer material. Then the first of the oldies make an appearance with “Motorcycle Man” and you can guess the reaction. One of the group’s best songs is “Predator” and it is immense, perfectly executed with some death growls thrown in to spice it up. Over the 2 hours we got 17 songs in the main set and a whopping 4 song encore all the classics, “Denim and Leather”, “Dallas 1pm”, “Wheels of Steel”, “Crusader”, “Princess of The Night” and one of the best versions of “The Eagle Has Landed” with Paul Quinn just smoking the song. The humour and good spirits is still there after all these years with people throwing their beloved denim cut off’s on stage which Biff and Nibbs gladly wore for a song or 2 before Biff autographed them and returned them to their rightful owners. All in all, it was a breath-taking performance from a group in their twilight years showing the young upstarts how it should be done.
So as day 2 draws to an end, we all pile out into the ever deteriorating weather some going over to the smaller stage 2, some going back to their chalets/mobile homes, or some going off in search of a party, but most importantly everyone was going around with a smile on their face.
Review by Steve Bruty
Photographs by Edyta Krzesak