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Friday 14th November 2014.

Today was a bit of a split for me, as I had lots of interviews to do, whilst trying to capture and absorb the bands that featured also, which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to write a review, as I missed quite a few bands, but I’ll try and give you a general feel for the day.

First up on stage 2, dubbed the riffage stage, were Piston, who are a local Midlands based band. Formed a mere 2 years ago, these guys were making some serious waves in the music world with their rock riffage assault. I was really enjoying these guys, until their vocalist, Steve Nunn announced this would be his last as the bands front man, as throat issues are preventing him from continuing, which is a real shame and we’d like to wish him all the best in the future and hope the band manage to fund a suitable replacement.


Next up, another Midlands based band, SKAM, who I had to see again as they’d made a lasting impression on me when I saw them at Rock City in Nottingham, supporting the mighty Electric Mary. For saying this band are a trio, they sure do make a lot of noise, with facial expressions to entertain even the hardest faced rock fans! These guys are great, really nice people too, as we got to interview both Steve, vocals/guitars and Matt on bass. This band is also signed to Off Yer Rocka!

Kicking off the main stage today, were Texas Flood who are the third out of four bands to feature at this years festival, to be signed to Off Yer Rocka Recordings, which is great to see. The fourth and final band were Bonafide, but more on them in a bit. As for Texas Flood, I thoroughly enjoyed watching and shaking my ass with these young, South Welsh lads. Again, got to interview these guys later on, which was a real privilege to be honest, what a great chatty bunch -just don’t ask them to do any Oasis covers!

Tom Sawyer

A new addition to this years line up was the introduction of a 3rd stage, the blues stage, which featured three unique blues artists, Vargas Blues Band, Aaron Keylock and Mitch Laddie, which proved to be very popular amongst the HRH faithful, as each act had a healthy crowd in attendance. Be sure to check out Hammerfest, or HRH United as its now called, in March 2015, as there will be five stages, each of which will feature five different genres of music, which looks to be an awesome event in deedy!

I had just enough time to nip back over to stage 1 to see what all the fuss is about with Santa Cruz. At first glance, I thought I was back in the late 80’s, early 90’s when hair metal was rife. These guys had terribly tight denim jeans on, tucked into there reebok pumps and sporting various vest tops all harping back to the early days of the likes of Guns and Roses, Poison and Motley Crue……please, please, please don’t spurn a full on glam revival, what ever you do! These guys are from Finland, so we can forgive them for their fashion sense, but they did provide us with what they promised, pure adrenaline fuelled metal show!

One The first of two Australian bands on this years bill, up next, the mighty Electric Mary and what a power house of a rock band these guys are. Having played HRH two years ago, they actually got asked back, even with lead singer, rusty, seemingly acting like a sex pest on stage. I love these guys and what a cracking bunch of lads they are too. They mingled with the crowd after their set and even caused mayhem during their fellow countryman’s “Massive” set! Sad reality is these guys ain’t all that well known here in the UK, but back home, these guys sell out venue a plenty, so get to know them as they are the shiz!

Pete Robinson

Now off to interview some bands I go. We had a new venue in which to conduct our interviews this year, which seemed a god send at first, that was until the reality kicked in and it was concluded that it was still too noisy, I must invest in some better microphones, but what a name! Imagine my delight in arranging my interviews, with the relative band representatives, stating we shall meet at Bonga Wonga, what fun I had with that name, I can assure you.

My next band were non other that Y&T, who took their name from a Beatles track, Yesterday and Today…..I’ve always wondered what the Y& T stood for and now I know! Considered as one of the best live Rock & Roll bands, to have ever graced the stage, these guys are a show stopper! Many this weekend muttered under their lukewarm beers, that these guys should have headlined today, personally I agree with them, especially after that performance.

Brad Lang

The next band I was really looking forward to seeing were the female fronted (what a front) Spiders. Personally, I have a bit of a soft spot for rock/metal bands that feature good looking woman, what with this genre primarily being men, It’s a welcome change to see a good looking woman strutting her stuff on stage. Ann-Sofie (who is married, like me) featured all the above, whilst also playing her harmonica or slapping her tambourine about the stage, whilst belting out some powerful vocals! These guys and girl are from Sweden, who are one of many Nordic speaking bands to feature this weekend, which is no surprise, considering Seven means Simon in Nordic language! lol


Closing the day and 2nd stage were those Australian’s Massive, who are a great bunch of guys and a really cool rock and roll band, who f’in deliver the goods in the entertainment department! Today, everyone kept asking me why are the band called Massive, when 50% of the band are quite short folk (no offence, just stating a genetic fact) So after their set, by which point I had some of that dutch courage in me, I thought it only right I ask Brad that burning question “why are you called Massive”? To which his reply was, would you like me to show you…… thanks gringo, I’ll take your word for it!


Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)


The Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton, 18th November 2014.

Bigelf started life in 1991 and have dipped in and out of the music scene ever since. Their latest offering of their fourth studio album ‘Into the Malestrom’ is a fine example of their well stylized classic rock and metal-inspired psychedelic songs that pay homage to the likes of Black Sabbath with a dash of Deep Purple thrown in. Bigelf describe themselves as playing Wonka Metal. Well there was no chocolate or umpa lumpas seen at tonight’s gig, only oodles and oodles of psychedelic, tripaholic, progressive mayhem.

Duffy Snowhill

The whirlwind odyssey of musical delights from LA’s finest prog rockers Bigelf was dominated by the stage presence of lead guy Damon Fox. Flanked by an impressive array of vintage prog keyboards that included the Mini Moog, the Hammond Organ and the Mellotron, Fox dominated the crowd’s attention with a full theatrical lead performance.

Damon Fox.

Squeezed in around Fox on the Slade Rooms wide but narrow stage were bassist Duffy Snowhill, drummer Baron Fox and guest guitarist, the hugely talented John Wesley from Porcupine Tree fame.

John Wesley

Opening their set with the hypnotic ‘The Evils of Rock and Roll’, Bigelf effortlessly travelled through their 70’s esque set that was loaded with fast progressive rock tunes that included ‘Madhatter’, ‘Hypersleep’ and ‘Counting Sheep’ whilst zig zagging through heavy powered different styles, perfectly summing up why Bigelf are such an enthralling musical proposition for anyone willing to let the music do the talking. To finish the night Bigelf returned to a crowd fuelled roar to complete an encore that included the heavily Beatle influenced ‘Incredible Time Machine’.

Damon Fox

In the main support slot were Bend Sinister who hail from Vancouver, Canada. Their vintage moog keyboard was in full effect with Bend Sinister surprising most in the room with their charming antics and contagious feel good vibes. But their prog values were superbly mixed in with killer riffs and dynamic drumming.

Bend Sinister

Opening the night were New Yorkers, Jolly. With energetic time changes and raw bellowing vocals, Jolly set a great tempo for the night with their set that was laced with thunderous rock guitars and catchy melodies resulting in an ambient progressive soundscape, producing an impressive and beautiful atmosphere.


More pictures from the night can be seen here.

Review and Photography by Stephen Turner.


‘Wonder Days’ – The brand new studio album.

Thunder - Wonder Days

One of the most popular and enduring British rock bands of the last 25 years, with 18 Top 40 singles in the UK and a string of gold and platinum albums around the world, Thunder are set to release their landmark tenth studio album,‘Wonder Days’, on earMUSIC on February 16th 2015.

The group’s first studio album in six years, ‘Wonder Days’ reminds us why Thunder are now more revered than ever before. With a lineage dating back to the cream of hard rock – Led Zeppelin, Bad Company, The Who and Deep Purple and songwriting greats such as The Kinks, The Beatles and The Faces – the band’s sound is a timeless marriage of unforgettable melodies and sheer rock power. Their long-awaited return with ‘Wonder Days’ should ensure that Thunder are elevated to their rightful place in the pantheon of truly great British bands.

In parts a rumination and reflection on the dreams and desires of young men growing up in the 70’s that inspired the band members to form their first band in their early teens, ‘Wonder Days’ is also a potent mix of blues, soul and rock’n’roll that is as contemporary as it is steeped in the finest music of the last few decades.

From the epic Zeppelin-esque title track, through the no-holds-barred pop prowess of potential hit singles ‘The Thing I Want’, ‘Resurrection Day’ and ‘Black Water’, to the big-screen ballad ‘Broken’, Thunder have delivered one of the finest rock albums of recent years.

While the galloping drive of ‘The Prophet’ comes on like an unholy union of Iron Maiden and Whitesnake, the sensual ‘Serpentine’ drips with an archaic Deep South blues vibe before turning into a Royal Blood meets The Raconteurs style stomp. ‘Chasing Shadows’ has all the swagger of primetime Aerosmith while the affecting, mandolin-driven folk tinges of ‘The Rain’ sounds ethereally ageless.

Throughout the album Danny Bowes’ vocals showcase just why he is one of the greatest rock vocalists of his generation; a true foil to guitarist Luke Morley’s powerhouse riffs, scintillating melodies and delicate acoustic strumming.

Though making a good recovery from the tonsil cancer that excluded him from the band’s recent live appearances, rhythm guitarist Ben Matthews has been sadly absent from the sessions so Morley has taken charge of all the guitars and keyboards on the album, with the ever-present Garry ‘Harry’ James on drums and long-term bassist Chris Childs on bass providing the striking rhythmic back-bone to the band.


Recorded at the legendary Rockfield Studios in Monmouth, with Luke Morley reprising his role as producer, the album was mixed by the renowned Mike Fraser, whose CV includes such names as Aerosmith, AC/DC and Metallica and who worked on several of the group’s key early records including their celebrated debut, ‘Back Street Symphony’.

Thunder hit the road in March with dates in Leeds, Birmingham and London, with Reef and Tax The Heat as support.

March 2015
Thur 12th – Leeds, First Direct Arena (UK)
Fri 13th – Birmingham, NIA (UK)
Sat 14th – London, Eventim Apollo (UK)

‘Wonder Days’ Track listing
1. Wonder Days
2. The Thing I Want
3. The Rain
4. Black Water
5. The Prophet
6. Resurrection Day
7. Chasing Shadows
8. Broken
9. When The Music Played
10. Serpentine
11. I Love The Weekend

Order the albumWonder Daysnow!
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