Hard Rock Hell 9

Hafan y Mor Pwllheli – Stage 1 Saturday 14.11.15.

Sadly, due to interviewing commitments, the first band of the day on Stage 1 for me were King of the North, who come from Australia and you can’t get much more south than that if you tried! This band of two are ace, with Andrew taking up vocal duties, along with playing the guitar (very well) and Danny playing the drums with thunderous conviction! I really enjoyed this bands style, they rocked!

Danny Leo - King Of The North

No Hot Ashes were probably the most progressive band playing this weekend. They were originally active in the 80’s and formed part of Belfast’s epic rock scene back in the day. These guys held their own, looked and sounded good on stage and they were even happy to pose for the photographers.

Black Spiders always put on a good show and were one of the bands that I told my dad he must watch today. Thankfully, they didn’t let me, or themselves down. Watch out Saxon as one day, this band will be where you are, mark my words, as they are fantastic to watch live, both for their visual efforts and for their musical ability!

Si Atkinson - Black Spiders

GUN were another of the more established bands on the HRH 9 bill today, with many fans turning out in force to support and cheer them on! I’m aware that these guys are from Glasgow and have also recently supported the up and coming blues artist King King, which helps to categorize this band well as they primarily play rock, but fit into other categories well.

GUN

I’d had high expectations of seeing Rock Goddess today but poor lighting really was a bit of a let down and for me, it took the edge off my enjoyment of their set. There’s no doubt about it tho, these gals certainly do play their instruments well and the crowd clearly were happy to have them up there on the stage.

Faster Pussycat were the surprise band for me this weekend. Not knowing quite what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised with how these guys came across and the crowd lapped it up. These guys represent everything that is good with Sleeze Metal and you may even say they were one of the first to coin the genre? Originally formed back in 1985 and hailing from Hollywood CA, the band reached peak commercial success in 2006. Sadly, I’d never heard of them, but I can safely say they won me over this weekend and I’m now a fan! Make sure you also check out Toni Reed’s interview with the band aswell.

Taime Downe - Faster Pussycat

For those inclined towards something heavier, Dendera were definitley a good band to see. I’ve known of this band for sometime now but for various reasons, I’ve always just managed to miss them. Thankfully, this weekend, that was not going to be the case as I nipped over to stage two and by jove, I’m glad I did. Earlier I’d spoken with the band, so had an idea of what the guys were like off stage, but on stage they were a completely different experience. As stated, these guys were one of the heaviest metal acts on the bill so I could also see them doing very well at the likes of Bloodstock, Download and other heavy festivals. For those that made the effort to watch these guys and there were a fair amount, they absolutely loved it and the horns were held high for these guys! The band had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands and they absolutely smashed it. I’m so glad I caught up with Dendera finally as these guys were one of my top bands from the weekend!

Ashley Edison - Dendera

Closing stage 1 at this years HRH9, were the weekends main attraction, Saxon. Again, this is band who I saw earlier this year at one of their re-scheduled shows, following the full recovery of Nigel Glocker who suffered a brain aneurysm last year. Thankfully, he’s now on the mend and doing well. My old man is a massive Saxon fan and has followed these guys since the beginning, so for him, the fact Saxon played all their new stuff for the first hour of their set, kind of put him off but personally, I like the new material! Thankfully though, Saxon returned to their undisputable crowd pleasers for the final forty five minutes of their set and brought this epic roller coaster ride of a weekend to a close, well on the main stage anyway!

Bill Byford - Saxon

So looking back over these past few days, this weekend has featured some of the best bands around today and delivered the strongest lineup I’ve seen HRH produce yet. That said, next year is HRH’s 10th anniversary, so I’m expecting the line up to be better even that this years amazing event, which is certainly going to be very hard to beat. The biggest compliment I can give is and like I keep saying, I took my folks along with me this year as I had a feeling they would love what HRH have to offer and I was right, they loved it so much they’ve already booked their places for next years chapter – and the beer was pretty reasonable this year too, so thumbs up all round!

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK). Interviews by Toni Reed and Jay Hawkins.