Friday kicked off around mid-day for most but not for me as after only six hours sleep I was up, out and ready to interview Arthur Brown for 10am.
A total of twenty two bands were on the agenda today which unfortunately meant I would miss a fare few due to interviewing commitments. I too can’t mention everyone, or my life will be over before I know it, but what I will do is give my highlights of the bands I liked and tell you about the bands you should go and see live, in the future!
On stage two, or the Jagermeister Stage, we had Wildside Riot opening and giving the audience a taste of their sleaze rock and looking to be fighting fit.
Opening stage 1, we had the Screaming Eagles, a classic four piece rock and roll band from Ireland. Doing my research on the bands playing this weekend, these guys really stood out so I was very excited to watch these guys play and I’m please to report they didn’t disappoint either. For an opening act, the main stage was rammed and everyone seemed to be rocking along with the band which was great to see! There isn’t a lot on these guys but that’s changing fast, with wide spread press coverage, these are definitely a band to watch out for in 2014, also check out their music video – very funny.
Tygers Of Pan Tang
Tygers of Pan Tang are a band that need no introduction however, they started in the late 70’s, had some great success, then around 87’ they disappeared from the scene for 20 odd years. That all change in 2008 with the arrival of a new album ‘Animal Instinct’, which was followed up last year when they released ‘Ambush’. Having never seen them live, but having heard their music a lot in the past, I was looking forward to this. Their classic hard rock anthems rung true all around the main stage, with many fans singing along to every track.
I managed to pull myself away and headed on over to the 2nd stage for Alunah and thank god I did! At first I didn’t quite know what to make of this female fronted four piece band from Birmingham, but its safe to say I was certainly intrigued, so I stuck about for a while longer. Dubbed as Doom Psychedelia, they have the whole stoner/rock/doom sound going on that seems very popular right now. Having released two albums under Napalm Records, all I can say is these guys are so gritty, I had to check to see there wasn’t sand in my ears. A real gem from this weekend, for me!
Another band that sort of caught my eye were Crucified Barbara. Four very lovely ladies from Sweden but forget the cliches of blonde beauties as these girls f’in rock – if only I could have seen them! I can only assume the girls wanted to create an air of mystery about them, which certainly worked where I was concerned. Signed to non other than Nuclear Blast, these girls mean business and pack a mighty punch when it comes to their, dare I say it, balls to the wall, thrashy rock/metal music! I was completely mesmerized by their antics on stage too, definitely have a listen to these girls, especially the track “The Crucifier” what a riff, catch these ladies on tour ASAP!
Filling in for another band, we had Kyrbgrinder who certainly made the most of their slot on the 2nd stage. A three piece band from London and what they lacked in numbers, they made up for in personality, jokes (although some were tumble weed moments) and awesome music! Johanne James, the lead vocalist, was also the drummer and he certainly kept the crowd entertained. I’d just like to thank HRH for choosing these guys to stand in as they were another gem of the weekend and we’ll certainly be looking out for more shows from these guys!
The biggest find of the weekend for me were Druganaut – hailing from Newcastle which seems to be the place when it comes down to producing some amazing metal bands just lately. Not quite knowing who I’d just met, I was stood outside the media area at stupid o’clock, waiting to do an interview and these guys had just arrived, having got up even earlier to make the long drive down. As we chatted, it transpired we knew many of the same people, so I promised to check them out and thank Christ I did! Craig on vocals was dressed in a make shift toon army football kit, whilst the rest of the band optimized your typical rock stoner band type. The music however, was fierce, incorporating some really dirty low down riffs. The energy from the band was great to see, as was the face pulling, this is a band going places, trust me!
Black Star Riders
Back to stage 1 for Black Star Riders, a band that everyone who’d bought a ticket for this weekend wanted to see! I do need to point out, music224.com were meant to hold an interview with the band today, but a miscommunication meant we missed it so please don’t think we ditched you, as I was completely gutted on Saturday when I’d realised the error!
Having seen and photographed BSR’s first ever show at Marshall Amps theatre, I kind of knew what to expect however, in attendance tonight was a much greater number and when I’d seen them last the band hadn’t yet played Download or to sold out shows around the world, so to see if the show had gotten any better, if that was at all possible was an exciting prospect! Known for being the members of Thin Lizzy, they have now rebranded to enable them to release new music and do what they do best, entertain large crowds in style. That said, their set list is a mixture of both new and old stuff that goes perfectly together and making the overall set and show one hell of a ride! A fantastic co-headlining band, for sure.
With the crowd salivating for more, the next Co-headlining band were another band I was personally looking forward to seeing again, Skindred. Not your typical rock and roll band, far from it, but as Benji pointed out in his intro, they are a band that have grown up on a staple diet of rock and metal and you catch glimpses of their musical influences in their own music, they just choose to do it in their own way. Some get it, some don’t, but the fact remains that they have appeared at many of the big festivals, predominately being rock and metal fans in attendance and have successfully won them over. If you’ve never seen a Skindred show, I strongly urge you to do so, I promise you they’ll win your affection with their live show antics as they are very entertaining. Varied, energetic, exhilarating and above all, one hell of a night out, just ask the HRH7 crowd who were the most energetic that I’d seen them all weekend!
After a long day, a few well earned pints were had with friends and festival goers alike. Playing out the days antics were a band that were smashing the second stage, Trippy Wicked. I couldn’t help but feel the beer made the music sound even better but that’s not to say I wouldn’t have enjoyed their set had I been sober, but they were wicked. I also discovered, on Saturday during our interview, the girls in Fake Club enjoyed their set too, but maybe a little too much as the guitarist clashed heads with a band mate and probably broke her nose which explains the blue plaster she was wearing during her set the next day!
Review and photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)