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!
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!
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.
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……..no thanks gringo, I’ll take your word for it!
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)