Thursday 13th November 2014.
YIPPY, its Hard Rock Hell weekender again – my that came around quickly! Most of my colleagues and the rest of the HRH faithful got to North wales, nice and early, I however punched the clock at 17.30 precisely and made my way to Pwllheli, wondering which of the fifteen different ways my sat nav will take me this time round? Three hours later I arrived, which is pretty fast, considering it was rush hour, but hey I’d arrived, the party could now start. That said, the party had already started without me, bummer! I’d already missed Midnight Messiah, The Earls of Mars and Hellion Rising, so apologies to those bands, I’ll catch you on the road again soon – I’m sure! Having checked in and met new comer Stacey, I was all set. I managed to make my way to stage 2, just in time to hear head honcho Johnny conduct the Opening Ceremony, however, I missed the hot fire breathers, again, bummer!
Unbeknown to me, its a HRH tradition to dress up on the Thursday, well no one bloody told me, I’d bought my costume and never got to wear it! I suppose I’ll have to save it for next year, when I make it on time! As soon as I got in to stage 2, it was clearly evident that everyone’s Halloween spirits were high, as were most of the people present, this was going to be an awesome weekend!
Capturing my first band was a real joy, as it was non other that Feral Sun, from Landan taan, who are currently supporting the mighty Skindred! This band feature plenty of heavy and aggressive riffs throughout their set. It was great to see Jay on the drums, also getting into the spirit of the Halloween theme, who was sporting his spooky mask! Heavy riffs, heavy bass and oodles of fun, make sure you get down to a show early to catch these guys, as they are ace!
Next up, were those Lancashire bomber boys, Massive Wagons and it must of felt like a bit of a home coming for these guys, although I missed them here last year, I was determined to witness them this year on these hallowed grounds! I actually got to see these guys perform, for the first time, on the Jagermeister stage at Bloodstock, which was both an odd location to see these guys, as they ain’t traditionally metal and yet it was a welcomed genre change, which was a heavy weekend all round! I can honestly say, they smashed that set and won the hearts of many and there were many at that performance! I think its safe to say Massive Wagons are having a great time of it and have really started to pick up steam, what with being signed to “Off Yer Rocka Records” have appeared at many festivals and shows, they have also released their new album “Fight the System” all in 2014, so tonight was all about letting off some steam!
Tonight’s performance was as good as any headlining set, it really was as a powerful performance. Baz on vocals was a jack in the box, who belted out those lyrics right from the gut, you can see he gives his all. As do, Adam – Guitars, Alex – drums, Carl – guitars and Bouz on the bass. Truly awesome, capturing these guys however, is a different matter, with hair and bodies flying everywhere, its hard work, which is just the way I like it! If I haven’t worked hard to capture a band with my camera, then the band haven’t worked hard enough on stage, so lets just say, I was exhausted!
This calls for my first pint of the weekend, not that I’m one for playing catch up, but I was severely behind on the beverage count, hey Sean Larkin! Sadly the prices for the booze was on par with all the other major festivals, so you’re talking nearly £5 a drink (ouch) I won’t be buying many more then!
Several more drinks couldn’t prepare me for the next act… as it was my first time witnessing American Metallers Lizzy Borden I didn’t quite know what to expect! These guys are all about the live show, which can only be described as The Rocky Horror Picture Show meets metal, which saw more masks than the whole of Slipknot put together.
There was blood, lots of blood, especially when Lizzy felt it apt to devour one of the NYMPHERNO girls, live on stage (not really, it was part of the show) which certainly captured my imagination! WOW, what a show and to think, these guys are currently touring the world to celebrate thirty years of entertaining people with their incredible live act which compliments their heavy metal madness!
Charged with closing the first day of the festival were the riff lords Godsized and with their heavy southern groves, its hard to believe these guys are from the UK. They look like a band that mean business too, beards, check, baseball caps, check, heavy riffed good rock and roll, f’in check, check, check! I don’t know an awful lot about this band, but I’m going to be watching out for these guys in 2015! To close, they covered Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’, which was a fantastic rendition and got everyone in the crowd singing all the way to their beds!
A very noticeable fact regarding this years Hard Rock Hell was the line up. Many of the bands that featured over the course of the three day festival, were either unknown to me or all out rock and roll stars, that I knew well. I for one was extremely excited about this weekend, as I was looking forward to discovering some great new music! Today, I saw two greats in Massive Wagons and Lizzy Boden and discovered Godsized, so were off to a good start!
Check out our reviews of Friday and Saturday, to see who else we fell in love with!
Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)