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Hard Rock Hell Blues

The O2 Academy Sheffield 16th/17th April 2016.

The O2 Academy Sheffield played host to this year’s sold out HRH Blues festival and as a venue, it was very much suited to this event as it did a wonderful job all weekend. They had the main stage downstairs with plenty of seating and with three bars in operation, there was never too long to wait to be served. Upstairs was the Royalty and VIP area with a great view onto the main stage and a small stage where they had the unplugged sets throughout the event.

Starting the weekend off we had Sugarman Sam and the Voodoo men, this was the last day of their UK tour and finished it off in style with great songs including “Give Me One Reason” and “Stone Cold Man”, engaging the increasing crowd and getting them well into the spirit of a full day of Blues. The rest of Saturday had a great line up on the main stage which included Henry’s Funeral Shoe, Mudcat Blues Trio, Dirty Thrills, and Pig Iron.

Sugarman Sam & The Voodoo Men

The evening saw Ten Years After, Mick Ralphs Blues Band and The Yardbirds take to the main stage and finishing off a great day of good, classic blues rock. Ten Years After stole the show for Saturday and after speaking with many of the crowd they was definitely the favourite band of Saturday. For the lucky VIP’s and Royalty ticket holders there were also a few extra sets on the unplugged stage from The Dirty Thrills, Pig Iron, Sugarman Sam and the Voodoo Men, Ten Years After and a couple of the members from The Mick Ralphs Band. These sets were quick, intimate 15 minute sets which featured in-between the main stage acts.

Ten Years After

The second day was kicked off by Rob Tognoni, who had a great energy on stage and made sure the crowd got involved, warming them up for another full day of blues. We also learnt that he dedicates the 7th song on every album to his wife as this is her favourite number.

Rob Tognoni

Up next was Pontus Snibb and this is what I had been looking forward to all weekend as I have never had the pleasure of seeing him solo or heard him doing blues before. He did not disappoint me with great songs including “One Too Many” and “Pretty Baby”. He also played the first song he had ever written “I’m Walking”.

Pontus Snibb

The rest of Sunday saw the John Verity Band, the Pat McManus Band, Mick Moody and Bernie Marsden take to the main stage with Dr Feelgood finishing the day and also the festival. Dr Feelgood finished the festival brilliantly with songs including “She Does It Right”, “Roxette” and “Down at the Doctors”. They also included a few covers in their set, finishing the night off with a J.B Lenoir cover of “Give Me One More Shot”.

Pat McManus

The unplugged stage only had a couple of sets today from John Verity and Pontus Snibb, both doing a great few songs to a small intimate crowd.

John Verity

I’m sure nobody went away disappointed, HRH did a great job of hosting a weekend of classic blues rock and I’m certainly looking forward to HRH Blues 3 in 2017.

Review by Toni Reed and Photography by Neil Reed.