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HRH Doom Vs Stoner

O2 Academy Sheffield 30th September – 1st October 2017.

Wow, this was over a week ago already, yet I’m still buzzing from my experience at this great event. As we all know, the HRH brand is ever evolving. What started as an annual rock meeting, we look at the brand now and they have multiple events going on throughout the year, including HRH, Hammerfest, AOR, PROG, Metal, Sci-fi weekender and this weekends event Doom v Stoner, which is now into it’s second year.

Not only do they put on some great live events, they now also have a dedicated radio station, where not only do they champion many of the artists they’ve already featured at their live music shows but they also feature up and coming stars, who aspire to play at a one of HRH’s live events in the future. They now also have a full length magazine, which covers all manner of interesting topics, all geared around the fans that attend these events. It’s not a bad read, to be honest, some of the live event shots are a little ropey, they should ask decent photographer to take pictures……only joking Simon, keep up the good work!

On arrival, I was greeted by my favourite HRH face and press liaison, Claire. We always have a good natter and a catch up before any event starts. I’d like to think my cheerful personality helps to lift her somewhat tattered spirits, by this point, what with all the stress she goes through, leading up to the event.

I also got to speak with main man Johnny, uninterrupted, for a change! It’s always a pleasure speaking to the HRH event organiser. I got to ask him his opinion on all things music industry related and it’s always interesting to get his views on an array of specific topics. First and foremost, Johnny is a business man, who also happens to love his music. He always has time to talk to the music fans that attend his events and he strives to put on one hell of a show, which ever genre it may be.

HRH have managed to secure the use of the excellently equipped O2 arenas, in both Birmingham (Metal) and Sheffield (Doom v Stoner and NWOBHM), for their weekend events, which is great for us music goers because they a purpose built. Here’s an interesting fact, I discovered the venue use to be called ‘Roxy Lounge” back in the day and you can still see a neon sign saying as such, in the upstairs bar area! Saying that, we never seem to be lucky with the lighting at HRH events though which is a shame, as with all those lights at the Engineer’s disposal, he always seems to only manage to find the red light switch! In his defense, the first two bands on the main stage, only asked for red lighting?? Seriously, if you want good shots to accompany our reviews, please, please, PLEASE be a little more creative with your lighting choices, as no photographers I know are likely to give a band a good review, if they have to shoot them in red lighting, FACT – I don’t care what your mates in other bands have told you, red lighting sucks!

Kicking off Saturday, up in room 2, we had Regulus performing an acoustic set, which now seems a little odd as I saw them perform a proper live set later in the day on the main stage and they seriously kick ass! These guys lean more on the stoner side of the dual, although they don’t produce a true stoner sound, as they have some heavy metal elements in there aswell. From what I can gather, since the bands formation, they’ve managed to release two EP’s, the first being ‘The End’ in 2013 and ‘Titan Moon’ in 2014. They have also managed to release their debut LP, titled ‘The Quadralith’ recently, which is available on double 12″ vinyl. These guys are from Sheffield, so today must have felt like a home town show, only on a really big stage! We look forward to catching these guys on the road again soon.

The next band to catch my eye were Red Spektor, who are yet another great three piece who hail from Stoke on Trent and are championed, by none other than Mr. Dunkerley himself. These guys were never originally billed to perform this weekend from what I can gather, but due to a cancellation, they got drafted in at short notice and stepped up to the mark, which stands them in good stead for future performances, at HRH events. The crowd appeared to love them and we did too.

Boss Keliod are a band we’ve known of for some time now, I was even convinced I’d seen them play before, turns out they played Uprising Festival, this year, which we sadly missed, so as soon as they took to the stage and started performing, I knew straight away I hadn’t yet had the pleasure, na, the privilege of seeing them perform up until now – what a unique act, indeed. From Wigan, these guys are signed to Black Bow Records and they produce a magnificent blend of stoner rock with effects, courtesy of Alex, via his pedal, which his mic runs through and I could tell he enjoyed creating some crazy ass sounds, through this contraption! Not a band who takes themselves too seriously, which was evident during today’s performance, as someone in the crowd would demonstrate. All I’ll say is, Alex used the hecklers cries to his advantage and the crowd took his side and played along with the jokes. All the big press know who these guys are and love them as much as us. ‘We can’t wait to see these guys perform again, given the opportunity’!

The next band on stage 2, was PIST and by this point in the day, most people were, so aptly named! These guys have elements of DOWN as their musical influences but on the day, I got a more traditional metal feel from these guys. The crowd was packed to the rafters for their set and it would appear many of which, have seen this band perform before considering the banter between them, which made for great photos but you had to be quick, as they weren’t hanging about! According to their social media page, they have recently announced a new tour, for 2018, with Battalions and thankfully, they have a date in Nottingham, so we’re going to try our hardest to be there, if they will have us, as ‘we loved this bands energy and sound’!

St. Vitus are a band who need no introduction, as they’ve been dooming stages since 1979! It would appear HRH love these guys, as they appear quite frequently on various bills, whether that be for Hard Rock Hell, in November, Hammerfest in March, or Doom v Stoner, in September – these guys are that versatile, they fit in with almost anything and everything. This is not a complaint either, we love this band! I last saw St.Vitus perform at Hammerfest V back in 2013, which is much longer than I thought, as it only seems like yesterday! Back then, they had Wino Weinrich on vocals but this time around they had their original singer Scott Reagers, however according to the bands social media page, the two have shared vocal duties over the years, for what ever reason, so it was nice to have seen both vocalists perform with this band. Both singers have very different styles and stage presence, which helps to give the band a completely different feel both times I’ve seen them! Personally, I couldn’t care less who sings for the band as it’s all about Dave Chandler anyway, the bands guitarist, who’s been a permanent fixture in the band since their inception. ‘What a guitarist’ – I could watch and photograph him all day long and I was mesmerised throughout most of their set tonight, amazing!

Saturdays headliners, were none other than Orange Goblin, which I was most excited about as weirdly, I’ve never photographed this band before, until now that is. I say weirdly, because I love this bands music and have enjoyed seeing them perform, many times over the years. I’ve even spoken with Ben, the bands lead singer several times when I’ve seen him at festivals and that time when he was touring with the band Scorpion Child, a few years back! I was getting well into their set tonight, so much so I didn’t even mind having water thrown over me, as I got caught in the cross fire when Ben threw water into the crowd. It’s safe to say these guys are as tight as ever and as they are currently writing and recording a new album, they’ve had plenty of time to practice together in preparation for tonight’s headline show, which was nothing short of magnificent! What an honour to see such a great set, up close and personal! The band head off to Ireland at the end of this month for three shows, so if you haven’t already, go and see these guys perform live, you will not be disappointed.

Sadly, I couldn’t attend the Sunday due to family commitments, which I’m most upset about as I missed some great performances by all accounts, courtesy of the likes of Witch Tripper, King Goat, Ten Foot Wizard, Slabdragger, Truck Fighters (a band I’m desperate to see play live) and Kadavar, who got moved to the headline slot due to My Dying Bride having to cancel their appearance and we hope everything’s ok with them and their camp! Incidentally, Kadavar are supporting Metallica at the end of the month, so I’ll be seeing them then, CAN NOT WAIT!

It also means I’ve got to write less! I hate writing these reviews, coz I’m shit at writing but it’s a stipulation for getting accreditation, so thanks for putting up with my gibberish.

By the looks of this weekends strong attendance, we can only assume this fixture will go ahead next year, so we’re looking forward to that already! What a great day, shared with some amazing people. Thank you.

Review and Photography by Jay Hawkins (JJ Photography UK)

RockWich

Lostock Sports & Social Club Northwich 26th & 27th August 2017.

All I can say is what an amazing weekend, starting off with a great acoustic show starring Theia, Michael Chimp Procter, Rob Lomax and the BBC acoustic band and Baxter.

Then the main event on Sunday was electric, the crowd were amazing, everyone was friendly and made you feel welcome. It was also a family event with kids and even more incredible, the youngest rocker attending this year was 1 years of age that’s right only one years old!!!

The day kicked off rocking with The Sourheads, who gave a great performance to start us off. Even though it was 12pm the beer was flowing and the head banging commenced as it meant to go on.

The next band to hit the stage were Black Cat Bones who played an awesome set with songs “Better Days” and “Devil You Know” just to name a couple. They also did a song called “Down To The River” where the lead singer played a mean harmonica solo. The band rocked the stage with even their merch seller having a good old mosh.

Next to rock the stage was Ryders Creed (previously known as –  Black Rose Cadillac) who started a great set with the song “Ryder“. They also played “River man“, “Begging For More“, “Rise” and “Devil Road” just to name a few.

We then had The Senton Bombs come up and play a great set, followed by the awesome Baleful Creed who got the crowd up and dancing. Next up we had even more great music from Beckon Lane who had very little time to prepare as they were added to the line up in a week before RockWich, but that did not stop them putting on one amazing show.

It was at this point in the day that everyone gathered up inside to sing for Falling Red’s new music video. The crowd loved being involved in this and everyone sang their hearts out.

Hells Addiction were due to play next but due to travel issues, Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters were next. The Lancashire lady was ready and put on a good performance.

Maybe running a little late but still in good form, we had Hells Addiction. They came on and gave it their all, giving us an epic performance. There were a lot of fans amongst the crowd for Hells Addiction and seemed to love the show they put on.

It was now time for Regulus who really got the crowd going. There showman ship was amazing, getting everyone dancing including Abel Reed the one-year old rocker!! They played an array of songs including “Rock and Roll“, “Bones” and “The Minion“.

Mason Hill now, and they had a lot of diehard fans waiting to rock out. Unfortunately, halfway through the first song “Broken Son“, the mic died but that didn’t stop the lead singer from carrying on and belting out some awesome vocals. As soon as the technical problem was fixed, they carried on rocking the stage with songs “Your Memory“, “Out of Reach” and “Blame“.

Getting closer to the headlining act we had Knock Out Kane with their old school style, they tore the roof off the building!!! They had a laid back style of play with a great set list of songs. The lead singer was a great performer and even got his guitar out to play.

Next to bring us more great music were Screaming Eagles. With their Black Stone Cherry style of music, they gave us a performance of a life time. The singer was down to earth and very entertaining, jumping all around the stage. They kicked off the set with the song “Blood” and followed with more amazing original songs by the band such as “Hungry“, Soul“, “Road House” and “Ready for the Fall“. A great band to get us warmed up for the big one, the headliners!!!!

And ready to finish off such an amazing day in good old rock and roll fashion, were the Lancaster based rockers Massive Wagons. Kicking us off with their charity single “Back to the Stack” then straight into some heavy bass and guitars with “Nails“. These were followed up by two new songs “Under No Illusion” and “Last on the List“. They also gave us a wide range of tracks from all three albums including “Red Dress“, “Look Around“, “Ratio” and “Tokyo” and finished an amazing set that had the crowd rocking from start to end, with an amazing cover of the AC/DC classic “Thunderstruck“.

Overall the day was amazing, from the promoters to the crowd, the bar staff and of course every band who played gave us a show to remember. Even though there was a couple of issues with mics the festival ran on time which is great to say when every band had a different setup. “So I would like to say a big thank you to RockWich and the RockWich family and look forward to seeing you next year”!

Review by Matthew York and Photography by Neil Reed Photography.

Winter Rocks Festival

The Corporation Sheffield 5.12.15

As a big fan of The Union, I was really looking forward to seeing Peter Shoulder on the second stage and he went down great! Playing a variety of material from his debut album “Feathers and Rain” including “It never Rains” Peter has created a new sound for himself. He even treated us to some new material from his new E.P, as much as I like him as a solo, I hope this isn’t the end for The Union.

Pete Shoulder

The Corporation was now getting busier as the main stage saw The Graveltones next. A duo rock and roll band from London. Starting their set with “Kiss and Fuck Off” and then “Never Gonna Let” The Graveltones have their own bluesy sound with some heavy guitar riffs, showing this off with their final song “Fancy Things”.

Back to the second stage for Falling Red, who never fail to put on a good show. A hell of a journey for these guys from Cumbria in the storm but they made it, and gave it their all! For the crowds just beginning to arrive for the main acts that night they certainly warmed everyone up with a personal favourite “We Escaped A Cult”.

Rozey - Falling Red

Main stage now for Scorpion Child, a five piece from Texas. These guys describe themselves as “heavy acid rock”, and not really knowing what this was, I do now! Their set included “Woman In Black” and “Acid Roulette”. Lead singer Aryn Jonathan Black had an amazing energy on stage, bouncing around and pulling some poses for the camera guys in the pit, by far the most entertaining band so far.

Aryn Black - Scorpian Child

Flip The Pyramid, a four piece from Rotherham and Slovakia. These guys are punk rock, so something a little different to mix up the evening. Unfortunately with the stage times running so close together this was time for me to fuel up and grab some food, so I did miss most of their set but from what I did see and hear they went down well.

SAWF- Flip The Pyramid

Back again to the main stage for Crobot. I first saw these guys at Hard Rock Hell earlier this year and they were a band that stood out for me so I was looking forward to seeing this four piece hard rock band from Pennsylvania again. These guys put on a good show, you could tell they really enjoyed themselves on stage especially with “Welcome to Fat City” and treating us to new song “Easy Money” Brandon bought out the harmonica. Finishing their set with “Fly on the Wall” with Brandon jumping on Chris’s shoulders and Jake the bassist did the whole show in just a pair of grey boxer shorts.

Second stage for Regulus next, another hometown band, a four piece with a groovy stoner rock unique sound. You could tell they really felt at home on stage at the Corporation and had so much fun on now a very packed out stage 2.

The Corporation was now very busy as we had just the top five bands left to play and it was now time for Nonpoint on the main stage. Nonpoint are a metal/heavy rock five piece from America. I was a little unsure of these guys as I’m not a huge fan of metal but I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, they were heavier than I would normally like but they were amazing on stage and really got the crowd going and geared up for their friends Fozzy. “Pins and Needles” was one of the crowd favourites and a great cover of Phil Collins song “In The Air Tonight” was certainly unique, but it worked really well, I’ll not be able to listen to the original without wanting the Nonpoint twist and sound to it.

Second to last on the second stage was Liberty Lies from the Black Country. A five piece alternative rock band who have toured with Halestorm, Shinedown and Heavens Basement. Belting out “Someone Else” and “Confessions of an Effigy” the crowd were fuelled up and ready for stage 2 headliners, Buffalo Summer.

I got the impression Fozzy was what most people had been waiting for and in true Jericho style, we had the intro “Do You Wanna Start A War” before he came on stage in a great flashing jacket. Fozzy put on an awesome show, lead singer – Chris Jericho is certainly an entertainer! They did a great cover of Abba’s “SOS” and the crowd really did go wild, jumping up and down and singing along. Lead guitarist Rich came out into the crowd, jumped on a box and was wheeled through the crowd back to the stage during “Sandpaper” and at the very end of their final song a Krokus cover of “Eat The Rich”, Jericho jumped into the crowd for a spot of crowd surfing.

Chris Jehrico - Fozzy

Headliners Buffalo Summer were on the second stage up next. A bluesy rock four piece from Swansea. I have seen Buffalo Summer a few times now and they always seem to impress me more every time. A great set to finish the second stage off, including a personal favourite of mine “Down To The River”, a song you can’t help but sing along to even if you’ve never heard it before.

The day’s headliner, The Temperance Movement were next on the main stage to finish what had been a great day of good rock music. The Temperance Movement are a five piece rock n roll band that has gone from strength to strength over the last 18 months. They have toured with The Rolling Stones and conquered America touring with Blackberry Smoke. I was so excited to see them back in the UK after what had seemed like a lifetime since I had seen them live. Playing a lot of their old classics “Only Friend”, “Midnight Black” and “Take It Back” but also some new stuff from their new album that’s out very soon including “Battle Lines”, “Three Bullets” and the bands favourite off their new album “Get Yourself Free”. At the end of their set the band attempted to leave the stage but of course, the crowd wanted more and they returned to do an encore which included the popular “Ain’t No Telling”.

Phil Campbell - The Temperance Movement

I had a great day at Winter Rocks, The Temperance Movement are one of my favourite bands and yes, I thoroughly enjoyed them but Fozzy stole the show for me. I would love to catch them again if they come back to the UK. Winter Rocks will be back in 2016 and I hope to see you there!

Review by Toni Reed and Photography by Neil Reed.