Hair Metal Heaven Hull 25-8-17
A new festival to the UK shores and with a Friday line up that included one of my bucket list bands in Treat as well as Hardline playing Double Eclipse and Eclipse too tickets were purchased and a 2 night stay in Hull quickly sorted with my mate Neal.
After a decent trip up we decided to check out where the venue was and after a walk across Hull city centre with out seeing more than 25 people (half day closing?) we found the venue with worryingly no sign of life with all doors closed.
After a very good pizza and Babylon AD at the next table and a good night's sleep and a walk in the morning along the Humber we arrived at the venue at 1.15 with the doors open at 1 not a good start and people saying stage not set up yet.
Doors opened at 1.50 (first band due on at 2 after an opening ceremony it said) and lots of annoyed punters as no VIP stuff ready so we all mingled outside the doors to the main hall and were finally let in at 2.30 to see Treat sound checking with Paper Tiger well job done for me and an unexpected bonus.
No announcements which became a theme for the weekend and Fragile Things (3) sound checked before finally kicking off proceedings at 3 o clock with a 30 minute set where the sound was at times unbareable with the drums loosening fillings and a poor start I have to say.
Mason Hill (8) soon put that to rest with a display of hard rock right out of the top drawer.Thankfully the sound was a lot better and the band oozed confidence as their 6 song 30 minute set flew past. Ep numbers Your Memory,Survive and set closer Where I Belong sat comfortably with new songs Blame,No Regret and first single off their debut album due in 2018 on Frontiers Records Srl Now You See Me already hitting 100000 hits on youtube.
Big riffs with a real groove to them and great vocals from Scott Taylor made this a very impressive showing and one to look out for in 2018.
Bigfoot (7) also have a debut album due out soon on Frontiers Records Srl in fact out on the 13th of October and again hit the stage running.New songs Tell Me A Lie and The Fear both showed off real promise and ep tracks Bitch Killer and Run had big riffs and hit hard too.Only down was an audience participation part in Blame It On The Dog that in a 30 minute set had no place but with set closer The Other Side Of Paradise momentum was re gained with Antony Ellis on vocals a real entertainer as well as possessing a great voice.Their debut UK headline tour takes place in October and November get out out and see them.
Nite Rain (0) were simply terrible desperate to be Motley Crue with out the hint of a tune and a vocalist who sang through his nose and to make matters even worse after one song with guitar problems there was a drum solo.KFC called.
As we returned to what seemed a new world Crazy Lixx (7.5) were on stage and with a pretty full house went down the proverbial storm.You know what you are going to get and they delivered it in spades and the crowd responded.Danny Rexon on vocals is an engaging front man and can write a tune and for the first time the audience could be heard singing along to Wild Child,Hell Raising Women,Rock And A Hard Place and of course set closer 21 Til I Die.With a reaction like they received should see more dates in the UK for them.
Babylon AD (6) were ok in a seen it all before way.Great after nearly 30 years to finally hear live Back In Babylon,Hammer Swings Down,Bang Go The Bells,Shot Of Love,Mary Anne and The Kid Goes Wild from the debut album with Derek Davis on vocals a consummate pro with all the shapes thrown.Songs from their new cd due out in November on Frontiers Records Srl included first single Crash And Burn and the ballad One Million Miles.Their hour set set seemed a little long.
We had been running an hour late as we had been since the start of the day but now we had a near hour delay with no one on stage even setting up before some action.It seems from what I have read Eclipse (11) hadn't been paid by the promoter and finally at 9 o clock on came a hurricane on 8 legs.If they were cheesed off at the delay it didn't show with a display of melodic guitar driven hard rock that few on the planet can match.
After screaming my lungs out for the first half of the set I had to mime as I was word perfect but not pitch perfect at a band that get better and better with every cd and tour.
Their hour set flew past with the following set list.
Bleed and Scream
Wake Me Up
The Downfall Of Eden
Stand On Your Feet
I Don't Wanna Say I'm Sorry
Words are a struggle sometimes to describe the joyous feeling when music takes you away from all the day to day crap we put with.We sang along to every word,we jumped up and down and in Neal's case backwards due to an arm around his throat from a delirious fan and got lost in that moment.Erik Martensson writes some of the best music on the planet driven along by the pounding drums of Philip Crusner and the big hard rock riffs of Magnus Henriksson where every song has a chorus demanding to be sung by everybody present at the top of their voices.Battlegrounds was incredible with Erik on acoustic and Magnus on electric picking out notes with the crowd at full voice and the woah woah part at the end had the hairs up on the back of the neck stood to attention as the crowd took over.
Every song was a highlight and the only sad part was it being over.
Eclipse deserve to take over the world they have my vote.
After Eclipse it could have been an anti climax but for me it never could with me finally seeing Treat (10) for the first time.Jamie Borger on drums put the locals at ease playing in a Hull football shirt and their hour set was a fan's delight with songs from through out their 30 year career.
Here is what they played.
Ghost Of Graceland
Better The Devil You Know
Ready For The Taking
We Own The Night
Get You On The Run
Skies Of Mongolia
World Of Promises
Amazingly the eighth band on and the first with keyboards and they were heard too during set opener Ghost Of Graceland where the audience reaction was very loud and the first of many short fiery always melodic guitar solo's from Anders Wikstrom which I was lucky enough to be stood by.
Poodle haired front man Robert Ernlund vocals were a delight with the hard hitting Better The Devil You Know up next.
Songs from one of my all time favourite albums Coup De Grace were all incredible.Roar's huge chorus shone and Paper Tiger (second time today) and the huge riff and chorus of Skies Of Mongolia were a life highlight they were that good.Known as a melodic rock band you forget how heavy they can be with ever bobbing bass player Pontus Egberg on bass and Borger on drums laying down a fearsome beat.
World Of Promises ended another magical hour and at last I can tick Treat off my bucket list and I thank the organisers of the festival for that.
With the time now past midnight we continued with Hardline (9.5) and although very weary great to see the band for the first time and seeing legendary guitarist Josh Ramos at close quarters again for the first time was superb.
Playing for 90 minutes with the main part of the set taken up with the 25th anniversary playing of Double Eclipse this was what they played.
Led by the boisterous ball of energy Johnny Gioeli on vocals who was everywhere.He managed to knock a pint over early in the show and in his anger at grabbing a towel to clear it up he then angered Ramos as he kicked his guitar board out of the way led to much glaring from Ramos until Gioeli apologised.
Double Eclipse numbers were all superb and with no Neal Schon who played on the original cd having Ramos who plays in the Schon way on board meant it sounded amazingly good with Ramos showing us he can shred with the best of them.
Gioeli vocals were superb and his vocal duet with keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio on Love Is Going To Take You Home was excellent.
But it was the older material we wanted and Life's A Bitch had the chorus spat out by Gioeli before Hands Of Time had a lengthy guitar solo from Ramos to keep us enthralled as the clock ticked past 1.
Everything was a joy to hear at last with Gioeli superb before Hot Cheri made sure no one was dozing off whatever time it was.
Rhythm From A Red Car brought the day to close as it should with all of the crowd joining in on the chorus and finally at 1.30 a full 2 hours late it was off into the night air to take in all that had happened.
Having so many bands on one day was always going to be difficult with only an allotted 15 minutes between sets but having no compere just giving us a heads up would have helped everyone.As not knowing what was going on was a source of a lot of annoyance.
I think we got away lightly on the Friday as we got the bill advertised however late we were where as the other 2 days had bands missing as well as running out of beer too.And bands sets being cut short due to time constraints and people who had paid for VIP's well that is a whole new story with no visible benefit and the Michael Monroe acoustic set at another venue being called off at the last minute as he hadn't been paid if full it seems.Even worse people left seeing TNT to go to the other venue and it didn't happen.
For me and Neal well we loved it.We had a great few days in Hull and I will forever be grateful as I finally got to see Treat.
Thank you Hair Metal Heaven.