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ConcertsHard Rock Hell VII Cirque Du Rock Day 3 @ Pwllheli, Wales 11/30/2013

Posted on Sunday, January 05 2014 @ 11:22:02 CST by Dean Pedley
Heavy Metal Completing our review of the superb Hard Rock Hell festival in North Wales we take a look back at day three. This was another mix of the old and the new with the former represented by Snakecharmer (the band featuring Whitesnake veterans Micky Moody and Neil Murray), original Iron Maiden vocalist Paul Di'Anno and one-time Hanoi Rocks frontman Michael Monroe. Waving the flag for the shining young talent on display were The Treatment, all girl quintet Fake Club and, headlining the festival in rollicking good style, Aussie live wires Airbourne.

The music only stopped around ten hours ago but by midday Saturday the crowd are already gathered in anticipation of the opening band of the day, The Jokers. This band has caused a buzz over the last few months with current release Rock 'N' Roll Is Alive winning them many new friends. They don't disappoint and for forty odd minutes it is old school rock 'n' roll all the way as they blow away the previous nights hangovers. By the time guitarist Paul Hurst charges into the crowd for 'Silver City' The Jokers have conquered all before them. The Treatment have made huge strides over the past year or so with notable support slots raising their profile and whetting the appetite for 2014's new album. They have the image, the support and the enthusiasm but do they have the songs? Well based on the evidence here you would have to respond in the affirmative and new material such as 'Emergency' goes down a storm. Leaving us with the blistering 'Shake the Mountain' the youngsters will be back on the road early next year and we simply cannot wait.

Eighties metallers Chrome Molly have been back in action for a few years now and plug away with their run of the mill melodic metal coming across about as tired and dated as the band members themselves. Snakecharmer boast a stellar line-up and can draw on the early 80's for inspiration and a decent amount of their set such as 'Walking in the Shadow of the Blues', 'Fool For Your Loving' and 'Here I Go Again'. That said, with their own material ploddingly one dimensional the band, aside from vocalist Chris Ousey, give the impression of simply having turned up to go through the motions and the muted response speaks volumes. Just when it seems as if Hard Rock Hell is settling into a mid-afternoon lull, along comes feisty rockers Fake Club with an all too brief set that really raises the bar and the temperature. With the songs to more than match their spiky attitude and rebellious image Fake Club prove to be the surprise package of the festival and cause a real stir amongst the crowd and the assembled media throng. The challenge that lies ahead is to build a following outside of their North London base, something which they definitely have the potential to do.

Over the top metal mayhem hit the stage courtesy of Sweden's Fatal Smile, the band in face paint guise as per current release 21st Century Freaks. With guitars held high and fists firmly pointed towards the sky, they provide some good natured entertainment. The same can also be said of Spit Like This with their Goth and roll horror show led by Lord Zion and his heavily tattooed band including partner in crime and bassist Vikki Spit. Giving the metaphorical middle finger to anyone who doesn't get what they are all about SLT provide one of those Hard Rock Hell curve ball moments that the organisers delight in serving up from time to time. Paul Di'Anno huffs and puffs his way through his usual Iron Maiden set. Having dicing with the wrong side of the law a few years back maybe it is time he hung up his leather jacket and called it a day.

Leaping around the stage with the vigour and enthusiasm of someone half his age, Michael Monroe launches into 'Horns and Halos', the title track and first of six numbers taken from his impressive new album. With a tight band and oozing self-belief Monroe still has all the tricks up his sleeve as he belts through a scorching hybrid of glam, punk and sleaze. 'Malibu Beach Nightmare' and 'Dead, Jail or Rock 'n' Roll' round off a fine set from the Finnish showman. The sheer energy of Canadian's Striker is astounding, trading solo's and blistering vocals transported you back to the days of Dokken and heyday of the 80's Metal revolution.

The band of choice for anyone who wishes AC/DC had never grown old, Airbourne are on fire for their headline performance. Whether Joel O'Keefe is cracking open beer cans with his head, going walk-a-bout in the crowd on the shoulders of a roadie or winding up the cricket fans with jibes about the Ashes it is all done with that down to earth and endearing Aussie good humour. Aside from all that he also hits some insanely high notes and delivers breakneck solos like a maniac. Their simple yet joyous rock n roll formula is right at home in front of a festival crowd and they leave with the crowd both exhilarated and exhausted. Following them is never going to be easy and The Answer find themselves with the thankless task in front of dwindling numbers. Fortunately new album New Horizon has plenty of upbeat moments such as lead single 'Spectacular' and with Cormac Neeson's frazzled delivery they rise to the occasion. It would have been good to have seen them earlier in the day but they will be back on the road early next year.

Long after the main stage had closed, the evening wasn't done with us until Lawnmower Deth had scarified and trimmed our lug holes with their horticultural heavy metal. 'Did you Spill My Pint?' and an appearance from Sumo the rather large squirrel ensured it was a memorable set. With their show budget having expanded to a wallet bursting 10.48 it was the envy of anyone who has witnessed the productions of Rammstein or KISS. An undisclosed member of KISS was said to have tweeted 'Just heard about Lawnmower Deth's set at HRH, going to have to totally rethink our 40th anniversary tour'. An excellent way to bring Hard Rock Hell VII to its climatic conclusion, Lawnmower Deth proved to be the true headliners of the weekend.

That wraps up our coverage from this years event so it just remains to thank Claire and all of the team at Chic PR for making us so welcome yet again. Tickets for 2014 (HRH VIII Helloween) are already on sale, check out http://www.hardrockhell.com/

Words by Dean Pedley and Mark Davies
Images by Rob Nankivell of Shoot Plymouth - http://shootplymouth.co.uk/
Images of Spit Like This and Lawnmower Deth by Mark Davies
For more of Rob's images from the festival check out https://www.facebook.com/ShootPlymouth


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