|Matt Blakout's Hard Rock Hell Über Blög!!!|
|Written by Matt Blakout|
|Saturday, 12 December 2009 22:34|
Last year when we played the Hard Rock Hell festival we had no expectations at all. We were on the main stage at a ridiculously late hour after Doro, but we had no problem with that as that's the way they do it in Europe and everyone is still up for the bands at three and four in the morning. I was really tired last year and all I wanted to do was have a cup of tea but there was no chance of that; we had a great crowd, great gig and the bar was set.
On to Hard Rock Hell 2009. When our stage time was first announced I was a little disappointed as it was really early, I think originally 13:05. Ok, you have to be professional and get on with it, but rock 'n' roll at that time is early by anyone's standards. Luckily these were amended and 15:15 became the actual times when the Tailz were due on, so that was better. The collection of Girlschool, Tailz and Quireboys in that afternoon session was a winner in my mind. No disrespect to the bands before Girlschool but it was a magic three line-up.
Before I actually got in the venue we had to get Tess her photo pass so, on walking back, the first person I bumped into was Stephen Pearcy so I knew the whole event was gonna be 80's rocktastic.
I got to the Queen Vic in time to watch Voodoo Johnson's last three songs after dropping off the merch and enjoyed their last couple of songs, they're a good proper rock band. I didn't want to start on the beer too early having learned my lessons of playing gigs with hangovers and struggling to get through without collapsing. I never drink before I go onstage so didn't want to overdo it on the Friday, however tempting!
Bumped into a few friends and I'm getting so familiar with a lot of the Tailz fans now, it really is like they've become my friends rather than people off the forum or just faces I see at gigs. It's great to chat with regular people. Great to bump into Robin Guy who challenged me to a drum off! What a cheek I thought as he just wants to embarrass me for the sake of his own career! Swiftly left it at that. Probably the best thing about the whole weekend is meeting up with the Über family and yes, great to spend some time with people who I really would love to spend more time with. The Über boys were generous enough to give me an exclusive Über shirt which I intended to wear for the last song of the Tailz set but with the technical problems going on and the fact I was in darkness for the last bit, I forgot to put on! I did do my bit for the cause though.
I caught a couple of bands in the Queen Vic which was good, met a few friends, including Wiggy Wiggins and his crew. Started drinking much earlier than I should have and waited for other bands to start. Completely missed the first couple of bands on the second stage, in fact I missed them all and they all blurred into one as the Strongbow flowed down my throat and over my new t-shirt. I remember watching a couple of bands who shall remain nameless who were, frankly just well, I'll leave you to finish.......RATT! I loved these back in the day and they were just great to watch. They seemed to have a delay in coming on and I noticed the same guy who told us to get off the stage last year as we were in danger of over running, was telling the Americans to forget the monitor mix and get on with it or fuck off back to where you came from. He was a great stage manager! Every song a winner but I'm not here to review, just to give my slant. I drank three pints in their shortish set so it was all becoming a blur. I do remember trying to remember the words I hadn't heard to songs I hadn't heard for a very long time and subsequently shouting them in Gaz's ear much to his delight probably! It was all over so quickly!
I honestly can't remember a great deal after that. The VIP bar opened and I crashed out on the sofa with Tess and some bird with red hair who was very well decorated and drawn on who was telling me she was Scottish but she sounded American and that she was a bi-sexual stripper and a model and all good stuff that she thought I wanted to hear, but I was actually too pissed to understand what the hell she was saying. I went somewhere after all of that.....oh yes, we all went into the Arena to watch some large-ish geezer with a moustache that looked like the guy from Monster Magnet. I remember thinking they had a good sound. Back to the VIP place and tip more beer over myself and getting drinks passed to me that I was not capable of drinking. Put me to bed boys, put me to bed.
Gig day! I was concerned about not being able to use my own gear. This was down to the fact that there was little room behind the stage and other minor reasons which to me means I run the risk of not being able to play very well, banging my hands and injuring myself, things being in the wrong place, you get the picture. I was so dehydrated from the night before all I wanted was water and everyone kept passing me beer. I did have a few cheeky ones but only maybe half a can as I don't drink at all before playing. Luckily, I had time to come round and sort myself out. I managed to watch a bit of The Glitterati and back to sort myself out. I watched Girlschool for about ten minutes and then I had to sort out my gear. Quick change and sound check and I thought I was ready. The dressing room was again bereft of any water so I managed to nab a couple of Girlschool's.
We had a great chat to them all when they came off stage they were such lovely people. Kim was convinced we had met before but I can't remember, nor think we have, but they were just all so lovely. I hope we meet up with them again at some point, would be awesome. The crowd were really having a great time and Girlschool's reception was fantastic.
Ready for stage time and with the help of Max and the effervescent Eddie I got all my stuff ready as much as I could have without actually playing it all. When we came on, I couldn't hit my snare as it was too high, too off centre, my sticks were all wet from condensation so couldn't hold the bleedin' things, it was all going wrong but I managed to pace myself into it and make allowances for what was going on. I had no onstage sound whatsoever, nor could I hear myself so it was all seam of the pants guesswork. The crowd's response was just so awesome and to look at the faces just carried the whole gig through. It was just so awesome. Kim said to me after he thought it was one of the best we had done and he was possibly right and that really is a compliment to the people at HRH as we've done some pretty big crowds.
A few bass issues at the end before Ace of Spades held things up a bit but it gave the Girlschool girls a chance to come out and join us, very appropriately for a Motorhead tune as they are nearly Motorhead. How fantastic was that? Well, end of set and I was so very enthusiastic to get near the crowd during or before the final bow, that I put my foot on the monitor case and, as we all know, just ended up on the floor as the whole thing was on wheels and just rolled away. I was pretty embarrassed and though I get flashbacks I can't remember if I ended up on the floor or still on the stage. I've not had chance to view the video yet but everyone else has and they tell me it's priceless. My ego was only slightly more bruised than my arse. Crowd response was simply awesome and the amount of people talking to me after and being generally appreciative of what we do has been simply brilliant, after the show and ever since.
I understand Kerrang came especially just to review us, but if it turns out not to be the case don't blame me; the HRH Forum has been lit up with accolades of the Tailz show so were very happy with the whole outcome, excellent.
Cool off, sort gear and drink beer! Excellent quick change and out in the crowd for drinks and watch some other bands. I managed to catch a bit of The Quireboys who are just always great, you know what you're getting with Spike and the boys. After their great performance I must confess I switched my whole attentions to the main arena as the whole event became a bit 'heavy' for me and all the bands went back to sounding similar. I did watch a bit of Onslaught as Jeff plays bass who is one of my oldest and dearest friends, so wanted to catch them. I spoke to Jeff briefly after our show and was pleased he managed to catch a couple of our tunes. Headed off to watch W.A.S.P. who were simply awesome and enjoyed shouting all their lyrics into Gaz's ear again, he must now be deaf! Great show by Blackie. Great bunch of players, real proper band.
Into the bar after these, few drinks. I managed to catch up with the rest of the guys and I was accosted by the editor of Metal Hammer who was strangely familiar, he told me we were like Journey; now, I love Journey but couldn't really see where he was going with this one, but he elaborated. "I always think I don't like Journey, until I listen to them and realise they're brilliant!" He continued, "You're a Welsh Motley Crue!" Great stuff! "Give us some coverage" I shouted at him as he headed off to hold his penis in his hand. Back to the bar......Have I mentioned Krusher yet? He was in our dressing room being ever so drunk and merry. He reminded me of Father Christmas being all merry and ruddy faced. Anyway, I kept bumping into him and asking him "Where's Bullseye?" He never replied. I also remember bumping into Dumpy and shouting in his ear about the fact that me and Jeff, who I was stood with at the time were born and bred in Abertillery and he did, in fact, play in Abertillery last night. I couldn't tell if he was amazed at this fact or didn't give a toss but he was stationary in front of me and this to me was acceptance he wanted me to shout in his ear some more. So I did.
It gets a bit hazy after W.A.S.P. - Queensryche sounded great from the bar. Oh and the New York Dolls. Great band, pity I wasn't really familiar with their stuff but they sounded good. There were a few other bands that seemed to be playing a series of riffs with words over the top but I'm really struggling with my consciousness and staying on my feet. I fall asleep sat at the back and it's all over for me, Blakout had Blacked out.... I wake up with some geezer clambering over me to get out so I do the same with the guy who's fallen asleep next to me. Except I kick the remainder of his drink all over the place.
An awesome weekend with great friends, met some new great friends and will hopefully see all these great friends very soon!!!
Roll on 2010, and we go BeZerK all over again!
Photo Kudos To Tessa Blakout!!!