|Hard Rock Hell 3 The Vikings Ball - Prestatyn, Pontins - 4th December 2009|
|Written by Johnny H|
|Friday, 11 December 2009 16:35|
If the previous night's warm up had been our blues-rock and metal starter for ten then the first full day of this year's Hard Rock Hell line-up looked like a cornucopia of rock cranked all the way up to eleven.
Rising as you do at these seaside places to the persistent stomp of the assembled seagulls feet (which has to be seen to be believed) we made our usual early morning call to the on site kitchens of doom before once again paying our respects to the On The Buses memorial plaque. By the time the sleep and alcohol fumes had been forcibly exorcised from our aching limbs we suddenly realised this was also our first proper day of media coverage so on our best behaviour we kitted ourselves out like some Heavy Metal Ghostbusters and made our way to an already packed Queen Vic Pub in time for Italian metallers Arthemis on the Young Blood Stage. Specialising in real deal metal with V head stocked guitars pointed to the sky the track 'Mr (fucking) Evil' from the band's 'Black Society' album certainly had all of us grinning from ear to ear.
Something we continued to do with the arrival of our old chums Voodoo Johnson. Not unlike last year's set from Million$Reload, Voodoo Johnson exude a classic rock vibrancy that far outweighs their current stature. Tracks like 'Dirty Angel' and 'Bad Habit' were delivered with mucho gusto and if the rabid headbanging that ensued during the latter from certain members of the packed audience is anything to go by, then things are certainly looking good for the best hard rock band to come out of Birmingham in what seem like ages.
Continuing the Classic Rock vibe next up were Newcastle four-piece Remedy - sassy, soulful and gifted with the vocals of one Jenn Cherene who could kill any X Factor wannabe at 100 paces with one note from her powerful pipes. For some reason I couldn't get Pat Benatar out of my head all the way through Remedy's set, and that's meant as a compliment not as a criticism. In a difficult genre like female fronted rock you need a USP and Remedy certainly have one in Jenn.
As the afternoon progressed we headed back to our chalets to brush up our interview questions only to find that like last year Attica Rage were taking over our lives (they were staying above us last year), having encamped in a chalet opposite ours for the afternoon's Attica in your chalet competition winner. Gaz then got the idea of warming the assembled Attica crowd up with a bit of Stryper on our Über Death Deck and Lord if the heavens didn't open up as a result. Lesson to Über Röckers everywhere - don't piss them metal gods off with limp dick shit like Stryper.
Back to Club Stage or Porshammer as it was retitled for the day and we somehow managed to get entranced by German metallers Die Apokalyptischien Reiter, I mean how can you not watch a band with a gimp on keyboards.
With that image in our heads we made our way to interview three great bands playing over the weekend, and somehow I managed to not mention gimp masks once. (You'll get to read these interviews over the next week or two here on Über Röck).
Freshened up (well a Texan shower anyway) and ready for an evening of rock, we made our way into the main arena for the first time this year, just in time to see Joolz Gizzi cranking out the opening riff to one of my all time favourite Gun songs, in the form of the sublime 'Welcome To The Real World'. With Toby Jepson now doing a truly commanding job fronting the band, the recent tour has certainly allowed him to make his own mark (excuse the pun) on tracks like 'Inside Out' and 'Money' and by the set closing 'Word Up' you'd almost believe he had been the band's only singer. A special mention must be made of the new 'Popkiller' tracks played tonight as they demonstrated a band moving onwards and upwards and proving there's plenty of life in these boys yet.
If you could name one band that was the soundtrack to your childhood who would it be? Mine would most probably be Slade or Queen, Tigertailz drummer Matt Blakout's would be Ratt as he proudly yelled at me, mid-way through the band's greatest hits set. It was one classic after another with 'Sweet Cheater', 'Wanted Man', 'You Think You're Tough' and 'Back For More' all coming in swift succession. I'll give you the fact that Stephen Pearcy is never going to be a virtuoso singer, but he's certainly the coolest fucker in this venue tonight, and by the time 'Round And Round' has left us wanting more I'm scratching my head wondering if I've ever seen Ratt deliver anything other than a classic show.
Having never been a fan of Terrorvison I have to admit that they are also a band I've never seen deliver a bad show, and tonight was no exception, delivering their greatest hits package much to the delight of the assembled main stage massive. The set ended with huge inflatable balloons being kicked into the crowd and everyone left to grab some in much short supply fresh air, seemingly thinking they'd just seen the band of the weekend so far.
But not so fast Über Röckers as my old stoner buddies Monster Magnet were up next and I'd just enough time to start getting some ale in ahead of my night of psychedelic metal extravagance. Now it's fair to say it's been a few years since I last saw Monster Magnet on tour (with the mighty Gluecifer), but the Dave Wyndorf who greeted us tonight was more 'Good Lord' Muthafucker than Space Lord Muthafucker, he'd certainly gained a few pounds in battling his demons. But what the fuck? This was Dave, and this was Monster Magnet, riding the airwaves of the un-cool and for once letting the music do all the talking. I really do love this band, and when you have songs as good as 'Crop Circle', 'Megasonic Teenage Warhead' and 'Powertrip' in your repertoire how can you fail not to join me? And if 'The Right Stuff' isn't the best track to loose your fucking mind to then I dare you to name me a better one.
With only Sonata Arctica left to play on the main stage we decided to visit some of our recently made chums in the VIP bar, and damn it if we didn't end up spending the rest of the night there catching up on all the gossip and watching one of Über Röck's writers getting especially excited about which Kiss album is their all time best.
So with Saturday morning already a few hours old we made our way back to our chalet and the thought of the seagull stomping dawn chorus crossed my mind and suddenly I remembered that tomorrow was indeed thrash day...and that seemed to me like a good day for us to start spreading the Über word.
Friday Highlights? Well for me it would have to be Gun, Monster Magnet and Ratt, but for the rest of our crazy gang you need look no further than Terrorvision.
To be continued.......