On a very wet and windy Saturday morning, a caravan park in Wales was getting ready for the final day of monster music at the Hard Rock Hell AOR festival. Despite the terrible weather, the fans spirits certainly didn’t seem to be dampened as they were geared up for another incredible line up!
Kicking off the festival today was Sykko Kids, who despite the earlier start pulled in quite the crowd. Not only was there a fair amount of people filling the second arena but they were also ready to party as they happily called and sang back to the band, louder than for some of the acts that had taken over the first arena the day before. Following on was Heartbreak Remedy who kept the fans attention in this arena despite the first act being up across the way. This was another band who knew how to keep the crowds going and entertained. With the atmosphere already charged, The Wicked Jackals continued the great mood, with some great music and some great craic too! This was turning out to be the arena to be in to check out some great bands, who moved nothing more than a great time with their fans.
Opening for arena 1 was female fronted Psycho Kiss, who clearly had quite the following as the band recognised a few fans in the audience. However it was Saints Of Sin who really got the crowd going in this arena. With an incredible amount of energy, it was difficult to know where to place your eyes, as each member of that band drew your attention. The band made sure that everyone was awake for the rest of the day, with plenty of interaction even getting them to crouch and jump up, which the crowd happily obliged with. Following on from such a highly entertaining set was AOR favourites Daylight Robbery. The arena was definitely starting to fill more, as the day continued late into the afternoon with fans ready to enjoy themselves once more. The band kept the feel good energy alive, as they played their set and tool control over the stage, once again grabbing the attention of the crowd.
Taking us into the evening in arena 2 New Generation Superstars were up next. This is a band who come on stage to have a good time and it’s certainly infectious as the crowd danced about the arena. However now it was time for another AOR favourite with the Blood Red Saints who never fail to put on one hell of a performance. Tonight was no exception as they made sure despite being on a smaller stage they still brought the big energy. Interacting with the fans like old friends and even coming into the crowd as front man Pete Godfrey came onto the ramp placed in the middle of the room to get up close and personal with those who had come to see them tonight. Keeping up the themes of great connections and fun were Bai Bang, followed by Trench Dogs who both took the smaller stage in their stride and still managed to pull in a fair sized crowd despite Arena 1’s growing line up. Heading into the night The Last Dreamers brought in a crowd for their melodic sound while Wraith kept up the female power seen at this year’s festival. With Damn Dice taking the crowd in this arena up till the very last band of the weekend took to the stage.
Up next in Arena 1 was newcomers to the festival Kane’d. The seven piece band comprised of not one or two but three female singers, who are sisters nonetheless, raised the roof of this arena. The large crowd was 100% behind these guys and were having a great time with it. Despite being in the middle of a UK tour with Tyketto, who played the Thursday night, they found the time to put on a performance for the fans here tonight that they won’t forget! However the crowd only grew larger as the next band took to the stage, as it was now time
for Midnite City. Having been promoted to the main stage this year, it was easy to see why, with the love shown by the fans tonight. Heading straight in with “There Goes The Neighborhood”, the arena lit up as fans sang and danced along with the band. The Tigertailz frontman Rob Wylde commanded the crowds attention and made sure to keep it for the full hour set. Backed by the rest of the band it was certainly one of the top performances of the weekend, proving the line up was just getting stronger and stronger. Following on was Swedish band Electric Boys, who continued the theme with another strong performance. By this point in the night it was now becoming a struggle to move around the arena for the packed out fans who were taking residence in there. It was for a good reason though as the band played a show and a half, more than entertaining the fans who had come out to see them. Playing a range of hits, including “Suffer” and “You Spark My Heart” however there was one song the whole room was waiting for and it was the only way to close the set. As the intro began, the crowd spiked on excitement for the classic track “All Lips N Hips”. Every voice in the arena lifted to join in the catchy chorus which was quite a sight to witness as the room was packed to the rafters. This was certainly a highlight to the weekend.
The night was drawing to a close with just two bands left on the bill for Arena 1. Up first was Pretty Boy Floyd who came out and straight into “Leather Boys with Electric Toys”, one of their most well known tracks. However this would become a theme as they would continue to use this phrase as a point if reference to themselves. While the venue may not have been as packed for this band, those that had stayed made sure to show the band they were there. Singing along with the band, their voices could be heard and will have no doubt been appreciated by the band on stage. Speaking of the band, they brought an incredible amount of energy to the stage, keeping up with the rest of the day. They were the perfect lead up to tonight’s headliner, the one and only voice of Danger Danger, Ted Poley! Fans in the audience had waited all weekend to hear Poley, perform some his greatest hits, from his career and this was exactly what they got. The set was a mix of classic Danger Danger, Tokyo Motor Fist and his own solo work. But in true style, this was an immersive fan experience, as Poley spent the majority of the set either stood against the barrier or walking through the crowd. While many bands on the bill had been audience focused, none had quite gone to the lengths that he did. When he was on stage however he brought his charisma and charm and made sure to put on a performance, even bringing the guys from Midnite City back to the stage to partake in the classic “Monkey Business”. Poley continued sharing the love as he allowed his backing band Degreed to play their own track to close the show and the weekend, with support from the man himself.
Heavy Pettin were the very final band to take the stage for the weekend, pulling in the crowds of fans not ready to end the weekend but to continue the party into Sunday morning. The room filled up in Arena 2 and the crowd continued to dance and enjoy the rest of their night.
Once again Hard Rock Hell pulled out all the stops for another fantastic weekend filled with melodic AOR and Sleeze music. The atmosphere was warm and friendly as the friends and family of the festival enjoyed their yearly injection of the festival, and left filled with anticipation for next year!
Review: Emmie Ellis
Photography: Mark Ellis