Day one of HRH AOR is upon us. The line up for the day was a huge one and with so many great artists spread across two venues it was bound to be quite the day.
Arena one was full of AOR acts with bands such as Cruzh, Daylight Robbery, Jac Dalton and The Radio Sun. The bands took full advantage of their time on stage and appeared to be having a blast doing it. Each band had a fan base that was clear to see down by the front of the stage as they interacted with the bands. Stand out band Cruzh had more than just their music to entertain the crowd as their charisma and charm took over. The band was clearly having a great time as they laughed and joked with each other and the crowd.
Arena two saw the Glam/Sleeze bands playing. The acts playing this side included C.O.P UK, Iconic Eye and Empyre. With the more aggressive sounds and heavier riffs, there was a clear contrast from Stage One. C.O.P UK (Crimes Of Passion) were one of the stand out bands of the day with their energy and passion clear to see on the stage. From their energy they got the crowd going and really got the party started by playing some “Journey” which sounded straight off an album. Iconic Eye were another stand out performance especially with front woman Janey Gould taking over the stage. She bared her soul for the crowd while playing a track written about her grandmother and dementia which was a touching moment within the set.
As the night sets in, the headliners for the night begin to take the stage. With Arena Two seeing the likes of Gone Savage, Naked and Lawless stealing the more glam rock crowd. There was no doubt that they had pulled the crowds in and were making the most of it. Lawless were a standout performance getting the crowd going with some audience participation that saw the whole crowd get involved.
Taking over Arena One was Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics. The word that comes to mind when describing them can only be electric! They completely took the venue by storm and blew the crowd away. Buchanan made the most of every inch of the stage leaping and bounding all over the place. He even threw himself into the crowd with a somersault style leap and was carried back to the stage. As well as exuding energy all over the stage, he also made sure to give each of his band members (including his sister) their well deserved moment in the spotlight. Although a heavier style of music, it was clear there was many fans in this arena and some converted too.
Next up were the BulletBoys and this crowd was ready for them. This was another band that was full of energy and charisma. Between and during songs frontman Marq Torien spoke to the crowd and kept them going. The whole band jumped with their music and were clearly having a great time playing at the festival. It was clear to see that this is a band with no intention of stopping anytime soon as they clearly love their craft, not to mention the fact that they have a new album due for release later in the month. The fans out for them tonight were clear followers as they sang along with the band and got involved with the audience participation.
But now as the night is drawing to a close it can only mean one thing – Night Ranger! Playing AC/DC’s ‘Shook Me All Night Long’, before taking the stage the crowd were already singing and dancing along. As the band took the stage, this was the moment many fans had been waiting all day for. With each track performed the crowd got more and more into the music especially during fan favourites such as ‘Seven Wishes’ and the Damn Yankees ‘Coming of Age’. Another highlight moment was the performance of ‘Don’t Tell Me You Love Me’ with a mix of Deep Purples ‘Highway Star’. Throughout the night Jack Blades kept the crowd energy up and was a great frontman but each member of the band let their personality shine throughout the performance. But there was one moment that the room was waiting for and that was when the opening bars of ‘Sister Christian’ began to play. A Night Ranger show would not be complete without the performance of this classic track. As drummer/ singer Kelly Keagy took centre stage to sing the iconic song the crowd excitement took over the venue. But this was not the closing number as this was saved for the ultimate ‘(You Can Still) Rock in America’ that saw the crowd dancing and singing along. This was the perfect ending to the first night of the festival and there’s no doubt that this crowd went back with a smile on their faces after a fantastic day of music.
Photography – Mark Ellis : http://shootthegroove.com
Review – Emmie Ellis