Hard Rock Hell AOR 2013 – Day 29th April 2013
Gig: Hard Rock Hell AOR 2013 – Day 2
Review By: Matt
Photos By: Matt
The Day started with Barb-Q-Barbies taking to the stage, hailing from Finland and they delivered some low down straight forward crotch level grinding dirty rock. A promising start to the day, you can hear the influence of AC/DC, Motorhead et al. The Girls did well and came over to the audience prominent with no self airs of grandeur but straight in your face Rock.
Next up were Welsh Rockers Buffalo Summer, the band are a very bluesy southern sounding group with comparisons to Free and Lynrd Skynyrd, With songs like “ Truth From Fable” and “A Horse Called Freedom” it’s easy to see why, a different vein into the festival these guys were fresh and there performance solid.
Following were Nubian Rose, a Swedish band centered around the powerful vocals of Sofia Lilja heavily influenced by eighties bands like DIO, Scorpions and Micheal Schenker you can hear the European feel to the music. The crowd reacted well and Sofia at first struggled to relate to the crowd ( telling us English footballers are great! ) but she built up the rapport and the material came over well. Single “Reckless” is a perfect showcase of what these guys do well, for those of you who love the European style of AOR check them out.
At 15:50 H.E.A.T. hit the stage, and I have to say this to begin with – These guy’s are TIGHT, I was impressed how well they came across the energy from the stage was magnificent. Lead singer Erik Gronwall fires up the audience in a way similar to Jared Leto with a vocal performance that in my surpasses, to see these guys so young and with so much perfection is amazing and with songs like “In And Out Of Trouble” “Heartbreaker” and “It’s All About Tonight” the band deliver a set that is awesome. Song “Downtown” is definitely an arena filler. One of the weekend’s highlights….
I then headed over to the second stage to catch Serpentine, having interviewed the guys earlier I’d asked about the Tony Mills element and if new vocalist Matt Black had Tony’s blessing. They told me he had and as soon as I saw Matt in action I’d know why. Matt Black is an awesome frontman let me put the critics straight – along with his vocal ability, he has a quick wit and friendly demeanour that helps him win over the crowd effortlessly and like H.E.A.T. these guys have experience beyond their years, midset Chris Gould’s guitar fails and they carry on.
I know major bands that would have simply stopped but due to the strength of this band they have the ability to drive through professionally, this only happens for mostly one song and soon they are back on track. To hear “Whatever Heartache” last gives the crowd what they’ve been waiting for and I’m hungry now to see what the band will deliver on their third album and with Matt’s input, one thing is for sure though, these guys should have been on the main stage.
I headed back over to see Kip Winger and was amazed to see him alone with a electric acoustic guitar, I caught “Ez Come Ez Go” onwards, and at two songs into what I heard I wasn’t sure I was enjoying it, it seemed a step backwards from the electric energy of the day, as his set progressed though my view changed and the awesome “Deal With The Devil” came across faultlessly, I admired Kip Winger to deliver what he did where bands were used. Arrogant? Nope just talent, similar to Danny Vaughn acoustically and cool to watch, even for his british accent impression…he will be back later in the year with Reb Beach and Winger so watch for that.
So then my last band I managed to catch was Skid Row, opening with classic “Slave To The Grind” the energy was in the air, quickly followed by “Big Guns”, vocalist Johnny Solinger is a tone or so lower than previous singer Sebastian Bach and it does take a little adjusting to for the older stuff but on the new material it’s awesome “ New Generation” shows this before they move onto “18 And Life” “Makin A Mess” and “I Remember you”.
I headed then for my 2 hr drive home, and I have to say for a festival named AOR Heaven, it’s never been so apt, I drive completely rocked out and wonder to myself how the hell they’ll top that bill next year…….