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  BLACK ACES, WAYWARD SONS AND DEE SNIDER LIFT UP PROCEEDINGS AT HARD ROCK HELL DAY ONE
Hard Rock Hell XI: Hafan y Môr Holiday Park, Pwllheli


johnny main
Words: Johnny Main, Pictures: Carlan Braid
23rd November 2017


hrh xi 2017

The renowned three-day music festival that is Hard Rock Hell was celebrating its eleventh year, and was once again at its base outside the Welsh town of Pwllheli, at the Hafan y Môr Holiday Park.

With a range of top acts mixed with up and coming acts split over the three days, the festival always has a "something for everyone" feel about it, and the fact it's sold out once again is testament to not only the bands who were booked but also to the top-notch organisation of the event and the excellent on-site facilities.

Hafan y Môr has been home to Hard Rock Hell since 2011, has a range of different accommodation options from static caravans, to two and three bedroom apartments, which saves everyone from having to spend the weekend in a tent – a real bonus if the weather is inclement.

On-site facilities include two spacious indoor venues housing each of the stages which are surrounded by numerous bars, a restaurant, a couple of small supermarkets, a fish and chip shop, burger joint and pizza shop, so nothing is ever too far away and the venue absolutely suits the needs of the HRH audience very well.

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Dee Snider

With events kicking off, the MetalTalk team converged on the site but rather than settling into our onsite accommodation after the seven-hour drive (which included getting lost, of course!), our accommodation was another half hour drive (each way) away so the partying was temporarily postponed as we drove to our accommodation, dropped off what we didn't need and then headed back to the venue.

The outcome of that was that we missed the first couple of bands - Ryders Creed fresh from their, by all accounts, entertaining performance at the recent Status Quo Fan Club Convention but the good news is that they've already been booked for HRH 2018, so we'll see them there if not before.

We also missed most of Idlewar's set which was a pity as I've been championing them on MetalTalk this was one band I really wanted to see.

We did catch Australian rockers Black Aces who I discovered one a year before when they played the very same venue, as it happens, and it was a real pleasure to catch them in action once again.

One of a number of talented Aussie bands, this quartet are beginning to make serious waves and this performance was no different. Frontman Tyler Kinder is a great showman while drummer Pete McMillan provides a solid foundation for the rest of the band's sound.

Highlights included 'Cut Me Loose' and the title track from their newly released debut album, 'Anywhere But Here', the only new track played and a cracking cover of AC/DC's 'Rock 'n' Roll Damnation'. A high-quality band that have a very bright future ahead of them.

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hrh xi 2017

This was my first chance to see Wayward Sons, featuring ex-Little Angels/ex-Gun frontman Toby Jepson and having read positive reviews of their recent shows with Inglorious, we were expecting good things.

With only their debut album, 'Ghosts Of Yet To Come', to fall back on, the band gave a spirited set which included a generous set of all new songs.

Toby was joined on stage by stellar musicians including Chrome Molly bass player Nic Wastell (who was rocking it up on stage for most of their set) and Phil Martini (Tokyo Dragons/The Quireboys/The Union) on drums and they were received well by the packed house, who were definitely in the mood to party.

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For me the standout songs of the set were 'Be Still' and 'Backslide' later in the set left me intrigued enough to seek out their debut release. The loudest ovation of their set was a nod to Toby's past as they performed the Little Angels number 'Young Gods'.

It could have been seen as a brave move for the band to go on just before headliner Dee Snider, but they got the job done and made several new fans in the process.

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hrh xi 2017

Very high on my "To See" was the legendary Dee Snider who finished up his career in Twisted Sister last November when the band completed their Farewell Tour, however, instead of taking things easy, he's fired up his dormant solo career and continues to entertain fans with his own band.

Having never seen Snider live, I wasn't sure he would make it after his mother was involved in a serious car accident only days before, but as he said from the stage:

"I'm here because, I don't know about you, but when I was sad or angry or depressed or anxious or just mad at the fuckin' world, I could always turn to Heavy Metal to lift me up, and right now with my mother, I mean it's bad, it's real bad guys I need to be fuckin' lifted up", and lifted up he was by the packed crowd.

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Snider and his band lapped up the attention from the packed house and made their way through a succession of Sister classics like 'The Kids Are Back', 'I Wanna Rock' and the ubiquitous 'We're Not Gonna Take it' to a cover of Soundgarden's 'Outshined' (honouring his friend Chris Cornell) as well as delving into his new solo release, 2016's 'We Are The Ones' with 'Close To You' and the title track.

Overall it was a fantastic set from a seasoned performer who knew what the audience wanted and delivered exactly what was required. What a way to kick off the weekend!

hrh xi 2017

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