On a weekend that celebrated the 15th anniversary of HRH, this was actually my first time attending it in any capacity. Despite being a massive music fan and gig-goer I've never managed to get to an HRH weekend so far. Only really being aware of the headline bands and a couple of others further down the line up, I wasn't really sure what I was going to get and approached the entire affair with both an open mind and open ears.
The HRH awards took place on the Wednesday evening, but was limited to select ticket holders. From all the conversations I had with those who attended, it appears that it was an excellent evening that will be broadcast at a future date on Amazon Prime.
So, for me, the kick off was on Thursday afternoon, when LA Super Group The Mercury Riots started the party for the early bird arrivals and set the bar high for the rest of the weekend with catchy riffs and seamless harmonies.
Out of many discoveries over the weekend, it seems like the Australian Hard Rock scene is particularly impressive right now with acts like Black Aces, Wicked Smile and Cassidy Paris showcasing some of the current immense talent from that region. The energy, showmanship and musical talent of these acts was phenomenal and I would highly recommend catching all of them as they tour the UK in the coming months. Particularly, at just 19 years old, Cassidy Paris is a performer that displays a confidence well beyond her years and will absolutely be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.
Other highlights from the weekend included Irish six-piece BlockC, who displayed incredible talent and versatility as they swapped instruments and positions on the stage throughout their set. Winners of the HRH Young Blood award, White Raven Down, played a storming set on the main stage and grunge inspired The Kut got the crowd going on the Friday afternoon ahead of their forthcoming tour in support of Electric Six.
Other bands of note over the weekend that I would highly recommend seeing include The Gypsy Pistoleros, a Worcester based outfit that combined a unique look with punk rock and glam inspired music and one of the most interesting covers of Hotel California I have ever heard make them a must see if they are in your area. I cannot heap enough praise on Revival Black who, with guest frontwoman Kim Jennet, tore through the crowd and delivered one of the best live performances I have seen in quite some time. Special mention also goes to Country Rockers, The Outlaw Orchestra for the use of the most interesting instruments of the weekend incorporating Banjos and some other instruments that I don't even recognise into a thoroughly engaging set.
A recurring sentiment from the bands over the weekend put over how important it is in a post-Covid era that people come out in support of live music. The eclectic offering over the course of the weekend is absolute testament to that fact and underscores how important is is for people to get out and see bands performing live. You could literally feel how happy the bands were to be able to be back in front of a live audience again and this was amplified by how responsive the crowd were to all the bands as the weekend progressed.
As for headline acts, the weekend did not disappoint with entertaining performances from rock legends such as Girlschool, Enuff Z'Nuff, The Darkness, Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row.
The whole weekend was a perfectly balanced offering of classic and contemporary rock bands showcasing the very best from around the globe and is well worth the ticket price to check out some old favourites and discover new acts in a friendly environment full of like minded music fans. Tickets are on sale now for HRH 16 from https://hardrockhell.com/