HRH Prog V served up three days of sensational rock music from across the globe – here’s the Day Three verdict from HRH Mag’s Garry Willey.
No Greek Tragedy
Late morning and HRH waits patiently in turn while Greece’s finest art rock exports Verbal Delirium buy their basics in Camp Prog’s on site Spar. They look reassuringly ordinary. Fast forward a few hours and the band are transformed, all in black and blitzing their way through a wild and often wonderful set to open Stage 1. From shameless euro-slush balladry to avant-garde onslaught, nothing is out of bounds. Refreshing, fun and pretty healthy eaters!
French Connection With Camp HRH
Atomic Rooster’s Peter French still looks every inch the cocksure rock star but reckoned he was feeling the heat putting his voice on the line in Wales of all places. Pete, you wasted the worry. Frontman and band nailed their festival slot with a gold-plated blast of timeless rock that brought Stage One to its feet.
They threw down a fine Tomorrow Night second song in, made sly and low-down Black Snake a guilty treat, and bettered both with a soaring Head In The Sky. Class is permanent for sure.
With a pulsing throb of electronics and the spirit of Gabriel’s Genesis re-imagined for the modern world, IQ ushered us forward to an edgier and darker landscape. The band tell stories in the great prog tradition but chief narrator Peter Nicholls is suited, booted and GQ stylish not hiding behind a mask. A suitably sinister slide show was pitch perfect and in the brooding, bleakly beautiful The Road Of Bones, IQ delivered one of THE festival moments. A band at the top of their considerable game.
Wish Comes True
When you have a back catalogue to die for it would be hard to screw up the setlist. When you can rock the living daylights out of the songs it would be hard to balls up the show. So zero surprise Andy Powell and Wishbone Ash took the festival to another level. They were, let’s not beat about any bushes, on the form of their lives. Rolling out in convoy the holy trinity – King Will Come, Warrior and Throw Down The Sword – was a masterstroke and by the time encore Phoenix reached the searing end of its journey, the hall was in raptures. The best of a brilliant bunch? Absolutely.
And so all good things etc…except HRH Prog V had a last twist in its memorable tale. With grace, defiance and a little wry humour, it was Robert John Godfrey himself who called time. Alone at the keyboard for the ‘graveyard’ shift, the master promised ‘dreamy music for sleepy people’. The improvisation was all that and more. The last in a long, long line of ‘wow’ moments.