On the day The Dead Daisies were announced as the first of 2018’s HRH XII headliners, this year’s shindig was in full flow. HRH Mag criss-crossed Hafan Y Mor to get a flavour of the Day Two action at HRH XI.
Drums N Roses
After Goldray and Syteria had warmed up a fast-filling main arena it was time for HRH mainstays Graveltones to bring the noise to Camp HRH. Last seen in Sheffield at HRH Blues, this was an altogether more furious set from two of the most talented men in rock and no stone was left unturned in the search for punishing rhythm and frantic melody. In fact, the contrast with German classic rockers The New Roses couldn’t have been much greater. Fresh from Frankfurt and up for a rare UK show, the quartet’s mix of polished, fist-pumping anthems (Every Wildheart and Thirsty) and super smooth ballads (Life Ain’t Easy For a Boy With Long Hair) turned a few heads and increased the clamour for more British dates. A surprise pick for the main stage, perhaps. But The New Roses blossomed under the bright lights of Pwllheli.
HRH merch has always been up there with the very best. Whether you’ve invested in a big fluffy towel, one of those limited edition sleeveless leather jackets or the classic festival tee, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to celebrating your favourite brand. But this year the team has upped the ante. The official HRH fridge magnet made its debut this weekend and there’s surely no better early Chrimbo present for the beer-drinking rocker in your family. It also sticks to boilers, some bins, bits of your car, toasters and anyone’s jacket that’s covered in metal studs (we tried them all). Nothing screams festival excess like a fridge magnet.
Ryders Hoof It
Worthy winners of this year’s tightly contested Highway To Hell competition and boasting a rootsy rock sound belying their tender years, Ryders Creed have been a revelation at HRH XI. Opening up the main stage on Thursday, the boys were back to kick off Friday’s official after show party in Bonga Wonga (they were ready to do the same the previous night before realising they’d got their dates mixed up!). But anyone unfamiliar with the chaps might have become a little confused after a day on the ale as they wandered into the back of the Mash And Barrel seeking some early hours entertainment. Every member of Ryders Creed was sporting a tee shirt branded by Camp HRH’s favourite rum – and their own name was nowhere to be seen. So if you woke up this morning seeking YouTube clips of those cracking young kids Cloven Hoof…they don’t exist. But maybe they should.
Back in the annals of HRH history a young band of Aussie upstarts landed in Wales on a mission to keep the energy of early-era AC/DC alive. That was 2010. Seven years down the line and Airbourne are still the most frantic, febrile and feisty live band on the planet – only now they’re backed by a stunning light show, bulging back catalogue and a roll-on mini bar dedicated to Lemmy. Mixing the trappings of major label investment with the guts that fired them to glory in the first place, the killer quartet know their strengths and know their crowd. Joel O’Keeffe still rides around the arena atop the shoulders of a roadie, still pierces beer cans with his forehead and still sings about drinking, fighting and women as if it’s a profession – and now he’s been promoted to CEO. But there’s enough that’s fresh about Airbourne in 2017 to suggest another decade at the top is within their grasp.
Exclusive images by Simon Dunkerley