HRH AOR VI promises another perfect weekend of peerless melodic rock delivered by the genre’s rising stars and emerging heroes. HRH Mag beat the weather and stormed Camp HRH for the sixth edition of this silky smooth frstival. Here’s the Day One wrap:
The Snow Must Go On
Must it? Really? After the Beast From The East came the Pest From The West as yet more of the white stuff blanketed North Wales in the second week of March! Pity the poor chaps from The Radio Sun who completed a mammoth 30-hour trek from Melbourne (35C) only to arrive on site at 10pm just as the mercury plummeted to below zero. Of course, this was like a balmy summer’s day for the Swedes of Eclipse and their red hot show (more on that later) warned the cockles of the assembled masses after Dante Fox and Newman delivered the very best of British. With temperatures set to touch double figures on Friday, the HRH Mag team (and especially Festivals Photographer Simon Dunkerley) is counting the minutes until we can ditch the skin tight leather pants in favour of the skater shorts…
Eclipse Overshadow The Rest
In their short time gracing the HRH AOR stage Eclipse have undergone something of an aural and visual revolution. Long gone are the days when a bunch of tentative melodic rockers chose technical proficiency and understated cool over balls-to-the-wall bombast and an in-your-face feist fest. These days Eclipse are capable of outing almost every other band in the shade. Successfully fusing their trademark musicianship with a level of performance that must have H.E.A.T. quaking in their boots, a re-energised Erik Mårtensson and long-time wing man Magnus Henriksson were simply unstoppable: a moving melodic rock force that proved their status as HRH AOR headliners in waiting. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long.
Sun Comes Out At Last
When Jason Old picked up his band mates from the airport ahead of the long drive to Wales, The Radio Sun’s frontman hadn’t accounted for a combination of jetlag and bumpy roads transforming the band’s rookie bass player into a one-man vomit machine. But it was some kind of sign: the first of three HRH AOR shows was sick. Within three hours of arriving on site at a chilly Camp HRH, the Aussie chorus machine was rolling out anthem after anthem at the Bonga Wonga Club after-show party in front of a frenzied crowd uncomfortably close to the stage and unbridled in their passion for some riff-fuelled, old school melodic rock. Current long player Unstoppable would have broken the top five of HRH Mag’s 2017 Records Of The Year had we not gone to print days before The Radio Sun’s brilliant new record dropped. Want to feel young all over again? Catch Old’s boys on Friday’s main stage from 6.30pm.
The Turner Prize
If only Joe Lynn Turner had dug just a little deeper into 1988’s Odyssey album. His outstanding collaboration with Swedish guitar god Yngwie Malmsteen celebrates its 30th anniversary this year and that a true melodic rock gem remains largely ignored is a crime against music. Turner wrapped up his headline set (before rolling out an encore of sorts with a version of Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll dedicated to Ronnie James Dio) with a rousing rendition of Rising Force – Odyssey’s call-to-arms lead track – and the heaving masses loved it. Renditions of Heaven Tonight and Dreaming (Tell Me) would have been the icing on the cake. Elsewhere Turner was the polished professional everyone expected him to be and the decision to unleash I Surrender two tunes in to the set was admirably brave…even if a few folk did take it as their cue to call time on Day One of HRH AOR.
Exclusive Images By HRH Festivals Photographer Simon Dunkerley