Day three of the ninth HRH Road Trip saw Ibiza welcome a whole host of proven festival favourites. HRH Mag‘s Simon Rushworth wraps up the very best of the action.
Kurt In The Act
Graham Bonnet’s Indian summer has coincided with the rapid rise of the HRH brand and these days frontman and festival go hand in hand. The former Rainbow singer’s love affair with HRH fans stretches as far back as 2014’s AOR II and on a white hot night on the White Isle, the ageless singer belted out the very best of a bulging back catalogue. Jet To Jet, from Alcatrazz’s 1983 debut No Parole From Rock ‘N’ Roll, created quite a stir following hot on the heels of blistering versions of the Russ Ballard-penned S.O.S.and Bonnet’s solo smash Night Games. But since he’s been gone, one of rock and roll’s premier performers has added an ace to his pack in the shape of former Steeler and Stryper axeman Kurt James. And as show stealers go, the new boy stripped Eden bare. A spellbinding debut for the Graham Bonnet Band made light of the fact that there’s no longer a Blackmore, a Malmsteen, a Vai or a Schenker flanking one of the 20thcentury’s most recognisable rock voices. James’s fret melting masterclass will live long in the memory.
Pouring tequila down the throats (and dresses) of the front row fans is a sure-fire way of getting a crowd onside but Daxx & Roxane really don’t need gimmicks to get their music noticed. The Swiss rockers should rise fast on their songs alone and the Road Trippers were treated to a batch of the best from Cèdric Pfister and co.. The anthemic Ticket To Ride and latest single Junk Food Hangover (an apt choice in the eyes of those living off San Antonio’s prevalent pizza slices and abundant burgers) showcase a band as diverse as they are talented and in lead guitarist Cal Wymann the quarter boast a genuine rock star – with all the moves to match some infectious grooves. HRH Mag might have missed out on the must-have tee of the festival – the classic Daxx & Roxane skull design – after legendary driver ‘Magic’ Mike bagged the last XXXL but we’ll be making a visit to the merch stand just as soon as the boys are back in town. And that day can’t come soon enough.
When the power cut out on HRH Mag faves Massive Wagons (check out the four-page feature in the latest issue) Barry and the boys could have been forgiven for throwing in the towel and packing their pink flamingo inflatables for the flight home. But one of Britain’s best-loved live bands are made of sterner stuff and instead they rode the unforeseen electrical storm to deliver one of the sets of the weekend. With new long player Full Nelson due later this summer the former HRH Highway To Hell winners were Under No Illusion this was a chance to remind the masses just what made this band so popular in the first place. New single China Plates should be a smash while Back To The Stack – the pick of the pre-power cut tunes – still has the ability to make the hairs on the back of your neck stand tall. On a night when there were bona fide guitar heroes at every turn, Wagons’ ‘new boy’ Stevie Holl stood toe to toe with his more experienced peers to deliver a performance beyond his years. Which, bearing in mind he still looks like he’s been allowed out of primary school, wouldn’t be difficult.
The HRH Mag editorial team prides itself in crossing the cultural divide (for instance, there have been a number of trips from the wilds of North East England to Wales during the last five years) but never have the self-styled ambassadors for rock and roll done so much to usher in a new dawn (quite literally) of international bonhomie. As the dust settled on day three of a memorable road trip, the lure of several hours in the company of Soca’s finest proved too much and the short hop from Eden to Es Paradis was facilitated by none other than world famous DJ/promoter International Stephen and his best buddy Kees Dieffenthaller – frontman of the legendary Soca crossover act Kes. Dieffenthaller has collaborated with soft rock hitmaker Desmond Child (Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper) in the past and was more than happy to introduce three kindred spirits to the unbridled joy of wining (think twerking Trinidadian-style). In return, International Stephen and Dieffenthaller have been invited to go beering in Newcastle with HRH Mag…watch this space.