HRH Blues III proved red hot as it returned to Sheffield in style. HRH Mag’s Simon Rushworth wraps up the best of the Day One action.

Fifty Is The New 40

Half a century down the line and Ten Years After showed no signs of taking their foot off the pedal with a specially extended set to account for the late withdrawal of King King. If there was widespread disappointment that the de facto headliners had been forced to cancel, due to Alan Nimmo’s illness, then a flawless 50th anniversary set from blues rock’s elder statesmen offered ample compensation. Rick Lee’s drum solo was worth the admission money alone.

HRH Blues, Reds, Pinks and Blacks

On one side of the road Snooker’s World Championships were taking centre stage at the famous Crucible Theatre. On the other the finest blues musicians from across the globe took their cue from the late Chuck Berry, BB King, Albert King et al. In the frame on Saturday were Finland’s Erja Lyytinen, Irishman Simon McBride, New Jersey’s Billy Walton Band and the best of British in the shape of Ten Years After and Dani Wilde. Disappointingly, given HRH Blues’ close proximity to the home of the green baize, none of the above chose to reprise the Chas and Dave classic Snooker Loopy

Two Loud

Just how do those Graveltones boys generate so much noise? As the hype surrounding Royal Blood’s new record reaches tipping point it’s high time rock’s fiercest duo gained the praise they deserve. In full flow, Jimmy O and Mikey Sorbello make Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher sound like Jim Kerr and Margaret Thatcher. There really is no contest. Equally at home gracing the Ramblin’ Man’s main stage as they are playing a tiny café on the North East coast (that’s next week), HRH Blues provided the happy medium for two of the hairiest and laryest Aussies on the planet.

Roxy Music

Fair play to the Academy Group for retaining the red neon sign that harks back to a proud venue’s often chequered past – to a certain generation, the Roxy Lounge area of the Royalty Zone offered a hazy reminder of drink-fuelled student nights, sticky carpets and dodgy dance anthems. There’s no doubt that Sheffield’s O2 Academy has never looked or sounded better than in its current guise as a hub for the very best in international blues rock and as the base for a city centre festival it’s difficult to imagine a better option.

No Harm In Asking…

Last week Jack J Hutchinson was planning little more than a weekend in Sheffield with his little brother to enjoy a few beers and some dirty blues. Then he got in touch with HRH HQ and pitched an off the cuff idea of playing a short acoustic set on the Sunday. Maybe he didn’t expect a reply…but later today the frontman of the Boom Boom Brotherhood will pick up his guitar and perform an unplugged set for VIP, Royalty and the media. Shy bairns get nowt.