HRH Sleaze 2019

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HRH Sleaze 2019

HRH Sleaze 2019 - O2 Academy, Sheffield (UK) - 30 August to 01 September 2019


kicked off the festival. I loved this band's debut 'Lock And Load', and although the line-up has changed with Jonny Sparks as the only original member, they retain something of their original sound due to the retention of his vocals with their distinctive sleazy nasal character. It was good to hear old songs like 'Too Much Is Never Enough' and 'Sin City'. They did a decent cover of 'Runaway' by Bon Jovi. Apparently one of the new guys forget to learn 'Hey Baby' so I'm still waiting to hear that live as they never used to play it, even with the old line-up. The new guys are not bedded in yet, so perhaps this is premature, and Jonny adds a lot of star quality, but I did miss the glamour of Casey and the exceptional guitar playing of the handsome Tryx.

Trophies Of Man also have undergone a line-up change, although retaining Lee Benz on bass and Flash Sawyer on vocals. Far removed from the glammier King Lizard, they now delivered up a slab of proficient heavy Blues with new guitarist Dan Hills adding some strong silent type cool, seemingly only breaking his concentrated playing stance to spin his guitar forward on its horizontal axis across his chest. They still played the banger 'Devil On Your Back', although it now has a heavier perhaps slightly slower feel. They also kept my other favourite song of theirs 'Never Be Mine' in the set, now featuring a heavy-duty bluesy intro. They seem more like a serious band now, less throwaway Metal, although I hope they don't lose their sense of fun as they go.

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Trophies Of Man Live

I never get tired of seeing Cruel Intentions as their singer Lizzy Devine is quite fascinating to watch with his slightly demonic air. I love their new album and it was great to see them start off with new material 'Weekend Suffering' and other new songs like 'Jawbreaker' and the truly excellent 'Genie's Got A Problem' alongside older Vains Of Jenna material. It seems they are going from strength to strength.

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Cruel Intentions Live

Rocky Shades is always good value and he was on fine form with his Bazooka and steampunk paraphernalia being made a feature from the start. All the hits were played; 'Stakk Attack', 'Too Wild To Tame', 'The Biz Suxx' and 'Trash Queen' where they kept it super sleazy with the help of some scantily clad local go-go dancers. The slower track 'Long Way To Go' from 'Delirium' showed off that Rocky does indeed have a fine voice like a fifties crooner under all the noize. Of course they played 'Na Na Nukklear Rokket', before finishing with a cover of 'Pretty Vacant' by the Sex Pistols. Having gone shirtless for a while Rocky put on a purple tail coat for some extra final glamour before setting off the confetti on his Bazooka. It wouldn't be the same without this happy ending.

CrashDiet followed with their new singer Gabriel and were not afraid to showcase tracks from their forthcoming album, such as the singles 'We Are The Legion' and 'Rust' which I thought worked particularly well in the set. Gabriel was not afraid to get into the pit and is good at whipping up the crowd to sing along to the older favorites, and his style reminded me a little of Joakim from Hardcore Superstar. Boy can he scream! The crowd were delighted when Olli Herman who used to sing for them joined them on stage for 'In The Raw', and even though Olli was only there for one song he managed to take his shirt off. Ever the charmer, after grabbing all the attention, by way of amends he announced that 'CrashDiet are the best band in the world!', leaving them to clean up with crowd pleaser 'Generation Wild'.

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Crashdiet Live

Vain were the headliner and kicked off with a crowd favorite, 'Secrets'. Davy is in very good shape for his age, managing to kick the bottom of his bare feet high into the air for photographers and still singing just like the record with his unmistakeable tone. 'Icy' and '1000 Degrees' were other highlights in the set, before we were into 'Who's Watching You', 'No Respect' and 'Beat The Bullet'. As last time, thousands of drunk sleaze fans just wanted to hear the songs and Davy had to curtail his storytelling in line with that impatience. The crowd love this band though and broke into song unprompted at every classic chorus. Davy was not unappreciative, but he warned them before he left the stage that after thirty years at the game this could be his last visit.

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Vain Live


Today began for me with a charismatic performance from Trench Dogs. They are certainly a reminder of what the heady days of the decadent eighties were like. Singer Andi was knocking back Japanese Sake like someone was going to take it away and, although that might have made matters a little more messy, he announced at the end of one song that the "wheels almost came off" - it added to the spontaneous feel and excitement and there's no doubt they were having a blast, They remind me of early Faster Pussycat with their storytelling, drawling songs. It's lovely to see a band really dress up for the stage, something I must admit I miss from the old days.

The crowd went crazy for them with one girl of about sixteen screaming non-stop Beatles-crowd style at the top of her voice, drawing gasps of disbelief and the turning of heads by photographers. All this bodes very well for a band just starting out. Singer Andi was also going mental, banging his tambourine in a demented fashion on his head. Berry Burton from Tigertailz was throwing out free merch from the stage and joined in on backing vocals. They closed with a cover of the Contours 'Do You Love Me (Now That I Can Dance)', a touch of fifties/early sixties Rock 'n' Roll that had the audience doing The Twist.

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Trench Dogs Live

Knock Out Kaine did a straightforward Hard Rock set, albeit with a semi-acoustic version of their best known song 'Back Street Romeo'. It is a shame that charismatic drummer Gaz was stuck back in the gloom as the lights had been particularly bad so far.

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Knock Out Kaine Live

Perhaps the photographers mentioned this as the lights appeared to improve for next band Stop Stop. The band may have confused people by coming on in old men-style grey wigs, not sure I particularly got the joke as there were plenty of young fans in the audience and young bands keeping this genre alive, and Stop Stop certainly don't look old. Luckily they took the grey wigs off after the first song. Guitarist Vega Vega looked very slick in his leather and cowboy hat and we got to see the drummer's extraordinary clown-like hair. He always reminds me a little of a Comedia Dell'arte player, although this band are Spanish originally, not Italian. Jacob the vocalist took the time to entertain between songs, telling stories about busking beginnings when they were always told to "Stop Stop" as an explanation for their name. Their synchronized high kicking was exhausting just to watch and they played a mean brand of Rock 'n' Roll. They all ran into the audience, including the drummer with a military style drum on a harness, and caused a stir with their antics towards the end of the set. They are high energy and a lot of fun.

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Stop Stop Live

Reckless Love were next and they never disappoint. Pretty much all their songs are great and they chose the best known to play tonight. Kicking off with the appropriate 'Animal Attraction' Olli knows how to use his charisma and hip-swivel to work the crowd, and despite,the obvious good looks has a sunny smiley disposition which always lifts the mood. In this vein 'So Happy I Could Die' made an early appearance, along with 'We Are The Weekend' to keep the holiday spirit alive. Next up was my favorite 'Monster' coming from the last album and proving there's no slowing down for them on production of amazing songs. With 'Born To Break Your Heart', 'Beautiful Bomb', 'Badass', 'Romance' and 'Edge Of Our Dreams' it was hit after hit and it seemed these boys couldn't put a foot wrong, except when Olli forgot his words, although I didn't see anyone bat an eyelid. 'On The Radio', 'Night On Fire' and 'Hot' completed the set. Of course, Olli's shirt came off; there would be a riot if it didn't. I didn't post my pictures of Olli standing on the barrier to save the blushes of the lady in front of him whose tongue was literally hanging out. The set flew by, another triumph, and we still had two bands to go..

HRH Sleaze 2019 - Reckless Love Live

Enuff Z'Nuff kicked off with 'Metal Heart', my favorite track from the new album. Alex Kane now being with the band changes the dynamic quite a bit with his energetic, punky style. The songs are still super melodic, 'Heaven Or Hell' and 'Baby Loves You', but instead of impeccable harmonies there's a harder edge, not better or worse, but definitely different and keeping it interesting. Chip took the time to tell stories about swapping his wife for a guitar and getting the best deal and to express amazement that he's still here at seventy-five after the lifestyle he's led. They did the party trick where Chip plays guitar behind Tory Stoffregen while the latter drank a whole bottle of wine with his hands free. There were a few surprises in the set including 'Wheels' where Alex span around under his mike. However, as it got to the end we of course got 'Fly High Michelle' when a couple of the Last Great Dreamers joined in for backing vocals, and the obligatory 'New Thing' which had the audience going mad. The finale though was another surprise from 'Strength', 'The World Is A Gutter' which changed things up a bit before they said goodbye.

Headliner tonight was Dog's D'Amour, and Tyla could not have been in a better mood compared with the last time I saw him when he was in a bit of a bad mood. He was positively beaming tonight, no doubt because of the strong show of support and a packed large venue. Just like Trench Dogs he was swigging out of a bottle of wine all though the set (indeed the Trench Dogs credited the Dog's D'Amour as the band that inspired them and expressed how stoked they were to be on the same bill and, there's no doubt the Dogs have been an inspiration to many in this crowd.) Tyla gave the crowd what they wanted and we got 'Last Bandits', 'Billy 2 River', 'I Think It's Love Again' and all the old hits.

Dogs Damour - 2019 Live

There was room for a few Tyla solo numbers like '111', but largely it was a set of old Dogs hits like 'Angel', 'Bullet Proof Poet' and 'Firework Girl'. The line-up change has made a difference to the sound, for example, 'How Come It Never Rains' has a more Telstar bluesy solo than hitherto. The crowd were certainly drunk for 'Drunk Like Me and they just wanted to hear the old classics and sing along. 'I Don't Want You To Go' had a new honky-tonk keyboard accompaniment, which I must admit I did like and made a nice change. The band went out with 'Satellite Kid' and 'Errol Flynn', and by all counts a good time was had by all. A fine end to a fine day. Being right up my alley there's no other festival like HRH Sleaze; long may it continue.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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