A Updated
Tygers of Pan Tang-1
iconic eye2
HRH Spring Break-10 Olli Herman
HRH Spring Break-2 Rocky Shades
Electric black-1
Gypsy pistoleros-2

In my view HRH should be applauded for aiming high to put on the most amazing shows.

Great Yarmouth: Vauxhall Holiday Camp – 8-12 March 2023

Including the pre party, this was an excellent four day festival. HRH always aim high and, this festival had to be postponed a couple of times due to the Pandemic. As such, the final line up did not reflect the original posters from a couple of years ago. Having said that, most of the bands billed for 2023 turned up and no-one could say this was not terrific value for money. On top of that HRH are great at sniffing out new talent and I always discover amazing bands I have not heard of before.

Thursday Pre Party

The pre party was a four-band bill in the smaller salon. White Tyger are a band with a heart belonging to the American Hair Metal scene and ears that have been listening to what is happening on the new Rock scene generally, with a heavier back end with influences like Pantera. They are well studied in the poses needed for stage impact and sport the wide bandanas beloved in the eighties. They played several covers, including Guns N; Roses, Metallica, Steelheart and AC/DC and sounded great. The singer has a great piercing voice and the attitude to be a front man while playing extremely fast guitar with plenty of whammy. I did smile when as the very first baby band they included a drum solo, but hey... why not if you have the guts to think big. They went down well and it was a good start. I loved their first single ‘No Fucks Given’ with its influences from cities Rock ‘n’ Roll and blistering solo. They realise it’s a winner having t-shirts to match. With lines like “I’ve got 99 problems but my dick ain’t one” I see a future for their chutzpah!

Jimmy B And The Death Rattles were the wild card tonight. The singer looks like an Oasis fan and the female keyboard player wears her Debbie Harry influences on her t-shirt. They clearly have a couple of older experienced members of the band on bass etc. and run a competent ship. They had a young, slightly shy, baby lead guitar player who can really play. Once again HRH have spotted real potential there. A mixture of seventies trippy Rock and eighties keys, the music was a bit of a hotch-potch, but when they really got going they were banging. They are extremely humble, thanking the audience members but they had them dancing on the benches and certainly fitted in with the idea that this was a party, indeed they announced they are available for weddings and bar mitzvahs.

By the looks of numbers most people were here on Wednesday for Tygers Of Pan Tang who had a real hard core following down at the front that knew every word. Original member Rob Weir was ably assisted by his long time singer Jacopo and new guitarist Francesco and provided a slick set of famous and new tracks. “What no ‘Love Potion No 9’!” I did say to myself, but there were enough harmonised guitars, soaring vocals and experienced stage moves that they did not, in fact, leave anyone in a mood for complaining. They thank the audience for coming out in the snow, pointing out in the morning their new guitarist Francesco could have been swimming in the Mediterranean had he not been with us. They put on a good show and started the feeling with me that this was a heavyweight bill.

The pre party concluded with Raven who I have never seen before. They would not tolerate any apathy in the audience and, although I think numbers went down a little after Tygers left the stage, they did not tolerate anyone not having a good time. They did the whole of the ‘All For One’ album and before playing ‘Rock Until You Drop’ from the first album announced it as a philosophy of theirs “that should be a philosophy of yours”. Raven are the spirit of raw Heavy Metal and they came across as the experienced professionals that they are. Big riffs, epic crying solos and good crowd engagement “Don’t think too hard about it!” They are loud and justifiably proud and unabashed. Finishing with a couple of covers ‘Long Way To The Top’ by AC/DC and Metallica’s ‘Seek And Destroy’ running around the audience they had the energy of a band half their age.


White Raven Down kicked the main festival off. They were honoured as best newcomers in autumn’s HRH awards and their smiley frontman has an easy charismatic stage technique. He worked the barrier and made an effort to make the audience feel special. With beanies and modern Metal riffs they keep the other foot in the territory of Classic Metal with Classical scales in widdley solos and appeal to this crowd.

I have never seen Iconic Eye before, but was blown away by their vocalist Janey Smith. What a bombshell, and she also sings like a goddess. How she isn’t a major star already I have no idea. They provided an energetic set of Rocking AOR with some taped keyboards for that punch above your live weight feel. When Smith belts it out the impact is fantastic. We can always do with more ladies at HRH, but Smith flew the flag in style.

Electric Black were interesting. They had a hippy crossed with Neo Hair Metal singer with a strong voice, a cool strong and very present bass player (think Living Colour) and an energetic charismatic drummer Matt Butler. They kept everyone engaged with a lively set of very Classic Rock. They were a last minute step in, due to a bit of a line up re-shuffle, but were extremely good value.

Vega were their usual consummate professional selves. Nick Workman as golden boy front man, with all the moves and a silky voice is a given, but the rest of the band have stepped up a lot stagecraft-wise since the first time I saw them. They have a big lush sound and as well as the quality AOR take time to joke around, including releasing trapped glitter in the ceiling and referring to it as “special effects” and publishing that drummer Pete Newdeck needs a “mid set piss, I’m worried about when he needs a mid set shit”. They have definitely come along leaps and bounds since the early days and ‘Bring Me Back To Life’ was a triumph.

Dare were smiley and relaxed despite a five hour trip in bad weather to get here, and as another last minute substitute did extremely well (House Of Lords being unable to make the re-scheduled date for the festival due to guitarist Jimi Bell’s commitments with Autograph). They were heavier than I expected and with big noisy solos and classy, pure clear melodic vocals they wowed the crowd who were on their side to begin with.

Viking inspired Enquire Within finished off the night. Too heavy for me with death growl vocals, they might have worried, playing to an AOR legacy crowd. In fact, although I did not stay till the end (not having a particularly good growl-o-meter myself) they kept the crowd in place, even though it was getting late, at least when I was there, and for those who are fans of their genre will have gone down well.


The Darker My Horizon opened the main stage Friday. These unassuming looking chaps pack a real punch of pure melodic perfection, good songs, great musicians and a fantastic voice. The are modern, yet classic, a win win combination. Most of the material is their own and it was so good I would rather have heard more originals from them with lines like “she’s married, but not to me”, rather than the Aerosmith cover they do ‘Knocking On Heaven’s Door’. Some of the material is more nineties and less to my taste, but all originals they do are great examples of their respective genres.

Loz Campbell were a three piece for this festival, including Alice formerly of The Black Bullets who absolutely goes for it, using all the space that only being a trio affords her to dance around the stage, and making them an entertaining watch. At one point she ran right around the audience, climbing into the VIP area at the back of the room. Their style is a little like Hole, with a lot of angry girl singing, so more alternative than a lot of other bands on the bill. While they were not exactly my genre, they kept my interest and did provide something a little different to ring the changes. Apparently they are usually a four piece, so I look forward to finding out in future how that makes a difference to their performance.

The Jokers were great fun. Voted TotalRock’s band of the month earlier in the year, I knew they were capable of great things and they didn’t let us down. They don’t let a fire alarm (caused by too much dry ice) delaying their performance phase them at all. Their guitarist has a lot of Angus Young style moves, and like AC/DC they combine Rock with Boogie to make them a great party band. I’m not always a fan of covers at festivals, but they do a really great version of The Who’s ‘Pinball Wizard’. Not an unadventurous choice, but they smash it.

CrashDiet were even better than the last time I saw the at Call Of The Wild festival and seemed in a really good mood. While we missed the other original members of the band, two of which are currently taking a rest (somehow being in this band seems to wear people out, except for the indefatigable extremely handsome Martin Sweet who was tonight joined by his real brother Michael Sweet from Toxic Rose). Vocalist Gabriel is his usual energetic self, seemingly everywhere all at once, he never stops trying to get the crowd going and will not take no for an answer when it comes to crowd participation. The crowd are chanting “Martin, Martin” even before the band start and as the sole original member onstage tonight Martin Sweet delivers some blistering solos while looking cool as a cucumber.

Reckless Love caught and rode the wave of energy, the start of the show featuring a number of tracks from the new album ‘Turborider’ including the title track and their cover of Ozzy’s ‘Bark At The Moon’, but also the slightly older popular track ‘Monster’, my personal favourite. They are a popular headliner. Golden god Olli treads easily that difficult position of being a favourite of the girls and that guy that every man wants to be, being confident and sexy with gyrating hips beyond Elvis, but still staying humble, thanking the crowd for keeping their tickets after the festival was rearranged several times, tirelessly engaging the crowd, paying tribute to Gabrielle the singer of CrashDiet who can be seen watching from the wings and joking that Reckless Love are right at home in a trailer park with an arcade. (The venue is indeed that, although it is a tribute to the marketing of the festival that it is rather seen by attendees as a luxury caravan resort.) That one liner is a great intro to ‘Kids Of The Arcade’. They do have a few technical problems, mainly with the main mike, but they just plough on, riffing that tonight they are “going old school”, with traditional rather than radio mikes. They now look back into the swing again after having to down tools so dramatically using the Pandemic. Match fit and sounding great, they masterfully and professionally bring the goods. They deserved a medal keeping their equanimity after getting flashed with some man boobs and a stomach Jack Black would be proud of by some wag who had sneaked his way into the disabled enclosure for a better view and a seat. The final section of the show had all the hits, ‘Badass’, ‘Animal Attraction’ and what else to end Hard Rock Hell but ‘Hot’ with its “Hot! Hot! Hotter than Hell” lyrics, a great one to end a Saturday night.


The main stage for the final day was much heavier that the rest of the festival, and Sunday it was the second stage that had the Classic Rock bands. As such, I decide to spend my whole day in the second room, something which is certainly new for me.

They obviously love Hard Rock Hell as The Darker My Horizon opened again with a set pretty similar and of equally high quality to the one they delivered on the main stage the day before. Once again it’s entertaining and they threw in a bit of comedy about playing twice “If you haven’t seen us as this Festival you have been somewhere else.”

Spyder Byte have an OTT Glam image (think hot pink and leopard print mixed in one shirt pattern, patent leather pink Chelsea boots and big hair with a bit of an early Nasty Suicide Hanoi Rocks vintage look, like they had to get dressed in a old ladies vintage shop with no mirrors). They majored on the theatre of the situation, including throwing a cheap blow up doll into the audience. In fact, while I thought this was pretty lame at first, I have to admit with the punters brandishing her up and down like a pogo stick, it did look pretty funny (although the audience keep throwing her on stage where she sadly laid supine for quite a while a while). All the gimmicks aside, I would not say their sound was particularly Glam Sleaze: it’s more high octane modern sounding like a wall of Power Pop Punky Trash Rock with a modern twist. Once again they are never boring and keep the energy high.

Wild Thorn are, however, a straight down the line Sleazy Sunset Strip style band with a singer that attacks the audience with Axl style mike stand moves and LA Guns style vocals. Big riffs, killer guitar solos, and the odd song with an Alice Cooper influence, they enthusiastically worked the audience with their singer racing around the audience to whip them into submission.

Molly Karloff are more of an alternative offering with a Gothic horror vibe. Joey their drummer has a large black outlined red star on his forehead which, with his red hair, gives a gender bender Bowie style look, while his two sticks at once, beating the drums to a pulp approach, brings a streak of the primitive to his technique. He is clearly an extrovert, most of the audience appeared to be on first name terms with him, shouting lines to him before the band even started. With that sort of leg up, it’s easy for them to connect with the audience for a fairly easy ride and lighthearted banter between songs. Apparently they have a new band member who is in the audience to check them out, but does not get on stage, so it’s another band with a man or woman down, making it slightly difficult for this to be a typical review of them. Further, the guitar solos are straightforward Classic Rock, but the alternative angle comes from the slightly wailey echoey vocals, meaning I don’t have all the lexicon to assess all their influences with the same precision I can assess a Rock act. But they kept everybody’s attention and not just because their drummer knew half the audience.

New Generation Superstars are seasoned stage hands with a history of good songs and a blokey good humoured vibe. It was all going so well, when it became apparent that the good humour was going out the window, at least as far as AJ the singer was concerned, as he was having monitor problems which were so bad, that in the end he lost his temper and directed the sound man just to turn his monitor off completely. Actually with their Supersuckers style three minute Rock ‘n’ Roll approach, the Kiss-like melodies overlayed with trashy execution and the Ramones like gang vocals, I am not sure the audience would have noticed if the band hadn’t kept making it obvious by comments between songs. With a bit of a running dialogue about nobody having a set list it did get a bit chaotic on stage. AJ’s obvious discomfort couldn’t really be ignored. No doubt they’ve had better nights.

Rocky Shades/Wrathchild headlined the second stage tonight. With their new guitarist Bret Patrucci and Shades’ large confetti cannon props, they were a fascinating watch. The sound problems continued, as Shades mentioned them once, but like an unstoppable truck rig, they smashed on regardless. People were there to party and were glad to hear the old classics like ‘Stakk Attack’ and ‘Trash Queen’ from the band once more. The band are certainly preaching to the converted, and if anyone noticed the sound issues, no one outside the band itself cared. Shades himself looks amazing for his age. He even took his shirt off in the latter part of the show. The spirit of old seventies English Glam Rock is alive and well in the band, as some fairly off colour humour involving Gary Glitter and Jimmy Saville quips attested. They are growing old disgracefully and the crowd wouldn’t have it any other way. All joking aside, Shades took the time to acknowledge the people that have been important to the band, including the dearly departed Malcolm Dome and Kelv Hellraiser. Are the band perfect technically? Hell no! Did anyone having the time of their lives give a shit? Course not! Shades is always maximum entertainment value on or off stage. This had to be one of the best headliners the second stage has ever had.

The second room closing up around 10.30, I had time to catch a little Evil Scarecrow on the main stage. It might not be my genre and I may not know their songs, but they are compulsive viewing with their theatrical approach, not unlike Ward XVI, and no one was chatting during their show.

In my view HRH should be applauded for aiming high to put on the most amazing shows. Part of that ambition necessarily involves falling short occasionally, with the festival being postponed due to the Pandemic and the sheer numbers of bands on offer, not every band billed on the original posters made it. But of one thing I am sure, actually in the final analysis I did not care, as I attended a bloody good festival and discovered quite a few bands, really really good bands, that I didn’t even know yet… and I know a lot of bands.

The rolling family of HRH festivals is really special, there’s nothing quite like it in the UK and like MORC it’s a bit like being on a small captive island so the audience gets to know each other or, at the very least recognises each other and many of the bands mix with the audience, eat in the cafeteria’s, turn up to the merch stand to meet the fans. Everything you’d want in a small festival.

As I typed this review I realise that all the bands on this bill had something in common; they were never boring. Not once in these four long days was I bored even for a second. HRH have an unerring ability to determine what makes a good live show and a nose for a good band. I guess they religiously listen to all the demos of any band they are considering to book. They don’t just put anyone on stage, they quite obviously literally curate the bands, so there is a sort of HRH guarantee of quality that comes with their brand. Long may the franchise continue, for as long as it does, I will be there.

Dawn Osborne

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
To write a review please register or
We use cookies

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.