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Hard Rock Hell X – Pwllheli, North Wales, Friday 11 November 2016

A nice lay in was welcome on the second day of HRH X with the first band not on until 12.50, this band was on the now open HRH X Riffage stage and it was English three piece Theia. With influences from Black Stone Cherry and Buckcherry this was a nice set of rebellious rock that was perfect for the time of day.

On the HRH X main stage Mason hill were opening proceedings, although I think they were a little surprised by the timing of their set, with lead singer Scott Taylor thanking the ever growing crowd for coming out tonight. It’s half one in the afternoon! Despite this the nice smooth southern rock that the Glaswegians are producing is perfect for hangovers.

Back over to the Riffage stage for Vodun. This is an interesting set for a Friday afternoon, with the trio dressed up in full African tribal furs and war paint. Unfortunately the vocal levels for the lead singer were not great, I could just about hear the lead singer. This was not conducive in keeping the crowd interested and each song sounded the same as the previous. Next up on the Riffage stage were British rockers Departed. Producing a well-rehearsed set the guys worked the crowd well, and were growing it again after the depletion from Vodun’s set. Departed finished they set with a very well received rendition and sing-a-long of Queens Tie Your Mother Down.

Next for me to see were London’s JoanOvArc, who despite getting lost on the way to the stage (the camp isn’t really that big) the girls produced a stunning set that was full of energy. So much energy in fact, the sound man struggled to keep up with the vocal changes and for the first few songs there was so my vibration running through the stage the girls said it was vibrating like a sex toy! JoanOvArc’s set was so good they won the entire crowd over, with one punter calling them a ‘breathe of fresh air’.

Back to the HRH Main Stage for English heavy rockers The Treatment, which I had heard good things of before seeing them. Musically they are tight, but there was just something missing. The audience was nonplussed by them and despite trying his best, I could not stop myself comparing lead singer Mitchel Emms to a version of James Cracknell does rock. There was little natural charisma coming from the frontman, or indeed most of the band. I was looking for more.

Next on the main stage was Ricky Warrick and The Fighting Hearts, and with a storming set opener Ricky Warrick has what the previous band were missing, natural stagemanship.

Talking of stagemen next up was The Graham Bonnet Band, and with a set full of Alchatrazz and Rainbow classics as well as from his new album The Book this was a jam packed set. Graham Bonnet did struggle vocally on the high notes but there was no way the audience cared, they just love this guy, and it wouldn’t be a festival without fan favourite ‘since you’ve been gone’ really getting the crowd going.

Back to the HRH X Riffage stage for my last act of the evening from Bright Curse. The London based three piece brought their version of psychedelic heavy stoner rock to the festival, and it was a great set to end my evening with.

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