This weekend Leicester is the home of Hard Rock Hells New Wave Of Rock show. The O2 academy stages are home to 25 bands playing just about every style of rock music there is. Set lists containing classic fan favourites to never heard before tunes make the NWOR show the perfect event to hear some of the best rock talent around.
As 2pm came struck the doors to the O2 academy opened and already on stage were Bad Actress who were ready to meet the first of the crowd to arrive. The Bad Actress set contained classics from Twisted Sister and Poison giving those early attendees an opportunity to warm up their voices. Vinnie Vexx provided a great vocal performance alongside lead guitarist Chick who makes his guitar sing whilst looking like he has just stepped out of an 80’s Dave Lee Roth video. Bad Actress are doing a fantastic job of breaking the ice at this year event.
Beth Blade & The Beautiful Disasters
Melodic Hard Rock came courtesy of Beth Blade and the Beautiful Disasters. Making the stage her own Beth strides around the stage kicking her foot into the air as she strikes the big notes on her guitar. The bands set includes the song ‘I Aint Got Nothin(If I Aint Got Rock And Roll)’ which has the whole of the O2 crowd singing along to the chorus. Not bad for an audience that had early been compared by Beth to a night out in Grimsby….
Sweet Electric exploded onto the stage and wearing and outfit as bright as his character lead singer Brad Marr ran onto the stage wearing a gold tracksuit and cap! The NWOR event is the first gig the band are playing in the UK and judging by the enthusiasm of Sweet Electric they are excited to be here. Treating the crowd to some hard-hitting rifts and Brad’s wailing voice Sweet Electric are certainly a crowd favourite in Leicester this weekend.
Collateral is a man down tonight due to Todd Winger recently leaving the band. Lead singer Angelo Tristian paid tribute to his former bandmate and reassured the fans in the audience by announcing Collateral are soon to be in the studio recording their second album. Halfway through the Collateral’s set Angelo informs the crowd that he has broken 2 of his ribs and whilst visibly in pain Angelo didn’t hold back on his excellent performance of songs which included Mr Big Shot, Sin In The City and Midnight Queen.
Sons of Liberty
The five members of Sons Of Liberty complete with cowboy hats provide the O2 crowd with their Southern Rock sound. During the 12-song set lead singer Rob Walker acknowledged his front row superfan (Perry) and offered his microphone out for their biggest fan to join in with the singing. The rest of the crowd looked like they were having an equally good time courtesy of Sons Of Liberty as the whole floor of the academy joined in with the band when they got to their popular song ‘Fire & Gasoline’.
Powering on to the stage next are The Jokers who treated the crowd to a great rock n roll show. Wane Parry vocals commanded from the centre of the stage and his cover of The Who’s Pinball Wizard went down great with the crowd. Guitarist Paul Hurst looked like he was having a fantastic time on stage, spinning, and jumping throughout the set. At one point Paul dropped his guitar to jump off stage and high five the front row of the crowd. Tom Crane bounced around whilst playing his bass guitar and Paul Brough thundered away at the drums.
Vega are the Saturday night headliners. Having been around since 2009 and releasing 7 albums you could be mistaken that Vega might be pushing the definition of New Wave Of Rock a little. Influenced by some of the big names in the business and their slick stage performance they are great way to end the night for those classic rock fans that stuck around till the end of the show.
Sunday afternoon started with Gallows Circus waking up anyone that was still hungover or tired from the late night before. Hat wearing lead singer Ian Day performed 7 songs that included the popular Holding My Breath and Hells Whiskey.
Black Roze gave a lively performance during their set. Included in their song list are a couple of covers which the band have put their own twist on, The Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams’ came early on, and they then closed out with These Boots Are Made For Walking which was appropriate with the outfit lead sing Viixen was wearing!
Daxx & Roxane
The 4 members of Daxx And Roxane put on a super charged performance. From the start the music was hard hitting and as lead singer Cedric sang, he continually flicked his long black hair in time to the music. Cal Wymann and Simon Golaz not only provided great sounding guitars, but they also provided the on-stage entertainment, guitar duelling spinning. During a song towards the end of the set Cal swapped places, mid drum beat no less, with Luca Senaldi and then carried on playing drums for the rest of the song. The three guitarists completed the set by performing jumps over each other whilst continuing to play their instruments. Great songs and entertainment! Daxx And Roxane is on fire!
Loz Campbell brought her show to the O2 Academy before she heads out on her UK tour. Providing a professional sounding set for the crowd in front of her. Highlights of her show included Loz’s plea for the audience to buy her merchandise so she can buy kebabs! Bassist Steve demonstrated his ability bend backwards so much that his head nearly touches the floor! Mid way through the set Guitarist Alice and Steve took an excursion out into the crowd to play amongst them. Alice used her guitar complete with LED lights set into the fret board to light her way around the floor. Loz showed her acrobatic skills by balancing precariously on the legs of Tom and Alice to form a human pyramid to close out her set.
South Of Salem
Performing in front of the biggest crowd at this year’s HRH NWOR show were South Of Salem. The 5 members of the band arrived on stage to the sound of the Halloween movie soundtrack. The band, made up to look like they have just walked off a horror film set, launched into their set with the energy level turned up to 11. Lead singer Joey jumped up on one of the risers in front of the stage and in-between the lines of the songs he provided some great facial expressions and rolling of eyes. Guitarists Kodi, Fish & Dee continually moved around the O2 stage jumping up on the risers to strike a pose as they play their instruments. Kodi, at one point, performed an impressive jump off one of the risers gaining so much height before landing back on the stage floor. Inspired by 80’s bands, such as Motley Crue and GnR, South Of Salem put on an mighty show performing songs which included Cold Day In Hell, Let Us Prey and Pretty Little Nightmare. The Bournemouth originating band were the top performer of the weekend and I recommend everyone to catch one of their shows when you can.
High octane Sheffield rockers Doomsday Outlaw treated fans to the news that they have a new album out imminently. The band played a fast-paced blues inspired rock set which included In Too Deep, One More Sip and Runaway. The pace slowed down a little as Phil Poole sang an emotional If This Is the End. The Crowd showed the band they are having a great time as they danced along to Bring Your Pain which contained an excellent guitar and keyboard solo. As the band completed their set they were greeted with an enthusiastic clapping and cheering crowd. Great show!
Leader of Down
Unfortunately for the last band of the weekend Leader Of Down the O2 floor had emptied considerably. As he appeared on stage lead singer Matt Baker jokingly shouted to the crowd that was left ‘Thinned out a bit but still got the quality!’. Energetically launching into a 17-song set the band performed Heres johnny, Paradise Turned Into Dust and The Screwdriver Letters to name a few. Matt joked that he had wrote a song about his ex-wife at the start of Serial Killjoy. For the audience that left early they have missed the band being joined on stage by former Iron Maiden Guitarist Dennis Stratton for the encore.
Life Of A Hero
On the O2’s Second stage Life Of A Hero kicked off with a hard-hitting set with a great vocal performance from Russ Grimmett.
Matt Pritchard announces it is the first time that indie rock band Sunspy have played the HRH NWOR. Matt Informs the crowd that they don’t sell their music they give it away. Matt went on to promote bass player Tony Parisella’s ice cream as the best you will find in Wales!
From Sheffield come hard rock band Silverjet who have a great sound some of which could be influenced by The Wildhearts.
Mad Haven had a following in the crowd as big as the rifts they were playing.
Another band from Wales Pearler provides a heavy sound on the O2’s small stage.
London band Ransom, who are apparently a pub band that plays rock n roll. Ransom who are fronted by Matt Fielder, and could be the UK’s equivalent of Dee Snider, performed the bands original songs Back To The Boozer and Gender Offender.
Electric Black provided a heavy rock set well received by the crowd in front of them. Bass player Ryan Trotman provided some character to the band performing in a military inspired outfit and kilt!
King Voodoo turned their amps up to 11, unleashing the guitars and pounding the drums for their first gig of the year.
Sam Millar & The Sass Bandits
Jokingly introducing the song Forbidden as a song about having a w**k in the bathtub Sam Millar And The Sass Bandits provided a lighter, almost 80’s rock inspired sound.
The Suicide Notes
And finally, imagine if Spike from the Quireboys and Faster Pussycat’s Taime Downe had somehow melded together and then weirdly produced some form of child…..well that child would have grown up to become Suicide Notes lead singer Billy T. Full of onstage swagger that dates back to the glam rock bands of the 80’s. The Suicide Notes with their gutter trash sound are one of my favourite bands of the weekend and one I want to see again!