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Gig Report: HRH C.R.O.W.S. II - Sunday

I think in the last blog I wasted a little to much time with pre-emptive waffling. If you haven't read Part 1 covering the bands that played on Saturday, then please do so here - Part 1. I'll admit I wasn't feeling so well going into the Sunday, as I got hit with the mother of all colds. So I decided to take it easy and just hang back on every band set. Which I will admit did make this day a little more enjoyable. Still, I decided to soldier nonetheless. With that out of the way let's dive into the Sunday of HRH C.R.O.W.S.

Since there was nothing happing on the main stage for a little while, I spent my early afternoon upstairs at the second stage. Opening the day was country-rockers Stevie Jones and The Wildfires and let me say that this was an excellent performance. I was immediately hooked on their sound. It was a lot less hard rock than anything that was played on Saturday. His songs were filled with these sharp singer-songwriter like details that really kept my interest. Steve was a good frontman keeping up the banter with the early afternoon crowd and his performance was stellar. That was coupled with the great musicianship of The Wildfires. Subtle bass grooves and raw electric guitar parts really brought the songs to life. The songs were really relatable for me and the emotions and poetry in the lyrics really spoke to me. An excellent set that got me ready for the rest of the day.

Following that up was the Leicester based country act, Finding Georgia. This was decent enough for me. The sound was great and the vocal performance was stunning. I was completely floored by how good they sound once they got into the flow of the set. That's really my only complaint, it took a little bit for me to get into it but once I was, I was in it for the whole thing. The melodies were played well and the groove of their songs was intoxicating. One of the particular highlights of the set for Hard Rock Hell crowd was a mash-up of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" and Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" which was surprisingly enjoyable and I'll admit made me laugh somewhat because of how well it all fit together. The melodies and harmonies were spot-on and they put together a decently tight set. I was very happy I got to check them out.

After that, it was finally time to hit the main stage for the first act of the day. Making their way on to the stage was the London based hard rockers, Black Whiskey. They had a lot of presence to their set that couldn't be denied. They had a skip and swagger in their performance and you could just tell that they were so happy to be on stage doing their thing. The booming riffs and tight groove kept the set consistent, and the vocal performance was absolutely stellar. They just kicked the cobwebs out and ploughed their setlist with elegance and grace. The crowd was good for them too, hooting and hollering for their music and rocking out. Overall a very nice performance from them, Just simple and to-the-point rock n roll. Definitely worth coming back for in the future.

Heading back upstairs to check out Nine Miles South. I have been wanting to check these guys out for some time as I think their output is excellent. Taking my position at the barrier, I eagerly awaited the performance of this excellent band. They hit straight into their brand of southern rock and started jamming out almost immediately. Their performance was striking with a super tight groove and well-executed riffs, this set was a non-stop barrage of hard rock goodness. The performance was more intense than I thought it was going to be and to be honest I liked it. Every member just rocking out having a whale of a time on the stage. The tightly controlled bass grooves keep you engaged whilst the vocal performance just sores on top of the live production. I think my favourite part of the set was the slow ballad "These Final Words". It's a simple and gorgeous-sounding song that really gets the emotions stirring. Don't get me wrong the harder rock tunes were fun, but that song is excellent and the guys really played it well. An excellent set and as one of the bands that I was really looking forward to, they certainly didn't let me down.

Coming back to the main stage to check out another band that I was reasonably excited for. Doomsday Outlaw hit the stage in grand fashion with their signature heavy riffs and the stage swagger that gets a crowds blood pumping. The great mix of keyboard, bass and guitar was excellent and made for a really thick and brilliant tone. Their sound was bold and commanding and everyone in the building was paying attention. Over the great music was the insane talent of the vocal performance, which was so strong. Their well-executed mix of southern rock licks and blues-like grooves keep me engaged. As they played you could clearly see the passion they had and they were so humble to the fans. Every moment of this set was so earnest and their talent was undeniable, they just came across so well in my books and this was a wonderful set. 

I decided to go upstairs for a little while to check out the last couple of bands of the day on the second stage. I'm so glad I did because I might have caught two of the best set of the whole weekend. First up was the London based five-piece rockers, Dead Man's Whiskey. Oh man, they put on a clinic. The room was packed and they delivered one killer performance. The guitars roared to life and the band hit a full groove in under thirty seconds. Then, once they got going, there was no slowing them down. This set was a relentless full force rock show with a powerful presence that screamed, "look at us, look at what we're doing!". Their riffs were spot on and they just rode the rhythm which created a monstrous sound. The band fed off of the energy that the crowd gave them and they gave it back tenfold and you could tell they appreciated the support of the room. The set was just riff after riff and solo after solo, with screeching vocals and a killer groove. This was an impressive display and if you don't know their name, I urge you to look them up.

Now it was getting late for me, I was ill, tired and running on my last reserves of energy. It was my last chance to really rock out and there was only one band that was going to get me on my feet for this and that was Hell's Addiction. They stepped on stage and went straight for the jugular. No playing around, they were just so intense and their brand of rock n roll just brought the crowd to life. The riffs were powerful and their presence was dominating. The frontman had this amazing charisma and personality and he just shined here. Their music was excellent and it was so good to get to hear these songs live. The set was a great mix of old material and new really showing off their range as a band and their passion for the music. The crowd was excellent as well, giving the band big cheers and keeping up with the bands frenetic pace. I was on the front row for this set and it got loud and raw exactly how a great rock set should be. Absolutely a stand-out set of the weekend and another band that I can check off my "to-see" list. Although hopefully, I'll get out to see them again. 

After that crazy set, it was time to bring things down a notch as I checked out Matt Pearce and the Mutiny. The Voodoo Six axe-mans other project and a much more toned down set than on Saturday. This blues rockin' master class was well worth the watch as they brought the flow, style and rhythm to this weekend. A great all-around performance, it was certainly impressive to listen to the excellent delivery and fun-as-hell guitar solos. Also, this set stud out as the set that brought a saxophone to the party.  This swinging good time was much to my delight as I had no real will for anything loud and audacious after the final bands of the second stage. You have really appreciated the great tone and the excellent melodies to come from this set. That old-school rhythm-and-blues sound definitely takes a special place in my heart and these guys brought it signed, sealed and delivered. 

Finally to cap off this most excellent of weekends, was none other than the Tasmanian Devil himself, Rob Tognoni. This was a fire set from start to finish with solos for days. Although the room was starting to empty at this point, I loved how this guy sounded. The well-crafted melodies laid think upon excellent riffs and world-class musicianship. Tognoni was a wild man on the guitar, hitting every note with precision. Whilst his backing band kept pace with a wonderful groove. The sound was minimalistic with just guitar, bass and drums, but sometimes simplicity is best and you can find amazing sounds with the bare bones. The set ranged from rock n roll to straight-up blues but Tognoni kept the crowd happy with a smashing performance that was a great way to close out the weekend. 

Well, another HRH C.R.O.W.S. has come and gone. I for one had an exceptional time. You know other than getting ill over the weekend. There was a lot to like here, from new discoveries to old standards there was something here for everyone. Hard Rock Hell does an outstanding job with these shows and I hope to go to many more like this one.


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