Hard Rock Hell V – Village of the Damned – Thursday (Festival)

Welcome to the fifth instalment of the UK’s fastest growing rock festival.

Thousands of people travelled from across the UK and Europe to stalag Prestatyn in order to watch some of the finest examples of rock and metal the world has seen.

Last years ice age endurance test was quickly forgotten as we exit one of the mildest Novembers for years.

Being let loose this year with a media pass it was a first for ourselves as we were allowed a remit to mingle, interview and cavort with some of the great names appearing at the event. Success or failure ? ~ I’d like to think success and I have to thank all of the behind the scenes guys and bands for making this happen.

Casualties ? as with all festivals of this size you have a few, the most noticeable being the great space man him self, Ace Frehley, who cancelled his appearance just two days prior to the event with a “fractured wrist” ~ the cynics among you will no doubt point to the rumours popping up on the internet for the past couple of weeks and say I told you so and question the validity of the reason. All I can say about this is that he has apparently produced a medical certificate to back this up (not quite a note from his mother but still…). I will let you draw your own conclusions.


The Thursday nights at HRH have a well earned reputation for providing full on rock parties mixed with drunken debauchery and great bands. This years did not disappoint.

Cardinal Synne opened up this years rock fueled proceedings on the Vic. Alan Ross and the gang set about the difficult task of starting the event off. With a solid classic rock based sound and a rather chequered history, on paper things should have been a paint by numbers set, however tonight they are dogged with guitar problems and don’t really seem to hit the dizzy hights that they are capable of achieving.

Next up we have upandcoming whipersnappers Falling Red. Having heard mixed things about this band I was unsure what to expect. Sounding similar to the icon of sleeze rock himself Pretty Boy Floyd, FR set about igniting the Queen Vic with an outright display of energy, tunes and out and out sleeze rock. A cracking set by the guys and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Shooting off to meet up and interview the legendary nwobhm icons the Tygers of Pan Tang and Praying Mantis we return to a packed “Damned Stage” (Second Stage) just before the Tygers hit the stage.

Seasoned professionals, the Tygers set about with the manner that you are used to. Playing essentially a greatest hits set opening track Euthanasia sets the scene for an all out nwobhm rock fest.

Playing with a vigour that is so often lacking from today’s new bands you often wonder how they can keep going for as long as they have done.

Tonight’s performance was the best that I have witnessed from them to date with my only complaint being the omission of Love Potion from the set.

Highlight of the set: Hell Bound

Set List:

Do It Good;
Live For The Day;
Suzie Smiled;
Rock and Roll Man;
Don’t Stop By;

Next up we have fellow nwobhm legands Girlschool.

Again another band steeped in history.

Demolition proves to be an interesting choice as an opening track and meets with a somewhat tipid response. It is only when the classic tracks such as Lets Go and Not for Sale hit that things pick up.

Playing a mixed set ranging from tried and tested classics through to tracks from the Legacy album they play an average set ~ with the more recent material failing to really ignite – perhaps due to the “newer” sound of it.

Highlight of the set: Race With The Devil

Set List:

C’mon Lets Go;
Not For Sale;
Hit & Run;
I Spy;
Never Say Never Again;
Everything’s The Same;
Screaming Blue Murder;
Future Flash ;
Yeah Right;
Race With The Devil;

Next up we have Demon.

Tonight’s set seems unfortunately flat, with a lot of the crowd going after Girlschool had finished their set leaving only the die hard rockers and fans of the band left to watch them. This does not deter front man Dave Hill who to give credit where it is due, tried his hardest to rouse the remaining crowd but playing an aor friendly set of almost ballads at 11 o’clock at night is perhaps not the best choice of slot for the band.

Highlight of the set: The Plague

Set List:
Night of the Demon;
Into My Nightmare;
Black Heat;
The Plague;
Sign of Madman;
Standing on The Edge;
Life on the Wire;

Finally we have the living legends that are Praying Mantis.

Having been around for over 30 years this iconic band know what to do end the night on a high.

Again suffering from a poor slot time, PM set about cranking things up with a greatest hits set.

With frontman Mike Freeland taking control of the crowd from the off set, and founding member/guitarist Tino Troy having a blinding performance tonight which put most of the “known” guitar gods to shame.

Hit after hit collimating in Captured City, which is without doubt one of the most iconic all time nwobhm songs ever written, closing the set.

Highlight of the set: unsurprisingly Captured City

Set List:
Children of One Earth;
Panic In The Streets;
Can’t See The Angels;
Restless Heat;
Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark;
Time Slipping Away;
Dream On;
Turn The Tables;
Captured City;

Photographs and Interviews To Follow

Friday Reviewed HERE
Saturday Reviewed HERE


Hard Rock Hell: http://www.hardrockhell.com/
Cardinal Synne: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cardinal-Synne/168102269884951
Falling Red: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Falling-Red/30826827536?ref=ts&sk=wall
Tygers of Pan Tang: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=126372114044449
Girlschool: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Girlschool/63133112393?ref=ts&sk=wall
Demon: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=42739436593
Praying Mantis: http://www.facebook.com/PrayingMantisUKRockMetal?sk=app_131686150237656

About lee

Freelance Journalist/Photographer. Covers Liverpool/North West of England.