Friday, 18 November 2016

All Night Long - again.

November, (for me anyway, since 2012) has all been about escaping to the beautiful coast of North Wales for three nights of Rock n' Roll mayhem - yes, this weekend I was back in the land of dragons to face some old and rather mythical beasts... and some new ones, too.

Memories of last year's rather stormy affair were brought to mind on the journey down the A55. Indeed, I recalled clearly the view of the stunning Bwlch Mawr and Gyrn Ddu mountains, shrouded in heavy black clouds - it looked like the entrance to Mordor a year ago.  This time around, thankfully, the clouds were light and sunshine kept the cold at bay.

Once checked in I unpacked in my rather spacious caravan and immediately headed out to the nearby bar where I was due to meet up with friends for the somewhat difficult rock music quiz.  I'm glad to report that the team fared better than last year's 2 out of 40 - this time around it was a more respectable nineteen.

Straight after the quiz it was time to head back to the caravan to change into my opening-night outfit.  With this year's theme being Witches and Warlocks, I decided my only real choice would be as a witch's familiar - in other words, my clinging latex black catsuit and high-heeled boots, completing the outfit with some little cat ears and whiskers.

I was a little late to the proceedings, which had already begun with a stage show featuring sexy go-go dancers, a huge monkey and, er, of course Donald Trump.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Hard Rock Hell, 2016.
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Hard Rock Hell, 2016.
Three-piece HRH stalwarts The Texas Flood began the music parade of the weekend, their southern American funky hard blues a great start to the rock weekend.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - The Texas Flood.
All female rock trio The Amorettes followed with some more straight-forward no-frills heavy rock, but I can't say I saw much of them as by now, as is usual at Hard Rock Hell, friends old and new were turning up and I spent most of the girls' set chatting, or rather shouting, into the assorted ears of the gang.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - The Amorettes
After The Amorettes finished I wandered over to the second stage area, where the market and retail area resided.  It was a nice break from the loud rock, even if I didn't find anything I particularly needed in the market stalls.  Once again I still managed to bump into old friends from the previous years events, and spent a less shouty time catching up.

I was back in the main arena, luckily to catch some rather sexy ladies on stilts as an additional attraction to the bands.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Sexy stilt girls!
Later on I managed to chat with the girls, and discovered that the gussets of those tight shorts were perfectly at face-height.  Mmmmmmm... lovely.

The next band I caught were called Last In Line, a name I didn't recognise.  However, some of the songs were quite recognisable, and it was half-way through the set that I mentioned it to a stranger sat next to me, and was duly informed that this band were the former members of rock legends Dio, whose name-sake leader Ronnie James Dio died in 2010 - and in bizarre twist of fate, one of the questions I got right on the rock music quiz earlier in the day.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Last In Line.
Anyway, Last In Line were quite brilliant, their superb musicmanship perfectly showcasing the great tracks of the old rock legend.

The finale to the first night's entertainment was the unique and singularly brilliant Hayseed Dixie - a bizarre, banjo/fiddle/acoustic guitar foursome that rework old rock classics of AC/DC and others into bluegrass/southern redneck country/Deliverance masterpieces - funny, irreverent, and thoroughly fantastic.  I certainly had a brilliant time squeezed in at the front of the stage for the performance.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Hayseed Dixie.
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Hayseed Dixie.
After Hayseed Dixie had left the stage to thunderous applause, there was the small matter of the Aftershow/VIP Party to attend to.  With more live bands on a small stage, more drinks with friends and a very late end to the first night - at 4.30am... and with still Friday and Saturday to go, there was a lot more to come.

Friday dawned slightly too early for my tired eyes, but I promised myself that I wouldn't lie around all day - with the music beginning at midday there was still plenty to see and listen to.  Firstly, though, a quiet interlude, and in perfect timing for the 11.00am silence for Remembrance Day...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - The beach... and silence.
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - The beach at 11.00am on 11th of the 11th.
Although this was my fourth visit to the event, I hadn't ever been to see the beach.  My caravan this year, although some way from the main arena, was, I found out, very close to the beach, so I felt almost duty-bound to explore.  The view over the bay, to the Snowdonian mountains was quite simply fantastic in the early morning sun, the tranquillity of the scene a huge contrast to the musical mayhem that I would soon also be enjoying shortly.  Seeing that time was passing, I made my way back to the main area, and headed for the smaller Stage Two.

First up was a band called Vodun - named after the term a form of West African voodoo.  They weren't really my taste, the music a little disjointed and cacophonic, but the lead vocalist did have a mighty fine pair of, er, lungs, and as I watched, mesmerised by her own brand of dark voodoo, her bounteous treasures fighting to escape her dress brought to mind two planets colliding.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Vodun.
As much as the visual show was quite enthralling, I decided I wanted a bit more harmony and so headed over the main stage to catch a band that I loved at least year's event - Chase The Ace.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Chase The Ace.
Once again they put on a great and energetic show, showing how far they had come since their debut last year - more polished, with better stage-craft and better songs.  Fabulous.

I didn't stay for the next few acts, though, as I'd already promised to meet up with friends for a drink (of tea, this time...) at the little on-site coffee-house, where we ended up staying for some time.  I soon realised, yet again, that more time had passed than expected and headed back to the caravan for food and a change of clothes, ready for the long night ahead.

I was back in the main arena in time to get a seat to see the performance of Ricky Warwick.  Mr Warwick has been at HRH previously, the last time putting on one of my favourite peformances with Black Star Riders (the former Thin Lizzy).  He kept to his Lizzy-esque rock roots, but stayed clear of simply regurgitating the old hits... but I did find myself longing for him to belt out The Boys Are Back In Town in his Northern Irish (and Phil Lynott-like) voice...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Ricky Warwick.
A quality start to the eveings proceedings, though, which continued with the arrival of The Graham Bonnet Band.  Mr Bonnet is probably a name many outside of rock's illustrious scope may not have heard of, but if you recall the voice of Rainbow's Since You've Been Gone and All Night Long then you may have an idea who he is.

His set covered a fair bit of the one album he did with the legendary band, and included those two massive hit singles - to the delight of the Hard Rock Hell audience, most of whom bellowed out the lyrics to the songs.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Graahm Bonnet.
I have to admit I did, too - especially as some of the lyrics seemed particularly pertinent when I caught sight of the rather sexy latino bass-player...

I wanna touch you
I wanna feel you
I wanna make you mine

I wanna love you all night long
I wanna be with you all night long

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - sexy bassist with The Graham Bonnet Band.
1990's  American rockers Ugly Kid Joe followed.  Their metal/funk rock set was certainly different to Graham Bonnet's somewhat more direct European rock, but they didn't have any problems winning the crowd over - particularly when playing their biggest hits of I Hate Everything About You and Cats In The Cradle.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Ugly Kid Joe.
Much to the added delight of the audience, including me, when they got the girls from the opening act, Area 51, back on the stage...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - sexy dancers with Ugly Kid Joe.
Anyway, let me tell you that her G-String was as small as the one on the guitar next to her on stage. I did get a picture, but...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - that damned hand....
Damned hand - I wonder whose it was.... it certainly ruined one of my best photos.  But I still have the memories, hehehehe.😈

Also joining Ugly Kid Joe onstage was Mr Trump, the new President of the United States.  I'd have thought he'd have been too busy to be cavorting around a holiday site in Wales, but in truth he looks quite good for his age.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - er... Donald Trump... possibly.
Headlining the Friday night were more leather-clad ladies - this time glam rockers Vixen.  They have certainly aged well, and still, I'm happy to report, a penchant for sexy leather outfits.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Vixen.
Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort -  Vixen.
I stayed for most of the set, but the previous night's late finish was beginning to tell.  As I headed out of the arena to walk back to my caravan I bumped into more HRH friends.  I was all too easily enticed to another Aftershow/VIP Party.

Once again, Donald Trump appeared, who I'm pleased to say, spent quite a bit of time sat on my knee whilst we chatted.  I can report, exclusively to my blog readers, that the new President loves my Vivienne Westwood Boudoir perfume and has a very firm and gorgeous bottom, which was especially sexy with it's thin sheen of sweet sweat that had me longing to lick clean.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - possibly Doanld again... with a very nice arse.
Nevertheless, by 2.00am I was simply shattered and headed off, finally, back to my little caravan and fell into a deep sleep.

I had a quieter start to the musical acts on Saturday, opting to listen to the acoustic 'unplugged' sessions in the site's small bar as opposed to the full metal onslaught of the main arenas.

I stayed for two acts - The Bad Flowers from the exotic Cannock area, and Brad Marr, the lead singer/guitarist from Massive, who travelled to North Wales from slightly further afield - Australia.  Indeed, there were about five acts over the weekend from down-under.

The Bad Flowers were a very engaging bunch of chaps, and the songs transposed quite well into the acoustic theme.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - The Bad Flowers.
Slightly less well-prepared was Brad Marr from Massive.  He had clearly not rehearsed nor planned, so winged it, and luckily did a grand job.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Brad Marr from Massive.
After a few songs he was joined onstage by Kevin Curran, the vocalist/guitarist from another Aussie rock band Hailmary - also playing over the weekend.  They decided to do a duet of one of my favourite Led Zeppelin songs - Immigrant Song.  Kevin took the guitar ("as he knows the chords") whilst Brad took the vocals ("as I know the words").  It turned out that Brad's statement was only slightly correct.  I twigged on fairly quickly that Brad actually didn't know the lyrics at all, and googling the words on an iPhone during the song was a bit of a giveaway...

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - the long lost lyrics of Immigrant Song.
Nevertheless, it was done with great relaxed humour befitting the more chilled-out acoustic session, and they still got a rousing cheer when they (sort of) finished the song.  I think Messrs. Plant and Page have little to fear at the moment, though.

After their set I wandered up into the main area, deciding to pop in to see if Bernie Marsden (ex-Whitesnake guitarist and song-writer) was on form.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Bernie Marsden.
His set seemed a little subdued and soft bluesy for the time of day, so I decided to see what was happening on the smaller Stage Two.  It turned out to be a great decision - Welsh wonders Hand Of Dimes were playing.  If you like great blues guitar and vocals, then I 100% recommend checking these guys out.  Dazzling musicmanship, great songs and stupendous vocals - a band I will definitely keep a look out for in the future - indeed, one of the best acts of the whole event.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Hand Of Dimes.
I stayed rooted in place until they had ripped through a well-deserved encore, before heading back to the main stage.  I caught the last of Bernie Marsden's performance (which I belated found out got better later on - but I still don't regret giving him up for Hand Of Dimes) and watched a bit of Massive (now fully staffed and remembering lyrics) before heading back to the caravan for some food and another change of clothes.

Suitably reinforced with hot food and tight shiny black thigh boots, I headed back to the main arenas for the final night's entertainment.  I saw a little bit of Living Colour's set, but I soon became as disinterested as they appeared to be, and their music, although well played, lack some excitement.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Living Colour, but a bit pale and subdued...
I was therefore more than happy to join friends in the Stage Two arena, and was pleased to see that the lovely chaps from Cannock, The Bad Flowers, were better with guitars plugged in and drums played in anger - a great set.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - The Bad Flowers... electrified.
We stayed in the Stage Two area for the remainder of the night, watching bands and generally getting up to no good (as groups of rock girls do, especially after a 'few' drinks).  I was glad we did - the last band I saw of the whole event were another bunch of Aussie rockers, Black Aces - and time for another Dexi Delite tip - keep a look out for these young guys too.

Conjure up thoughts of a Bon Scott led AC/DC in the late 1970's, with all the energetic, pounding, pumping passion and humour, and you get an idea of Black Aces.  Songs of drinking, catching diseases from naughty women, more drinking, thunderous cover versions of Slade's Gudby T'Jane and Ike & Tina Turner's Nutbush City Limits, and more songs of gettting shit-faced and drinking some more... Yes, AC/DC did it a few decades ago, but, especially since the departure of dear Brian Johnson in AC/DC's line-up, there is simply not a band that has that funtime feel like Black Aces.  They were simply superb.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort -  the brilliant Black Aces.
Black Aces - I raise a glass to you guys, too - and I hope to catch their brillaint act again soon.

Dexi Delite Manchester and Cheshire Escort - Black Aces.

And so, with midnight turning Saturday into Sunday, I said goodbye to my dear rock music HRH friends and headed back to my caravan for the last time this year.

Another superb event, with great music and great people.  I think I will be back.

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