Hard Rock Hell 2021 poster

Hard Rock Hell: The Big Bad Review – Day 2!

Our day 2 began with a double header from the wonderful Bastette! We went for VIP as usual this year so got access to the acoustic stage before the main music kicked off, heading down to see one of our personal favourites here at Overtone. Caroline and the guitarists were on form during the acoustic set, the stripped-back nature really lending itself nicely to her powerful, beautiful vocals. We then caught a bit of The Darker My Horizon‘s also impressive acoustic set before heading back to the caravan for some food quick (Sorry The Meffs!). We returned for another awesome set from Bastette, this time with the whole bands and the instruments amped up and distorted. It was a completely different set, but an equally enjoyable one for wholly different reasons. They are another band (a few on this line-up, I know), who I can see being massive in a few years!

The stage times for today had all changed too, as Wolfsbane unfortunately had to pull out due to COVID exposure. It meant the Meffs got a better slot though, so not all bad!

Next up were the first blemish for me of the weekend, Y!kes (Yikes indeed). I didn’t know if the singer had actually bumped a line of coke and chased it up with a bottle of bourbon before going on stage or whether he was just acting like it, but I’m hoping it’s the latter so he can stop for future gigs. The rest of the band were tight as anything and instrumentally they were awesome, but the vocals were all over the place, out of pitch, and the frontman was eccentric on stage to say the least. There is a time and place for all that and being rude to the crowd, and early on on a festival bill that isn’t particularly your type of crowd isn’t really that place. Heck, it was pretty punk though, I guess!

Afterwards we get another unexpected highlight of the weekend, Ward XVI. Putting on a show akin to one you’d see at a major metal festival, with props and extras and more, the band really gave it their all. And it helped that they were musically amazing too, one of the tightest of the weekend. They are another band who’s name have been floating around a lot recently, and I’m so glad I finally managed to check them out in person, as it was maybe the best set of the weekend, overall.

Next up were Irish rockers Screaming Eagles, after a small technical blunder. The band took it in their stride, though, and put on another great set filled with great songs and infectious energy. He was also one of the best front-men of the weekend, having a good laugh and joke with the audience throughout the set, getting even the most cynical of fans on board by the end!

The mighty Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons take the stage next, staring out at a sea of theirs and Motorhead‘s merch; they were clearly the band everyone wanted to see that day. Despite that, the crowd were a little subdued for the first few songs. However, as soon as they began to rip through some Motorhead classics, they immediately won the crowd over, who proceeded to go nuts throughout. The band were on top form as always, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad show by them, and their new singer fits in perfectly!

Finally, we reached the headliner of the evening, Chris Holmes and the Mean Men. This was a questionable one for me, as I really wanted to enjoy it. The ex W.A.S.P guitarist can still play to a high standard, and his backing band did fine and brought a fair amount of energy. However Chris has never been a good singer and the other vocalist he brought with him was no Blackie Lawless. Add that to the fact that he was constantly talking about how he should have been dead by now and how other people he knew have sadly passed from COVID, it made for an awkward, sad set overall. But heck, the WASP songs he did were great, as was the medley of covers at the end!

Oh, and since we missed out on Gypsy Pistoleros the day before, we thought we’d try them at the after party. What we received was just the singer and an acoustic guitar just talking for about twenty minutes before leaving again. Very weird.

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