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Concert Reviews

HRH Sleaze 2018 Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     November 26, 2018    
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HRH Sleaze 2018 - 02 Academy, Sheffield (UK) - 01-02 September 2018

Day 1, Saturday

Able to take in a couple of bands before the main stage started Psychobabylon is sleaze crossed with a Misfits style horror aesthetic with a few death growls thrown in. The HRH crowd give them a warm welcome and enthusiastically participate in a punky version of Transvision Vamp's 'Baby I Don't Care'. They are a bit gnarly with a garage sound, but enough tunes to keep me happy.

Speedstroke from Italy are theatrical in a different way. Mainlining the Sunset Strip it's all about the 80s crossed with face make up and extravagant gestures like a Pierrot they have good crown engagements skills and high energy and are good value for a stage 2 early kick off band on the first day.

hrh sleaze 2018 speed stroke live

Midnite City open the main stage and after the tiny stage for their album launch last year in Nottingham it's nice to see them on a bigger stage with Rob Wylde a furious bundle of blonde bombshell energy all over the stage seemingly all at once. They are very Scandinavian looking like UK glam punk used to be and have the big melodic hard rock aor songs to back the image up. They also have the stage moves, even the keyboard player turns his board vertical to allow his glammy fingers to be seen in all their glory. Material from the new album including unreleased single 'Give Me Love' fits in well with the familiar material from the first album. Big choruses and accessibility make them a big hit.

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Last Great Dreamers have a mad Clockwork Orange style image which plugs more into a Bolan old skool 70s glam rock vibe crossed with a punky sound. They also execute a full scale assault on the crowd. Singer Mark Valentine was truly born to be on stage and with his playful and engaging stage persona I found it hard to look at anyone or anything else. Another band which are much better on a bigger stage it was nice to see play in a bigger venue and own it like they did.

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Wildheart, similar to Speed Stroke are also mainlining the 80s, but that is exactly what the crowd at HRH Sleaze desire with big Dokken style riffs and screams and Randy Rhoads style classical shredding. It's all bandanas, mirror shades and cowboy boots. Taking lessons from Axl in stage technique leaning forward into crowd it's hard to believe they hail from Belgium.

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Jetboy are back with a new singer 'Mickey Finn' with a punk image and attitude he also is a seasoned stage performer and grips the crowd: fully doing justice to the older Jetboy material and enthusiastically presenting the new. The band look thrilled to be in the UK playing live for the very first time with Finn chuckling at the great crowd reaction and it's a triumphant debut. New single 'Born to Fly' goes down well and the crowd truly appreciate hearing classic 'Feel the Shake' with original member Billy Rowe giving them a Hugh thumbs up for making his day.

hrh sleaze 2018 jetboy live

LA Guns headline the first night and are truly the cherry on a very nice cake. Phil is in masterful control of the stage as usual giving the crowd a good seeing to both metaphorically and in gesture. Heavy blues number 'Flood' proves that like all good sex they can do deep and meaningful as well as hard and fast. The combination of Phil and Tracii continues to be truly f'n amazing on stage and killer riffs of new material like 'Speed' only compliment the older classics.

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Phil dons a pair of goggles for this track showing a gentle playful side as well as the ability to crush glass with hard rockin, full throttle, maximum gasoline vocals. Tracii brings all the shred, siren like guitar tone and a laboratory of noise with his theremin and looks happy and relaxed. Johnny Martin brings a powerhouse of bass and a dash of Ramones style punk cool. Never a disappointment the first day ends on a high!

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Day 2, Sunday

Despite a smaller audience after the party the night before Neon Animal kick off the day with an outrageous amount of filthy sexy rock n roll. However singer Mark Thorn exclaimed 'I've never seen so many girls' so they must be doing something right. Red hot blistering guitar effortlessly falls off guitarist Miguel Martins's fingertips, while Thorn has a charismatic if strangely frenetic stage presence. Often compared with Jagger his sexuality is a darker and more fragile one giving the impression that the New York Dolls are choirboys in comparison. High kicking to show off his white snake boots he is skinnier than a whippet. In his leopard T and circulation stopping pants they dig into the excellent material from their debut album and give a taste of the new ep with 'Vive Le Rock' (not the Adam Ant cover). Openers today, it won't be long before they are further up the bill.

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Equally as deliciously trashy the Erotics are a bit Faster Pussycat with witty titles like 'This is Why We can't have Nice Things'. Advising the crowd that there's only one way to fix a hangover and gesticulating with JD Honey they're all rock n roll licks and dark gothic style.

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'Falling Red' are more classic rock with their guitarist wanting all the attention in his mirrored shades, poses at the front and shameless grabbing of the mike between songs. He's living it large and I can't really blame him. He's probably as annoying as hell to his band mates and to share a tour bus with but it's hard not to giggle and his enthusiasm is infectious. He's clearly a star (at least in his own mind and that might be half the battle) and a bit of a Lizzy De Vine (albeit from North England) and the remedy for the other members would be to up their stage game to his. That aside they delivered a great set musically and are clearly crowd favourites.

hrh sleaze 2018 falling red live

Shiraz Lane are all flying blonde hair, legs on monitors, running around with guitars and high screaming. I actually prefer the material from the new album 'Carnival Days' live and they deliver a rockier version of 'Beauty of Life'. They get the crowd singing along and the pitch is very high suggesting a large female contingent in the audience.

hrh sleaze 2018 shiraz lane live

Toxic Rose have an over the top Kiss style wardrobe with the singer donning a Wasp style cod piece that draws the eye. Drinking blood from a skull and spitting confirms a heavy Gene Simmons influence although the music is less catchy choruses and undoubtedly heavier metal although unlike Sister it's not death growls, but more falsetto screams. The guitarist seems more of a poetic goth into soulful solos rather than shredding although he does produces some high and fast playing including with his teeth and does some finger tappin (or punch tapping it might be more accurately described).

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Tigertailz are, of course, high energy, good fun, balls out metal with an unashamedly glam image. It's their first gig since last years HRH Sleaze but the invite to come back is testament to how well they go down. With a set full of classics largely from the early albums, newer track 'All the Girls in the World' certainly deserves a place and elicits a good crowd reaction. Causing a riot in the crowd by throwing out free CDs. My favourites are melodic tracks like 'Love Overload', 'Living Without You', 'Call of the Wild' and the defining track 'Love Bomb Baby'.

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They're a hard act to follow but headliner Backyard Babies are popular with the crowd and rise to the challenge having plenty of hard core fans in the audience. It's all about the music and there's excellent newer tracks like 'Thirteen or Nothing' alongside their established material. Dregen is his usual quirky entertaining self, picking his nose and swaying around the stage. It's hard and fast and seems to go by in a flash as all the best things do.

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HRH Sleaze is an excellent festival run by true professionals and packed full of just what the doctor ordered. There's no better way for me to spend a weekend and I always feel knackered in a good way at the end. It's a festival that goes from strength to strength and I'm already looking forward to next year.

Review and photos by Dawn Osborne

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