||HIGHWAY TO HELL 4
The Classic Grand, Glasgow
Saturday 5th October
Johnny Main: Photos by Carlan Braid
In case you weren't aware, Hard Rock Hell run the annual Highway To Hell competition throughout the year to find the very best unsigned acts to perform at their various festivals and for the second year in succession, the final was held at the Classic Grand in Glasgow over the weekend of Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October.
A review of the winners can be found here but since the standard of the entries were so high this year (as like last year), I thought I'd write a short review of each band, so here are the other acts that featured on the Saturday night in alphabetical order...
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Hailing from London, were Alexa De Strange, a four piece who started well with the Gothic sounding 'Russian Roulette' which was received well by the crowd. From this point on things seems to unravel for them as the band seemed to lose focus and vocalist Frankie Lee struggled with an impending wardrobe malfunction.
After the event the band explained that they had "no monitoring, no instrument mixes, (and) we couldn't hear each other or ourselves", which is a shame but these things happen to the best of bands and it can be quite disappointing when it happens at such an important gig as this.
Their final song was a cover of 'Sleeping In The Fire' by American Metal band W.A.S.P. and was the best of the performances tonight but alas this wasn't enough to get the band through.
One of the numerous Northern Irish bands to feature this weekend were Belfast based four piece Baleful Creed who put in a good solid performance with their first song 'Autumn Leaves' getting a particularly good reception. Their signature song, 'Baleful Creed' (with which they closed their set), was also well received as guitarists Fin Finlay and John Allen worked in harmony to produce an almighty sound.
The cover song they chose was 'Third Man On The Moon' from US hard rockers Masters Of Reality during which bass player Stephen Fleming was just a mass of hair whilst drummer Mark Stewart worked hard at the back to produce a faultless performance.
Beggars Fixx are a Brighton based five piece Glam band fronted by singer Chazza B Bennett who is not unlike Dee Snider of Twisted Sister-fame both in look and mannerisms, whilst lead guitarist Danni Oakheart really shows what he is capable of on their high energy number 'Outta Control'.
Their second song is a well received cover of Hanoi Rocks' 'Day Late Dollar Short' which gives Billy Kidd a chance to show his skill on drums whilst Bennett shows how good his vocal range is.
Guitarist Mykki Felix plays a good solo here but this is, unfortunately, lost in the mix. Certainly the only all out Glam band this weekend, the band are pure showmen though and through and put in, overall, a very enjoyable performance.
Durham based Fallen Mafia started off well with the fast and frantic 'Lock And Load' which featured an accomplished guitar solo from Chris Johnson whilst bassist Andy Milburn throws Metal poses and headbangs his way throughout the band's set. Although vocalist Hannah Neil seemed quite nervous at the start by the time the band launch into their second number, 'Down', she seems a lot more comfy on stage - maybe her nerves have been replaced with a rush of adrenaline.
The band's cover is 'Holding Out For A Hero' (as originally sung by Bonnie Tyler) which is given the heavy treatment although Neil does seem to struggle slightly but it's a very good rendition nonetheless - all in all a good overall effort from the band.
Leeds three piece Honeycomb Love manage a respectable cover of '53rd And 3rd' by The Ramones but it's their self penned song 'Bad Taste In Women' that gets a terrific reception. Drummer Shaun Marsh works hard at the back whilst guitarist Matt Hipkiss produces a very good solo.
Of their five song set though, it's 'Run For Your Money' that made a lasting impression on me. Each member of the band gives it everything they've got to produce one of the best performances of the night and on the strength of tonight, this is definitely a band that I'll be keeping an eye on in the future.
Last band of the night are Glasgow four piece Temple Dawn who show that despite bands from all over the country appearing over the weekend, there's still an abundance of local talent available too. Drummer Martin Hutchison holds a steady beat on the first number 'Battlefield' before vocalist Kevin McConnachie takes charge of the stage with an outstanding performance of 'Breathe'.
The band's final number is a cover of 'Go With The Flow' by Queens Of The Stone Age and it brings to a close not only a very accomplished set but an evening of great music.
Alexa De Strange - http://www.alexadestrange.com
Baleful Creed - http://www.facebook.com/BalefulCreed
Beggarz Fixx - http://beggarzfixx.moonfruit.com
Fallen Mafia - http://www.facebook.com/fallenmafia
Honeycomb Love - http://www.facebook.com/honeycomblove
Temple Dawn - http://www.templedawn.co.uk/