metal talk
facebook
Type band name, album name, artists name etc here...
Search all our articles by typing band name, album name, artists name etc here...
news now
metal talk
  HIGHWAY TO HELL 5
Day Two


Johnny Main: Photos by Dutch Michaels

johnny main



highway to hell 5

With the first eight bands having performed the previous night (an overview of those bands can be read here), and the party running late into the night, it was early evening when everyone converged on the Classic Grand once again to see the final eight bands perform.

The following was written as each act performed and a list of the overall winners can be found here.



Article continues below...





highway to hell 5

Another Newcastle based band, Great Man Theory, opened up with 'The Horse' which builds up after a slow start into a glorious noise as the band get really hit the pace. Guitarist Rob Jarvis plays a great echoey riff as vocalist James Smithells does his best to get the crowd involved although judging by the reaction there may still be a few hangovers lingering from the previous nights shenanigans.

Smithells' short vocal passages are good and he really stretches his voice during some of the longer notes. The instrumental mid-section gives the band a chance to show the crowd what they can do and it's a promising start from them.

'Riverblind' is up next with its stop-start intro and Smithells has a somewhat easier time of it with this one vocally. The track has a heavy groove with Jarvis pulling out a great solo which ebbs and floors in between a rolling drum beat from Matt Absolon. The band's chosen cover song, 'Fat Bottomed Girls' by Queen, was the least impressive of all the tracks here. Don't get me wrong, it was a competent cover, but the vocals during the chorus didn't really mix that well but like I said, it was competent.

'What Is Mine' (the first track on their EP) was altogether a better performance – fast and furious from the get go, the twin guitar sound worked really well and made up for the slightly lacklustre cover.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

The Starling Radicals are a three-piece rock group are just one of the strong Welsh contingent who are competing but the band didn't seem to have the best start after George Toulouse suddenly disappears from the stage just as the throbbing bass guitar kicks in during 'Mona Lisa Vampire' but the band continue as if nothing had happened which shows their professionalism.

With Toulouse back on form, the band continue on with 'Moon' which is really quite good if I'm honest. Bass player Gareth Bain, resplendent in his military style shirt and hat and facial war paint gives his performance here, everything he's got. There's a good reception from the audience at its conclusion but there's no hanging about as they power onwards with their cover song – another unusual choice with 'Say Say Say' by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. To be honest it's the first time I've heard a cover of this song and though it does look strange on paper, the song does lend itself well to some heavy guitar. The here tempo is much faster than the original so it's full marks for the cover and is execution.

Their last number Last song 'Unseen Empire' is another fast one as even though their performance didn't seem to get off to the best of starts, the performance as a whole, was very enjoyable.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

The 8th Bridge are a Heavy Rock/Metal band from Cardiff, and they wasted no time in getting on with the task at hand. Another of the few heavy bands performing over the weekend, their first song, 'Wake Or Die' has barely started when Sean Williams heads down to press the flesh with those wedged hard against the crowd barrier. Bass player Ben Sainty is solid and spends most of his time centre stage head banging furiously. New track 'No Absolution' is slower but still retains an immensely heavy sound as drummer Gareth Rees really punishes the drum kit. Williams paces the stage as he spits out the lyrics with the middle section barely audible above the volume of the rest of the band.

They chose to cover 'Let The Bodies Hit The Floor' by Drowning Pool which has heads bobbing on stage and in the audience. The bass guitar and drums are so powerful during the number that you can actually feel the floor vibrate. Williams once again presses the flesh down the front and as the song ends it's given a rapturous reception.

The band end with 'Black' which really seals the deal on the bands performance with another solid number that has the fists and metal horns hoisted down the front. For a band that I really didn't know beforehand, I'm certainly looking forward to seeing and hearing more from them in the future.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

Heartbreak Remedy from Cumbria are straight out of the trap with a respectable cover of the Steppenwolf classic 'Born To Be Wild'. Vocalist Matty Penn gives a good performance though the track which seems to meander slightly during the mid-section but it gets the cover song out of the way and leaves the band to concentrate on their three original numbers.

'Tell Me Why' (about the break up of a relationship we're told by Penn) is a mid-paced number with a great guitar solo from Callum Glynn. 'Life' follows which slows the pace considerably with its long but simple intro of voice and guitar only. It's a refreshing change to what has gone on before and the audience gently sway from side to side before the drums and bass guitar kick in towards the songs conclusion. It may be too much to call it a ballad but the song is certainly a jewel in the back catalogue of this band.

Their Last number, 'Hair Of The Dog', sees some onstage interplay between Glynn and rhythm guitarist, Luke Blair, as this party song gives then one last chance to impress before they depart the stage to generous applause and you get the feeling this band have a bright future ahead of them.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

THEIAuk are a three-piece hard rock outfit with vocalist Kyle Lamley taking full advantage of the stage to the delight of the crowd down the front as he lodges himself on the crowd barrier before retreating to the microphone in time for the verse of the opening number 'We're Alive!' 'Some Days' follows which is a good fast paced number and had the crowd nodding along to the beat with the occasional fist thrust in the air. The songs rock solid riff really works and Lamley and bass player Paul Edwards have a bit of fun running from side to side without any drop in their performance. Edwards especially looks as though he's having an absolute blast, grinning from ear to ear as the song reaches its conclusion.

Their carefully chosen cover was another one that was a bit different from the usual rock fodder – 'Footloose' by Kenny Loggins. With the tempo slightly faster than the original it wasn't a disagreeable version with a really chunky guitar riff replacing the original weaker one. An extended guitar solo gives Lamley a chance to show his skills before the community singsong starts in earnest, something which the audience lap up.

This is a band with bags of energy, and it'll be interesting to see them perform a full length set – something I'm hoping I won't have to wait to long for.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

West Lothian trio, The King Lot, were the only Scottish band to make it through to the finals and they were ready to show that the deserved to be there. Kicking off with 'Let's Get Together', the band are a solid unit from beginning to end. Guitarist Michael Fairbairn stands centre stage as the guitar riff gets the crowd moving whilst bass player, Jason Sweeney, puts in a great vocal performance.

'As They Burn' is dedicated "to the vampires" and has a thundering intro from drummer, Chris Gillon, before the main guitar riff takes over. The twin vocals from Gillon and Sweeney work really well here, adding extra depth to the number, which has the crowd enraptured. The band's choice is something different again – 'Forever Young' by Tyketto. This is definitely a song for the ladies and they seem to love every minute of it as they tap their feet to the beat. Sweeney seems to be enjoying it as he and Fairbairn share a joke mid-song.

Judging by the applause at the end, it seemed that their choice of cover was a hit. Their final number 'The Bang Of A Drum' is back to more familiar territory but judging by the reaction to the bands set, they have made some new fans as they are treated to one of the biggest cheers of the night as they leave the stage.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

Another Welsh band, Texas Flood, were up next and this three piece play straight ahead rock n' roll. Drummer Tom Williams sets a blistering pace on 'Cards'. Despite the fast pace, bass player Ben Govier and guitarist, Tom Bradford, have time to share a joke before taking centre stage for a bit of synchronised head banging. The song itself has an unusual bass riff but this just makes the it stand out from the crowd a bit more.

'Honey' is slower in pace but it's still a solid number as Govier and Bradford share the vocals, and judging by the noise, the crowd seem to be enjoying it too. A small pocket of head bangers even develops as the track progresses. The guitar solo is marred by a slight technical hitch but Bradford continues whilst his tech sorts the issue out. Just before 'Let The Wind Blow', a fan was invited on stage to show off his tattoo – the word 'South' across his stomach. That's all very good but I'm not sure those standing at the back could actually make our what it was a tattoo of! The song is a corker though and had the crowd jumping about down the front and singing along to the chorus.

Bradford is a chatty likeable front man who enthuses the crowd prior to launching into a cover of 'Jumping Jack Flash' by the Rolling Stones. Not incredibly different from the original, if I'm honest, but it's one of those songs that gets the audience singing along and it was an enjoyable no frills version of the song.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

Bad Behavior from Preston describe themselves as a six piece "balls to the wall" glam rock extravaganza and that pretty much sums this band up in a nutshell. The last competitive band of the competition and good lord, what a way to finish! Looking every part the Glam Rockers resplendent in their colourful outfits and make up, but it was really the front man, Phil Bailey, who not only took centre stage but looked the most avant garde a he did his level best to be the consummate front man.

With three guitars on stage, the vocals were sometimes overwhelmed especially during 'Born To Party' but it was still a good performance overall. The band's cover was Alice Cooper's 'Man Behind The Mask', and although not one of the famous Cooper songs, it was nevertheless a good cover by the band. Bailey is predictably theatrical here which ties in very well with the band's image and although this is a proper band with serious musicians, there's nothing in the book saying that you can't do it without planting your tongue firmly in your cheek!

Their final number 'Apocalypse Now' was the best of the set with its great guitar riff that has the place jumping on and off stage. As the song reached its climax Bailey announced "This is the end!" and as the curtain falls on their performance, the band are greeted with generous applause as they take their final bows. What a great way to end the competition!

beer beer beerbeerbeer


highway to hell 5

Like The Amorettes' OYR (Off Yer Rocka Records) Secret Session the night before after the finalists had played there was an OYR Secret Session another local band, Afterlife, whose reputation has been gaining momentum in the last few years. Their debut album, 'Omega' was released on OYR earlier this year and the band have been delighting audiences around the UK with their great live show. The Classic Grand audience greets the band warmly as they come onstage for what vocalist Pete McCoy promises will be "an hour of Heavy Metal" – and that's exactly what the band delivered.

From the opening salvo of 'War Machine' McCoy had the crowd captivated with his on stage presence whilst giving a top notch vocal performance. 'Act Of Defiance' follows, which has bass player Steve Reilly taking centre stage and looks as though he's thoroughly enjoying himself as the band pile through the track. The band are so relaxed on stage that there is no urgency at all to get through their set, and at times its so laid back that it seems the band are literally deciding the set list as they go along.

'Nothing Comes Close' slows the pace slightly, but it's still a lead-laden track before their signature song, 'Afterlife' itself, which gets a huge roar of appreciation from the crowd. Their latest single 'Masters of Reality' had the head bangers down the front doing their thing before McCoy tells everyone he's "been dying to fucking swear all fucking day!" because the band had played a gig earlier in the day at Troon beach in front of "old people and kids"!

The band also presents two new numbers to the delight of the audience. 'Frightened And Scared' is up first with its chunky guitar riff that has the crowd at the front head banging away once again. McCoy's performance here is one of his best of the night as his voice soars through some of the longer notes. Having seen the band several times over the last couple of years is great to see them so confident and thoroughly entertaining.

The second new number is 'Behind The Wall' and if these two songs are an indication of material from the bands next album, then it will be compulsory listening. The slower mid-section is so atmospheric with just the rhythm guitar from Stewart 'Raggy' Brown and drums of Iain Stratton slowly building and building until the power of the track is once again unleashed – for me, a true highlight of the band's set.

beer beer beerbeerbeer


Highway To Hell Online:
Official Website: http://www.hardrockhighway.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hard-Rock-Hell/

All The Bands Online:
Great Man Theory – http://www.facebook.com/GreatManTheory
The Starling Radicals – http://www.facebook.com/TheStarlingRadicals
The 8th Bridge – http://www.facebook.com/the8thbridge
Heartbreak Remedy – http://www.facebook.com/heartbreakremedy
THEIAuk – http://www.facebook.com/THEIAofficial
The King Lot – http://www.facebook.com/WeAreTheKingLot
Texas Flood – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Texas-Flood/131451313547553
Bad Behavior – http://www.facebook.com/badbehaviour666
Afterlife – http://www.facebook.com/afterlifeUK


18.9.2014











 


metal talk © All written site content is copyright MetalTalk.net 2008-2017, unless otherwise stated, and is not to be used without prior permission.