HRH Sleaze – Sheffield, O2 Academy – 3 September 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Mark Ashby and The Dark Queen   
Saturday, 16 September 2017 03:00

Apart from the threat of imminent rain – but, that didn’t really matter, as we were going to be indoors for the duration – the second day began in the same way as the first, with a series of acoustic sessions on the second stage. Perhaps the most interesting of these was that by Sister, who transferred surprisingly easily to the unplugged setting, while the most revealing was that of Chasing Dragons: boy, what a set of pipes the very unladylike named Tank possesses; they were definitely one of the more unfamiliar bands we would be looking out for later in the afternoon.

 

Superhooch

 

With both stages opening simultaneously, there was an extremely disappointing gather for second stage openers Superhooch, especially seeing as this was their last ever gig with departing singer Jonny Worsley. But, despite playing to no more than 12 people (and that’s including the bar staff and crew), they were determined to see that he went out with a bang not a whimper and displayed plenty of positive attitude as they rattled through their set, their Gn’R style mixed with elements of punk, indie pop and latter-day grunge. Judging by this performance, Worsley has left some mighty impressive boots to fill…

 

The Cruel Intentions 4

 

The reason for the small crowd in the smaller room was obvious when you wandered into the main arena, where The Cruel Intentions – playing only their third UK show (hence the clear anticipation) were ripping through their particular brand of rough-edged Scandi-sleaze with plenty of aplomb and grunt, delivering a sound dirtier than a porn director’s Y-fronts, their twin-guitar approach combining a West Coast-style sensibility with the spunk of their homeland. Definitely a band with a bright future ahead of them.

 

Psychobabylon

 

Back on the second stage, Psychobabylon appear to have a bit of an image problem – part ska, part classic rock, part horror punk (and, dare I say it, are a tad older than most of the rest of the bands on the bill): but, there is no such issue with their sound, which is straight ahead, driving hard rock with a heavy back beat. These local lads also obviously have brought quite a following with them, as the crowd is now of a much more respectable number – and continues to grow as the day progresses.

 

Bulletrain 8

 

Bulletrain are playing their first ever show in this part of the rock ‘n’ roll Überverse – and, to be honest, initially it shows, as does the fact that they perhaps should have spent a few more hours in the rehearsal room, as they are a bit ragged around the edges: they also seem to be having a few problems, both technically and between themselves, at least in the first part of their set. Nevertheless, they make quite an impact, especially among the ladies in the crowd: DQ returns from her stint in the photopit fanning herself and declaring “he’s fucking cute”. She’s referring, of course, to frontman Sebbe – and it’s not hard to see the attraction, especially as he doesn’t take long to strip to waist… but, apart from the eye candy factor, and despite the energy level they build as their set progresses, there’s not much else to write home about in relation to their standard brand of glam rock.

 

New Device

 

New Device, meanwhile, pack out the second room – and deservedly so. Their songs pump with energy and enthusiasm, as well as quality, and their tightness belies the fact that their bassist is just a temporary stand-in for this one show. Their hour long set simply flies by in a riot of rockin’ riffs and catchier than man ‘flu melodies. Terrific stuff from a terrific band.

 

 

By far the heaviest band of the weekend, Sister grab the event by the balls and then rip them off with dark gothic presentation: but, these guys know how to entertain as well as kick 50 shades of shit out of their audience. Frontman Jamie Anderson has a dark energy, a suitable sense of showmanship and a brooding charisma, while the band writhe like vipers with a mouse being held just out of their reach, wrenching out fiercesome riffs and dense rhythms coupled with massively melodious hooks which, despite being more meta than sleaze, get a large proportion of the crowd dancing in the aisles and earns them a rapturous reception at the end of their allotted hour. Perhaps more suited to Hammerfest than this themed weekender, they nevertheless provide one of the highlights of this inaugural event.

 

 

Returning to the second stage, Chasing Dragons – notably the only female-fronted band of the weekend (although a few others have sounded like they are) – really ratchet things up and prove to be another of the discoveries by the UR team. The potential of their earlier acoustic set is more than fulfilled, as Tank proves that she has more balls than the majority of her male counterparts – and possesses a voice to match, all the while exuding a fiery energy that transfers itself organically to the enraptured audience. The band themselves are tight as fuck, with Kate particularly powerful behind the kit, with a great line in songs, which are simultaneously catchy and hard-hitting, and this Leeds quartet definitely won over a legion of new fans this evening.

 

Spread Eagle 3

 

Spread Eagle are very much a band that fit into the category of “legacy act”, living as they are off that of two albums more than a quarter of a century old. As a result, their set sounds extremely dated, with no attempt to give the material a new lick of paint, never mind inject some energy into them: Ray West does his best to rouse the crowd from their slumbers, and to a degree succeeds, but they could have packed more oomph – not to say a few more tunes – if it hadn’t been for the intros, instrumental breaks and outros having more extensions than the hairsdressing supplies store ‘round the corner from URHQ. West’s equally extended between song raps also killed off any remaining momentum the band may have been seeking to build, and the overall result is a huge letdown.

 

Saints Of Sin

 

Which means that it’s just as well that, back in the second room, Saints Of Sin, like StOp SToP the night before, are bringing the party there to a suitably rowdy conclusion. They present their well-crafted and beautifully presented brand of slutty rock ‘nf’n’ roll with a panache that includes top hats and sleaze-grind riffs galore, the latter built on massive big chunks of delicious melodies and accompanied by gloriously infectious choruses. In Rui Brito they have another brilliant singer who not only knows to work a crowd but also can hit high notes with laconic ease, while Sophie Burrell is a mean little grinder on the geetar, lithe as a panther and just as deadly. SOS welcomed us to their r’n’r circus with a lascivious leer and we gratefully accepted their invitation… (and the album is wonderful by the way).

 

Jizzy Pearls Love Hate 3

 

Unfortunately, it’s got to the time of the evening when the hunger pangs are setting in when Jizzy Pearl brings us his interpretation of Love/Hate, and so, combined with the excellent set being delivered upstairs, we miss the majority of his set. However, having bumped into the man backstage, and from the 20 minutes or so that we catch, it’s obvious that he’s in fine form. His voice sounds great, and in Stevie Pearce he has the perfect foil, as the guitarist revels in getting down ‘n’ dirty. Plus, the crowd reaction is phenomenal – and, at the end of the night, that’s all that counts, isn’t it?

 

Tyla Pallas Dogs D Amour 5

 

There are undoubtedly those (and I include myself in this) who would have questioned the feasibility of having Tyla and his current interpretation of Dogs D’Amour so high on the main stage bill: surely, their brand of hot ‘n’ sweaty rock ‘n’ roll might have been better suited to headlining the second stage? But, any cynicism is immediately blown out of the water, as Mr Pallas and his travelling troubadours (now featuring another old friend of UR, Matty Cassidy) completely own the main room from the opening chord to the last dying echo, as the man in the pinstripe jacket brings his wealth of experience and massive back catalogue of anthems to this big stage. He delivers hit after poptastic it: if you don’t recognize them right away, then that’s OK, because by the second verse you’re hooked and singing along. Blending country, blues and good old-fashioned rock together with a beauteous ease so rarely achieved by artists of lesser (or allegedly much greater) talent, it truly is a weekend never mind show stealing performance.

 

Faster Pussycat 11

 

Which just beggared two questions, one repeated from the previous evening: just how shit were Faster Pussycat gonna be? And how were they gonna follow such a sublime performance? Once again, the answer to the first question was not as bad we thought beforehand, and the second being… well, sort of like sending your big spenders on after the B team have just won the FA Cup with four goals in the first half. Resplendent in a bowler hat and coloured shades, Taime Downe definitely proves that he is still very much the master of this sleazy rock ‘n’ roll freak show – and he also most defiantly has the voice to back up that position: even if he has downtuned it slightly to match the vagaries of age, it still has plenty of character in its rasp. And he has gathered around himself a tight and professional performing unit who know how to give both him and the audience exactly what he and they want – and Downe, in turn, knows exactly how to deliver to the rabid audience, who lick up every last drop of saliva dripping from his lascivious tongue. Yes, us old guys still know how to rock…

 

And so the first chapter of HRH Sleaze came to an end… well, at least for those of us who didn’t end up downing shots in the pub across the road until 4am! By and large, it was a glorious debut, and we’re looking forward to the next one already (and we’re still working our way through the big pile of CDs whoch nearly got us stopped for having too much weight in our bags on the flight home!). See y’all soon, ya sleazy bunch o’ rock ‘n’ roll hallions \m/

 

PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © The Dark Queen/ Über Rock. You can view our full gallery of photographs HERE.

 

The second edition of HRH Sleaze takes place at the O2 Academy, Sheffield, on 1 and 2 September 2018. Other forthcoming HRH events include:

 

HRH Doom vs Stoner 2 – Sheffield, O2 Academy, 30 September/1 October

Hard Rock Hell XI – Pwllheli, Hafan-y-Mor, 9/12 November

HRH Prog – Pwllheli, Hafan-y-Mor, 16/19 November

HRH NWoBHM 2: The Xmas Rocka - Sheffield, O2 Academy, 2/3December

HRH Metal – Birmingham, O2 Academy, 17/18 February

HRH AOR - Pwllheli, Hafan-y-Mor, 8/11 March

Hammerfest - Pwllheli, Hafan-y-Mor, 15/18 March

HRH Blues – Sheffield, O2 Academy, 14/15 April

 

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