final day of Hard Rock Hell rocks with blistering performances and old-school anthems

Hard Rock Hell The Vikings Ball review

published: Tue 8th Dec 2009

around the site (crowd pictures)

Friday 4th to Saturday 5th December 2009
Pontins Holiday Village, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, LL19 7LA, Wales MAP
from £110 for weekend tickets based on five people sharing.
last updated: Wed 16th Sep 2009

eFestival's delicate head is given a furious raping by the arrival of Pig Iron, who continue to cement their reputation as one of the UK's most solid live acts. Chunky, Zeppelin-friendly riffs wrapped around an underbelly of blues goes down a treat and proves to be a surprisingly effective hangover cure.

Girlschool
Not long after come Girlschool, who still not only know how to rock the jolly fuck out of a crowd with effortless aplomb, but remain firmly within that timeless genre of 'I'd give 'em one'. NWOBHM innovators Marseille take to the pub-based third stage soon after, and although there's more than a hint that most of the younger members of the crowd are here to worship Neil from Art Attack, there's an even bigger inclination that they've won over a fair few new followers thanks to a joyous set of old-school anthems.

Tigertailz
And speaking of which, where the hell have all these TigerTailz fans come from? Packing out the second stage area to provide one of its biggest crowds of the weekend, the unruly mob shake, clap and boogie their way through a predictably raucous, glam-tinged show. They've still got it, despite the receding barnets. The same can be said for Saracen, whose epic, classic metal shenanigans continue to wave the old-school flag on the third stage. London veterans The Quireboys are twice the fun with half the seriousness, and kick up a party on the second stage that stamps shit-eating grins all over anyone and everyone in attendance.

WASP
After a stomach-lining dinner and a few interviews in the press area (which, to our dismay, is no longer in the adventure playground), there's time to catch the second half of Angelwitch's set, which is not only one of the highlights of the festival, but undisputed proof that the third stage is not the only place to find NWOBHM in all its glory this weekend. Still, even they can't touch Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P., who decimate the main stage with an outstanding set of fan-pleasing classics and admittedly excellent new material. Lawless' new-found morals mean that there is still no 'Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)', but with 'L.O.V.E. Machine', 'I Wanna Be Somebody' and 'Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The Rue Morgue)' in tow, who gives a shit? The best slot of the festival, and by far the biggest crowd of the weekend.

Alternatively, Queensryche decide to drive people away in droves by playing a set that is brimming with rarities and lacking in many of the band's trademark hits. It's a baffling missed opportunity, and means that protopunk marvels The New York Dolls don't have much to live up to. They put in a decent enough slog, even if David Johansen is still a little too Mick Jagger for his own good. Things are looking considerably darker on the second stage as Goatwhore smash any thoughts of an early night to bits with a blistering performance that adds weight to their potential as future big shots of the extreme metal scene.

around the site (crowd pictures)
As the main stage sees Lauren Harris continue her bid to step away from her heavy metal dad's shadow by announcing that her band are soon to have their own identity as a full group, blackened thrashers Skeletonwitch bring all sorts of mayhem to an increasingly bladdered second stage crowd. Equally thrashy but somewhat less evil touring buddies Toxic Holocaust are left to close the evening and indeed the weekend with one final bout of riff-laden, mosh-happy tunes. It's a suitably manic end to the festival, and gives eFestivals just about enough minutes to head to the bar one last time before collapsing in a sweaty, drunken heap. Job done, Pontins – see you in March for Hammerfest.
review by: Merlin Alderslade

photos by: Chris Perowne

Friday 4th to Saturday 5th December 2009
Pontins Holiday Village, Prestatyn Sands, North Wales, LL19 7LA, Wales MAP
from £110 for weekend tickets based on five people sharing.
last updated: Wed 16th Sep 2009


latest on this festival

HRH Metal 4 2020
festival details
last updated: Thu 16th Jan 2020
HRH Metal 4 2020
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Thu 16th Jan 2020
Hard Rock Hell
festival home page
last updated: Thu 2nd Jan 2020
HRH Vikings 2019
festival details
last updated: Mon 11th Nov 2019
HRH Vikings 2019
line-ups & rumours
last updated: Mon 11th Nov 2019