With 24 hours to reflect on the best and worst of the UK’s premier winter rock fest, the rushonrock team has sobered up and checked in with their definitive list from Hard Rock Hell III: The Vikings’ Ball.
We’ll deliver our verdict on the best bands, the worst acts, the missed opportunities and the what-might-have-beens.
And all this week we’ll be running full reviews of the shows which impacted the most on thousands of rockers and metal heads from across Europe.
BEST BAND: A toss-up between main stage slayers W.A.S.P. and wacky German crew Die Apokalyptischien Reiter. Blackie’s surgically enhanced features and beefed up power chords or a Teutonic gimp cavorting around in studded leather pants – you decide.
WORST BAND: Edens Curse sounded kinda cool on record but looked flat as a pancake on the second stage. And they might not have been the worst band at the festival but New York Dolls were a major disappointment.
BEST DRESSED: Hysterica singer Annie De Vil had sweaty middle-aged men everywhere drooling into their beer. But Korpiklaani’s bass player claims the title of king of cool thanks to his slicked back mane and handlebar moustache.
WORST DRESSED: Geoff Tate’s a great songwriter but the Queensryche frontman has wardrobe issues. A black waistcoat paired with big, bare arms, shades and a ponytail. The biggest mistake since Operation: Mindcrime II. As for the woolly hat sported by Jules from Gun. Wrong. Just wrong.
KILLER QUOTE: “Grimsby told us they were the best rock crowd in Britain” – Edens Curse frontman attempting to whip Wales into a frenzy. Admitting his band had just played Grimsby raised titters, rather than fists.
SOUND OF THE UNDERGROUND: Unsigned North East act Remedy had Prestatyn talking after their early-Friday set in the pub. Singer Jenn is a genuine talent just waiting to be snapped up. Go to it record label guys…
WAYSTED: Anyone spot the big bloke with long blonde hair and Hawaian-style shirt asleep against the barrier late on Friday? Snoozing while upright is a difficult skill but this guy made it look so, so easy.
WE WANNA BE SOMEBODY: Fair play to uber-enthusiastic crew Spit Like This who dressed to impress and worked their little asses off up to and including their festival-closing set.
PISSED OFF: The decision to post rushonrock fliers above every urinal seemed like a good idea at the time – then we saw one disappearing down the U-bend in bits. It was a crushing blow in the wee small hours.
WHITE ROOM/SUNSHINE OF MY LIFE: Waking up on a Saturday morning at Pontins Prestatyn in the middle of December is a life-changing experience. Let’s just leave it at that.
HOW TO MAKE FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE: Marya Roxx’s manager decided to dish out 2010 calendars of the temptress from Tallin – as well as copies of her new CD. Suddenly December 2010 in the same chalet won’t seem so bad.
EVEN MONA LISA SMILED: The best new Quireboys’ song in ages. Shame the woman at the Stage Two burger bar didn’t follow suit.
GROAPIES: Blackie boasted two of the oldest swingers in town stage right during his blistering set. And we always wondered where he got the inspiration for Animal…