original@Hard Rock Hell United, Pwllheli, North Wales, March 14, 2015

Sigiriya clearly had some old friends in the audience at this Stoner Stage show, with the Welsh band playing in their homeland, if not their home town. And by the end of their stomping, gas guzzling set, they’d certainly gained a few more. Why? Because their hard driving, bluesy take on desert rock was perfect for a Saturday afternoon slot. Because Matt Williams has an outstanding, gutsy, even soulful voice. Because they’re effortlessly cool without any hint of pretension. 

It also helps that Stuart O’Hara can peel off some beautifully simply, Kyuss-fried riffs and that bassist Paul Bidmead anchors tunes like Dragging The Bones with gloriously heavy basslines: the pair, along with drummer Darren Ivey, saw the 90s out with stoner metallers Acrimony and their mutual understanding showed this weekend. It’s great to see three guys locked into a groove, held together by years of grit, sweat and determination. It’s also great to see their music elevated to new heights by a supremely talented singer.

Hard Rock Hell’s performance aired plenty of last year’s Darkness Died Today opus: a good thing too, as while the record is a bit of a grower, its standout tracks – Godspeeder, Obelisk – were sensational live, with the upbeat, gutsy Sleeping With The Dogs a particular highlight.

One of the more melodic acts to grace this stage and undoubtedly one of the most fun, Sigiriya brought some sunshine to this corner of North Wales. This was stoner rock to raise a glass to – rather than a spliff.

Richard Holmes