Live: Hard Rock Hell IV
Venue: Pwllheli Hafan y Môr Holiday Park
Across the English channel, tragedy strikes. But in North Wales, rock’s warhorses pay tribute the only way they know how: by playing on.
It is traditionally the last great celebration of headbanger hedonism in the festival season, but the ninth annual Hard Rock Hell falls on a grim weekend for fans of heavy music. The day before it begins, news breaks of the untimely death of former Motörhead drummer Phil ‘Philthy’ Taylor. Then in the middle of the festival, terrorists go on a mass-murder spree in Paris, killing 129 innocent people, including 89 rock fans at an Eagles Of Death Metal show at the Bataclan. The initial reaction across Hard Rock Hell is one of shock and sadness, especially as many of the weekend’s bands have previously played the Bataclan, and now have to cancel upcoming Paris shows. Several make a point of paying tribute to the victims from the stage. But the prevailing mood is also one of defiance and celebration. When murdering extremists hate rock this much, all the more reason to cherish this music and squeeze every last drop of pleasure from it. By Saturday afternoon the HRH massive are partying hard again; lust for life wins every time.