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Live Review: HRH Goth London & Leeds. 11+12/9/21


*Rave The Requiem, Grooving In Green, and Cold In Berlin did not attend and were replaced by Novus UK, FyreSky, and Witch Of The East.


Welcome! This is going to be a different sort of live review for a change with Elektro Vox. On this occasion we had myself down at the London show with a media pass to get some interviews in; and Mr Smith up at the Leeds half of the show with a pit pass to get the juiciest photos that my Iphone could never live up to! Now I spent most of the first day trying to grab bands and the second day taking time to enjoy my friends' company so I can't say I paid a great amount of attention to each band to write anything in depths for many of them and Mr Smith is busier than he's ever been with new found photography success. So it is for these reasons that the band reviews will be very short but in essence what I truly seek to review is the festival itself!

Scroll down for a vast array of images and interview videos! This was the first ever HRH Goth (Incorporating HRH Industrial) and many of the original line up were not able to make it due to Covid, travel restrictions, probably something Brex-Sh*t related no doubt, and some other rumoured issues.

Now I will admit that I had been very sceptical about this festival because for one, I knew very few of the bands, and secondly it seemed to be marketing itself as 'the first true UK Goth festival experience' which seemed like quite the unresearched slap in the face towards Infest, Resistanz, and Whitby festivals and I found the lack of line up change info disturbing.

Having said that.. What I expected was a fairly poor weekend, what I got however was an incredibly friendly, helpful, and thoroughly enjoyable experience even if I didn't agree with a few of the line up. The staff were incredible, the bands performed their hearts out, and long needed socialising was had in a great atmosphere, minus two small instances that is.

Having got my passes agreed only the day before from an incredibly helpful Holly and Toby over the phone, I was then introduced to the lady in charge, Charlotte (Charl) and Harry at the venue. Having had a misunderstanding with my media pass' access rights, I was led up to Charl once again by security supervisor Lee. Charl was amazingly friendly and issued my partner and I with higher passes and Harry showed us to a room that we could use all to ourselves for interviews upstairs in the Foyer. Perfect! So first day was full of great first impressions even with the confusion.


Near the end of the first night, a friend in my group was approached by a far less than pleasant man who I had to make leave for reasons I wont' go in to. Having worked in security for many years I couldn't help but keep an eye on him all evening, and when I noticed him repeating his mistakes with other women in the venue I quickly had a team of security staff huddled around to get a good look at him, and sure enough he was spoken to shortly after and then I imagine, escorted out. The next day Lee the security supervisor assured us he would be on a last warning should he return and the wonderful HRH team lady at the front desk offered my two female friends royalty passes to be able to escape upstairs when necessary. Now THAT is how you handle festival problems, I was beyond impressed at the staff's ability to empathise, react, and assist; So in terms of safety and customer service 10/10!


Anyway, enough of that for now, on to the bands!


Novus UK


A good friend once told me that a show should always start on a banger to get the audience's attention and Novus opening the festival was a super enjoyable experience to start with, that's for sure! A three piece band looking incredible from the start with PVC galore, powerfully positive energy, and catchy track after catchy track made for a set deserving to be much higher on the billing.

Vocalist Sarah looked truly at home on the stage with Peter and Angie both looking absolute fire and like they couldn't quite believe they were there; Their last minute placement however was definitely well deserved and made for a great feel-good kick start of Gothic rock!

9/10


Leeds photos:

London Photos:

Interview:

"From an artist perspective.. One of the best organised events we have played and especially in London, the sound and stage guys were amazing. Could not be Nicer or more willing to help."

-Peter Jones ~ Novus


"Both Venues were excellent, all the staff and crew were super helpful. The crowds at both cities were really into the music from all the bands. In Leeds the lights were amazing, especially for Auger."

-Sarajane Farr ~ Novus

FyreSky

I only managed to catch the last two songs of this band having been interviewing Novus but from the fire filled energy of their exiting numbers that put me in the mind of 'From Dusk 'Til Dawn' came a jaw dropping smile across my face (Let's ignore the logistics of that statement!)

The lead singer hypnotised the audience with one hell of a powerful voice and charismatic edge weaved in to every word. The other members of the band were ecstatically energetic and owned every inch of that stage, and even the pit as the two guitarists threw themselves at the audience! Absolutely wonderful stuff that I wish I had seen in its entirety.

9/10


London Photos (Did not play Leeds):


St Lucifer


A super well rounded sound that brings a smile from start to finish. St Lucifer really is a band that can appeal to every taste which is a rarity. A wonderful statement of diversity and pure enjoyment of time spent dedicated to music. There wasn't a single moment where I wasn't enjoying the beats and vocals, constantly bopping my head along and smiling at the profoundly positive vibes pouring out of the band.

8/10


Leeds photos:

London Photos:

Interview:


Seething Akira


Really out of place at a Goth event with their rap meets pop punk vibe. They put me in the mind of a band that would support Hollywood Undead. Also another band that I only caught the last two tracks of, in which they seemed to be keen to throw positive vibes and an energetic stage performance to the day.

Fair play to them, they were certainly playing their asses off but it seemed uncomfortably out of place at a Goth festival which is more the booking agents fault than the band's.


5/10

Leeds Photos (No London Photos):


Auger


It was with a beaming smile that I eagerly nodded a resounding 'YES' to my partner when she asked me to clarify if this was the band that will be co-headlining my EVM fest when it (Finally) gets rescheduled as we both headbanged along to the glorious riffs of Kieran and the nuclear powered voice of Kyle. Surprisingly this was my first time seeing them in the flesh, having seen them multiple times on lockdown live streams; My Gods, it was worth the wait! Photographing Kyle is really hard, the man NEVER stays still on stage so I am stunned by how good some of Mr Smith's Leeds photos have come out!


Auger are a band on the verge of taking the world by storm with their easy listening yet pleasantly heavy style of dark rock that made bands like Guns and Roses and Queen so popular. There really is no describing Kyle's deep resonating voice, which you can pick up from in our interview somewhat!

If you've never discovered Auger, then I suggest you take a day off work, sit yourself down, and lose yourself inside the music made for every possible occasion. Same to be said for the next band too, Massive Ego of whom Kyle is now also a part of.

There is an interview video of Auger and Massive Ego together underneath the Massive Ego photos!


10/10


Leeds Photos:

London Photos:


Massive Ego


A band that puts out Gothic nightclub anthem after anthem containing all the hallmarks of what makes music so special. From the addictive electronics, to the stomp factor drums, and the majestic vocals that tell a story with passion each time. Massive Ego are like watching a dark rock musical and I thoroughly love every second of each performance I have seen so far.

A change in the band with Scot leaving which I was deeply sad to discover, and Kyle of Auger joining, with Lloyd once again returning to the group making the band a fantastic four piece now.


There was passion, fire, and beauty pouring off of that stage in chaotic measures from a truly banging 'Let Go' and 'I Idolize You' to a hauntingly meaningful 'The girl who finds gifts from crows'.

Hearing guitar riffs breathe new life in to familiar songs was a perfect upgrade that balanced out Massive Ego's sound rather than drown it out like when other bands tend to kill their music by adding way too much guitar and snubbing the electronics that made their sounds so popular.. Not naming any names, or big bands starting with C. *Cough*


10/10


Leeds Photos:

London Photos:

Massive Ego and Auger Interview:


Lord Of The Lost


Which brings me to the highlight of the weekend. I managed to catch 'Judas' as I came out from behind back stage from the previous interview which sounded absolutely phenomenal. How a band can have multiple members sounding so crisp and clear, yet heavy as F**K is beyond me and a real testament to the band and the sound engineers' skills. After 'Judas' the band made a truly heartfelt apology that because they had run late and didn't want to cause any inconvenience to the next band or the staff that they would just play one last song and cut the set short which came across as a genuinely empathetic and wonderful touch from a band who look so fierce; It almost seemed like a collective and touching 'aww' was being breathed from everyone's lips.

To Round that off the band played out to a cover of Duran Duran's 'Ordinary World' which is one of the most touching and beautiful moments I've witnessed from live music. A friend with me then swung that in a different direction when she said.. "You NEED to get an interview with them cause they are SO HOT and I want to meet them!" Which was then made even more hilarious by the band throwing Lord Of The Lost condoms at the crowd as they walked off! Sadly I wasn't able to grab them in time for an Interview but what fun that would have been if I had!


10/10

Leeds Photos:

London Photos:

I was able to find a recording of 'Ordinary World' but at the Leeds event so not quite the one I witnessed but good enough! Many thanks to 'From the barrier and beyond'.


My Dying Bride:


I can see why they would be played at a Gothic event but it certainly felt like another out of place band. You see I am a fan of funeral doom metal, I love Swallow The Sun for instance but if I wanted to see a doom metal band then I would have gone to a more metal or doom orientated event and so hosting them at HRH Goth just seemed.. Bizarre.

Having gone from an insanely packed floor for Lord of the Lost to a crowd of less than forty people on the floor for My Dying Bride was quite sad to see but when you put a cold, slow, and depressing themed band on after a deeply enjoyable and energetic band that should have headlined, especially after a long day.. well.. Again, booking agent's fault. Not the band's.


My Dying Bride are a good band with some incredible talent be it from the vocals or masterfully incorporated violin but it came across as a dreary anti climax. Doom metal has a place for sure and I love it but sadly myself and those in my group were not in the right place to enjoy such melancholic tempo, especially as we had no realisation of what type of band they would be, I think we were just a bit surprised and a little confused. As a band they sound great though, certainly wouldn't fault the band in any way as they had some impressive songs.


6/10


Leeds Photos (and 2 from London):

 

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Day 2


Witch Of The East


Sadly I can't comment on this band as my partner and I found ourselves in Camden for what was meant to be breakfast.. It turned in a Goth trap of too many shops and the convenient use of credit cards.. My apologies Witch of the East!


Leeds Photos (No London Photos):


In Isolation

This was a band that only played Leeds and therefore I am unable to comment.


Leeds Photos (Did not play London):

Deadfilmstar

Now this band.. This was a tasty one! The lead singer looked as if he were about to drag you beneath the waves and feed you to his master Cthulhu with his sclera contact lenses, ruggedly dreaded hair, shaking jaw, and a persona that was fully in character for ripping out throats in the name of the dark lord of R'lyeh..

Oh, The music was great too!


This whole band gave themselves to the music completely pouring ounce after ounce of showmanship and presence in to their performance. The singer bored holes in to souls with his unwavering gaze that added depth to some heavy and meaningful old school Gothic Rock. This is music to start biker brawls to.


9/10


Leeds Photos:

London Photos:


DROWND


This band had notes of Nu Metal and I wasn't quite able to put my finger on to what I was listening to. Overall fairly enjoyable but another odd choice for a Goth festival, I must admit I can't recall much beyond that.


6/10


Leeds Photos (And 3 London photos):


The Webb


This band were a much needed mash up of humour, alien sci-fi, dance beats, and showmanship cabaret Gothic who brought a wonderful change of pace that truly shows that Goths do have fun and can point fun at things. We are all actually quite nice and often quite silly once you get to know us and this band personifies that quite nicely!

What is Goth, if not fun and enjoyable?


A very nice mix of song styles left me bopping along and speed dancing in some places, what a wonderful world we live in when the Halloween stuff starts appearing! I also really want to go watch Rocky Horror for the 400th time for some reason now.. Probably the keyboardist's amazing hair!


9/10


Leeds Photos:

London Photos:


All My Thorns


Of the two songs I caught the end of this band sounded great, very American in rock sound but with a hint of UK metal heaviness/ What an outfit!

7/10


Leeds Photos (And 3 London Photos):


Red Sun Revival


Unfortunately a band I hardly heard any of as we had just come back from dinner and I only managed to grab two far away shots before they finished. Sorry!


Leeds Photos (First two are London):

Jayce Lewis


I said this to Jayce himself and I'll say it here.. I didn't really know any of the bands on day two and was so far not really connecting with or feeling the music vibe but when Jayce Lewis came on who I had never heard before my partner and I both looked at each other and said 'F**K Yes, THIS, I like this!'


Jayce, Sy An, and Martin, throw themselves around a stage. I've rarely seen such zeal and fervour from a band, especially Jayce throwing his entire body in to each shouted lyric and Sy An sparking non stop talented fire in to her guitar.


I could see why Jayce Lewis has supported and will continue to support Gary Numan on tour because he has an incredible sound that pushes the boundaries of what sound systems should be able to keep crisp and clear. I could make out each word, each note, and each moment with crystal clarity. It's not every day a band like this blows you out of the water for not having heard them before.


Truly an amazing set and I was lucky enough to grab Jayce during Fields of the Nephilim for an interview. See below.


10/10


Leeds Photos:

London Photos:

Interview:


Fields Of the Nephilim

A Goth band everyone has at least heard of, and I was looking forward to seeing them!


Sadly they had a no camera rule for the audience it seems without notice and security rudely pushed people's phones down (*cough* Covid risk) Now.. I understand why some bands ask for this because they want you to enjoy the experience and let people behind see etc but it was very clear from the huge banks of fog, big hats, and sunglasses that the band just weren't interested in anyone being able to see who they were; So it's not like the no camera rule made much sense anyway, all that did was breed an air of animosity amongst the front row crowd which sadly became two or three utter morons treating the front as a mosh pit, clearly against everyone else's will.. We were at a Goth show.. Not a metal fest. You morons know who you were and you should be ashamed of yourselves... So I had to remove myself or them.. I chose the peaceful option and listened upstairs to the soothingly dark beats and rolling epic melodies. It was at that point I grabbed Jayce Lewis and missed most of F.O.T.N


From what I heard the band sounded good but again with the putting a slower band on last straight after an energetic one, seemed a little odd. I can see why they this band are well loved musically but I can't say I heard enough to give a fair review of their music.


What I did experience was impressive riffs, clean and brooding sounds of melodic peace in places and then deep brooding yet energetic flares of dark rock most satisfying in others. I shall have to make sure I watch in full next time!


7.5/10

Leeds Photos (No London Photos):

 

"From an audience member in London. The whole weekend was amazing and I'm so glad finally that this event has happened." - Jennifer Dale

Conclusion


For a first attempt at the Goth scene, HRH have done well. I mean, the line up didn't ideally fit the Goth tag and certainly not the Industrial tag all be it filled by some industrial association from bigger players in the scene such as Lord Of The Lost, Massive Ego, and Auger. The second HRH Goth is already looking to be of similar half and half yes and no although I am impressed to see Mono Inc on the line-up. Still, practically no Industrial however.

So..

  • Getting a group of my friends in for the price of one ticket from a 'ticket win' certainly made a very nice social aspect to the festival.

  • The sound system was perfect.

  • The staff were absolute stars. From the security, to the bar staff, to the techies, and of course to the wonderfully empathetic HRH team themselves. (Honestly Charl you are amazing and it was so wonderful to be treated with that level of trust and respect, you deserve a promotion!)

  • Convenient location

  • Having the upstairs reserved for royalty ticket holders I can understand but you do need to provide some sort of seating downstairs for such a long day/s, many in the Gothic scene have mental health or physical problems that are exacerbated when the only choice to rest yourself in pain is on the floor. So that needs to be addressed.

  • More shops would be good for a festival, one small merch stand felt a little underwhelming but with the lack of space, not surprising. I guess festival as a word I tend to also associate with shopping for goodies.

  • Although more of a venue issues, there needs to be some sort of food consideration as leaving to get food means missing out on the show.

All in all a great experience with unpolished edges but what good part of Goth life isn't? I can thoroughly admit that although it will never have the same deeply social and close feel of Infest or Tanz, it is looking promising to see a large company trying to uplift the niece genres and we can certainly all agree that more alternative events can only be a great thing! A huge thank you to all at HRH Goth and 02 Kentish Town and Leeds!


9/10

 

Quick note: Elektro Vox is an ad free site that costs a lot to run and get content for. If you like our work please consider commissioning an article, making a small donation to keep us running, or sub to our YouTube for band interviews and music streams. You can also list your band or business on our Alternative Directory! Thank you!







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