Having got a bit fed up of the constant rain in lovely North Wales, team CB decided that a trip to the sunshine was very much in order. Now Ibiza may not be the first place you will think of as a holiday destination (unless you’re wantin’ to get mad wi’ it and watch David Guetta’s laptop doing it’s thing in an aircraft hanger full of people who probably won’t remember being there anyway) but it’s the holiday destination of choice for the HRH faithful and 2015 was CB’s first taste of this fun in the sun, so read on as we go all tour-guide-ey for CackBlabbath’s take on HRH Rod Trip 6.
We even mention some bands towards the end.
The one black-clad date on the early season San Antonio calendar is the annual Hard Rock Hell road trip which sees the town’s V club taken over for 5 nights of cranked up rock, metal and whatever Skindred are. This was the 6th installment of the trip, and it’s getting bigger and better every time. 2015 was the last chance to catch the festivities in the sweaty confines of the V before things move up a level for next year.
The combination of flight times and costs meant that a 6 hour drive to Stanstead was the first obstacle to overcome, but just to get us in the mood for the flight a stop off at Duxford for the Imperial War Museum seemed to be a bloody good idea.
Well the inner 12 year old boy thought so, and there’s nothing more Heavy Metal than the F4 Phantom. We did try to skip past the bits about all the various air disasters though 🙂
Upon arrival at Stanstead we knew we were heading in the right direction when, among the scenesters, hipsters and spotty yoofs in snapback hats we saw the odd pair of New Rocks and black t-shirts. The HRH family is a close one and meeting some of our fellow Road Trippers at the airport only served to ramp up the air of expectation… and remind us that the bar was open.
On arrival in Ibiza after an enjoyable flight (Easy Jet Speedy Boarding is the best £20 you will ever spend) we got our first look at the island from the taxi that took us from the capital to the (in)famous resort town of San Antonio. First impressions were how, well, pretty everything looked. You see a lot of programmes about Ibiza on TV, but this was a million miles away from the blue flashing lights and vomit soaked excess portrayed on low budget TV. Seeing the imposing old town perched on it’s rock above Eivissa town intimated that this was definitely a place with more going for it than you may think.
Having said that, San Antonio itself pretty much lives up to the boozy package holiday stereotype, although for the first week of the stay the place was eerily quiet with only a few Road Trippers there. Hotel-wise we chose the Brisa as our base for the week, and it was a great decision. The staff were friendly, the rooms were clean and we had a cracking view of, erm, the apartment block opposite. In peak season I’m sure it’s a very different story (think Escape From New York meets This Is England) but in the weeks before the big clubs open it’s a really nice place to stay and a great base for exploring the island.
Tuesday was a day off before the road trip proper kicked off, so it was a day for sitting by the pool before heading off to explore San Antonio. itself It’s certainly an interesting place with lots to see (if you like looking at bars) and lots to do (if you like eating or drinking). This first visit was most notable for the pun-of-the-year contender, the imaginatively named Bar Nana.
Well it made us laugh.
The actual road trip is split over 5 nights, with 4 bands on each. Things don’t kick off until after 9, so there’s plenty of free time to spend either A) swimming or going off for a look around or B) lying in bed dying with a Sangria hangover.
We mostly chose option A… mostly.
The live music magic happens in the V Club is at the bottom end of San Antonio’s notorious “Strip”, the epicenter of the party town. The strip is an interesting place, lots of “PR” people trying to sell their particular bar and an array of drinks promotions to make your liver tremble in terror.
The black clad HRH legion did stand out like a sore thumb but everyone seemed to get along just fine.
The honour of kicking off the 6th HRH road trip fell to Theia, who received a warm response from the small but appreciative crowd. The V Club is a nice little venue and no one wasted any time getting right into the groove, aided and abetted by the beer being sold by the litre. By the time Theia signed off with Whoop De Fucking Do the temperature in the venue was already starting to rise and some people were regretting their choice of attire. It was funny to see how outfits got progressively less black as the week went on and people opted for more sensible clothing.
Although first on, Theia were the pick of an eclectic bunch on the Wednesday, and the scene was well and truly set for what promised to be an unforgettable week. While the hardcore Road Trippers stuck it out to the very end then headed off to the club next door to keep the party going, Team CB headed back to the hotel as we had an early morning appointment with a different sort of Heavy Metal Thunder to look forward to.
Thursday started with an earlyish alarm before we grabbed breakfast and headed to the hotel Tropical (the main HRH base) to catch the place being woken up by the delicate sound of the Harley Davidson ride-out. The place shook as HRH main man Jonni lead a procession of shiny, expensive metal through the streets of San Antonio giving the clubbers in their beds a rude awakening.
Awesome, nothing like the roar of big bikes to start the day.
With our ears still ringing we headed off to get a bus to Eivissa town for a spot of exploring. The late start for the bands means that there’s loads of time to do your own thing on the Road Trip, well at least until the Penguin Rock Bar opens in the evening. The bars and restaurants offer a bewildering array of options, and they’re almost all bloody good in both cost and quality.
Apart from the self titled “Donner King” though, which was less than impressive. Top tour guide tip from CB, get yourselves along to the Ali Baba if you want a decent kebab in San Antonio.
Thursday in the V was billed as the Classic Rock night, and provided one of the highlights of the whole week in the ever impressive Pig Iron. Another band who are familiar to the HRH regulars they didn’t hang around before laying waste to the V, delivering the heaviest of heavy blues riffs with their usual power and passion. More Road Trippers had arrived on the Island during the day and this infusion of new blood meant that the atmosphere in the place was really beginning to build up.
The overblown virtuoso guitar godliness of Bernie Torme filled a gap (and yeah, we really needed the drum solo) before there was a change from the published running order for the last couple of bands of the evening.
There had been some high profile withdrawals from the event, and ironically it was these slots that provided the highlight of the first night. First up the omnipresent Massive Wagons ripped through a high voltage AC/DC set before the other HRH house band Attica Rage rocked the wee sma’ hours with a blistering covers set of their own.
Highlight of the day ? Well for us that would be when some bloke called Jordan, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Evil Scarecrow’s Monty Blitzfist, joined the Rage boys for their distinctive take on Fear Of The Dark which brought back memories of a massive sing-along at a holiday camp in North Wales a few years back.
Two days in and so far the Road Trip had exceeded every expectation, as had Ibiza itself. I’m not sure exactly what we expected (Pwlhelli with sunshine) but so far the whole Ibiza / HRH RT 6 had been nothing short of outstanding.
And there was still loads more to come.