Sweden Rock 2011
Wednesday 8 June, 2011
First band on our bill, was Crashdiët. After plenty of experience with their live shows (including their last stint in Antwerp), I was extremely curious to see them perform for a home crowd.
Amazingly, the energy and motivation that was missing in Antwerp, they apparently saved up for this show. In front of an already vast number of Sweden Rockers, Crashdiët delivered a smoking set of old, new and anything in between.
Given their history with other singers, it's always cool to hear the old songs (especially the Olli ones) sung by Simon. He did a great job in bringing "Riot In Everyone", "Queen Obscene/69 Shots" and "In The Raw" (among others) and in no way lacked confidence in doing that.
Closing their short but powerful set with encores "Armageddon", "Rebel" and "Generation Wild", Crashdiët are still promoting the hell out of the last album, proving once and again that they could well be the future of Swedish Sleaze.
They're not going anywhere, that's for sure, and if they deliver more sets like the Sweden Rock gig, I'm sure their following will only grow larger. Magnificent effort for our first band of the festival!
Five Horse Johnson
Not really our cup of tea, but these blues rockers provided a great background for some Sofiero-flavoured afternoon snacks.
I'm not familiar with their material, but Five Horse Johnson delivers a powerful set of bluesy rockers that could work even better in a bar or medium-sized outdoor festival.
Danceable, fun to watch and hear, and very professional. In another mood, I might have checked them out all the way through their show, and I'm sure I would have enjoyed it.
The main reason for coming down to the field on Wednesday, was Hardcore Superstar. Unfortunately for us, all hell broke loose moments before their show started. I'm not talking a little summer drizzle, but a full-blown rain storm that lasted for a long while.
Soaked to our cores, not being dressed for this kind of weather, we had to seek shelter instead of watching the show. According to one of our festival buddies though, they played one hell of a show...
Thursday 9 June, 2011
One of my all-time favorites kicked off the second festival day, with at least 20 minutes added to their usual playing time, so I was plenty psyched to get down there and check it out.
A bit of a downer it was though, since they decided not to dig in their extensive batch of cool, festival-worthy songs, but rather add just a few and take their sweet time delivering it all. I would have liked to hear some oldies, but that's not what Buckcherry had in store for us.
The crowd response was great for this show, even when the rain started again (although it didn't piss down as hard as the day before). Singer Josh Todd ate it up and spent a hell of a lot of time on the outstretched part of the main stage. If he doesn't have the looks of a Sebastian Bach or Nikki Sixx, he damn well has the charisma to match them. Crowd pleaser? Hell yes!
They've got five albums in the pocket, but still only get early afternoon bookings, which of course has as a consequence that the crowd is present, but in a smaller number than they reserve.
Once again, I left the gig feeling sorry for the band, since they deserve so much better after a career this filled and powerful, with the music to prove it. Time for their European breakthrough!
Setlist toppers: "Lit Up", "Sorry" and "It's A Party"
Joan Jett & The Blackhearts
Punk legend Joan Jett took the stage a few hours later, and took all doubt of a "good old back in the days best of" set away. She sounds as powerful as she ever was, and still looks great.
Due to the wind, due to the sound setting, who knows, but the overall feeling of this show was: where's the power, where's the punch? This didn't stop Miss Jett from having a ball though, much as the setlist showed.
Kicking straight off with "Bad Reputation", the pace was set for a nostalgic-feeling show, with a lot of songs from her Runaways period ("Cherry Bomb" among others) and a bunch of great renditions of other punk/glam greats ("I wanna Be Your Dog", "AC/DC", "Do You Wanna Touch Me").
Joan Jett and her merry company are a festival band, let there be no doubt about that, and the crowd ate it up... Young and old were having a ball, singing along and filling the field in front of a side stage like it was the main stage.
This was a great trip down memory lane, and will most likely be one of the better sets of the festival for me.
Friday 10 June
A bit reluctant to go see Stryper, I still went down to the field to check them out. I've always steered clear of political or religious music, because I think it gets in the way of the music itself, and Stryper only plays here because of their status in the world.
Regretfully, they kicked straight into the Christian promotional speeches, which took some of the magic away for me. I don't blame anyone for standing for what they believe in 100%, but keep it off a stage please...
What followed, was a set of old and new stuff, with the old songs reigning supreme compared to the more power metal-sounding new material. Give me their 80's stuff anyday, leave the rest out for all I care.
Another plus was the interesting covers that passed by: "Over The Mountain" and "Heaven And Hell" were two of those, and their admiration of the late great Randy Rhoads was voiced and appreciated greatly.
Musically, Stryper is still around for a reason, but it's never going to be my favourite band I'm afraid. A missed opportunity for me to get more into their music, but who knows what will follow...
Also not really up our alley, but Rob Zombie was one of the reasons I was looking forward to this festival summer.
Stomping, horror-themed madness got the rockers moving, and everywhere you looked there were fists in the air. Rob Zombie took Sweden hard!
A set comprised of White Zombie and solo material, we got something for everyone, but my personal favorites were left out because of the limited time to bring it all to us.
Mr. Zombie is greatly forgiven for forgetting "Electric Head Pt. 2" and others, because he made up for that by delivering a set that kept me enjoyed from start to finish.
Atmosphere is one of the main reasons I dig Southern Rock, and Rob Zombie has packs of that. Serial killer backdrops, interaction with the crowd, the general theme of the lyrics and the music in itself, it's a full package that you love or hate.
Shutting it all down with "Dragula", "Pussy Liquor" and "Lords Of Salem", Rob Zombie set a standard for future shows, and for sure I'll be there once or twice again.
The band everyone's seen on at least a dozen of festivals: Whitesnake!
David Coverdale fronted his troop with flying colours. Contrary to previous experiences with Whitesnake, this was a perfect show.
Even from a little distance, he sounded powerful and so did the band. Hit after hit was shot at us, but as I usually get with bigger festival bands, it takes too long to get through them all.
Highlights: just about everything they brought, everyone has their own favourite songs, and everyone got to hear them... This was one of the better times I saw them, and I'm sure I will again.
Saturday 11 June
Saturday was an old-timer day, and I don't mean that in a bad way at all...
Styx played a set packed with classics, this is one of those bands that you just pick up without actually realizing how brilliant they are.
The great finisher "Renegade" concluded a set of reasons why you listen to this type of music, Styx is as sturdy a band as they come, and playing this early on a sun-drenched day did not really come as a negative thing, it was the perfect setting.
Another one of the golden oldies was Kansas, hitting the side stage right after Styx.
As expected, they didn't bring a surprising set of songs, they packed their festival slot to the brims with what everyone came down to hear them play. "Dust In The Wind" came surprisingly early in the set, but closer "Carry On Wayward Son" gave their stage time the correct finisher.
The sun started to sink during their set, and once again that provided the perfect setting for their evergreen hit songs. Much like Styx, Kansas strengthens the true rock lover's beliefs in what he does, you can't kill the classics.
Black Label Society
While waiting for Thin Lizzy to close our festival weekend, Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society hit the Main stage and set off on a killer mission.
Strong songs and excellent instrument mastering confirmed why Ozzy's guitar player deserves a separate slot for his own band, but as before, the inevitable guitar solo moment ruined it for me.
Too long, too shreddy and just plain boring, BLS are a band to be seen in a venue, not a festival, with the proper time to mix an extended solo into a longer set. On a festival, they just eat away half the time they have, which is a shame...
My undeniable headliner for the festival was Thin Lizzy, although they got a place on the side stage before the actual festival closer (Ozzy).
Although fearful at first, my expectations were completely fulfilled when the sort of tribute band sprung to action.
The entire set was a "best of" list of songs, as you could expect with a band of this greatness. No need to waste time on going into details about old and new members, Phil Lynott's place was filled good enough not to seem like a cheap rip-off. Let's bring on the setlist to conclude this review:
Are You Ready
Waiting For An Alibi
Dancing in the Moonlight (It's Caught Me in Its Spotlight)
Don't Believe A Word
Still In Love With You
Whiskey in the Jar
The Boys Are Back In Town
Killer On The Loose
After this rock n' roll gem, we headed on home, hearing the first notes of Ozzy's set, promising but not for us this year...
Sweden rocked again, and will continue to do so for many years, or at least that's what I hope for one of Europe's greatest rock festivals. Fill you head with rock!
Last Updated (Thursday, 04 August 2011 12:48)