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Rockweeked Day 1 @ Kilafors, (SWE)

D-A-D, W.A.S.P, DARK FUNERAL, TESTAMENT, DIA PSALMA, LA GUNS, DEAD BY APRIL, OVERLOAD, WOLF, FAST FORWARDS, DREAMLAND, TAD MOROSE, SEVENTH WONDER, APRIL DIVINE, MACHINERY, BILLION DOLLAR BABIES, FATAL SMILE
in Thursday, 9 July 2009 at Kilafors, (SWE)
by Erika Wallberg

’Rockweekend’ Day 1
Remember the "Waterworld" movie? There they talked about hearing about something called Dry-Land. I suppose there was something like dry land beneath the mud but I sure wasn’t eager to stay and wait for solid soil under my feet, only the devil knew how far I would sink. The rain was pouring when we got there and the leaded sky gave no hope for a sunny afternoon. Lucky enough one stage was indoors but what good does that make when the ground is soaked and the level of mud started to rise even higher, still it was nice to have some place to hide from the rain. In the tent BILLION DOLLAR BABIES did their best to lighten up this grey day. They actually succeeded since they are a great boost for any party. A great live act with a cool show livens even the darkest day. Even if it was cold and rainy outside it was a great party atmosphere going on in the tent and it was cool to see that more and more people discover BILLION DOLLAR BABIES, they deserve it.

Stockholm based melodic Death Metal was up next. MACHINERY kicked their set off with "Cold" from latest release "The Passing" and I must say the crowd was a little hesitant to start with. It seemed like a few just hung around and looked a little chocked with the change of music from BILLION DOLLAR BABIES happy Hair Metal to MACHINERY’s a lot more dark tunes. Well, not all reacted that way. There were people there to really see MACHINERY, people who knew the songs and they were banging their heads off. That seemed to draw people’s attention because the frontline changed and got quite packed and everyone seemed to enjoy what they were looking at. Earlier this year Kalle Stenberg was added to the lineup so Michel Isberg could focus on the vocals alone. A good move, but Michel needs more training in how to behave without the guitar. Still this one was far better than the first attempt at Harry B James. The stage seemed just big enough this time. Not too much to work with but still a possibility to move around. Amazing "Waiting For The Wave" didn’t seem to go as well with this crowd as it normally does, "Decide My Pain" and "River Red" were perfect for the crowd though. Another one of my favorites, super heavy "I Divine" enticed some synchronized headbanging and fist waving. Unfortunately it all was over after that.

01. "Intro"
02. "Cold"
03. "Decide My Pain"
04. "The Passing"
05. "Waiting For the Wave"
06. "River Red"
07. "I Divine"

APRIL DIVINE from Umea started off very nice with two TOOL-influenced songs and caught my interest. I have never heard of this band before so, I had no expectations. Well played and a little odd is a good combination and they caught my interest immediately. Unfortunately, it only held for those two first songs. Joakim Astrom changed from keyboards to guitar and APRIL DIVINE went from a mystic cool breeze to just plain nu-Metal, still very well played though. The thing I liked about APRIL DIVINE was that it wasn’t so much about image, it was more the music. That is not very common if you look at the new bunch of bands popping up a little here and there. Normally they have a bunch of catchy songs that gets awfully boring after 1-2 listenings. APRIL DIVINE though had a lot more substance in their songs, it’s just that I don’t like this type of music.

Then the chaos started. Perhaps the festival management likes to torture the visitors or else they just don’t have a clue what style most bands are playing. SEVENTH WONDER collided with TAD MOROSE and those two bands should attract the same crowd. Both were in my important list, in the end it was TAD MOROSE that felt the most important. First gig with new singer Ronny Hemlin (also in STEEL ATTACK, ex LACK OF FATE), new guitar player Markus Albertson and new-old bass player Tommi Karppanen couldn’t be missed. But first, there was time to see two songs with SEVENTH WONDER. "Mercy Falls" is a really amazing album and again Tommy Karevik proved he is an extremely good singer. Absolutely flawless and the quite complex melodies and extremely high pitched notes seemed so easy.

TAD MOROSE then! Out in the rain, premiere gig of the festival on the Open Air stage, premiere with Ronny Hemlin on vocals. They could have had a better spot I say. To start with the sound was actually really bad. Rough and loud and the vocals came and went. Else it was an interesting gig. It will take a while to get used to this line up, that’s for sure. Ronny and Urban Breed are very different, both in vocal style and image-wise. I guess not even Ronny would disagree if I say this wasn’t his finest moments. He normally is way better than this and it felt like he barked out most of the lines. Sure, this is different from STEEL ATTACK, a lot more delicate but he is able to do it. Guess he needs a second chance before the real judgment. Still with Ronny TAD MOROSE will be a complete different band, he will absolutely manage to do something great with the old songs but the real result will be the new stuff. It’s a little strange though because the songs that sounded the best with Ronny was quite soft and laid back "Cyberdome" and extremely heavy "Matters Of The Dark" which also featured Chulle (Charles Rytkφnen, MORGANA LEFAY and INMORIA). The effect with him though was a little lost, it was more fun to see the confusion when Urban suddenly was on both right and left side of the stage at the same time. Urban and Chulle sure looks quite the same from a distance and after a few beers they could even be twins. Well, I guess I need more impressions to judge if Ronny was a good or a bad choice as a singer but at least TAD MOROSE lit up this rainy day with their Bollnas Metal at the start of ’Rockweekend 2009’.

Right after TAD MOROSE DREAMLAND took on the Tent stage. They are also sort of in the same genre as TAD MOROSE and SEVENTH WONDER but luckily now it was possible to run from one place to another and still be in time for the photoslot. Can’t say I was especially impressed by DREAMLAND though. In fact, I don’t remember much of them at all. Sure it’s hard to stand out as a small band on a big Festival but many other bands in the same situation did both musically and visually. In the end the craziness going on in the bar draw equally much attention as the band, yes, that’s the case, the bar was in the tent due to Swedish alcohol regulations. That was the only bar so it was quite convenient for the bands playing there, at least when it was raining. DREAMLAND though didn’t manage to stick out at all.

It sure as hell is a lot more fun to watch bands when it’s not raining. WOLF did great at ’Muskelrock’, the best on the festival then. Now, I don’t know. I doubt WOLF did anything different from what they normally do but it doesn’t matter how good it is when the shoes starts leaking in muddy water and the chilly drops of rain finds their way down the neck, inside the shirt and down the spine. It just isn’t fun to watch bands in the pouring rain. WOLF did their best to stir up some reaction and get people moving in the mud. Siewert Oholm (Swedish TV-Profile and Metal-Critic, PMRC etc) got a scoop of scolding for his statement towards Metal and for just being the moron he is with the song "Curse You Salem". "The Bite" rocked as usual but the rain got too much and I made a run for it to the tent instead.

And this is the second really, really bad clash of the festival. OVERLOAD was playing in the tent. They are also old school Metal, reunited such but sort of local boys and even if WOLF is miles better it’s always fun to see bands from the youth days. Sure, OVERLOAD is mainly a local attraction but still, there were so many bands in different styles on it wouldn’t have been such a big deal to at least separate the ones in the same genre. And since they kicked of at the same time as WOLF I had not chance to get into the photo pit for OVERLOAD. But damn, OVERLOAD rocked. I can’t for my life remember them as this good. Really straight forward Metal, more towards MOTORHEAD than IRON MAIDEN though, full speed from the start but still with a touch of melody. The vocals were really Punky though but the guy with the odd nickname Ztφrvarn could actually sing. He must have been the most bearded dude on the festival too. ZZ-TOP has a Gillette-shave in comparison. "Spegel, Spegel Pa Vaggen Dar" ("Mirror, Mirror On The Wall") really got the crowd going. It’s nice to hear bands sing in Swedish and at the few occasions it actually works it sounds really cool. Even of OVERLOAD never made a great impact in the world wide Metal Scene it’s still a very nice initiative of the Rockweekend crew to be a little local patriotic and promote a lot of local bands. Good or bad. These dudes were absolutely one of the good choices of the promoter.

The dark sky actually lightened up a little in the afternoon and then and when it was time for LA GUNS it was almost as if the sun was struggling to get through the heavy clouds. California sun would have been nice but LA Hard Rock had to do it for now. I was so amazed with LA GUNS when they played at Bolanche in Borlange earlier this year. Sleaze and Hair Metal has never been my cup of tea but then I saw a band with a lot of heart and soul and with a whole bunch of good tunes. I do think they should stay at the club stages though. LA GUNS still sounded good but the intimacy was completely gone and so was the devotion and drive in the music. Unfortunate I think, I would have loved to have everyone around me as convinced that LA GUNS still got it as I was after the concert in Borlange.

Even if the sky had been lightened up a lot since the morning, the rain and wet weather had taken its toll on my camera and it didn’t get better since the showers came and went all day. From TAD MOROSE and on the pictures had been a little milky but when it started to get dark it was completely impossible to see anything through the lens. That sure was very frustrating, to have the opportunity to take photos of world class bands and having that ruined by the weather. Old Punk legends DIA PSALMA proved that extreme music can be folksy. Not that DIA PSALMA is very extreme Punk, rather Rock/Pop oriented music with Punk feeling and very melancholic melodies. The Punk theme in the lyrics is there though even if it’s not as angry and rebellious as Punk should be. That Ullke should have credits for, that he managed to grow with the music and keep the original theme over the years, slightly developed as the years have passed. ASTA KASK was the start, youth anger and frustration, STREBERS took over and showed a slightly different angle and deep in the music. DIA PSALMA is absolutely continuation of that and as they’ve grown more commercial so has the crowd. Songs like "Hon Far" ("She Gets") is always a pressing topic as there almost a new story every day about pedophiles in the papers. And it’s very nice to see that they attract both young and old people, it’s very nice to see that songs with a message do reach people. Even if it is with the unripe lyric poetry it makes strong points and hopefully makes people think a little.

Main attraction of the day for me and one of the absolute highlights of the whole festival was TESTAMENT. Sure, they are always good but compared to when they opened for JUDAS PRIEST this was a completely different band. Vibrant, strong and intense, just they way they normally are. There’s no one that can enter s stage with such conviction as Chuck Billy. He just gets out that and he owns it, hell, he took over the whole Festival. The rain didn’t matter anymore (well, if you ask my camera it did), the mud didn’t matter either, the only thing present at the moment was the band on stage. It’s just so great when you realize that it isn’t cold anymore, the rain still pours down and the mud has risen over your ankles but it doesn’t matter. Then you look around and realize it’s not just me, the entire field is boiling. Moshers, headbangers, everyone gives it all. TESTAMENT wasn’t only the highlight for me, many more were there for the same reason. Old School Bay Area Thrash Metal! It’s great to see how strong following they have and how it has grown over the last 10 years. Especially since the music if anything has been less commercial. "The Gathering" is heavy as hell and "Formation Of Damnation" isn’t far behind. Of course, TESTAMENT has always had a whole bunch of catchy songs but they’ve also grown a lot heavier over the years. Luckily for the security "Over The Wall" didn’t boost the crowd surfing it normally do. Neither did "Into The Pit". Perhaps people were stuck in the mud or a bit too polite to smear the dung over the rest of the audience, I don’t know. It really doesn’t matter since everyone was full on and the fists were flying high. And yes, TESTAMENT was best band on ’Rockweekend 2009’

01. "For The Glory Of (intro)"
02. "The Preacher"
03. "The New Order"
04. "Over the Wall"
05. "Practice What You Preach"
06. "More Than Meets the Eye"
07. "The Persecuted Won’t Forget"
08. "Burnt Offerings"
09. "Into the Pit"
10. "Disciples of the Watch"

Encore
——-

11. "D.N.R. (Do Not Resuscitate)"
12. "3 Days in Darkness"
13. "The Formation Of Damnation"

It felt very odd to give W.A.S.P over two hours of playing time on the schedule since their own tours only have served a set of ca 70 minutes. Would they really fill that amount of time or would they do as they usually do and leave the festivalers waiting an hour for the next band? Well, Blackie didn’t disappoint me one bit, in fact his performance here was really impressive. This was a band with a lot more energy than I’ve seen in a while and they seemed to enjoy what they were doing A LOT. Of course, there should be a best of set on a festival, no doubt about that. I still think it’s a little sad that only "Take Me Up" was featured from the amazing "Dominator" album. Another good thing was that they’ve added a "Widowmaker" to the set, it’s always nice with a little surprise. "Heaven Hung In Black" was another highlight of the show. The big attraction was the new attitude to playing. W.A.S.P. has always been very good but the concerts haven’t always been this joy filled and it’s great to see bands recover like this. Again, pointing out that I’ve never seen W.A.S.P. done a bad performance but this was something else, something really special. And yes, they filled their slot.

01. "On Your Knees"
02. "Inside Of The Electric Circus"
03. "Hate To Love Me"
04. "L.O.V.E Machine"
05. "Wild Child"
06. "Take Me Up"
07. "Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)"
08. "Widowmaker"
09. "Sleeping (In The Fire)"
10. "The Idol"
11. "I Wanna Be Somebody"
12. "Heavens Hung In Black"
13. "Blind In Texas"

It sure had been a long day, the rain made it feel even longer and the lack of places to sit really killed the party mood at the end of the day. D-A-D did they best to keep the spirit going but it was a little too late for that. Biggest part of the crowd was leaving the area to the last lines of "Blind In Texas" and I didn’t blame anyone. Festivals ARE more fun in the sun. Still, a band like D-A-D can light up the darkest and most rain soaked festival area and the few that stuck around got a normal treat of Danish Dynamite. It’s almost a little unfair to place a band at this time of the night. I can understand that the organizers are trying to keep people at the festival area as long as possible but it was an almost impossible task for D-A-D to get the crowd going. It really didn’t matter that they served a perfect festival set, with the hits, the songs people knows no matter if they’ve listened to D-A-D or not. We called it a night half way through their set and listened to the last couple of songs on the way to the car. As always D-A-D sounded flawless, perfect but if you don’t have the energy to watch and follow the show a part of what they’re all about gets a little bit lost. So it was for me this time, 12 hours in the mud and rain was enough for one day.


(photos by lost in the mud Erika)
MACHINERY



APRIL DIVINE

SEVENTH WONDER


TAD MOROSE


DREAMLAND

WOLF





LA GUNS







DIA PSALMA




TESTAMENT




W.A.S.P.







Promoter:
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Edited 18 December 2017
 

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