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Alice Cooper, Soilwork, Nightrage, Thin Lizzy, Babylon Bombs, Firewind, Steel Attack, H.E.A.T., Gasoline Queen, Lions Share, Renegade Five, Dawn Of Silence @ Kilafors, Kilafors Herrgard (SWE)

in Saturday, 19 July 2008 at Kilafors
by Erika Wallberg

The second day served a lead-grey sky and a promise of rain. Not at all as inspiring as the previous one. To my surprise, parts of the area were re-organized too. I guess it wasn't a good idea to have all toilets in the same place, especially when this was the beer-garden and you had to be 18 to get in there. This was the first year for the festival so I guess things like that should happen. No problems with that as long as they learn until next year.

You know these bands that always get to open for the bigger bands? Those that are ok but you get fed up with just because they're absolutely everywhere. LION'S SHARE were one of those bands. Now that's more than 10 years ago but that feeling is still stuck. Narrow minded of me I know, especially since they're a completely different band today. It is only guitar player Lars Criss left and with the entry of Patrik Johansson (also in ASTRAL DOORS and WUTHERING HEIGHTS) the traces of the past are all wiped away. And their latest release Emotional Coma is a great album so I think it's time for me to let go of all my old feelings. Especially, considering the new song Cross To Bear that sounded very promising. One step further in the direction of Emotional Coma with some very cool disharmonies and a really Doomy refrain. Still, LION'S SHARE aren't the most fun band in the world to watch; they did what they had to, but not much more. Ok, Patrik is an extremely charming frontman and stole the attention from the others and that saved it all.   

If more band in this New Wave Of Swedish Sleaze had sounded like GASOLINE QUEEN maybe even I, would have been a fan of it. Sure, CRAZY LIXX have more sing-along-refrains but GASOLINE QUEEN are what this is all about. It's filthy, energetic and has a lot of attitude. Additionally, they have the ability and creativity to keep the music interesting all the time. Ordinary Rock 'n' Roll can be really boring if it's not spiced up. In this, there were a lot of small guitar licks and loops added to the main riff that added a lot of energy and drive to the music. All these were flawlessly played by Mart Wildheart and Mike Spider didn't really decrease the grade of the concert. But it wasn't only the music that was full of energy; the stage looked way too small for these dudes and they kept posing for the audience as well as together and offered tons of photo-opportunities. GASOLINE QUEEN was absolutely one candidate to best of the festival.

I really tried to encourage myself to appreciate H.E.A.T., but the combination of 80's US Arena Rock and an image that felt a lot more like a masquerade than something that came straight from their hearts were a real turn-off for me. Hell, Jimmy Jay (bass) looks scary much like Rick Savage as he did in the 80's. These guys weren't even born then. Musically though there was nothing to complain about; everything was perfect. Not even the slightest miss-sound from any of them. Even the great big bands have these touches that make the music feel alive. To me H.E.A.T. were a little too perfect and got boring very fast.

STEEL ATTACK were absolutely more my cup of tea and even if I've seen them quite a few times lately, I was still looking forward to seeing them once more. And this time the sun-glasses trick worked perfectly, looked very spontaneous. Yes, trick, I've seen it before. In the middle of Crawl a pair of black pilot glasses came flying and Ronny caught them with one hand and put them on in a fast sweep like he's been doing this day in and day out for years. Else it was pretty much like all the other STEEL ATTACK gigs I've seen. They served a great selection of songs, nice attitude and a lot of action on stage. I felt a little disappointed it was over after 30 minutes, the ending with I Bow My Head In Shame and Son Of A 1000 Souls was really great and I be damned but this time it was even a little of everything, a little tighter, heavier and because of that a little better than it has been before.  

I must say it's a lot more fun to be at a festival when the sun is shining. I'm not so sure my camera can take a lot of water and I wasn't going to figure that out at 'Rockweekend' either so half of the Saturday was spent trying to get the camera out of the rain. Also it's a lot more fun to watch bands when it's not raining. Despite the rain, FIREWIND delivered one hell of a set as usual. I think The Premonition is a great album and I'm happy that they played a lot from that one. But the highlight was an instrumental piece The Fire & The Fury from Burning Earth. A really fast and aggressive song that gave the musicians space to shine. The fact that Gus G is a great guitar player is already known but I think Bob Katsionis deserves a lot of commendations too! The way he changes between guitar and keyboard is truly impressive. Singer Apollo Papathanasio was great as always and it was hilarious to see the crowd's reaction when this Greek band's singer spoke Swedish, with a Gothenburg accent.

It can't be a good sign when I don't remember anything about a band I've seen. (no, not because of beer or absinth!!! I was the designated driver for this one so no alcohol at all) But I did watch BABYLON BOMBS, I have picture evidence of that. Looking at my notes I've written Glam Rock, a lot of open chords, more beating up the guitar that riffing, tight, nice drive but I can't for my world produce any real feelings about them like I've done with all the other bands. No, I've never really listened to BABYLON BOMBS and because of this I don't have an urge to do it either but they absolutely deserve another chance, a real chance since my notes weren't too bad.

On the slot before the headliner the world's greatest cover band entered the main stage. My feelings about THIN LIZZY today are very mixed. Sure, I get the thing about keeping Phil Lynott's legacy alive but I think it's been overdone a bit already.

Yes, John Sykes can do the Lynott thing very good but I still think he should call the band something else. Especially, since none of today's members are originals. But anyway, THIN LIZZY were great. There's no way they can fail, not with that selection of songs composed over the years, Jailbreak, Alibi, Don't Believe A Word, Massacre… The list just goes on and on. But it wasn't just the songs, the fame of the musicians on stage this evening also played a huge part in the show. Scott Gorham has been sort of a favorite guitar player since I saw the on MTV ages ago. And there's not many that can beat up the drums with the same groove as Tommy Aldrich. THIN LIZZY were absolutely paying respect to Phil, his songs were performed with a lot of heart and passion so there's nothing bad to be said about that. It was even really much fun to watch but I still have a slight problem to buy the whole concept.

From a band that was really easy to take pictures of to one that didn't offer many variations. I was turned off right away by NIGHTRAGE just because they were a bore to photograph. The really strange thing was that they weren't at all boring to watch when I got out of the photo-pit. The stage-lights in the dark sure boosted the atmosphere and I doubt they started moving more after the third song. Still it worked. Of course, there could have been more action but it was still ok. Gus G from FIREWIND made a guest appearance on Hero and it all became a complete anticlimax. Gus G bounced out on stage as usual but there was no sound on his guitar what so ever. It took almost the whole song to get everything to work and that's not good enough on a big festival. The three part solo was really cool though but the effect was already lost.

Are you ready for ALICE COOPER? singer Antony Homoloinen asked? There was no response what so ever from the crowd. You know, it's a pretty big deal he continued, they have a big stage, a lot of lights and so on… Still nothing! Apparently it wasn't just the sound guy that was sleeping. Or maybe just as for FIREWIND, the crowd was so surprised to have the singer of a Swedish (well, not anymore but originally) band speaking English between the songs that they just forgot to scream? NIGHTRAGE also served a song from the coming album, Abandon that ensured they will keep their position in the scene of Melodic Death Metal.

It's not easy to write creative reviews about the same band twice one month. ALICE COOPER sure didn't make it easier because this show was scary much alike the one at 'Magic Circle Festival'.

I realized that very fast because it was a complete Deja-Vu feeling photographing him again. The same images as 'Magic Circle Festival' kept popping up on the display. This is the real disadvantage with the great big bands. The stage show is so fitted there's no room for changes. This is not unique for ALICE COOPER, not at all. This goes for almost every headline act these days. So, all the things I thought were so good the last time was a bit lost now since I knew what was coming before it happened. But the small village of Kilafors isn't spoiled with Rock-Horror. Half the crowd choked on the romantic sigh they almost got out with contemporary dance-act in the beautiful ballad Only Women Bleed. No one was up for the turnaround, the dancer got it good you know. Some left because they couldn't understand how the promoters could allow women-abuse on stage.

Just imagine their reaction if they've known it was Alice's own daughter Calico Cooper he's been beating night after night. If they've stayed a few more minutes though, they would have seen Alice getting the same treatment. But the really important thing here is that this is a SHOW, nothing more! And it's a little shame people weren't better educated about this so they could have seen it for what it was and enjoyed it all.    

And that was what separated 'Rockweekend' from all the other Metal festivals. This was a town-party rather than a Metal festival. Everyone was there, with their kids, with their dogs, with their grannies and that will make an old timer like ALICE COOPER stand out as truly controversial.

(photos by Don't Believe A Word Erika)










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