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Day 3 @ Sweden Rock Festival Norje Havsbad, Solvesborg (SWE)

in Friday, 6 June 2008 at Sweden Rock Festival Norje Havsbad
by Erika Wallberg

Day 3
No rest for the wicked, up early to get some breakfast before everything starts all over again. First up this Friday morning was Progressive rockers ROYAL HUNT. This was the second time I've seen them and although I really like their albums but just as last time, I got bored very quickly. I probably should have listened more to their music before the festival; this is the kind of music that needs listening before a concert so I blame this judgment all on me now. They sounded awesome and I can say that Mark Boals is a great singer;, they have some really great tunes that are absolutely my cup of tea. Don't know why they don't affect me live… Maybe if I knew the music a little better?

TESLA was one of the bands on Headbanger's Ball that made me changed the channel. I've never ever been a fan of TESLA even I've given them several tries since then, but I never got stuck. And now they had a chance to impress me live but they didn't manage this time either. It all felt amateurish, the guitar was getting out of tune and they were taking breaks to sorted it out. Signs was still as terrible as I remembered from the MTV-days and I forced myself to watch about 30 minutes before I head over to the Zeppelin Stage for AXEWITCH. This revival thing of the old bands is sort of a lottery; sometimes it works out fine and sometimes sleeping dogs shall lie safe where they are. Listening to the first few songs I could only see the latter. It was actually terrible. Lazy boogie Hard Rock, overdone and not very well performed and I was about ready to give up when all of a sudden something happened. This was a really old song, Sinner, Anders Wallentoft said and they took off. Wow, this was a completely different band. It was alive, well played and I got convinced to stay a little while longer. I remained at the Zeppelin Stage for the rest of the set. AXEWITCH kept delivering mighty fine Old-School Swedish Heavy Metal to the end. And if it's this good as it eventually got I don't mind reunions at all!

I guess festivals are all about surprises and chances to see bands you normally wouldn't go and see and get a new perspective on old opinions. I've never been a huge fan of KISS; of course I like to see them live and it's always great party-music but I'm not that big a fan. They sure have some really cool songs but I never understood their greatness. The phenomenon called KISS yes, but not the greatness of their music. I'm not that impressed with Ace Frehley's guitar playing either but his albums with FREHLEY'S COMET are really good Hard Rock albums. After a quick change of clothes I got to the concert in time for Rock Soldiers. I expected some pathetic strutting alcoholic on stage but this is far from that. It's vital, groovy and enthusiastic. With the KISS fever that's been spreading over Europe for the last couple of weeks, this was a genius booking for 'Sweden Rock' and it's simply perfect time for some old KISS classics like Shout It Out Loud, Love Gun, Parasite and Cold Gin to get everyone warmed up for the night since it really starts to get chilly again.  For some reason, this time I think it was awesome with Ace's guitar solo, with the smoke coming out of his 3-Humbucker Signature Gibson Les Paul, with the showing off and mostly make the guitar sound rather than play. It's just so right! Perhaps this was my turn-around? Maybe I started seeing his greatness?

The sun set over Norje Havsbad; it was pretty amazing to have the chance to be out a whole weekend listening to good music and hanging out with cool people. I guess a lot of people were looking forward to seeing CARCASS again (as me) or for the first time although a nice sunset, blood, guts and gore weren't the perfect match but it still made it a nice evening.
I first saw CARCASS on the 'Symphonies Of Sickness' tour at 'Rockborgen' in Fagersta and that was the most interesting-twisting and sickening events I've ever been to. Apparently, the opening act thought it was a good idea to fill a manikin's head with Baltic Fermented Herring to raise the effect of splashing brain substance when smashing the manikin's head on stage. And for those who don't know what that is… Well, use your imagination, how good can fermented fish smell like… That together with CARCASS autopsy pictures used for backdrop didn't exactly boost the party mood.
Nothing that nasty on stage this time. Quite a clean setup and a lot of hair. Unfortunately, CARCASS didn't seem as excited about this as the crowd did. They sounded great, they had great songs but it was actually quite boring to watch. It was the same back in the days too though, great music but not a lot of action of stage. The cool thing with them though was that they looked like they're warped from 1991, they're spitting images of themselves from 18 years back, talk about aging with dignity. Or perhaps not aging at all!

From Gore to Iron Eagles, Motorcycles, Denim and Leather! One band that has been aging is SAXON, but apart from many other bands they've aged with pride. Just look at Biff, he's still one of the hottest singers around. They've managed to develop their classic metal to something new without losing its identity. That's even more rare. Above all that, they're still one of the greatest live bands around. They always manage to vary themselves even if it's the same songs in the setlist the whole tour. Always spontaneous, always with a sense of humor and they almost always bring on a surprise. I think I screamed until my voice gave up on me when they decided to kick off their set at 'Sweden Rock' with Attila The Hun. Talk about a wakeup call! One thing that I found really strange though; how come SAXON can bring together over 25000 people in the this festival and can't gather more than 700 fans  when they are in town during winter time. Not everyone could have dragged their asses away from cheap beer in the tents just because of the eagle. But I admit it's a really cool addition to the show. 170+ white lights straight to the face. I could feel the heat from it even though I was standing quite far in the back. I Wonder how would feel it to stand right in front of it. SAXON keeps delivering goodies until they don't have more time and then it's just to turn around for the next band from the same era.

It's not a matter of trying to top the last performance we did here. It's a continuation, we need to keep up what we're doing. Like the bands in the 70's, they were touring every year. Joe Elliot felt somewhat superior and nonchalant behind the microphone just to start babbling enthusiastic the next second, at the same time as Phil Collen sometimes too. And now we have a new album with new songs out too, that we add to the set

This was one of the bands I was looking forward to the most on this festival. I counted them out totally last time and they proved me wrong then. Now I actually charged myself with a lot of classic DEF LEPPARD while packing for the festival. This night my expectations were high, and got boosted by the positive attitude (yes, overall they appeared very happy and charming) from Joe and Phil on the press conference. Unfortunately, sometimes plans get ruined by this and that. I messed this up myself because of a little too many rounds to the bar. But I sure as hell enjoyed the concert anyway. It's just that the details weren't that clear afterwards. I can  just remember the feelings of having seen a great band. I mean, how can it fail to drink a lot of beer, listen to songs I grew up with, and bawl to the music with good friends. All of a sudden, the feeling of being the only one in the dark not getting asked to dance comes over me. Love Bites was a huge hit on the discos and parties when I was 13 or so and I was always the one sitting in the corner looking at the popular girls swirling on the dance floor. The funny thing was, mentioning this the next day all of us have had exactly the same feeling and it turned out hilarious.  

Perhaps, my words here shouldn't be written in stone but I can't find anything to complain on with DEF LEPPARD. The sound was good, maybe a little more volume but else was fine. Joe's voice sounded great the whole time and Phil Collen can probably compete with Dough Aldrich on who has the nicest abs. Of course, it would have been cool if they've played more from the first three albums since those are my favorites, maybe next time. Because I really hope I get another chance to see them without that many rounds to the bar!

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