Getaway Rock Festival - 2014

As is the case with most multi day festivals that provide for camping the festival grounds are where go see the bands, the camping area is were you go to party!

Getaway festival this year started out looking very much like last year's festival. Wet and a bit miserable but with a fantastic lineup. People were still out to see the bands but you could tell that their spirits were a little low. You could not help but feel for The Haunted who played to a diminished soaked crowd trying to make the best of the situation. Although the day was well and truly on it's way into the afternoon when the rain stopped it really took the edge off and peoples spirits started to lift a little.

As is usual for Getaway the first day lent towards the heavy side of rock and metal with bands such as Kreator and Vader pushing the bar high. Although there were plenty of negative comments being thrown about regarding Arch Enemy's live performance before they played, they really put on a fantastic show. Alissa White-Gluz took command of the stage like a pro and showed that she is worthy of the job. Kadavar put on a great set and were quite a surprise as their superb live sound clearly showed that their recorded material is let down by a rather boring mix and production. If you are into the whole 70s big riff thing, you really should get along to one of their shows. Another pleasant surprise for the day was Heavy Tiger. Although they weren't mind blowing they certainly have improved the quality of their live performance and put on what could be said was an entertaining show with a smattering of punk rock attitude.

Friday brought what almost every Swede dreams of during the long winter months. A hot sun drenched day! The sun was out and the whole festival was on the up. Beer, bands a sunny day. Not much more to ask for really. For fans of hard headed metal akin to Pantera, starting out the day were Propane Headrush who brought it in spades. Continuing on with the heavy side of what Getaway has to offer were Skindred. Bringing together Rasta and metal, how could you go wrong. For those of you that prefer the distortion set to more manageable level Bigelf and Airborne provided a more rock oriented sound. Although you can certainly see the appeal of Airborne it's hard not to notice the distinct similarity between their shows and the legends ACDC. Even front man Joel O'Keeffe's stage persona strongly takes after that of Angus Young's. Either way you see it though, they do put on a great rock show. As the witching hour drew near the tension built with anticipation. At midnight Slayer exploded onto stage with a fantastic performance, playing many classic such as War Ensemble and South Of Heaven. If you had not got your fill of evil from Slayer, Gorgoroth would surely satisfy even the most hardened metal heads out there. These guys are phenomenal black metal at its best. Even if you're not that into it, it's hard not to be impressed by the imposing Gaahl with his huge spiked braces and corpse paint.

The last day of the festival brought yet again more fantastic weather with a bit of respite toward the afternoon provided by a slight cover of broken cloud. The lineup was a mix of more established bands with a few veterans amongst the fray. Doro and Hawkwind showed that they're still willing to rock out while Marduk, Dummu Borgir and Watain brought ferocious black metal to bare on the masses.

As is the case with most multi day festivals that provide for camping the festival grounds are where you go to see the bands, the camping area is were you go to party! The wide gamut of music and the people that attend is what makes this festival so special. As has been the case in the previous years, Getaway Rock Festival once again proves that it is the place for rockers, metal heads and all sorts in between.

Written by William Riever, 2014-08-12

WGT 2014 - Hot days and blurred Gothic nights

With four days and nights that allow for almost 24 hour debauchery in the form or bands, performances, clubs and parties things can get blurry really fast.

This summer saw the 23rd Wave Gotik Treffen. What is Wave Gotik Treffen? It's one of the largest Gothic festivals in the world and is considered by some as a calling of sorts and almost certainly a must do for any hardcore Goth. The festival sees Goths from around the world congregate in Leipzig Germany to dance, drink, socialize and be seen with their dark brethren. The music is hugely diverse with Gothic flavours of Metal, Punk, Electronic dance, Ambient, Industrial, Folk, trad Goth and much more. Basically, if it's Gothic, it'll be at WGT.

Now for those of you who really have no idea what the whole Goth thing is lets dispel some misconceptions. If you think that Goth music consists only of The Cure and The Sisters of Mercy and that Goths look like funeral attendees, you'd only be partially right. Gothic culture covers almost all facets of music and a huge number of subcultures. You could argue that a lot of the music and subcultures that fall under the Gothic umbrella are not true Goth but, it's this collection of subcultures with that distinct Gothic falvour that make the Goth scene what it is. So, without getting to far off topic let's talk about the festival!

This year's WGT was hot! Goths of all types braved the heat with a mixture of leather, latex, studs, fur and spikes. As is usual for the festival, the venues were spread out across Leipzig and it could take up to an hour or so on the trams from the furthest opposing venues. On the up side it does provide the Gothic festival goer with ample opportunity to see quite a bit of the city. For those with slightly deeper pockets there are plenty of taxis that can get you from one venue to another in much quicker times.

Food for Goths? Sure why not! At WGT there is no shortage of meat in bread. BBQ pork or sausages were the staple at almost every venue. The largest venue, the Agra hall had typical festival snacks and meals and of course that staple of almost all festivals, Langos. For those who ventured to the medieval village there was some of the best BBQ meats, mead, beer and wine that WGT has to offer. As far as food and alcohol is concerned, this is the place to be! It is a wonderful village with a proper medieval theme. There are small hut like stalls selling all kinds of wares and a multitude of medieval Goths meandering around the place. You can even get yourself a drinking horn for your pint of mead.

The entertainment at WGT is almost endless. This is a festival were you either need to be an absolute party animal or like most of us mere mortals you need to pace yourself. With four days and nights that allow for almost 24 hour debauchery in the form or bands, performances, clubs and parties things can get blurry really fast. The basic form for a day is starting early afternoon at the medieval market with some music to match. From the early evening the various venues come to life with bands up until the middle of the night where the clubs and parties take over. If you make it through to morning, you can always pick up an Absinthe slushy for an extra kick.

This year really showed a fantastic spread of bands and genres. There were so many great bands playing that it was hard to choose one over the other. First up on Friday I caught Ascetic who bring some fresh blood to the new wave scene and could be thought of as a modern psychedelic version of Joy Division. The very metal Lantlôs threw out riffs and aggression followed by an old school goth favorite Mephisto Walz. Last up for the night was the always fun indie band White Lies. Saturday was a bit of a classics day starting with Lebanon Hanover followed by The Marionettes and ending with a fantastic set by industrial legends Front Line Assembly. Sunday brought some of my new favourites. I caught ambient act The Devil & the Universe by chance while waiting for The Lost Rivers and the must see Beastmilk. Both The Lost Rivers and Beastmilk put on stellar performances, not to be missed if you have the opportunity. Pushing up the distortion were metal bands Rotting Christ and Satyricon proving that WGT definitely does cater for the metal crowd. With a quick ride in a taxi I managed to haul my arse back up to the medieval market for a fantastic set by Primordial. These guys are possibly one of the best metal acts I have seen live in recent years. Every time they play front man Alan Averill pushes out huge amounts of energy and enthusiasm forming a strong bond with the audience and this time was no exception. I spent the last day of WGT checking out great rockabilly bands at Täubchenthal. Kitty In A Casket, Der Fluch and Bloodsucking Zombies From outer space set the bar high with great energetics performances. The last band of WGT for me was Canadian rock'n'rollers The Creepshow. The Creepshow certainly stepped up to the challenge of putting on a blazing show to end off a great day of rockabilly and a fantastic Wave Gotik Treffen.

This year's WGT proved that the Goth scene is as strong and diverse as ever. Great people, great bands and fantastic weather! What more could anyone ask for.

Written by William Riever, 2014-06-24

Metaltown 2013

As far as I am concerned these guys are pioneers and one of the best metal bands of all time.

Possibly one of the heaviest metal festivals Sweden has to offer had a stellar line up this year. With a stack of old school legends this was certainly going to be a blast from the past.

Thursday was a bit of a slow start with only two band of interest to me being Motorhead and Clutch as I had arrived too late to catch Norwegian rockers Turbonegro. Disappointingly Motorhead cancelled due to Lemmy suffering from some medical issues but the cranking groove machine Clutch certainly did not disappoint putting on a fantastic show. Mustasch really must be given a round of applause for stepping up to the mammoth task of jumping in for Motorhead, mind you they did get a hand from Mikkey Dee with their cover of Ace Of Spades. I caught some of Graveyard's set but, as usually I felt there was a real disconnect between the band and the audience. The music is great but, I feel that they really are just too introverted.

Friday picked up the pace and promised a explosive day. Starting things off were storming performances from The Devil Wears Prada and Soilwork. Now for me, one of the metal greats Carcass was absolutely the high light of this festival. As far as I am concerned these guys are pioneers and one of the best metal bands of all time. Their "Heartwork" album is undeniably a pivotal point in metal history. Although they put on a flawless performance the younger crowd did not seem to get it. They were blissfully unaware of the who what or why of this great band. Danko Jones as usual cracked out the guns to put on a good performance although I must say he seemed a little more cynical in his approach to the crowd than previous shows I've seen of his recently. Katatonia brought back fond feelings and the always well received Sabaton got the crowd worked up for the the spectacle that is Slipknot. If you've never seen Slipknot live I think it's fare to say that they are special. Kind of a horror show circus of sorts with maniac drummers on revolving platforms all lit up with flaming pyrotechnics. As was to be excepted their show was all you would expect, flames and twisted dominance. For those who still had the beans for it, one of my personal favorites Kvelertak topped off the night with a cracking combination of rock, punk and black metal.

Saturday for most started with a hangover and for those who managed to drag themselves out of bed were treated to a staple of the Swedish festival circuit Entombed. After many years these guys are still steaming along and putting on great shows. Although the festival metallers were still gradually entering the grounds, The Resistance got on with the business of putting on a lively show and those that dragged them selves from bed were rewarded with their smack in the face style of hardcore. The Sword were better than I expected but, I felt it took them too long to really get their groove on. Again, another of the old school and hugely influential, Napalm Death ripped Metaltown a new one. Impressive after so many years of being so intense and for those listening Mark Greenway delivered short and sharp messages to wake up and grab life by the balls. Next up I settled back with a beer to catch the always wonderful and uplifting The Devin Townsend Project. Hardcore Superstar kept things rolling until the must see atmospheric masters Cult of Luna put on a flawless show. Always a pleasure to see these guys perform. Danzig, what can I say. The attitude and aggression was delivered as expected and we even got a bunch of Misfits songs and were treated to having them played with Doyle beating it out on the guitar. The headliners for the night were veterans of the music scene Korn. Although Korn put on a pro show, I can't help but feel that they've lots a bit of their edge.

So with three days of METAL!! all I can really say is that Metaltown really was a success. The crowd was well behaved and bands put on the METAL!! The sun was shining for the most part, the beer and pizza was plentiful. What more could you want from a festival!

Written by William Riever, 2013-07-07

Bråvalla 2013

To paint a clear picture of Bråvalla I would call it a melting pot of sub cultures.

This year was the first ever Bråvalla festival in Norrköping. It is not the usual pure rock'n'roll festival or a pure electronic festival, it's really a bit of everything. To paint a clear picture of Bråvalla I would call it a melting pot of sub cultures. If you remember the Arvika festival, it reminds a bit of that. There is Rock, Metal and punk. There is Electro, Indie, DJs and Hip-hop. Ok sure, everything may not be to everyone's taste but there is more than enough of all of these to feel amply satisfied and with a whopping 51 590 attendees you’d have to say they must have done something right. I personally think it’s a cool way to whet your palette with a wide range of music.

The festival area provided two huge outdoor stages, two large tent stages and another two smaller stages that were setup in two cool underground hangers. As usual there was the various food stalls: Thai curry and noodles, pizza, burgers, Mexican, other BBQ style food. My personal favorite is the Extreme Food store! If you've not been to it at a festival, it provides an interesting mix of food with almost any type of chili sauce you could want! Now, as far as beer goes, there were a good number of places to get it, but there were not that many places to sit and drink it. I guess the organizers had thought people would sit on the grass hills around the festival but that wasn’t really going to happen because of the rain this year. One of the things I thought was really cool were the fairground rides. It gave the festival a bit of a carnival feel. They even had flaming daredevils, the Burnt Out Punks! They putt on a great show full of pyrotechnics and daring stunts each night. Last but not least there was a cool VIP area that provided a summery area to relax with a drink, they even had hammocks!

Starting out the first day Rival Sons and Airborne provided a nice way to kick things off. Following was one of my favorites for the festival Gogol Bordello. These guys were somewhat of a special treat for me as I had missed them last year when they played at Gröna Lund. The combination of gypsy and punk music really does it for me and how could you resist a band that has a fiddle player that wears a Slayer shirt! Ghost were next on the list followed by the always fantastic crowd pleasing In Flames who set the bar for the highly anticipated Rammstein. Rammstein were phenomenal with a fantastic stage setup and pyrotechnics to match their explosive performance. I saw them years ago in Australia when they played at the Big Day Out festival 2001 and have to say that although that was impressive, this was even better!

Friday brought another great line-up of rock, punk and metal. First up was Danko Jones, now I have seen Danko play at almost every Swedish festival I've been to in the last couple of years. I really think that the band must be in love with Sweden and it seems that Sweden is in love with them. Royal Republic was a bit of a surprise for me. I had fairly low expectation for them as what I had heard of their recorded material was really quite poppy, not my thing at all but, live, these guys were actually pretty good. They also really connected with the crowd. The biggest surprise for me was Stone Sour. I guess I've been living under a rock or something because I knew very little about them but, its fare to say that they were awesome! Really fantastic hard rock with a strong live show. I guess it must be easy for Corey Taylor after all the tours performing with Slipknot. The must see band for Friday was without a doubt Green Day. I think these guys are up there on the top as far as generosity displayed by a band goes. They just kept on giving to the crowd. It was almost as if they were somehow saying to each person "Hey man, are you having a good time? Well, let's make it even better!". I mean it's not that often that a band as big as Green Day gets a fan up on stage to sing a song with them or another fan to play guitar for a song... I heard on the grape vine the guy got to keep the guitar!? Kvelertak what can I say? I had high expectation for these Norwegian boys and they did not disappoint! In fact I liked them so much that when I got back home I went and found their self titled double LP and snapped it up. Can't really give a bigger thumbs up than that.

Saturday was spent chatting with festival goers and hanging out in the VIP area. The bands that I managed to check out were the Australian death core band Parkway Drive, another hard core metal band A Day to Remember and the always fantastic rockers from Denmark Volbeat.

So despite the on and off spattering’s of rain and the trudging through sticky mud and puddles I really have to say that Bråvalla was a success. The atmosphere was great and only enhanced by the diversity of the crowd. If this year's line up is anything to go by, next year should be absolutely killer.

Written by William Riever, 2013-06-30