Sweden Rock XXV Day 1 @ Sölvesborg (SE)

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'Sweden Rock Festival 2016' - Day One

BLIND GUARDIAN / TRIBULATION / GRAHAM BONNET BAND / AMARANTHE / DIAMOND HEAD / SKITARG / BONAFIDE / KING WITCH / ECLIPSE / MIKE TRAMP / SAFFIRE

Date: 08th June, 2016
Venue: Norje Havsbad
Ticket: n/a
Promoter: Sweden Rock Festival
Photos: Erika Wallberg


It was a few years since I had last visited 'Sweden Rock Festival' and I really don't know why, since it has always been a very good event, fantastic line-up and a good time in general. But of course, after 10+ years, everything becomes routine and that's not as much fun. But it felt good to be back, see the familiar site and a lot of friends.

Swedish SAFFIRE kicked off the festival and it was a bit stressful to get in and get ready when it was time. But as last time they delivered a very good set; they are true professionals and they actually felt more at home at the festival stage as compared to opening for SPIRITUAL BEGGARS in a small club. Tobias Jansson is a fantastic vocalist and in this case he also got the chance to have a really excited crowd through the SAFFIRE set. The fantastic “End Of The World” came third and even if it isn't as fun to enjoy music from the photo-pit as out it is when among the crowd it still worked fine. The small stages at 'Sweden Rock Festival' are actually rather big so even if it all sounded better from the lawn it still worked really well up close too.

The catchy “Magnolia” made people stick around instead of exploring the rest of the area. A good choice I think and the crowd seemed to enjoy what they saw and heard to as they stuck around. During the first day only part of the Festival Area is open as it is supposed to be a pre-party so SAFFIRE were absolutely the best thing going on at this time. And absolutely, SAFFIRE sounded amazing again and the surprise came with the performance; the way they took on the 4 Sound Stage was fantastic. The weather helped I guess being a lovely afternoon with the sun in a right hit on stage. Towards the end of the set, the SAFFIRE guys started to look a bit grilled and red but I guess that you have to live with playing the summer festivals.

SAFFIRE setlist:

01. “The Great Escape”
02. “Blame It On The Rain”
03. “End Of The World”
04. “Magnolia”
05. “The Betrayer's Fate”
06. “Heartless”
07. “Dandelion's Shame”
08. “Freedom Call”
09. “Casters Of The First Stone”

SAFFIRE

Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Saffire @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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At the Sweden Stage, Mike Tramp with his band were getting ready and the crowd willingly moved over to that stage. I was looking forward to seeing this as he is a fantastic vocalist and I've just seen him play once before and at that time, not with the best pre-requisite. I was kind of surprised to see the band backing him up though featuring a bunch of youngsters and one introduced as Mike's son. Mike himself used it though and nagged about playing music older than his band, “Little Fighter” and “Hungry” for example. In one way Mike appeared a bit bitter but the way he joked about himself weighed that up in a very good way. Standing in the middle of the crowd I realized I had no clue about Mike Tramp's solo albums, it was just the WHITE LION classics that were familiar to me but I still enjoyed this show very much. Ok, Mike's solo stuff is a little too soft for my taste but he is a very good vocalist still and the band delivered.

I wasn't alone waiting for the WHITE LION stuff though, during the breaks between the hit songs people took the opportunity to refill their beers just to come back and scream a long to more familiar songs. WHITE LION's mega hit “When The Children Cry” came at the end of the show. Possibly when people were waiting for, and it sounded fantastic. Mike still possesses his vocal capacity and nailed this song flawlessly. It still felt a bit unfair that he didn't get the same credits for his more recent solo-stuff, from me included. He deserved more than he got I think, it all sounded very good and it was a nice and fun performance.

MIKE TRAMP

Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mike Tramp @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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As ECLIPSE were starting up their set at the 4 Sound Stage, I headed over to the Rockklassiker Tent Stage to catch KING WITCH. I was a little surprised to see KING WITCH's name on the billing for 'Sweden Rock Festival' as they only had one self-released EP out. There's no doubt they deserved their spot on the billing, they killed all competition at 'Muskelrock' and with that fresh in mind, there was no chance in the world I was going to miss out on them here. Laura Donnelly’s voice and the way she was handling the stage were fantastic and it worked here too. Of course, she's backed up by a fantastic band, the groove they have is phenomenal. “Shoulders Of Giants” kicked off their set followed by previously unreleased “Carnal Sacrifice”, again KING WITCH have managed to write fantastic material and I'm really looking forward to a full length release.

Ok, most of the set consisted of unreleased material since the EP only hold three songs. Third song out “Full Moon King” comes from the EP, together with set opener and the fantastic epic “Lucid” closing the set. Normally the 'Sweden Rock Festival' crowd has been hard to get to see new bands so it was good to see a decent crowd watching the band, people passing by stopped and walked in too. The show was more intimate at 'Muskelrock' since it's a much smaller festival but from a performance perspective both shows was equally good. KING WITCH is definitely the surprise of the summer and a band making a massive impact on me.

KING WITCH setlist:

01. “Shoulders Of Giants”
02. “Carnal Sacrifice”
03. “Full Moon King”
04. “Approaching The End”
05. “Solitary”
06. “Possession”
07. “Beneath The Waves”
08. “Hunger”
09. “Lucid”

KING WITCH

King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) King Witch @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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I had planned to see as many new bands as possible choosing the ones I've never seen before even if they were not my first choices. It didn't start that well with that mission since I picked KING WITCH over ECLIPSE. I've seen a few times BONAFIDE and each time they were good so I don't have a good explanation more than food to not see them here. And then again, picking DIAMOND HEAD over SKITARG. I had double work at 'Sweden Rock Festival' though shooting for Sweden Rock Magazine as well as for METAL KAOZ and DIAMOND HEAD was one of my missions for SRM. And I absolutely didn't mind seeing them again as they too played 'Muskelrock' the week before.

First, I think their self-titled brand new album is absolutely fantastic and second, Rasmus Bom Andersen is both a fantastic vocalist and an amazing performer. And with that, second song of the set “Diamonds” with the short passage over “Borrowed Time” and then onwards to “Bones” really made the set for me. DIAMOND HEAD as a band is on-fire these days, they seem to have a very good time on stage and you really need that to fill these massive stages. What also was very good to see was that the Rockklassiker Tent Stage was packed out to the last place. People were even standing outside shouting along to the DIAMOND HEAD classics. The response for “It's Electric” was superb and it didn't go down for “In The Heat Of The Night” or “To Heaven From Hell”. I really hope that this crowd gets around and listens to the new one too, again one of my favorite parts of the set was brand new “Shout At The Devil”, I love the screams in the chorus line.

But again, it was good to see DIAMOND HEAD getting a full house and the response for the final two songs of the set was immense, “Lightning To The Nations” and “Am I Evil?”. I guess that was the one most people were waiting for but it was definitely not the only thing the crowd knew. So, DIAMOND HEAD delivered at the same high standard here and sat the bar very high for the rest of the bands on after them.

DIAMOND HEAD setlist:

01. Intro
02. “Play It Loud”
03. “Diamonds”
04. “Borrowed Time”
05. “Bones”
06. “Shoot Out The Lights”
07. “It's Electric”
08. “In The Heat Of The Night”
09. “To Heaven From Hell”
10. “Shout At The Devil”
11. “The Prince”
12. “Lightning To The Nations”
13. “Am I Evil?”

DIAMOND HEAD

Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Diamond Head @ Sweden Rock XXV @ Norje Havsbad, Sölvesborg (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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