HOA Day 1 @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE)

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LIZZY BORDEN / SOLEMNITY / JAGUAR / WARBRINGER / PORTRAIT

'Headbangers Open Air Festival, Day 1'

Date: 26th July, 2012
Venue: The Garden
Tickets: €43 ($55)
Promoter: Headbangers-Open-Air.de


It’s always a challenge to navigate among the cornfields where one wrong turn can add hours in the travelling to the fest time. This year though we arrived directly at the ‘Headbangers Open Air’ site, even if we thought we were lost for a good part, but then, all of a sudden the familiar house appeared and then was party time.

We actually arrived the day before the festival and planned to go to Itzehoe for the warm-up show with STUKA SQUADRON [edit: now known as IRON KNIGHTS], AGINCOURT, AUGUST REDMOON and SOULHEALER played but unfortunately the schedule were against us. Instead, we had a joyful evening and day hanging out in the camp getting ready for the festival.

Swedish PORTRAIT was the first ones out and I was really hoping it would be better this time than it did in 2009. Back then the sound was a huge issue and the whole experience was kind of lost. I still can’t really figure out their sound settings, with the equipment available and how the other bands sounded, so it should kick ass. Still, it feels the distortion is turned down a lot which makes the sound dry and very unforgiving. Miles better than last time though, but still, PORTRAIT’s live-sound is not as strong as it is on the record and that’s normally very rare; after all I’ve written the opposite countless of times. And of course, it makes difference from which location you’re watching PORTRAIT on the sound quality. Right in front of the stage it was raw and a bit further back it sounded pretty good. And PORTRAIT is a really good live band; they are fun to watch and have a nice drive mainly due to vocalist Per Karlsson who waltzes around the stage raising a whole lot of hell. The rest of the guys of course have a part in it too; without them it would not have been the same drive. PORTRAIT’s dark Metal worked really well in the afternoon and people joined in to see them play.

PORTRAIT

Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Portrait @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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The Americans of WARBRINGER were up next. I’m not really sure why I started to compare them with STRIKER who played last year but I think they can kind of placed in the same genre, but I think it has more to do with the onstage energy and joy. WARBRINGER sure showed up with a furious energy and seemed to have a lot of fun playing. Of course, it is different from band to band but the joy was contagious (or dangerous even if the sun was still up and the bar close) and made it very hard to stand still. It was the same with STRIKER last year and I guess that’s why I place them under the same label. And then, frankly it is not that big a difference between the American and Canadian Thrash. If you add the skills of WARBRINGER to the fact that this falls right into my taste of music, then you can understand why it cannot be bad. WARBRINGER did an awesome job heating up the garden more after PORTRAIT and I guess I just need to listen more to them.

WARBRINGER

Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Warbringer @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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JAGUAR is always a fresh breeze, at least following the airspeed coming from Jamie Manton as he runs onstage with that huge grin on his face. It’s really hysteric and of course damn catchy. On the other hand, trying to catch him with the camera almost made me dizzy; he is almost everywhere. But the fun thing with JAGUAR is that they get better and better each time I see them onstage. Of course, I’ve been listening to them a lot more nowadays since they keep appearing on stages here and there. This gig was a real old-school one and without doubt “Power Games” is a hell of an album and “Master Game” sure is a favorite from that one. The rest of the songs came actually from 7”s and demos released prior to the “Power Games” album.

The garden party sure was the right place for JAGUAR to play; the crowd was crawling over the security fence to try and reach Jamie who most of the time was crawling around on the monitors - oh well, at least when he wasn’t crawling all over stage; he sometimes has that Iggy Pop style behavior and goes crazy.

This sure was the peak of the afternoon. The garden was boiling and it’s absolutely fascinating to hear the crowd sing along to songs such as “Raw Deal”, “Dutch Connection” and of course “Axe Crazy”. An awesome gig from JAGUAR this day and it became tough for the rest of the bands hitting the stage after them.

JAGUAR setlist:

01. “Out of Luck”
02. “Battlecry”
03. “Master Game”
04. “The Fox”
05. “Prisoner”
06. “War Machine”
07. “Rawdeal”
08. “Stormchild”
09. “Back Street Woman”
10. “Dutch Connection”
11. “Axe Crazy”
12. “Run for Your Life”
13. “Ain’t No Fantasy”

JAGUAR

Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Jaguar @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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On the other hand if you put on a complete spectacle you’re bound to be remembered. I can’t say I’ve been listening very much to SOLEMNITY even if I’ve seen the records around but never came to buy them. The opinions about SOLEMNITY among my friends have been a bit varied and I guess that’s the main reason why I never dug into them for real. The same was actually for the crowd; some seemed over-excited and some couldn’t care less. Of course, that happens for more bands but at ‘Headbangers Open Air’ it normally isn’t this black and white. But seeing the stage set I sure became curious, both about the music and the show.

Crosses, skulls, candles, cobwebs... You name it and it was there. Also the costumes of the musicians helped creating a very dramatic atmosphere. The show kicked off with trademark “Solemnity” from first full length “Reign In Hell”, followed by opening track from the 2008 release “Lords Of The Damned” and then the title track “Reign In Hell” from the first album. A really cool opening I think, but of course, the pressure in the photo-pit always makes it good. Still, I must say I was quite impressed with SOLEMNITY and especially with the title track from the latest “Circle Of Power” that is a genuine Metal one, sounded really really good.

Of course, with a show like this it will be a very cool experience and I must admit I’m a bit bummed out with myself for not digging into SOLEMNITY prior to the show. When the first numbness of all visuals had passed the music came through as well and it sounded really good. I like the drama and the dynamics SOLEMNITY actually delivered. But yes, it was a spectacle and with music to go with it SOLEMNITY did a great show, but if they are as interesting on album as they are onstage is another story.

SOLEMNITY setlist:

01. Intro
02. “Solemnity”
03. “Thorn In The Eye”
04. “Reign In Hell”
05. “The Book Of Eibon”
06. “Surviving The Sun”
07. “Circle Of Power”
08. “Sex Magick”
09. “Red Monk”
10. “Fire In Mainstreamland”

SOLEMNITY

Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Solemnity @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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Last band for the first day was the US metallers LIZZY BORDEN. And I must admit I was a bit disappointed when Ira Black was out and then Chris Sanders followed him. That was the lineup I had gotten used to and it sure was a killer. Dario Lorina didn’t really come across very strong for the first few times I saw LIZZY BORDEN with him playing the guitar. But I must say that he’s grown into the role completely now. Both Dario and AC Alexander did a great job handling the guitars that night. But sure, Lizzy himself is the show. All those different outfits are amazing and the wait before it starts really boosts the expectations on what would be new this time. Then, I must admit that I like the masks better than the overall covering black cloth and goggles. Still it is spine-chilling when Lizzy enters the stage completely covered in black with glowing eyes.

Then songs like “Red Rum” and “Rod Of Iron” still hold strong after almost 30 years. Also, LIZZY BORDEN’s latest release, 2007’s “Appointment With Death” has great tracks that were also featured in the set; “Live Forever”, “Tomorrow Never Comes” and especially “There Will Be Blood Tonight”. After the show people from the front row was walking away happy all smeared in red paint as the tradition is that a lady gets it during that song.

Mårten Andersson’s bass solo has become a standard feature in the set as he brings his Swedish heritage and, as always, plays the trademark melody from Pippi Longstockings, works great everywhere but for me it was fun the first few times.

But it is great to see LIZZY BORDEN play, it is really amusing and they always deliver a great show. And I think that horned Devil mask was new this time. Since LIZZY BORDEN was the headliner, they had the chance to play an extensive set of music. “Me Against The World” and “American Metal” were of course the real highlights. Then again I tried to figure out how the hell Lizzy manages to change masks in “Master Of Disguise”; it just looks like he swipes over his face and there’s another mask, and it’s not forward and back with just two either. Anyway, I guess something’s should be kept a secret - lovely feature in the show for a really good song. And of course “Love Kills” and “Deal With The Devil” was a great ending on an extensive show.

LIZZY BORDEN setlist:

01. “Abnormal”
02. “Red Rum”
03. “Live Forever”
04. “Rod Of Iron”
05. “Edge Of Glory”
06. “Tomorrow Never Comes”
07. Bass Solo
08. “Den Of Thieves”
09. “We Only Come Out At Night”
10. “There Will be Blood Tonight”
11. Guitar Solo
12. “Me Against The World”
13. “American Metal”
14. “Something’s Crawlin’”
15. “Born To Be Wild”
16. “Master Of Disguise”
17. “Love Kills”
18. “Deal With The Devil”

LIZZY BORDEN

Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)
Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg) Lizzy Borden @ Brande-Hörnerkirchen (DE) (photos by Erika Wallberg)

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All in all, this was a very good first day of ‘Headbangers Open Air’. The day held great performances from all bands on the bill, however JAGUAR and WARBRINGER did the greatest impressions on me.