SCORPIONS / WITH THE DEAD / GÜTTERDAMMERUNG / SIXX:A.M. / CONVERGE / ALICE COOPER / AUGUST BURNS RED / NORMA JEAN / DROPKICK MURPHYS / BLACK PEAKS / BLIND GUARDIAN / DEFECTO
Date: 23th June, 2016
Promoter: Live Nation
Photos: Erika Wallberg
So, it was that time of the year again; that awesome time when it’s time to head out to Refshaleoen and hang out for a few days and listen to good music and drink beer. It’s always a pleasure to visit this festival and I was curious about what they’d come up with this year. There are always more than just music and drinks. As it was midsummer, the nooses in the gallows had been decorated accordingly and some of the food stands had gotten new names. Very much fun all of it.
This year I was sure to make it in time for the first band, DEFECTO, which I would probably have ignored if it hadn’t been for a show a few days before 'Copenhell Festival' at the High Voltage club downtown Copenhagen. EVIL MASQUERADE and WASTED played, even if Nicklas Sonne did a very good job playing bass with WASTED too, it was as the vocalist of EVIL MASQUERADE he really impressed. Damn he sounded amazing, he pulled off the dark and heavy “Darkness (I Need You)” sung by Mats Levén on EVIL MASQUERADE's latest release “The Outcast Hall Of Fame” record with such grace it was almost unbelievable. And with that it was set; I was not missing out the DEFECTO show, just to see what he’s capable on his own.
With a slight METALLICA complex (come on, Nicklas slightly bent style and an Explorer guitar) they took on the quite large crowd in a very good way. And it was a good party setting; standing out in the sun, drink a beer and enjoy it all even if the rainclouds came creeping in over the sky. But it's definitely good to see young and talented bands getting the chance to play at the real stages, I really like 'Copenhell' for that. Even though these new bands have a modern sound they still nurture the legacy of classic Metal and that’s a perfect mix. As I had just heard about the band right before the festival I wasn't familiar with their music but “When Daylight Dies” and also the setlist close “Sovereign”, got stuck. So, DEFECTO served a very good start of the festival, they sounded awesome but what was the real take away was the very cheerful atmosphere they created. For sure, they had a lot of friends present to make it happen but I surely wanted more when their show ended.
02. “When Daylight Dies”
04. “Into Oblivion”
05. “Drifting Into Blackness”
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A very familiar band was up next; BLIND GUARDIAN ended one of the nights at 'Sweden Rock Festival' a few weeks before 'Copenhell', where they had been given a very generous timeslot, but in this case it was in the middle of the day or early afternoon and their time was limited. Of course, I missed some of the songs not played but the set was really good anyway. Well balanced for a festival party and for die-hard fans with classics and newer material. BLIND GUARDIAN always sound fantastic when I've seen them but on a few occasion they've been rather boring to watch, especially in daylight where the stage lights doesn't help as much as at night. Nowadays though, they seem to have a very good time playing together and that makes it fun to watch also. Hansi Kürsch did a good job boosting the crowd. Not that it was needed since the front row was with BLIND GUARDIAN from the first note. The downside with Denmark is that the crowd isn't singing very much, not in the way common for BLIND GUARDIAN shows at least. Ok, it was still early but “Nightfall” usually works anyway and especially “The Bard's Song - In The Forest”. That one was ok but the response was better at 'Sweden Rock Festival'. It's so massive when an entire crowd is singing along, and since this one is very mellow and at most only played on guitar the massive choirs created by the crowd really comes through. Set closer, one of my all-time favorites “Valhalla” went down really well. The set felt very short though, especially with the previous one so near; I missed a lot of songs that I wanted to hear but looking at what was served here at 'Copenhell' it sounded amazing and it sure was a good selection of songs.
BLIND GUARDIAN setlist:
01. “The Ninth Wave”
02. “The Script For My Requiem”
05. “Tanelorn (Into The Void)”
06. “Time Stands Still (At The Iron Hill)”
07. “Imaginations From The Other Side”
08. “The Bard's Song - In The Forest”
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I've never came around to listen to DROPKICK MURPHYS. I really don't know why since I have many friends that worship them and basically anyone who's ever seen the band say they are fantastic. What I can compare with, is the Swedish Punk scene from the late 80's and early 90's and with that, DROPKICK MURPHYS are definitely much more skilled when it comes to the musical view. It was fascinating to see all instruments playing together, and that some members changed instruments in the set and it still sounded amazing.
I expected the band’s attitude to be as cheerful as the Swedish Punk scene were too, or perhaps more the Irish Folk-music bands I've seen here and there. But the whole atmosphere over the show was rather aggressive and harsh. It suited the music though as it's hard to take bands serious with the happy-go-lucky attitude, and it's definitely not how Punk should be. And I really appreciated the rawer sound. But still, it's not really my cup of tea when it comes to their musical style.
The crowd loved them though. When BLIND GUARDIAN kicked off their set at the Hades Stage next to the Helveti stage people were lining up to make sure to get a good spot for DROPKICK MURPHYS and the whole area in front of the big stage was packed out when they were playing. That made the whole thing awesome to watch. The band needs to be good but when they interact with the crowd and the audience is with the band it always turn out great. And by all means, I found myself singing along to “Rose Tattoo”, “The State Of Massachusetts” and “I'm Shipping Up To Boston”, so I must have enjoyed the show.
DROPKICK MURPHYS setlist:
01. “The Boys Are Back”
02. “Prisoner's Song”
03. “Sunday Hardcore Matinee”
04. “Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ya”
05. “Walk Away”
06. “Going Out In Style”
08. “Out Of Our Heads”
09. “The Auld Triangle”
10. “Famous For Nothing”
12. “You'll Never Walk Alone” (Rodgers & Hammerstein cover)
13. “The Warrior's Code”
14. “Rose Tattoo”
15. “The State Of Massachusetts”
16. “Citizen C.I.A.”
17. “I'm Shipping Up To Boston”
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I was a bit hesitant to go into the photo-pit for AUGUST BURNS RED. The experience earlier years for these modern (not all) three cool word bands have been mixed. Normally, the pressure from the crowd is immense but I can't get my head around all the spitting, the globs are flying both on and off stage which take away the joy of shooting. For AUGUST BURNS RED it was ok though, the crowd was on but kept their mouths shut.
And it was with mixed emotions I watched AUGUST BURNS RED but they actually sounded fantastic. They're fantastically skilled musicians, no doubt about that. And it all works better live where there's some air in the mix at least. Not as pushed and compact as this type of music is on record nowadays. Also, they did a good job at entertaining. Vocalist Jacob Luhrs was interacting with the crowd in a very good way and his charisma really came through. And there was good speed on the rest of the band too, the very casual attitude though, doesn't belong in Metal if you ask me. Come on, you don't wear flip-flops on stage even if it is summer. No shoes at all, is better than that.
But musically AUGUST BURNS RED was a pleasant surprise, they sounded much better than I expected and it was a really good show. But it was from now on the real things started, the real highlights of the first day of 'Copenhell'.
AUGUST BURNS RED setlist:
04. “Everlasting Ending”
05. “Spirit Breaker”
06. “Cutting The Ties”
08. “Back Burner”
10. “Marianas Trench”
12. “Majoring In The Minors”
13. “White Washed”
AUGUST BURNS RED
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