HAMMERFALL / FKÛ / ACCEPT / ENTOMBED / DIA PSALMA / BULLET / ALIEN / THE POODLES
Date: 09th July, 2011
Tickets: 1495SEK (€155)
Photos: Erika “Camera fast as a shark” Wallberg
Saturday started out nice and sunny and when arriving at the festival grounds, THE POODLES were playing their last few songs. I have a little hard time with them since I still consider them as a gimmick type of band (since they used to dress up in funny wigs playing covers on the clubs at the earlier stage of their career) but they actually sounded good, catchy melodic Hard Rock. Perhaps it is time to give them a real chance. Again I missed out on the local bands in the Gasometer, EREB ALTOR I’ve seen a couple of times but since they’re always good it felt quite bad to not be there. SLINGERBULT have gotten great reviews for their performances but they were on before EREB ALTOR so no chance there.
Another melodic Hard Rock band took the Bandit Stage right after THE POODLES finished their gig on the Monster Stage. Old school Swedish band ALIEN. I bet at least 95% of the Swedish festival visitors know about them just because their lovesick version of “Only One Woman” back in the 80’s. I never had the chance to watch them back in those days, so I was looking forward to this. Jim Jidhed is a fantastic singer and the rest of the band is also very renowned. But it can’t be fun to get out on that massive stage to see an empty field with just a few waiting for the show to start at the front of the security fence. The good thing with bigger festivals is that the crowd fills up when the band starts to play so it wasn’t that bad for a very long time. ALIEN was what I expected, sound-wise absolutely perfect. Tony Borgh got the chance to shine on the guitar in the same sullen way as his look-a-like Richie Blackmore. “Tears Don't Put Out the Fire” and “Jamie Remember” went down well but of course, already mentioned “Only One Woman” drew the biggest cheer. Jim made a little fun of it, mentioning just what I experienced (that song as the last dance on the nightclubs) and got a huge cheer from the beer-garden, apparently more had been there and done that.
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Then off back to the Monster Stage where BULLET was getting ready to play. As always, something special can be counted on when BULLET play on such big events as ‘Getaway Rock Festival’. They’d geared up with a massive batch of pyrotechnics and guitar player Hampus Klang had stashed one of his guitars with a huge sparkler. I’m not sure if it was set right through because it was shooting straight at him, not the broom of sparkles Ace Frehley among others had before. But as always, BULLET did a good gig, they are equally fun to watch on a sweaty club stage as on a huge festival stage as this one. They can fill it and their energy is contagious. It’s actually quite fascinating that BULLET have grown to the size they have, sure the 80’s styled Hard Rock and Metal is back in fashion but not that big among the mainstream people. Sure it is fun and this hard working band deserves the success. And frankly, I really appreciate this a lot more that much of the modern Metal. BULLET served a good mix of new and old songs ending it all with “Bite The Bullet”. Just a simple effect as gluing the title at the back of the instruments and flashing it when the chorus comes do a lot for the whole visual. This sure was another great show by BULLET who really got the crowd going.
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DIA PSALMA had the slot after BULLET on the Monster stage. I used to listen a lot to many of the Swedish Punk bands, ASTA KASK was one of them and passing through STREBERS Ullke was the link through them all. What I think is the coolest thing with all these bands is that they’ve followed Ullke’s development in life very well, even if he still looks exactly as he did in the early 90’s. But just face it, it’s not suitable to sing about teenage uproar in a very angry way in your 40’s. DIA PSALMA still deals with Punk topics, what’s right and wrong, revolting against capitalism, not being herded along with everyone else and so on. They still have the Punk attitude in their performance, the drive and the right feeling. It was also clear that for each band of Ullke’s the music has become more folksy and popular for the greater mass. It is really fascinating to hear a couple of 1000 people sing a lot to “Hon Får” and “Tro Rätt, Tro Fel”. To my surprise they didn’t finish with “Balladen Om Lilla Elsa” which has been the case most times I’ve seen them, at least it has been a feature of the set. But it was absolutely great anyway, it’s just a shame DIA PSALMA have decided to call it quits; they will do their farewell concerts later this fall. But we’ll see, maybe now it is time for the next chapter in Ullke’s band history.
Then it was the worst clash of the festival, ENTOMBED on the Bandit Stage and NIFELHEIM in the Gasometer. I didn’t know what to do, both were on the top of the list of bands I really wanted to see. In the end, ENTOMBED was the choice of mine and as always, they kicked ass on stage. From what I heard NIFELHEIM did the same though so I’m still not sure if I made the right decision. This was the first time I saw ENTOMBED with Viktor Brandt (TOTALT JÄVLA MÖRKER, ex-SATYRICON) on bass and Nico Elgstrand on guitars instead. ENTOMBED should really be a two-guitars band and Victor is both a fantastic bass player and a stage persona so that was all great. Master growler L-G Petrow was his normal cheerful self and roamed the stage talking to the crowd. It’s fun to see a brutal band being so joyful, they really radiate joy in their playing. The amazing “Chief Rebel Angel” got a massive response from the crowd but it was the old school ones that really stood out anyway. The pre-recorded intro with I am Jesus Christ to “Out Of Hand” cut through the air and was almost drowned in the screams. Mighty “Left Hand Path” also came and it was amazing to think that an album with over 20 years on it still sounds very up to date. I think I made the right choice to see ENTOMBED. They kicked ass and even this late at the festival, they boosted my mood to hang out and party further.
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Of course, one of the absolute highlights was still to come. ACCEPT took over the Monster Stage after ENTOMBED had finished their set at the Bandit Stage. ACCEPT hiring Mark Tornillo as the vocalist is one of the best things happening in the recent Metal history. He can sound like Udo Dirksneider from time to time but he still has so much of his own personality and style. And with him in the line-up and the now a year old “Blood Of The Nations”, ACCEPT is back for real. It is very rare at this level to have a band as passionate and driven in the studio as well on live performances like ACCEPT are. They formally bubble with life. The set was started with two new ones “Teutonic Terror” which made it very hard to behave in the photo pit. It is very hard to not scream long with give ‘em the axe phrase. That track was followed by the heavy “Bucket Full Of Hate” and a whole line of classics. During the show a lot of people (Gävle being my old home town) came up to me saying 'damn, ACCEPT are amazing again' or 'I never thought they would be good without Udo' and things like that. It is good to hear people able to lose the nostalgia and take in new things. Even if I didn’t doubt ACCEPT would convince even toughest 'hesitator' just by getting up on stage that they still got it, it is great to hear people are giving them a chance. ACCEPT had without doubt one of the biggest crowds of the festival. And this being one of the last shows of it, it was great to see people with some energy left to support ACCEPT. The sing-a-long with the introduction of “Fast As A Shark”, the hei-di-hei-do-hei-da part was amazing. After that, “Pandemic” got the same treatment before they ended with grandeur playing “Balls To The Wall”. ACCEPT really are on fire these days, the authority and impressiveness of Wolf Hoffman, Peter Baltes and Herman Frank (who actually looked utterly cheerful this evening) are phenomenal. The mighty ACCEPT is back to stay, that’s for sure.
01. “Teutonic Terror”
02. “Bucket Full Of Hate”
04. “Metal Heart”
05. “Losers And Winners”
06. “Princess Of The Dawn”
07. “Aiming High”
08. “Up To The Limit”
09. “Fast As A Shark”
11. “Balls To The Wall”
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VICIOUS ART were playing in the Gasometer at the same time with ACCEPT. Maybe not that unfortunate clash but I still would have wanted to see them. Hopefully, I’ll have another chance to do that. It still was time to get into the Gasometer after ACCEPT where FKÜ had their slot in there. They have their gimmick with the shirts, make up and so on. I think it is fun to watch. But what’s even better was the music. Their songs are fantastically catchy, done seriously but with a huge sense of humor. A lot of people were willing to confess, or admit maybe to be Moshoholics this night and sigh up for the “Moshoholics Anonymous”. FKÛ also brought back the dead and had a guest appearance in form of a zombie (which the rumor said should have been Lord K but he had looked too deep in the bottle to pull it off). Another very funny thing was that Larry Lethal lost character and started to speak Swedish in the middle of the set. Even he looked surprised but tackled it very nice and boosted the crowd even more. The Gasometer was steaming hot while FKÛ was playing. That didn’t stop the crowd what so ever, the mosh-pit grew for each song and again people kept walking up to me saying how damn great it was to see FKÛ. I can’t but agree, amazing performance again.
02. “Where Moshers Dwell”
03. “Twitch Of The Thrash Nerve”
04. “Agent Amy Steel”
05. “Horror Metal Man”
06. “Moshoholics Anonymous”
07. “He Saw Her Today”
08. “Dead Coroner”
09. “Hate Your Guts”
10. “The Pit And The Poser”
11. “Bedelia - Back For Cake”
12. “Horror Metal Moshing Machine”
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Saturday’s headliners were HAMMERFALL. If it was planned to have GHOST in the Gasometer and ignore the competition between ENTOMBED and NIFELHEIM this couldn’t have been the most brilliant move from the festival organizers. Sure, HAMMERFALL had a huge impact on the Metal scene at the second half of the 90’s by enhancing the interest in the music I love, and I think “Glory To The Brave” is a fantastic album. But lets face it; looking to the 80’s mastodon bands, HAMMERFALL have borrowed a lot from them.
Having a super charged ACCEPT on the stage just before HAMMERFALL made them look quite lost and amateur upon there. They have the same moves and stage language as ACCEPT but not the authority and impressiveness. It was actually quite tough to watch. The attempt to set the world record with number of Marshall Stacks didn’t help much, 52 PCs I think it was. It all could have ended quite dramatic though when Oscar ran and took a jump off one of the monitors, which tipped over and almost sent him flying into the photo pit. So even if HAMMERFALL had action going on the stage, they were still just a pale shade of what ACCEPT just had shown off. Then looking at the crowd, this sure wasn’t the strongest headliner at all, a lot of people had started to drop off already and the crowd for HAMMERFALL was quite sparse. Of course, they had their moments too and there were people singing and dancing to “Renegade” but it still didn’t save it.
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Actually, the line up of this year’s edition of ‘Getaway Rock Festival’ wasn’t as strong when it comes to headliners as last year I think. Neither THE DARKNESS nor HAMMERFALL appealed to me. And there was a lot of modern Metal, Core, Crossover which I normally don’t listen much. Still, I think the bands I watched from those genres did really good. When it comes to the mid-sized or small bands, it was just as strong, if not even stronger than last year. The other downside is that the headliners of the Bandit Stage started very late. Of course, both OPETH and IMMORTAL are more effective when they can have the massive light-shows. I would have loved to see both but the days were just a little too long for that. The festival itself was just as cozy and friendly as last year but it felt less people were interested in the bands, the beer garden was packed all festival and giving people the possibility to sit and drink all day affected the influx of the gigs. It is very hard to pick the best gig of the festival, all bands I saw actually did a really great job on stage. KREATOR and ACCEPT were the most fun ones to watch so the title of best band has to be split by them. But there’s no doubt, ‘Getaway Rock Festival’ is one of the best organized festivals around; with its 11.000 visitors, it has good size and almost no waiting anywhere. And next year, MANOWAR is one of the headlines, which cannot fail!