This friday I had a concert planned for a band I really enjoy. They’re great live and as such I figured I’d drive the 1.5 hours to and from to see them live at The Rock Temple in Kerkrade. The band that I’m talking about is Powerwolf, a powermetal band which sing about them being werewolves who fight in the army of Christ. As you can probably guess by the band’s name, they’re all about fun and they’re one of those bands who thrive on stage. That’s not to say that their albums aren’t (as) good, because they’re excellent too!
The evening started off with Lonewolf opening, they played a pretty good set and as the first opener it’s really hard to get things going. They played well and “Viktoria” was really good to hear live. Then it was time for Stormwarrior, who certainly sped things up. Their songs are a lot faster and were really nice to get you in the right mood. At the end of their set they actually had the crowd going a fair amount and they ended on “Heading Northe” which is an amazing song.
After a quick break it was time for Mystic Prophecy who I was very much looking forward to see as they have some really good songs. From the moment they entered the stage until the very last moment the crowd was entirely theirs. They were better known than I expected, lots of people singing along to the songs. The thing I have to stress though is that the singer is one hell of a frontman who can single-handedly make a crowd do anything. He’s funny, interacts with the crowd and makes you have a great time. If Mystic Prophecy tours near you: check them out, you won’t regret it!
Then it was time for the “second headliner” as that’s how it felt after the previous band. Powerwolf however was not going to let themselves be upstaged by them at all. Their show was equally as good or even better. They played all their classics and the crowd went nuts, singing and headbanging along. The atmospheric music in some of Powerwolf’s songs is really special and gave me goosebumps once or twice. At the end of the evening I had one hell of a headache and a sore throat, following by a neckache the following morning. All-in-all, a great evening.
I woke up with a fierce neck-ache from the night before, then I had some breakfast and headed over to Paaspop, a dutch festival which 51.000 people visited this year. It’s one of the few festivals where there’s a real mix between all sorts of genres/cultures and it creates an interesting crowd because of it. I joined a friend there who had gone there the day before. As such we set up and headed for the festival grounds and saw Death Before Dishonor, which wasn’t really our thing so we quickly walked out and just had a drink and headed for the main stage where BZB (Band Zonder Banaan) were going to play.
Band zonder banaan played a good show, they basically are a folkrock group with dutch lyrics. There was a big crowd to see them and as such there was a great atmosphere in the tent. Especially at the final song “Echte Vrienden” it was simply rocking with everyone jumping and singing. After that we went back to the rock tent to see Terror, a hardcore band that we didn’t know that well. They played a good gig and it was energetic for sure. I also have to point out that I really like the band’s attitude, such as the singer saying that people should just have fun, no matter how they do that.
Then it was time for Triggerfinger, a rock group that was playing on the main stage, which I thought would maybe be too much for them as I didn’t think they were that well known. Turns out as I was wrong as 45min before they started the stage was insanely crowded already. We managed to walk up to the front of the stage (admittedly on the side) where we could see well and were in the thick of it. The show was a surprisingly good one, solid rock and roll songs and I would’ve been happy with that performance. Instead, they played 1 more song, “I Follow Rivers“, that is the song which has pretty much taken over the entire festival, as there was literally no way to escape from it. It’s a darn good song and hearing it live was magical, so I don’t mind at all. But you would hear that song getting whistled, sung or hummed no matter what time or where you went. Even while writing this I’m getting goosebumps thinking back to it.
After that show we went to see TrollfesT and caught some of Blaudzum’s set as we got there quite early. Blaudzum seemed to be kind of dull from what I heard, the crowd also didn’t seem into them. So we waited that out and then did more waiting while just talking and having some drinks. Then TrollFest came on and there really weren’t a lot of people there. It felt crazy empty to be honest and it started off kind of weird due to that, not helped by the extremely poor sound quality. In the end though the venue filled up and the band won over the crowd and it was a good time for sure, despite the sound being sub-par.
After Trollfest it was time to head back to the big rock stage to hear a band I much anticipated; In Flames. I’ve seen them rather recently, and as such I knew what to expect here. They didn’t even change up their setlist at all I think. But they played some classics which was great. I have to say that I am disappointed with the lack of response when they started the intro for Cloud Connected. Though I think a lot of people don’t remember/don’t know older In Flames anymore. I quite like how they didn’t cut their set short due to starting late, they played the same length extra at the end, which I think is rather fair. Anders is still a great frontman, tons of respect for that guy.
After that we decided we’d wait for the next band and we certainly weren’t the only ones with that plan as the next band was Korpiklaani. When they started it was pretty full and they played a good set. It was an active show with a moshpit going at all times almost, which I joined in a fair bit. It was a good show and felt a lot better than the show I recently saw at Paganfest, it was more vicious and rougher which is how I like my folkmetal. After the show I was pretty much knackered.
The evening only had 1 band left which was Within Temptation, we had planned to see them and I hadn’t seen them live yet. Though I only really like their older songs, and only some of them. But the group decided that we weren’t going to go see them and I didn’t have a huge issue with that, so we hung around the festival area a little as some people wanted food. We then decided we’d walk to the camping and have a drink, when we were doing so I noticed someone who stood out.
It was Trollfest’s singer, with a beard like his.. he’s hard to miss. So I walked up and ended up talking to him and some of the other bandmembers. They’re really nice guys and they’d have joined us for some drinks if their bus wasn’t leaving soon to go to their next show. So we hung out a little longer and said our goodbyes and they gave me some stickers.. one of which he simply threw onto my hoodie. I also ended up getting a picture or two taken with them.
So we ended up going to the camping, dragging a bunch of beer out from our tents and ended up drinking until we got kicked out of the cafetaria bit at 5am. Then we walked towards our tents and decided we’d crash in the middle of the pathway and continue drinking for another hour or so. Then security told us to shut up basically and we decided that was probably for the best. There’d been enough Sabaton singing already, as we were all fans.
So that night I didn’t manage to get a lot of sleep as I kept having to get up to take a piss every 30min is what it felt like. Funnily enough, whenever I did, I always heard at least 2 or 3 people singing/whistling “I Follow Rivers”. Just to show you how catchy that darn song is.
The next morning we got up at 9:30′ish as we couldn’t sleep anymore either way, so we decided a slow wake up with some breakfast would be for the best. So we slowly dragged our asses out of the tent and I kid you not, I swear I’ve never had my hair as stuck and tangled as then. My hairbrush could hardly even get in, nevermind actually brush. That’s been a lot of beer/wine/whatever-else and headbanging for you. So we visited our friends to wake them up too and they were pretty much destroyed and the only way to get them to wake up was to play Sabaton at which point they both awoke and got up quickly. Heh.
So we had a lengthy breakfast to humanize a little again and check our bruises and hangover, which were pretty bad. Then we headed over to the festival again to see Textures. Textures is one of those bands that I don’t care much for on album, but that puts on one hell of a show on stage. And so they did this time again, these guys never cease to amaze and whenever they’re around, I’ll go see them. It’s always a good time, these guys deserve to be bigger.
After that we decided that we’d go see some theater as we were still suffering from our hangovers and there was a pretty good guy on. So we ended up watching some stand-up comedy by Leon van der Zanden. He was very amusing and another benefit of going to the theater was that we could sit and it was warm there. Totally don’t regret going to see him either, it was well worth it.
Time for some more metal, namely Enslaved. Enslaved’s a pretty good band but this show they put on wasn’t. They were having technical difficulties as the sound was really poor. Neither was there much energy or anything in their playing. But that’s kind of typical for black metal from my experience. We stayed for a while still but eventually it was just hurting our ears and we waited outside the stage where we could still hear it and it sounded a little better then actually.
So after that we grouped up as some people had stayed there and we decided we really ought to see the umbilical brothers. So we queued up and managed to get front-row seats. They are genuinely funny, and it really left me wondering how much of the show is improvised and what is set. It felt really organic as they saw what the crowd laughed at most. They even went for some “Oh really, that joke got you all to laugh? Strange.. but okay.”. These guys are simply genuinely funny and they definitely brightened the day.
After those laughs it was time for more music again. So we headed over to the rock stage again where Accept was going to perform. There was actually some real good music being played meanwhile and it had us singing along collectively and messing about, even that was a good time. Then Accept hit the stage and we were up for some real heavy metal. It’s always good to hear some proper heavy metal, it always rocks nicely as it tends to have a certain rhythm to the songs which is excellent for headbanging. I have to give credit to Wolf Hoffmann (Guitar) as he felt to be the main stage presence who really got the crowd going as well. I also got a pick thrown at me directly by him halfway the show, thanks duder!
After that show we stayed in the rock tent as Finntroll was going to hit it in 50 minutes’ish, the wait seemed really short as there was a lot of good music and a good atmosphere. The tent was also rather crowded as more people had the same plan of waiting it seemed. Then the wait was over and Finntroll started, they said they’d mainly be playing older songs. From the get-go the sound wasn’t entirely great, they were having some technical difficulties it seemed. They did play Solsagan from the new album, (maybe because me and some others yelled for it) but it didn’t sound too great. They did play Jaktens Tid, but that suffered the same fate sadly. The only real oversight was that they didn’t play Trollhammaren or Rivfader, which left the crowd bewildered as they left the stage. Nonetheless; it was a good show, but it could’ve been a lot better if it were not for the technical difficulties.
Then it was past midnight on the last day of the festival and there was 1 more metalband playing which I hadn’t really listened to or heard of before admittedly. That band was Hell, who played on the smaller rock stage which seemed to fit well. They played an enjoyable show, despite nobody seeming to know them. They were a nice relaxed way to end the (musical) weekend and they sure managed to create a good atmosphere among the crowd. I also got a pick from the guitarist after the show.