'Sweden Rock Festival' - Day Three
AVANTASIA / GRAND SLAM / SATYRICON / TWISTED SISTER / GAMMA RAY / THE HELLACOPTERS / SLOUGH FEG / FOREIGNER / THE TEMPRANCE MOVEMENT / UNCLE ACID & THE DEADBEATS / LITA FORD / MONSTER TRUCK / GLENN HUGHES / THE KRISTET UTSEENDE / LOUDNESS / HAWKWIND / ROCKKLASSIKER ALL STARS / DAN REED NETWORK / TWILIGHT FORCE / 220 VOLT / EPICA / WARNER DRIVE
Date: 10th June, 2016
Venue: Norje Havsbad
Promoter: Sweden Rock Festival
Photos: Erika Wallberg
The third day started early and again with a painful clash with EPICA at the Lemmy Stage and 220 VOLT at the Sweden Stage. But as 220 VOLT is one of my all-time favorite Swedish bands and I’ve been dying to see them again since they had been reactivated a few years ago, the choice was easy. Plus, I’ve only seen them once before and that was at the ‘Swedish Monster of Rock’ tour in 1988, way too long wait.
To my surprise, Matti Alfonsetti came out with the microphone in his hand instead of Anders Engberg who’s been a part of the line-up since 2013 and sung on the latest release “Walking In Starlight”, but has apparently quit without me taking note of it. I really like Matti Alfonsetti though, he’s been fantastic in SKINTRADE and his voice is still in a great shape. The downside was that he had his iPad on a stand next to him for the lyrics which took a bit off the visuals. Perhaps there wasn’t enough time to learn all the words but on those occasions I prefer paper on the floor, or even paper on a stand compared to the ipad. But it sounded very good anyway, “Eye To Eye” came in really well as the second song, right after new “System Overload”.
There’s no wonder 220 VOLT want to promote the new record “Walking In Starlight” and normally I appreciate this and “Broken Promises” is one of my favorites out of that record so it was very nice to hear it live but since they have so many good songs from the past it would had been better to mix in a few real classics in the set if you ask me. And with that I don’t mean classics from other bands, the start with “Power Games” really got me going and even if “War Pigs” and the rest both sounded fantastic and went down really well with the slightly tired crowd I’d rather have had more originals compared to these ones. The old records are too good to be ignored.
Ok, it was still a very good set and there were a few classics towards the end too so I shouldn’t complain. It was a very good start of the third day and Matti impressed as usual.
220 VOLT setlist:
01. “System Overload”
02. “Eye To Eye”
03. “High Heels”
04. “Broken Promises”
05. “It's Nice To Be A King”
06. “Walking In Starlight”
07. “Power Games” / “War Pigs” (BLACK SABBATH) / “Man On The Silver Mountain” (RAINBOW) / “Long Live Rock 'n' Roll” (RAINBOW) / “Power Games”
08. “Through The Wastelands”
09. “Love Is All You Need”
10. “The Harder They Come”
11. “I'm On Fire”
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TWILIGHT FORCE really came out of nowhere and placed themselves in every magazine possible, it feels like their name appears everywhere. Ok, Nuclear Blast has done a good job promoting them. What I had heard prior to the festival didn’t appeal to me very much though but still, I add them to the list of must-see bands as a live experience really can change any opinion. Their gimmick is phenomenal I think, it’s amusing and creates a very visual effect at the same time. And seeing it on stage there was no wonder anymore on why they’d gotten so much promotion. It’s crazy tight and neat and the whole band works hard to get the crowd going. Which they really manage and it’s good to see that new bands, in a genre that I like, get a good following. Again there were problems with the sound on the 4 Sound Stage and it felt like the whole system died again, just as it was for MAYHEM the night before.
But TWILIGHT FORCE continued on anyway and pulled off their performance with grace. I think it was for “The Power Of The Ancient Force” where the crowd really woke up and sang along in a very cool way. It’s also good to see a band appreciate the ones around the band helping them out, and Jane who’s been selling merch and more for the band were dubbed in a knightly fashion on stage. So TWILIGHT FORCE was a pleasant surprise on this third day.
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As ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ has four stages in total, there’s always something going on and in the break after TWILIGHT FORCE ended set and HAWKWIND began, I got the chance to see a bit of the Dan Reed Network set on the Festival Stage. I never really been a fan of his music, it’s too funky for my taste but he’s a fantastic musician and as he’s surrounded by the same it was still very pleasurable to see a few songs. Only the last one in the set “Get To You” I recognized but it all really sounded good.
On the Sweden Stage Japanese LOUDNESS started playing and this was another very bad clash as LOUDNESS always have been very good when I’ve seen them, also this was the only opportunity I had this summer. But I’ve never seen HAWKWIND before and it feels like there’s not that many chances left to see them.
I guess it was no accident HAWKWIND was booked on Lemmy Stage! Everyone should know that Lemmy was a part of the band before he formed MOTÖRHEAD by now. As always with these classic bands there are just a few original members left, and in this case only guitarist Dave Brook who’s well over 70 now. For his age he’s still vital even if skinny as hell. The psychedelic tunes worked really well this early afternoon. People were still recovering from last night so the atmosphere was very relaxed still so the gnawing rhythms was very welcomed by the people watching. Some went totally bananas too and danced off to the music.
What took the show down a bit was vocalist Mr Dibs introvert attitude, he didn’t move at all and he appeared to be so vacant. The music doesn’t require anyone to run around but there must be some presence at least. Also that he took countless selfies and crowd pictures during the instrumental passages didn’t really help.
But, when I stopped focusing on stage and started to look around and talk to friends the whole thing changed, musically it was really good and even with the stale stage performance the music was very vibrant. HAWKWIND has always been very liberal to drugs so that they would use it, or the pot leaf as a part of their visuals was no surprise but that it would be projected on the massive TV monitors came as a bit of a surprise. People around me started to whisper and pointed at the screen, so that at least brought on a reaction from the crowd. Psychedelic “Warrior On the Edge of Time” was one real favorite from the set as well as “Silver Machine”. So, as a conclusion, HAWKWIND sounded good but left more to wish for from a visual perspective.
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One of the sets I’d been looking forward to the most of the festival was Glenn Hughes. He’s been absolutely fantastic the last few times I’ve seen him play and even if I’m not all that much into the Funk and Soul stuff it’s always a pleasure to see him and also he backed up by fantastic musicians.
Set opener and DEEP PURPLE classic “Stormbringer” worked perfectly to wake the crowd up who had started to come around by then. It was fun to see the crowd for Glenn Hughes, that the ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ audience would like the DEEP PURPLE stuff is no doubt but to see at least parts of the crowd shouting the lungs out for the TRAPEZE sons was fun; both “Touch My Life” and “Medusa” which came later in the set sounded fantastic. All wasn’t as impressed with these songs though and started to dull out again so Glenn’s plan worked really well as a few songs into the set another DEEP PURPLE song came in. “Sail Away” is a fantastic song which I had almost forgotten so this came in as a very pleasant surprise for me. The mix between classics, his own solo material and songs from other bands he’s been a part of was genial if you ask me. It was a real wake-up call that I’d been missing out on the BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION records as both “One Last Soul” and the “Black Country” songs appealed to me (and here yet another part of the crowd started cheering like crazy). And then, the fantastic band he had behind him with Sören Andresen on guitar and Pontus Engborg on drums really impressed me. And of course Glenn himself too; his voice is still fantastic and when he does the falsettos it really sends shivers down my spine. His energy on stage is also great. So my expectations were met on full measure, it would be really hard for anyone else to beat this performance.
Glenn Hughes setlist:
01. Intro – “Flight Of The Valkyries” (Richard Wagner song)
02. “Stormbringer” (DEEP PURPLE song)
04. “Touch My Life” (TRAPEZE song)
05. “Muscle And Blood” (Hughes/Thrall song)
06. “Sail Away” (DEEP PURPLE song)
07. “Medusa” (TRAPEZE song)
08. “Can’t Stop The Flood”
09. “One Last Soul” (BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION song)
10. “Mistreated” (DEEP PURPLE song)
11. “Black Country” (BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION song)
12. “Soul Mover”
13. “Burn” (DEEP PURPLE song)
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The Queen of Hard Rock took the Lemmy Stage next; I have all the respect in the world for Lita Ford as she has released some really cool stuff, both with THE RUNAWAYS and under her own name. But, last time I saw her at ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ it was rather pathetic and sounded pretty bad. How would it be this time? Could she restore her reputation? I heard both good and bad afterwards, all that it was the best they’d ever seen to just as bad as last time. I walked away with a positive attitude at least.
Lita took on the stage with great energy, nicely backed up by her band. It all sounded very good and I must admit I was very impressed by Lita as a performer too. She had it all together, both looking and sounding-wise. Few Rock ’n’ Roll ladies can pull off a leather jump-suite and look damn good while doing it.
The rest sounded as expected; “Gitta Let Go” and “Larger Than Life” went down well and after those, already most of the skeptics was turned around. Introducing “Living Like A Runaway”, Lita also mentioned her biography dealing with her career - it was a lot of buzz going on around THE RUNAWAYS when outed that they’d been drugged and abused during their early years. Horrible of course, but here and now, Lita’s version was that it all was a big party and that she’d been bumping ugly with lots of celebrities during the time. It all felt cheerful, a happy memory which is a good thing compared to the rest.
“Cherry Bomb” together with “Close My Eyes Forever” drew the largest cheers from the crowd. For the latter, complaints were made about Lita’s voice. I thought it sounded as it always does. She’s never been a super vocalist but managed her records really well, so I don’t understand what the fuzz was about - it’s not like Ozzy would have appeared for the duet as on the record. Another highlight was “Kiss Me Deadly”; I really like that one and it feels like the perfect Festival track, easy to sing along to. So, Lita Ford with band restored my faith in them - this was a good and fun show and that is all it takes.
Lita Ford setlist:
01. “Gotta Let Go”
02. “Larger Than Life”
03. “The Bitch Is Back” (Elton John cover)
04. “Living Like A Runaway”
07. “What Do Ya Know About Love”
08. “Back To The Cave”
09. “Can't Catch Me”
10. “Cherry Bomb” (THE RUNAWAYS cover)
11. “Black Leather” (SEX PISTOLS cover)
12. “Close My Eyes Forever”
13. “Kiss Me Deadly”
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Then I didn’t have anything to do for a while, but since I wasn’t hungry and eating an ice cream was quickly finished, I had another look at the schedule and could choose between THE TEMPRANCE MOVEMENT and FOREIGNER. I decided to see some of FOREIGNER’s set. I’ve heard their hit songs of course but not much more than that - I also remember it was a lot of talks when Lou Gramm quit; could they really recover from the loss of a super vocalist like that?
Judging on what was going on onstage, they sure have; I think Kelly Hansen did a fantastic job both as a performer and as a vocalist. And since I didn’t have any expectations whatsoever, FOREIGNER came in as a massive surprise, they sounded fantastic and was much more Rock ’n’ Roll than I ever could have imagined.
“Dirty White Boy” is a fun song that went down well with the ‘Sweden Rock Festival’ crowd and it’s awesome to see frontman that can play on sex-appeal and get hysteric screams from the ladies, but still appear to be true gentleman. Kelly did it all. After “Feels Like The First Time”, I reluctantly started moving towards the 4 Sound Stage but ok, it was going to be damn good there as well.
01. “Double Vision”
02. “Head Games”
03. “Cold As Ice”
04. “Dirty White Boy”
05. “Feels Like The First Time”
07. “Juke Box Hero”
08. “Long, Long Way From Home”
09. “I Want To Know What Love Is”
10. “Hot Blooded”
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