Helgeåfestivalen Day 1 @ Knislinge (SE)

DRAGONFORCE / BULLETS AND OCTANE / MIMIKRY / DIA PSALMA / JOHN LINDBERG TRIO / AGES OF ROCK / STREAMLINE / FRONTBACK

Date: 05th July, 2018
Venue: Knislinge Folkets Park
Ticket: 1250SEK 3-Days (€108/$120)
Promoter: Helgeåfestivalen
Photos: Erika Wallberg


It's always nice to return to Knislinge and ‘Helgeåfestivalen’. It is promoted as Sweden's coziest festival and it sure is a convivial atmosphere, very familiar now when I've been there for a few years. One thing that showed though was that the festival hadn't managed to book as big headliners as previous years. I'm not complaining about the line-up, the opposite really but judging by the people present, for the bands it was less visitors this year in comparison.

Anyway, the festival started off in a very nice way with FRONTBACK. This was actually the first time I've seen them and they really lived up to their reputation as a live-act. Anlo Front is both charismatic and very talented. Everything comes very natural for her and it all is a joy to watch. It's a good time listening too of course. FRONTBACK's type of Rock/Hardrock works well on stage, much better than on record for me. The two openers, “Rival Sons” and “Liar” went down well with the crowd and they both were very catchy. And I really like it when bands put a little extra into the show. Not only the massive backdrop portraying the most recent release “Heart Of A Lion”, there was also the old school carnival type of lights in the front spelling the band's name. Very efficient even if it was daylight when FRONTBACK played.  “Dead Man On The Road” was one song that caught my attention, the more mid-tempo, darker track broke off the fury in a very nice way and really increased the dynamics of the show. So the 2018 edition of ‘Helgeåfestivalen’ sure started off nice.

FRONTBACK

Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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And it continued nice too with STREAMLINE. This is another band which in recent years has shown their talent in the Melodic Rock scene. They were definitely supercharged to play at the festival, even to the point it occasionally felt a bit too much compared to the clean and neat music. But indeed, it all sounded very good.

But it is good to see that the scene in Sweden is growing and that new bands actually raise an interest among the audience. I was really surprised to see a massive response for ART NATION last year, people actually knew the band's music and it was the same with STREAMLINE. I can understand when it happens for local bands but neither ART NATION nor STREAMLINE can be counted as local around the woods in Knislinge. But it is good to see real musicianship being noted and supported. So band number two out on the 2018 edition of ‘Helgeåfestivalen’ was another pleasant surprise, well surprise is perhaps wrong. But at least a band highly exceeding my expectations. So, STREAMLINE is a band I need to keep my eyes open for in the future.

STREAMLINE

Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Frontback @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Back on Bandyscenen with something completely different started after STREAMLINE had finished their set at Tennisscenen. The movie “Rock Of Ages” shouldn't have passed Rock-fans by, not the spin-off with the Swedish setup either with tons of prominent musicians. For a second or so, I thought it was that setup before I realized the billing said AGES OF ROCK instead of ROCK OF AGES...

The concept was the same of course; Broadway Musical-type setup with different line-ups. And I actually have to give them that most sounded really good and was amusing. And to play a whole bunch of Hard Rock classics at party-peak hour can't really fail. But why must it be a spectacle of it. I mean, the wigs looked ridiculous, more like mops than anything else. But else, the arrangement, change between lead-vocalists and instrumentalists were flowing very smooth. And to pull that off and keep a very good and solid sound throughout the set is not all that easy. But it was and the musical performances for each and every song were really good, especially the vocal effort from the guys was particularly impressive. And the ALICE COOPER rip-off with guillotine and all, who wouldn't like that? It was also good to see that a song like “Poison” got the best response. So in general this was really good but I a hard time to really accept the visual gimmick.

AGES OF ROCK

Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Ages Of Rock @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Then a bit of a break while JOHN LINDBERG TRIO delivered Rockabilly music at Tennisscenen. ‘Helgeå Festivalen’ features more styles than Rock and Heavy Metal to suite a broader crowd; it mostly actually fits in my taste and after that little break it was time for one of the most anticipated shows of the festival for me. It might seem a little odd that, among such great Metal acts a Punk band would be the highlight. But I've followed Ulke over the years, from ASTA KASK through STREBERS and now DIA PSALMA. I've only seen DIA PSALMA once before and that was outstanding. So of course, I wanted to see this and I had very high expectations. What I really like with bands as this is that it all seems so easy and effortless. Like they're on a party with the rest and just play some music for a couple of friends while for real there are hundreds of people in the crowd. And even if the music is simple and muzzy at a first glance, there are a lot of fines in the writing, both from a lyrical and musical perspective. To my surprise, neither “Hon Får” nor STREBERS “Balladen Om Lilla Elsa” got any direct response, I was expecting a massive sing-along to both of them but it was modest reactions to both. I myself was stunned by the greatness of the performance; it sounded fantastic and seemed very effortless. Still, with the fantastic dynamics and drive I remembered from last time I saw them. But I guess, if the crowd doesn't really fill the area in front of the stage that pressure to get the massive singing never occurs. Still, this was one of my absolute favorite performances of the festival.

DIA PSALMA

Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dia Psalma @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Then it was more of the same at Tennisscenen as MIMIKRY took on the crowd over there. The main difference between them and DIA PSALMA is that I've never really listened to MIMIKRY. Vocalist Hjalle and drummer Heavy made themselves famous in the 90's as they completely took over the TV show “Runway” and managed to stay away from the trackers for weeks and weeks. A reference which should be relevant for half the crowd at Helgeå but not very relevant for the show.

What is nice with these bands that have a bit of a history, who has survived over the years in their specific style, is that there's no doubt it will be a good performance. I really enjoyed MIMIKRY's attitude; it's a bit tougher than DIA PSALMA but still with the fines, melody and catchy songs. Watching the crowd in the front for MIMIKRY it was clear they have a good following too. There's always someone in the absolute front that knows every song and every lyric and kind of freaks out. That happened here too, and with the benefit of a smaller stage the support for MIMIKRY felt stronger than it was for DIA PSALMA and I must say I really enjoyed MIMIKRY's show. It had very good energy and it was a fun time there towards the end of the night.

MIMIKRY

Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Mimikry @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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But then, it was time to hold on to everything as it was time for DRAGONFORCE to take on the main stage. It was long since I had last seen them and the line-up has changed since, maybe more than once. I really liked vocalist Marc Hudson, I think he's a perfect match for DRAGONFORCE's music. His voice is dynamic and powerful and this, matches the else easily flowing riffs and passages. And it sure is a full on from start, Herman Li is of course very well-known for his furious and ridiculously fast solos but compared to last time I saw DRAGONFORCE, that kind of energy was there through the music. The whole performance was high-energy, to the extent I almost got short of breath just by watching it. That kind of intensity I don't remember from previous times I've seen the band. Just take a song like “Through The Fire And Flames” which has a quite light chorus, very melodic. But in the live version here it was really heavy. That I like and I that really did the trick for me here. DRAGONFORCE delivered a very impressive show and I enjoyed it far more than I expected. Ok, that might seem overly negative but frankly, if music is too light it doesn't appeal to me and that was the case with DRAGONFORCE. But this night it all came to life in a great way and that oomph and force in the sound did it well. So, a really worthy ending of the first day of the festival and judging by the crowd, DRAGONFORCE was a worthy headliner.

DRAGONFORCE

Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dragonforce @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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