Helgeåfestivalen Day 2 @ Knislinge (SE)

SONS OF APOLLO / FINNEGAN'S HELL / BLACK INGVARS / TAIKIDA / THE QUIREBOYS / DAN REED NETWORK / ELECTRIC BOYS / SLÄKKTEN / SAFFIRE / JOHN WILDCAT

Date: 06th July, 2018
Venue: Knislinge Folkets Park
Ticket: 1250SEK 3-Days (€108/$120)
Promoter: Helgeåfestivalen
Photos: Erika Wallberg


Day 2 of ‘Helgeåfestivalen’ started off just as cozy and nice as the first did. SAFFIRE have always impressed with their performances and this was no exception; they sounded fantastic. Tobias Jansson has a fantastic voice and a great range. I really like it that he has power both in the bottom register as well as the high-pitched notes. He didn’t seem all that impressed with the gathering in front of the stage though and I have to agree, it was very sparsely crowded when SAFFIRE kicked off their show. It got better a bit into the set but still quite empty.

Fantastic “Magnolia”, opening track from the “From Ashes To Fire”, has always been a live-favourite and there’s no exception this time either. It all sounds perfect and again I’m amazed how much talent there is in the more melodic Rock/Hard Rock scene in Sweden. Other songs that stood out were the ones from the brand new “Where The Monsters Dwell”. Both “Broken Clown” as well as the title track sounded great, shows that hard work pays off. It’s hard to grasp all details in SAFFIRE’s music at a first glance, but that’s what I like with it. “The Rainmaker”, also from the new album and which ended SAFFIRE’s set I’ve heard prior to the show. The benefit was that more details crystalized and the song got better adding the live-feeling as well as the intensity of the show. A great start of the second day.

SAFFIRE

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

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For good and bad there are a lot of local bands at ‘Helgeåfestivalen’. I think it’s great they are actually allowing the local boys and girls time on stage but it would be better with variation from year to year. And also, perhaps promote something that feels a little more serious than SLÄKKTEN. Anyway, it was fun and it’s hard to find something to complain about with the musical performance. SLÄKKTEN definitely pay respect to the Swedish Prog Rock heritage as parallels could be drawn to HOOLA BANDOOLA BAND, NATIONALTEATERN and such bands. And it actually became a very jovial moment in the early afternoon. And I guess this nail it with the idea for a feeling for the festival. It is very familiar, there’s a dialogue between the band and the crowd. Friends and family are there. So from that angle this show really served its purpose, it also dragged people into the festival area which was much needed.

SLÄKKTEN

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

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Even though it had gotten a lot better for ELECTRIC BOYS and the lawn in front of Tennis Scenen had filled up nicely, Conny Bloom looked quite sceptic walking out on stage. I can understand it since they are used to far higher numbers. But this didn’t impact the bands performance at all, and they sat full speed ahead from first note. I love the energy they have on stage.

As did the crowd as the response was fantastic. People were screaming, singing and dancing all the way to the back of the green. It was good to see that people remembered the classic songs. And that did the trick for ELECTRIC BOYS as well as the further into the show it got the smirky smile on Conny’s face got wider and wider. I didn’t expect this response at all, and I doubt the band did. Not based on the reaction from them. But really, who wouldn’t enjoy “Rags And Riches” or “Mary In The Mystery World” on as nice afternoon as it was?

It’s very often shows like these, where the band’s expectations are kind of shattered but the crowd deliver and boost the band. It normally is the other way around, that the band must convince the crowd. It would still have been a good show, ELECTRIC BOYS always deliver. But the end result, with the interaction between band and crowd made this one of the best of the festival.

ELECTRIC BOYS

Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Electric Boys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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The thing that would affect me the most though, came as a total surprise. What I’ve heard from DAN REED NETWORK over the years are just the videos spinning on MTV. I didn’t like the hit-single “Rainbow Child” at all, and the rest didn’t do much for me. But since it was happening on the festival, of course, I would take the opportunity to see it. And damn I say, this was impressive. The musical performance was absolutely outstanding. My jaw completely dropped and I was thrown off track for a few moments. It’s fascinating when it can sound as clean and balanced as it did here. That amazing nerve and intensity were there but perfectly balanced to deliver the Funky music. Also, Dan’s vocal range is fantastic and his way of taking on the songs just made this a lot of fun to watch. It’s a bit pretentious music-wise but watching it was just joy.

On some occasions’ guitarist Brion James and bass-player Melvin Brannon II did moves and threw their instruments in a full spin around their necks. Ironically, this was much better synced that the dancing and similarities done by AGES OF ROCK. That easy-going kind of attitude helped too of course, and I didn’t even think about the style of music. It really doesn’t matter when the band sounds as DAN REED NETWORK did here.

Talking to Dan (realizing he’s one of the most lovable persons on the planet too) at the signing session after the show, apparently my reaction is rather common. That people in the same position as me, who really don’t like the poppy groove on paper get blown away. But it is as it is, there’s just good and bad music. Style doesn’t really matter when it’s good enough, that’s clear here. All I could think during the show though was why the hell didn’t I like DAN REED NETWORK when listening to it. This was really amazing and definitely the biggest surprise and highlight of the festival.

DAN REED NETWORK

Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Dan Reed Network @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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There were a few hectic hours there on the Friday afternoon as right after DAN REED NETWORK at Bandy Scenen it was time to run off again to ensure THE QUIREBOYS weren’t missed. They were actually one of few softer bands that I really liked from the MTV era, that “A Bit of What You Fancy” album was something I was (and still am) digging like crazy, but rather in secrecy, since it was way too soft compared to what me and all around me listened to at that point in time. It took long before I got to see them live though. Fortunately, it’s been more frequent in recent years and it has always been very good.

It’s always a question on how drunk Spike will be during the night. Until now, it’s never been out of control though, he’s always managed to sing, and that in a good way too. His cheerful attitude towards the groovy music works well. It’s never fun to see a band too pissed, of course but for this it actually works, it becomes funny. His jokes are bad and he laughs about his own whit on occasion. But he also delivers the goods; his raspy voice is there and he nails the songs. The band helps too and their delivery is flawless, them in the same state it would have been disaster. But it sounds amazing and very well put together. I really enjoy the more recent music from THE QUIREBOYS too, even their latest “White Trash Blues” where they interpret various Blues artists. There were some good features from this in the set, still it is the old songs, from the first two albums that boosts me the most. And this was the first time I got to hear “Hey You” live. That was the song that got me hooked, perhaps not my favourite these days. But the nostalgia is well worth input to the joy of hearing songs live. Again, a very good show. Not the same surprise as DAN REED NETWORK of course but still very good. The thing here, for the last three bands, all recommended each other, ensured the crowd would go and see the next etc. The camaraderie seemed to have been amazing between them all which stands out in the else rather competitive business.

THE QUIREBOYS

The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) The Quireboys @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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That old-school music is my niche I can’t deny. And that I find it rather uninteresting with most of the new bands which more is regular Pop with a heavy production is no secret either. I was though curious to see TAKIDA as they are one of the biggest bands in Sweden and are getting a lot of good publicity, radio-play etc.

In front of one of the biggest crowds of the year they took on ‘Helgeåfestivalen’ and everyone went nuts. And by all means, TAKIDA sounds good. They’re well-polished, amusing, good-looking and so on. But this is still not for me. Maybe, it’s due to the pleasure overload based on the bands much more suitable to my taste on the bill prior to TAKIDA, maybe it’s something else. It’s hard to judge.

For me, it becomes hard to grasp that so many people are totally devoted to this and dismiss something fantastic as other bands on the bill. But I guess fame is just as much package and image as music delivery. And for sure, the crowd, especially the front-row for TAKIDA is a completely different generation than for DAN REED NETWORK, ELECTRIC BOYS and THE QUIREBOYS which reduces the frenzy factor somewhat. In a way I can see TAKIDA’s greatness, they are a package with a slightly tortured vocalist with an ability to connect to the crowd and actually a damn good band. I don’t really understand it though, at least not compared towards the bands on the bill more in my taste.

TAKIDA

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

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But it becomes more contradictive. Since there’s only one band on at the time I actually went over to the Tennis Stage to see BLACK INGVARS. Why is this contradictive? Well, first I have as a principle to not go and see cover bands. I want to support bands pushing their own stuff. Then, it feels more than a joke than something real, something like STEEL PANTHER or so. But I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised by the delivery at least. Then, I’m not still not sure about the music. I mean, rocked up dance music is wee interesting. But the crowed enjoyed VIKINGARNA’s “Blue Hawaii” and there was full on dancing out on the lawn in front of the stage.

The thing though, musically BLACK INGVARS’ sounded very good, they have great energy in their music and there was way more musicality and creativity in the arrangement I’ve realized just hearing the songs on radio. The cheerful atmosphere helped boosting the experience too. So expecting something ha-ha funny turned over to a really joyful moment and even if it is hard to admit it here, since neither the concept nor the music is something I support for real it again showed that style is secondary if it is good enough

BLACK INGVARS

Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Black Ingvars @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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Then SONS OF APOLLO. It sure isn’t an easy-going headliner for the festival as previous years. Though I do think they drew their own crowd as they are very special in many ways of course. The level of musicianship is incredible but what makes it the most impressive is that they also deliver a good and fun show. Jeff Scott Soto is of course extremely charismatic but I found myself spellbound by Bumblefoot with his double-neck guitar. It looks so easy what he does, in fact it looks as he’s hardly doing anything bit still it sounds grand, massive and absolutely flawless. And on the other side it’s another eye-catcher in Billy Sheean. What he does is truly spectacular and it’s rare that a bass-player stands out the way he does. These two actually made Jeff a little invisible, at least for me. But it does happen that I get completely captured by musicianship like this and tend to forget about other things happening around.

SONS OF APOLLO is a lot to take in though and even if songs like “Labyrinth” and “Lost In Oblivion” are catchy, the QUEEN track “The Prophet Song / Save Me” came in as a nice break and eased things up a bit. You know that feeling when it almost is exhausting to listen to music came across me here and there just to change to complete exhilaration in the next moment. But yes, it was clear that it was a little too much to take in for the great mass of the crowd as it weakened towards the end of the show. And no, it’s definitely not easily listening as W.A.S.P, U.D.O or SAXON who’s been on the headlining spot earlier years. But still a very worthy one (again) and it sure was a damn impressive show.

SONS OF APOLLO marked the end of the 2018 edition of ‘Helgeåfestivalen’ for me though as I didn’t have the possibility to attend the third and last day. Which of course meant I missed out on tons of good bands. I would have loved to see WILDNESS, AVATAR, ARCH ENEMY, H.E.A.T and BACKYARD BABIES. But that had to be pushed for some other time, or maybe another year at the festival. I just hope I will make it back then too.

SONS OF APOLLO

Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)
Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg) Sons Of Apollo @ Helgeåfestivalen @ Knislinge (SE) (Photos By Erika Wallberg)

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