The Melodic Rock genre is a family. In every sense of the word. Events like this just hammer that home. The camaraderie shown to every attendee (fan/band/organizer) is overwhelmingly immense. This particular event, MelodicRock Fest Scandinavia, took place in Malmo, Sweden. While there have been other MelodicRock Fests in the past in U.S.A. and Australia, this was the first in Sweden. The event started and presented by Andrew McNeice of Australia’s Melodic Rock Records saw action in Chicago just 2 weeks prior. This Swedish version was presented by Rock Stage Malmo and Roasting House Recording Studio in conjunction with McNeice. Many attended both events even though they were across the world. This was my first of the MelodicRock Festival series.
Now, many readers may know that Melodic Rock is not my chosen genre of music. Don’t get me wrong, I love many of the bands that fall into this category. But, I just don’t know the details like some of these historian fans. In truth, I enjoy a little more “heavy” in my tunes, a little more punch and definitely fewer keyboards and ballads/slow songs. That said, this may just have damn well been the best festival I’ve ever attended! Not to take away from any of the other worldwide events that I’ve attended over the years, of course. But I was welcomed here with open arms and hearts by many, many of the folks. I knew a few beforehand, but my Facebook friend count has engorged itself over the last couple days. Friends from around the globe such as Israel, Sweden, UK, Canada, Australia, U.S.A., Spain, Norway and many, many more. The kind of friends that you just know will be lifelong as they share in the same love of music. And the bond created here through MelodicRock Fest Scandinavia thanks to organizers Johan Nylen, Micko Twedberg and their team, I feel is rather unbreakable.
We come as strangers, we leave as family.
I’ll not go into detail on every band that played each and every day at MelodicRock Fest Scandinavia. But rather try to give you an overall sense of the MelodicRock Fest Scandinavia experience. If I do that correctly, I’m certain that you’ll be lining up to buy your 2019 ticket, just as I will.
MELODICROCK FEST SCANDINAVIA 2018 – Day #3
Once again, breakfast was a super calm relaxed meet and greet affair. After that, I wandered Malmo city core with my Vynil District app leading me to some used record stores. Unfortunately, there were no deals to be found at the places I discovered. Much of the tiny Heavy Metal sections were filled with items I can find here at home. And for a cheaper cost as well! Oh well, the walk was lovely and of course, I ran into friends, some of which were on a similar quest.
Having been sampling Rian‘s 2017 debut Out Of The Darkness a lot recently, this was a highlight. The quartet had an awesome heavier sound, a sound I much prefer. Melodic Rock with a thunder and loads of hooks. I felt that right from the first listen to Out Of The Darkness and it held up supremely here in concert. Having only the one release, the setlist came entirely from that. A real highlight for me was the album’s title track “Out of the Darkness”. I love that song! The band made a perfect statement with their choice of closing track, “Time of Your Life”. It basically just sums up this whole damn festival!
This band is highly touted by event organizer Johan Nylen, partly due to his involvement with them. Great to see him on the balcony rocking out all smiles as they ripped through their set. Certainly, as with most bands, Creye exhibited a heavier musical style live. The vocalist, apparently I found out later a substitute, was goosebump worthy with his powerful voice. Filling in for the ill singer, this explains the lack of stage presence that I took note of during the set. At the time I chalked it up to an extremely young and “green” band. The set was well received and I personally enjoyed it. Looking forward to the band’s new album which I believe is coming in October.
This band had an appeal to me, having had the 2014 issued Pretty Wild album. I can hear some Motley Crue influence when I listen to the decent record. Now seeing Pretty Wild live, I see even more Motley Crue influence. Especially the Nikki Sixx look-alike hair of guitarist Axl Ludwig. Born in Sweden, these guys have been around since 2007, but only have the one album and an EP. Prolific in the albums department or not, Pretty Wild laid down a bombastic hard rock set that saw my fist raised high for a generous portion.
I knew that MelodicRock Fest Scandinavia fans were in for a wicked vocal performance next. Just not sure if I was. Fronted by Anette Olzon (former singer of Nightwish), Alyson Avenue delivered a captivating performance. Actually, the first gig since Alyson Avenue reunited the (I believe) original lineup. Personally, I’d not been into the band before this set. I’d never heard a song. I judged a book by the cover so to speak and one should never do that. I’m not a big fan of the symphonic metal genre, hence do not enjoy Nightwish et al. Not saying they’re not talented, I’m just not into the style. And so I dismissed Alyson Avenue when I heard it involved a former Nightwish singer. Boy was I wrong! I’m now awaiting album delivery after some online purchases. Do the same, Alyson Avenue are amazing!
Here, I feel I may have let my country down. I only caught a little bit of the set from fellow Canadians Boulevard. Hey, I’d seen the VIP acoustic yesterday…and seen the impress me severely at Firefest: Final Fling. But I had to eat. So my apologies to my countrymen.
While I was totally unfamiliar with Stage Dolls, my friend Mike had done nothing but rave about them. They were a lifetime long bucket list band for him. I knew nothing of the song list nor the band on stage. But the feeling of the crowd was upliftingly catching. Folks were singing along. Mike was in pure heaven, it was easy to see. I really enjoyed Stage Dolls, so much so that Mike and I have discussed a trek to Norway to witness them again in December.
Dare are a band that I’ve heard a lot about, but not heard anything of. This, despite Dare forming in the mid-80s even! I guess they just weren’t big in Canada and I never crossed paths with them. Created by Darren Wharton, Thin Lizzy‘s keyboardist and featuring guitarist Vinny Burns (another name I’d heard), were fantastic! The whole band was captivating and Wharton obviously a born showman. The guitar prowess exhibited by Burns was magical. I know who’s going home to buy Dare albums! Thanks, MelodicRockfest Scandinavia for introducing me finally to this great band.
MELODICROCK FEST SCANDINAVIA 2018 – Final Thoughts
Watch for day one and two already posted on Decibel Geek!
Thanks once again to MelodicRock Fest Scandinavia organizers Johan Nylen, Micko Twedberg, and their entire team. Thanks to all the bands for not only delivering great shows, but most of them mingled about the crowd after meeting and greeting fans (none more than Talon though, I suspect). And the attendees. Wow, I love you all so much, friends new and old, you are what keeps me alive! All in all a fantastic event that I am more than looking forward to next year. Maybe I’ll either arrive a day or two early to be able to experience the city of Malmo a little more. No matter how you slice it, if there is another event in 2019 (and all indicators point to such), this Canadian will be there for the family reunion! Join me!