The 2017 SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL – Day 3 Recap (Feature/Festival Review)

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Sweden Rock Festival 2017Friday, June 9, 2017 – Sweden Rock Festival 2017 – Day #3

Bring on the coffee! Rising and gathering at breakfast in the hotel lobby, coffee began its waking effects. With four dudes sharing a hotel room, grabbing a morning shower is a procedure of waiting no matter what you do. But being last and stepping into an inch of cold water covering the floor is uncool guys! Not their fault particularly, we still can’t figure out how to keep water in the tub with the silly shower curtain. But with that, we are ready to take on day three at Sweden Rock Festival 2017.

Sometime yesterday disaster struck for one of the Decibel Geek team. This is when he became dubbed “The Angry American”. You see, Ron‘s camera underwent a massive failure yesterday. So, in light of that, today’s first stop would be a Swedish store akin to Best Buy. The comedy of watching and participating in four haggard rockers, most not speaking the language trying to convey camera needs to the young lady was something out of a sitcom.

No time for a band merch booth pass-by at the start of today. After the camera buy hold up we had to literally run to get over to Primal Fear.

PRIMAL FEAR (Rock Stage 12PM)

Sweden Rock 2017 Primal Fear
Photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

We rushed over shortly into the Germans delivering their opener of “Final Embrace”. Such a fantastic band and great start to day three, Primal Fear followed up with “In Metal We Trust”. Awesome watching vocalist Ralf Scheepers and his intensity at noon with the sun beating down, veins bulging in his bald head. In rapid-fire with no breaks, “Angel in Black” was followed by “Rulebreaker”. I love it when there’s little chat and Primal Fear were certainly feeding us metal for breakfast today! Ahead of “Sign of Fear” we got a little crowd interaction as Ralf asked for the crowd to scream. 

Ralf announced the 6th member of the band as Magnus Karlsson joined the stage for “Nuclear Fire”. What a great addition since Karlsson does not head with the band on their North American tours. With his piercing screams, Ralf led a crowd sing along. Basically, just a time waster if you ask me, not being a fan of that stuff particularly. I let Doro get away with it though! “Angels of Mercy” brought us to “The End Is Near”. A little leading the crowd in singing the lyric “do you wanna die” had me going right along as well. I know, hypocrite! “When Death Comes Knocking” and “Chainbreaker” brought us to the band intros. As one in the know may expect, “Metal Is Forever” wrapped up Primal Fear.


…moving on

With only fifteen minutes between the close of Primal Fear and the launch of next target Picture over on 4Sound Stage, I had just enough time for a pitstop. Bladder emptied, and water refilled I reported to 4Sound Stage.

PICTURE (4Sound Stage 1:15PM)

Picture Sweden Rock 2017
Photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

Dutch band Picture was another new discovery for me. It was only when friends like Mikael and Anders started talking of them upon their announcement did I become familiar. I’d not heard of the band before, but purchased some material ahead of today’s gig. They launched with “You’re All Alone”, “Get Back Or You Fall”, “Message from Hell” and “No No No”. They all went down well and I knew them. I guess Picture are one of those cult phenomena that never really reached North America because the crowd was sizeable. And they all knew the words too! Next came “Night Hunter”, “Nighttiger” and “Eternal Dark”.

Some guitar soloing preceded “Live by the Sword”. After that, I floated away, but still within earshot to get some more water. Noticing the Bancomat line being rather unusually short, I queued up to get some more SEK. I guess a lot are arriving later today. I could hear “Heavy Metal Ears”, “Diamond Dreamer”, “Unemployed”, and “Bombers” during my foray. Making it back to the stage, Picture wrapped up with “Lady Lightning”. A great set, glad that I have discovered their music. Later today Mikael has an interview set with the guys, so I think I’ll tag along on that too. Check out Mikael‘s Picture Spotlight Review.


…moving on

Hunger arrived and I could almost smell the Casey’s Fish & Chips from clear across the park! Off we go to get fat!

KIX (Rock Stage 2:30PM)

KIX Sweden Rock 2017
Photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

Never being into KIX too much in my younger years. They just didn’t really cross my path up in Toronto so much. That being said, I did acquire the Hot Wire album in later years and loved it. I collected more of the discography in preparation for the inaugural Monsters of Rock Cruise in 2012 for my first KIX live experience. Holy crap, what a show! This band is fantastic live led by frontman Steve Whiteman‘s charismatic stage shtick. Since then I have seen them many many times through the MOR Cruises and M3 Festivals and the show is always top notch. I’ve almost seen them too much now. Like overdosing. Still, I was on hand for their first Swedish show ever. KIX took off in fine fashion with “Girl Money” and then into “Red Lite, Green Lite, TNT”.

All the usual Whiteman antics seemed raring to go for this first-time audience as “No Ring Around Rosie” was up next. Always a hit, Steve had the crowd jump. And jump again. He jumped as well. And on the third jump, the second his feet hit the stage in landing “Midnite Dynamite” launched. With lots of crowd interaction, KIX served “Cold Shower”, “Love Me With Your Top Down” and “Hot Wire” before I had some serious business to do in a portalet. I got to hear “Don’t Close Your Eyes” while seated and was back out in the sun for “Get It While It’s Hot”. A Ronnie “10 10” Younkins guitar solo led us to “Cold Blood”. But with the sun absolutely killing me I decided it was time to hide from the big yellow star.


…moving on

Meeting Mikael and Ron in the press tent as I shaded my lily white Canadian skin from the sun, I tagged along on the Picture interview. The boys were in full celebration as we joined them and although Mikael was enthralled to meet his heroes, it was difficult to conduct an interview. Fantastic guys however and a great set. I’m glad I discovered Picture and hopefully, there will be new music coming from that camp.

GOTTHARD (Festival Stage 4PM)

Gotthard Sweden Rock 2017
Photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

Missing a decent portion of Gotthard while in the Picture tent partying with those boys was not a huge deal. Well, I had seen them a few times before through Monsters of Rock Cruises and the three concert trip to Germany and Switzerland back in February. Massive Gotthard fan Shawn “Animalize” Irwin, however, was as close to the stage as he could get! Check out his Gotthard Spotlight Review.


Hearing a few tracks from afar, I utilized the free charging station booth and checked in my power pack battery to freshen it up. What another great service here at Sweden Rock Festival provided by, I believe, a Swedish phone company. From there I began the requested search from friend and CGCM Podcast co-host Wallygator Norton of embroidered patches for his war vest. 

METAL CHURCH (Sweden Stage 5:30PM)

Metal Church began about 15 minutes after Gotthard wrapped up. This band was severely impressive in their appearance on the Monsters of Rock Cruise and made me a huge fan right there. They began with “Faith Healer”, “In Mourning”, and “Needle and Suture”. The band seems on fire with the return of Mike Howe fronting this classic thrash outfit. Unfortunately, I was still exhausted, the sun still hot at this time of day. Having a little trouble focusing on Metal Church, I moved away to continue my search for patches. 


Running into Shawn, it was easy to see he was also on fire after Gotthard‘s set. He excitedly mumbled a few things and hurried off to hit up the Gotthard signing session. My patch search took me outside the gates of the proper festival grounds for a time, but before too long I was back in and CD shopping. I could clearly hear Metal Church destroying the stage with “Badlands” while I perused, looking for “not easily found in Toronto CDs”. Retiring again to the VIP area, the Decibel Geek crew and some friends all commandeered a table with couches surrounding. Beers will flow!

RATT (Rock Stage 8:30PM)

Ratt Sweden Rock 2017
Photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

Having seen RATT a few times in various incarnations (Juan Croucier, Stephen Pearcy, Pearcy and Friends, and RATT – minus Blotzer), it’s been awesome! Always loved RATT, one of my faves and glad to see the band (or most of it) moving forward. But it was time for more sweet, sweet fish. Because that’s exactly what we need to add to the beers we just consumed during our gathering in VIP! I could hear them rocking out one of my top RATT cuts in “Wanted Man” as I queued up for “make me fat” fish & chips. From there it was hit after hit delivered to a welcoming Swedish audience. 

We were served “I’m Insane”, “Dangerous but Worth the Risk”, “Way Cool Jr.”, “You Think You’re Tough”, “In Your Direction”, “Lovin’ You’s a Dirty Job”, “Slip of the Lip”, “Nobody Rides for Free”, “Lack of Communication”, “Lay It Down”, “You’re In Love”, “Body Talk”, “Back for More” and “Round and Round”. The only, to me at least, weird inclusion was a cover of “Walkin’ the Dog”. I think it was Rufus Thomas originally. Anyways other than that oddity, in which they could have included many other from their own catalog, a great feel-good set. They did seem to fall short of allotted stage time, finishing early. Unless my watch stopped.


MINISTRY (Sweden Stage 8:30PM)

Since RATT wrapped a bit early I hit up Ministry on Sweden Stage. I do like some Ministry stuff…OK mostly just that one album, Psalm 69. I caught the two tail-end tracks of “Filth Pig” and something I didn’t recognize at all. Not my flavor particularly, but “Jesus Built My Hotrod” is one wicked tune. Wonder if they played it…how could they not?


SCORPIONS (Festival Stage 10:15PM)

Scorpions Sweden Rock 2017
Photo by Shawn “Animalize” Irwin

The Scorpions are one of those bands that have been with me since I started getting the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal music bug. Their 1990 Crazy World album was a huge smash hit for me and my friends. We were 17 when it came out. That tour we were front row, actually when we sat, knees and legs were under the stage! Magical! Nothing that they’ve done since really resonated with me as much. Going backward in the catalog, however, provided many, many classics. And I’ve seen them live a few times. The last Toronto stopping tour featured a setlist similar to what the Germans delivered here in Sweden tonight. 

No fan is ever really happy with their band’s setlist. There’s always something left out that they wanted. And for me, this setlist, as in Toronto in 2015 left a bit to be desired. My attention wandered a few songs in as I struck up a conversation with another fellow journalist, Scorpions serving as our backdrop. By the time Scorpions were about halfway through the set, my feet were screaming and I moseyed over to the recent SRF addition of bleacher seat stands. Unfortunately, to go along with what I consider a weak and a bit tired setlist, Scorpions seemed to be doling out a rather lackluster performance tonight. And the cover of Motorhead‘s “Overkill”…wow, just wow. Embarrassing, would be my opinion.


RUNNING WILD (Rock Stage 12:05AM)

Running Wild Sweden Rock 2017
Photo by Mikael Svensson (cell phone)

The final gig for us of day three would be Running Wild. A fairly new band on my radar, I’d heard the name before but not the output. Until that is, I reviewed their latest issue Rapid Foray for Decibel Geek (Album Review). This is a band that rarely even plays I’m told, nevermind in North America. Thank you, Sweden Rock for providing the chance to witness Running Wild live. They exploded with flaming pyro on the opening song, “Fistful of Dynamite”. Band founder and leader, Captain Rolf Kasparek covered the stage space dressed in full pirate garb. The whole thing a thrill to watch, I put away my notes and shouted/sand along, raised fist into the air and danced away to myself. But not to worry, Decibel Geek‘s Mikael Svensson was on the case with his Running Wild Spotlight Review.


Final Thoughts on Sweden Rock Festival 2017 Day Three

Another excellent day at Sweden Rock Festival. Some really beautiful gigs today. Ones that I’d likely never see if not for this Scandinavian festival. The forefront of those being Picture and Running Wild. But also Primal Fear and Gotthard are not North American staples either. I can’t imagine a June without being at Sweden Rock Festival.

Each of us got to see fantastic bands today that we love and we spent it with each other and friends new and old from around the world. It doesn’t get any better than that folks! The new and expensive camera seems to be working great for Ron as well, so he’s in his glory as well. Bring on Day Four!



The Meister 

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Shawn “Animalize” Irwin’s Photo Galleries

Without a proper photo pass for Sweden Rock Festival, Shawn did his best to capture shots from the gigs that he could. Here are the links to those photo galleries from Day three that he was able to shoot. Gotthard Photo Gallery / KIX Photo Gallery / Picture Photo Gallery / RATT Photo Gallery

Rockin’ Ron’s Live Videos


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