The year was 1989. Looking through the CD’s at my local music store I came across a cool looking CD. It was titled Eye To Eye and the band, 220 Volt. I recall seeing a video of 220 Volt and remembering it sounded cool, I bought it. This CD was released in 1988 and it became one of my most played CD’s back then. I found out they had 3 other albums. They really changed their sound for Eye To Eye which was done in the USA while their other releases were done in their home country of Sweden.
220 Volt has never played in North America which means I never had the chance to see this amazing band till 2016 when I made the trip to Sweden for Sweden Rock Festival.
I was joined by my Decibel Geek brothers Mikael “The Lionsheart” Svensson and Rich “The Meister” Dillon, and our Swedish roommate Anders. Saturday, June 11, 2016, saw us at the front of the stage for the 12PM start of the show. Mikael had seen and reviewed the band a couple of times here on Decibel Geek (High Voltage in Sweden / Vasby Rock Festival). This was to be a first for Rich and I and we were ready!
The band’s original members from 1979 are Mats Karlsson and Thomas Drevin, and they are joined by Peter Hermansson who came on board in 1982. Also on bass is Mats Vassfjord and fill in vocalist Matti Alfonzetti.
The show began with “System Overload” from their latest 2014 release Walking in Starlight. Check out Mikael “The Lionsheart” Svensson‘s review of Walking in Starlight. Alfonzetti immediately shows his powerful vocals keeping the sound similar to the original vocals of Anders Engberg from this same album.
Next up is where it all started for me with the title track “Eye To Eye“. I am sure I had the biggest smile on my face while singing along. It is always sad to see band members leave, especially the original vocalist for this album Jocke Lundholm. But Alfonzetti‘s vocals made this absence easier to bear. Alfonzetti is a much suitable “alternative”, and I like it.
Time to go back to 1985 with “High Heels” then right ahead to the latest album with “Broken Promises“. The band was having a great time on stage and putting on a great performance. They then went back again to the 1985 release Mind Over Muscle with “It’s Nice To Be King“.
The title track and one of my favourite songs from the newest album “Walking In Starlight” was it hit. I looked over to Mikael as he sang each word but thankfully the band was loud as I am sure he was not in key!! Always great to see the fans react to some of their favourite songs when played live.
Going into the classic “Power Games” I was thinking “oh this show is about half over as they only get an hour show”. Sounding extremely well live I could handle a lot more than an hour of 220 Volt since I have waited so long to see them! One more track from the latest album for the day followed “Through the Wastelands“. Walking in Starlight is a truly a great rock album. Even if I was thinking that I wanted more Eye To Eye, but thankfully they brought a new and updated feel to the band — the best they have ever done.
Now came 3 tracks from that classic 1988 album. “Love Is All You Need“, “The Harder They Come” and “I’m on Fire“. Wow, amazing! I didn’t take many photos at this time to be able to take it all in and enjoy this highlight for me at Sweden Rock Festival. A gallery of my photos of this awesome show does appear below.
Closing out the show with “Firefall” from the 1984 release Power Games, I was so happy to have finally witnessed this band live.
I was very impressed with the amount of fans gathered for 220 Volt seeing as there was another great band playing at the same time. I wanted to see the band Epica as I missed them when they played in Toronto earlier this year but I knew they would come back to Toronto. Sure enough, I made the right decision as I will finally see Epica in Toronto this November.
Even though the show was over we were not done with 220 Volt. Later in the afternoon, we got to interview Karlsson, Drevin, and Hermansson. After approximately 30 minutes of asking questions, we got to just relax and have some drinks and laughs before the group photo with us and the band.
Check out the audio interview below as we had a great time with the guys and got to learn more about the guys and the band.
Shawn “Animalize” Irwin
Eye to Eye
It’s Nice to Be a King
Walking in Starlight
Power Games (incl. rock medley)
Through the Wastelands
Love Is All You Need
The Harder They Come
I’m on Fire