Hello all, The Meister has landed safely after a fairly lengthy flight from Toronto to Copenhagen, Denmark. *Special note: in the past two years of travelling to Sweden Rock I have camped and this year felt a bit odd not stealing the little pillow and blanket the airline provides you on the flight over for use in extending my comfort in the tiny age old tent I have used. This year it was living in style at a quaint little bed and breakfast thanks to my friend from Toronto who was against camping, also joining me for her first Sweden Rock. From there it was just over two hours on the train to Innergarden bed and breakfast (a 20-minute bus ride away from the Sweden Rock Festival grounds). The BnB is quite spacious in the little apartment we have been given. The weather is rather cold and there’s a misty kind of moisture that I wouldn’t actually call rain blanketing everything and creating that damp feeling. This better be finished with tomorrow (horrific visions of last year in my tent in the pouring rain, oh yeah I have a roof over my head this time!) With the weather as is and basically tired as hell from losing a night’s sleep, the rest of today has been proclaimed internet and sleepy time! (note: when the BnB guy says you have a TV, but unfortunately, it’s only in Swedish, he neglects to mention that there are only two channels as well!)…..off to read my travel book (an enormously thick Lonely Planet publication) for an idea of what I’m doing between Sweden Rock and Hellfest. So far, a late night (or early morning as the case may be…with the time difference every device seems to report a different time!) impulse purchase from a German website that I only half understood, I hope I’m now the owner of tickets to see Judas Priest and Five Finger Death Punch in Hamburg, Germany for Monday, June 8, 2015.
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
After a continental and quite delicious breakfast, we set out to catch the bus from this sleepy little town of Karlshamn to the festival grounds for the first band of the day: Kee Man Hawk (we have absolutely no idea who they are). The accreditation check in process was fast, simple and easy without any lineups or issues, seems even better organised than in my past two years here, which were never a problem either. My friend, Laura, from Toronto, also has some success with her ticket exchange and we were set to enter the grounds (through the main entrance as she doesn’t have the press/VIP option and using that gate is not possible for her). Here we go with her first ever Sweden Rock Festival, I do hope she enjoys it, after all of my talking and raving about my past times here! Kee Man Hawk are playing on the 4 Sound Stage as we enter the grounds, but sadly we do not stay to watch. Instead, I took the time to show her around the grounds, giving her pointers, tips and advice, well as best as I know from my previous experiences here.
Hazzy Dizzy (Sweden)
Hazzy Dizzy are the next selection of live music and they are up on the Sweden Stage kicking off at 4:15pm. I seem to remember reading that they are heavily influenced by AC/DC, so that sounds like it’s right up my alley! Well, I learned quickly that they are not only influenced by AC/DC but are in fact an AC/DC cover band and quite good even! They ran through all of the classic AC/DC tracks that you would expect and even included rare cuts like “Bad Boy Boogie”. More dark clouds and bouts of rain were breezing over top of us, seems to be a theme of the day, but when the rain comes it doesn’t last very long so it’s not too bad. We have also discovered the free WiFi offering and while listening to Hazzy Dizzy as a backdrop of sound we argue with our cellular devices and try to hook up to the WiFi. Then it’s off to forage for food with the same great sound backdrop. Hey, it’s even time for the first (but not the last) Sofiero (beer of Sweden) of the 2015 event!
Abramis Brama (Sweden)
Now it’s time to check out the next in today’s string of live music. What have we got? Abramis Brama is due on the 4 Sound so off we go, even if we have no idea who they are again. They are sounding great musically, but unfortunately for both of us, their lyrics are all Swedish so we have no idea what they’re saying…lol. The vocalist also has a very strong voice and also an artificial hook/claw left hand. They have a Led Zeppelin vibe to them in my ears, probably why I like them so much. I did take a couple of videos so watch for them coming soon to Decibel Geek’s YouTube channel and they’re definitely a band I will be looking up when I land back on Canadian soil! Great show Abramis Brama!
Another complete unknown to us is Morbus Chron on the Rockklassiker Stage (at basically the same set time as Abramis Brama, so we try to catch the tail end of their set since we’ve so far had good success with the unknown to us bands, but we are too late as they just finish up as we arrive.
Back to Sweden Stage for Lillasyster. Three of the five stages going today, a little teaser of the back and forth action to come when all 5 stages get fired up tomorrow. Spotting a young lady with the Canadian flag on her hat we simply must say “hi”. Turns out that she is not from Canada, but supports our country she says. Not sure what that means but thanks! She tells me that she is friends with Lillasyster, from her hometown and the acoustic song that the vocalist is now playing is a song for his mother who recently passed away (like two weeks ago I think she said!). I’ve been through that type of thing as I’m sure many have and I have to salute the man for being able to perform still. They then served up a cover song, which was Katy Perry‘s “Roar” I’m told. Can’t believe I’m about to say this, but it actually sounds really great as a metal song! There is quite a crowd here singing along, but it’s time for us to move on.
Hell is a band that I was looking forward to, having added the Curse & Chapter album from 2013 to my collection as Sweden Rock prep. I had been warned that they are not so good in a live setting, but I was still hopeful. “Age of Nefarious” got things under way as we approached. After announcing that they were from England and thanks for the exact same weather that they get back home, vocalist David Bower welcomed us to the church of Hell. I assume the next song was then called “Church of Hell”, but I could be wrong, followed by something else that I was unfamiliar with. They certainly employ a lot of theatrics, costumes and choreographed moves in their stage show, but unfortunately, these songs that are new to me just don’t seem to translate well for me here. While they have monster riffs, there seems to be not much melody and just a little too much “preaching”, Satany chanting and such type content for my liking. I captured a video anyway and I lingered long enough to hear some tracks that I recognised like “Something Wicked This Way Comes” and “Land of the Living Dead”, but it was time to move on.
Passing by The Rockklassiker tent we caught a little of The Order of Israfel who seemed really “doomy” on our approach. Maybe this will also be a short experience for us as it now seems that it’s been the same song for two hours (but we’ve only been here 10 minutes).
Danger was looming on the horizon as we meandered over to the band merchandise stand. Just exactly what I need are more black heavy metal t-shirts…you can never have enough right? Well, after staring, drooling and desiring almost all of them I have targeted it down to Battle Beast, Wolf, Riot V and Hammerfall as the top contenders so far. Basically, the bands that I haven’t seen before and probably will never see in Canada…maybe I’ll wait to see them live in case they’re not very good and that way I can further narrow down the shirt purchases.
The Quireboys are a band that I’ve never really been a big fan of personally and there have been several opportunities for me to see them live especially through the MORC cruises. But there’s nothing else particularly interesting under way right now so we arrive at the Sweden Stage early to check them out and manage to get quite close. My video camera failed me during the first song, but I succeeded in capturing the second so look for that appearing soon on the Decibel Geek YouTube channel. Unfortunately, I missed the song titles for both of these so a little research will be in order later on for the video posting. Spike led his band through songs like “There She Goes Again”, “Drive Me To Distraction (I think), “This Is Rock n Roll”, “Mona Lisa’s Smile” and what I think may be called “Honeychild” (it’s not so easy to do the actual song title research with the facilities at hand on this moment, please forgive me). It was time to move on and we visited the bar again, hey I’m rocking on vacation so it’s allowed!
Jon English (Australia)
Jon English was our next hit in The Rokklassiker tent. He was quite a charismatic frontman and performer. I was unfamiliar with him previous to this aside from in name only and had missed him two years ago here in Sweden. He sang some excellent melodic rock songs, assumingly his own compositions all with the backdrop of tip top musicianship from his band. To my understanding he is Australian, yet it appears behind the stage that the backdrop is the Australian continent coloured with the Swedish flag. Maybe he’s Swedish, but lives in Australia? In any case, Jon English proved to be an emotive and engaging performer and this would turn out to be the only full band set of performances that I would end up capturing today.
Laura decided to call it quits for the night while I continued on, wanting to catch Evergrey followed by D-A-D. I was not overly familiar with Evergrey before but they were great, maintaining my attention through the frigid temperatures. Unfortunately, I was starting to get really cold with the bone chilling Swedish night wind and I didn’t track the setlist. I did, however, catch “A Touch of Blessing” on video as I marvelled at the amount of dry ice pyro effects that they employed during their set. I’m not sure how expansive their catalog is but definitely a great band that I need to pay more attention to when I return home.
Fighting with everything I have left to hang on for D-A-D, I positioned myself up on the hill at the back and shivered huddled in my all too thin sweater. I had never seen a stage setup like that of D-A-D with the amps and monitor stacks curved overhead such as they were. Perhaps I should rethink my view on purchasing the band t-shirts as I could sure use them to keep warm right about now! A runny nose and totally shivering in June does not quite compute in my feeble little mind. The Danes delivered songs such as “Rock ‘n’ Rock Radar”, “Everything Glows”, “A New Age Moving In” and “Something Good” and I had the video camera going for a couple of those, but the cold was becoming unbearable and I was forced to tap out. I grabbed a bus back to Karlshamn and made my way through the weirdly desolate and eerily silent streets back to Innergarden BnB.
Overall, a fantastic success once again for the opening day of Sweden Rock 2015. I had several comments on my Canadian themed headgear, the bartender who proclaimed that we were the first Canadians she had ever met as well as the guy at the french fry booth who repeatedly told me I was “awesome” for coming from Canada! Although with the way the cold has taken its toll on me today, maybe I should turn in my “Canadian card”, but one thing’s for sure…I’m gonna need more Sofiero money tomorrow!
You can find all of Decibel Geek‘s coverage of the Sweden Rock Festival 2015 by both The Meister & The Lionsheart here: Sweden Rock 2015