Here we go with Friday at the 2015 Sweden Rock Festival, or as Laura calls it: Motley day. Laura, my friend from Toronto, is a huge Motley Crue fan and by the end of Crue‘s tenure and their final show in L.A. on New Year’s Eve 2015 she hopes to have attended a lifetime total of 80 Motley shows. She’s up around 77 now including tonight’s set, so that seems like it’s a very real possibility! So, who better to handle the telling of that portion of today’s events than a bonafide expert such as her. But that’s later on. We started off by going a bit later to the festival grounds today after checking the schedule. The earlier bands we were unfamiliar with and would normally have investigated anyway, but H.E.A.T was playing until 1:45AM tonight so we knew it would be a late one.
Once again The Lionsheart and I lost Laura as she was quite happy to wander by herself and check things out as we stopped by Battle Cry Records once again. From there it was off to the VIP/press area for a morning beverage, wait it’s already afternoon today. While there I ran into some friends that I’d met on the Monsters Of Rock Cruise, Hardcore Superstar fans. It was a grand gesture on their part to purchase some shots of Jagermeister for us, or cough syrup as I like to call it. When the second round appeared, as much as I appreciated the gesture I decided that it was time to move on, not wanting to get too drunk at the start of my day! I will mention, however that while I’m not a particular fan of Jager shots, I’m a huge fan of the Jager girls bartenders!
Rock Goddess (UK)
The Lionsheart joined the queue for the Mad Max signing session and I headed off to the 4 Sound Stage for Rock Goddess. Rock Goddess, an all female outfit from the UK, was another discovery thanks to Sweden Rock. Had they not been announced as playing I probably never would have looked into their music, or even heard of them for that matter! And so I had a rather limited knowledge of their songs prior to this set, but really enjoyed the NWOBHM/punk sound and feel to cuts such as “Heavy Metal Rock n’ Roll”. As I was a bit early, I was able to secure a great spot on the barrier on the right side of the stage. They played some songs that I was familiar with, thanks to my pre-festival investigations, such as “God Be With You”, “To Be Betrayed” and “You’ve Got Fire” Along with those were some new tunes and we were told work on a new album was underway, perfect! I’m happy to review it for you ladies when the time comes! I was also able to capture at least two songs on video so watch for them coming soon to the Decibel Geek YouTube channel and check these ladies out for yourself.
Passing by the Festival Stage on my way back to the VIP/press area I paused long enough to catch “Blinded By The Light” as Manfred Mann’s Earth Band delivered the classic and well-known song. Well, that’s about all I need there, so moving on again.
Reconnecting with Laura, Dokken was the next planned hit of the afternoon. I had just seen him perform about a month ago while at the M3 Festival in Columbia, Maryland. He took a lot of internet and social media abuse for that performance, mostly regarding his vocals. True they may not be what they once were and he sings in a lower register, but I really enjoyed that show. For me it was the first time seeing Dokken, a band that I had been listening to for a good portion of my life. “Kiss of Death”, “The Hunter” and “Dream Warriors” got things going, the latter a song he announced as not having played for years. Not true Don, I heard it at M3! Since I was further back than my usually preferred place at a show, I was not as entranced with this event as I should have been. I began chatting with Laura about getting a concert t-shirt for Shawn “Animalize” Irwin at his request, since he could not be here with us. We took some photos of the t-shirt merchandise booth, closing in on the Battle Beast options as it seemed to be his greatest interest. The Merchandise booth was situated right next to the Rock Stage (my least favorite stage here) and Dokken, so we still heard some great tunes during our forray. I have seen some social media comments similar to those after the M3 performance, but again I thought it was a great show overall.
We decided to leave Dokken early and go to check out Gloryhammer in the Rockklassiker Stage/tent. They had a kind of Manowar feeling to them, at least we thought so and I grabbed the opening song on video. They were extremely medeival, the guitarist dressed like some kind of a Templar knight. Well, that was the style of his garb, but it may not have been Templar, I don’t know the ins and outs, but you get the idea. The vocalist appeared to be in his teens, although I’m sure he was more advanced in age than that and was clad in something akin to armour. They played a song that I beleive was titled “Quest For The Hammer of Glory”, during which a guy dressed in green, perhaps an elf or nymph or something, knelt by the vocalist presenting a war hammer to him. I really liked the spirit of their stage presence and the epic power metal sound of Gloryhammer‘s compositions, so I’ll be looking into them once back in Canada.
Another highly anticipated set for me was next on the roster with Wolf on the 4 Sound Stage. I had acquired the Devil Seed album shortly upon its release back in 2014 and quite like it. The Swedes led off their set with “Overture in C Shark”, the same way the Devil Seed album begins. I tried to video it, but there were some weird stoppage issues taking place, so I’m not sure if it turned out at all. Next up was what I suspect is titled “The Bite”, during which I was asked again about a photograph of my sleeve tattoo, to which I obliged. “Skeleton Woman” came off excellently as I rocked, fist in the air in near the exact position from Rock Goddess earlier. “My Demon” saw them toss an uncountable amount of foam beer coozies emblazoned with the Wolf logo into the crowd, yet somehow each and every one succeeded in eluding me, dammit! “Voodoo” and “Hail Caesar”, which the video worked successfully for, led us to “Evil Star” from their 2004 album of the same name, an excellent cut! I noticed the guitarist had a few beer bottles positioned on the stage floor by his monitor, not unusual except that they appeared to be Wolf brand beer! Now I really love these guys and definitely have to get my hands on a sample of that brew as well. “Skull Crusher” and “Children Of The Black Flame” took us to the show closers of “Venom” and “Speed On” setlist.fm and another fantastic performance. Thank you Sweden Rock for bringing me the chance to see these awesome bands and discover many new addictions too.
Mad Max (Germany)
Mad Max was another group that held a big draw for me. I was not incredibly familiar with their music, but had their 2013 Interceptor album and had checked out a few other tracks via YouTube upon The Lionsheart‘s recommendations. As I reconnected with him at the Rokklassiker Stage for this set we positioned our selves in the center on a raised cover housing the thick power cables that ran across the gravel floor. He mentioned then something that I hadn’t known before, the vocalist was Michael Voss. The guy from Wolfpakk. OK, maybe I had known that somewhere in the dark recess of my mind. I love his vocals on both Wolfpakk releases that I’ve had the pleasure to review here on Decibel Geek. They began with “Burning The Stage”, a favorite of The Lionsheart and my video skills were working well now as I recorded it. For an indepth spotlight review of this Mad Max set see The Lionsheart‘s review coming soon.
Backyard Babies (Sweden)
As The Lionsheart ventured off to meet with a colleague, I made my way over to the Rock Stage for The Backyard Babies. They had drawn a quite large group of spectators and so I could not get overly close to the stage without expending a lot of effort, which I didn’t have at this portion of the day. I remained back near the beer tent and recorded a couple of tracks by holding the camera above my head (there was no-one behind me with my back to the tent, so I was not “that guy” who blocks everyone’s view with his device!). They played some tracks that I recognised from my pre-departing Canada research like “Highlights”, “The Clash”, and “U.F.O. Romeo”. There were also some that I was not versed in, but they all sounded decent and yet again another band to look into, so much music, so little time! “Brand New Hate” was my song of departure as I returned to the VIP.
There were some motorcycle trick taking place in the VIP/press area as the bikes ran on some rollers, keeping them from shooting across the area. Pretty cool to see and certainly time passing as I of course visited (ogled) the lovely Jagermeister bar ladies once again for an ice cold Sofiero.
Motley Crue (USA)
Motley Crue was the next hit on the Festival Stage and you may well by now have heard all the internet chatter and seen the YouTube videos of their performance here at the 2015 Sweden Rock Festival. I took some video myself and that will be making its way to the Decibel Geek YouTube before too long. Please look for and welcome this special segment from Motley Crue expert Laura coming soon. As I mentioned at the start of today’s tale, this marks Laura‘s 77th Motley Crue live show, so she knows a good one from a bad one and I feel, while still an obvious fan can speak objectively on their set at Sweden Rock Festival 2015.
I personally, having seen the Crue twice already during this farewell tour decided to venture over to 4 Sound Stage to see what Lucifer’s Friend was all about. On the way I discovered some truly lovely fish & chips (Casey’s Irish Street Food I beleive it was called). Lucifer’s Friend sounded to be a 70’s style band and while decent, is just not something that’s not particularly my flavor. What is my absolute flavor is more of that damn fish & chips that I can still taste. Queue round #2 Casey!
Heading back to Crue for a bit I took in a few more songs before heading over to Sweden Stage in preparation for H.E.A.T. Realistically I’m an old man and rather tired even with the late start today, so I opted for a spot back on the hill near the bar and the special VIP/press entrance to the festival grounds. This would still afford me a great vantage point (albeit a little far back) and also close opportunities to replenish beverages, while the ability for a quick exit when I decided to depart. I knew I wouldn’t last for the whole thing, but let’s see what happens. Glen Frey‘s “The Heat Is On” intro music signified that these young Swedes would soon flood the stage. Having been a fan for awhile, seeing them perform at Firefest: The Final Fling back in October 2014 in Nottingham, UK was a great treat. At that show (one person back from the barrier) I witnessed perhaps the craziest frontman energy/antics I’ve seen. Erik Gronwall just posseses and expends such a flurry of intense energy on stage it’s a true spectacle. Some of this you can see in my video of “Inferno” taken at Firefest and a few from this Sweden Rock set will be making their way to YouTube before too long. “Point Of No Return”, “A Shot At Redemption”, “Better Off Alone”, “Heartbreaker” and “It’s All About Tonight” brought us to “Inferno”. During “Inferno” Gronwall was out in the crowd near the front of the stage, maybe in the photo pit? Has he heard of Ted Poley? I thought ole Ted had patented that move! From there we were into “The Wreckoning”, “Tearing Down The Walls”, “Mannequin Show”, “Late Night Lady”, “Beg, Beg, Beg”, “All The Nights“ “Downtown” and “Enemy In Me” all following in rapid fire succession. I lost a little focus around here as I had a sudden strong WiFi connection and took advantage, trying to organise some things for the approaching Hellfest Festival at the close of my European adventure. “Emergency” and “Breaking The Silence” were the end for me as it was time to go home to Innergarden.
I was successful in “The War of The Busses”, no kidding, it’s a pushy-shovy experience as way too many over drunk festival goers attempt to squeeze through the single door all at the same time! I fought my way on and napped for the short journey to a comfortable bed.
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